Julie the New Girl

There’s a great scene in Fargo when Steve Buscemi takes a bullet in the jaw courtesy of William H. Macy’s overbearing father-in-law. The thwarted ransom scene is set in a deserted parking lot and shot in part from an office window, from which the view below is two cars, one body and an ocean of snow.

With that kind of desolation in mind, the outlying vista from the bank of picture windows behind my new office cubicle should be its one saving grace. On a clear fall day, I can simultaneously shuffle, staple and sigh, following the palm tree-lined rivers of Highland and La Brea all the way up to the hills, stopping along the way at the Magic Castle, Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign. The trouble is, part of me would rather look out over the frozen hinterlands of North Dakota. With the miniaturized Matchbox cars jockeying for position on this magical life-sized track, I’m stuck inside like a sick kid on a snow day, watching the big boys go out to play.

Today’s unannounced visit from the Big Deal Publisher of the
Legendary Trade Magazine
where I’m temping might have been my big chance for some indoor fun. I read his column every day, after all, and could easily have volunteered some thoughts of my own on piracy, theatrical distribution and foreign after-markets. But then, my professional zeal would have only confused him, especially since he discovered me chewing bubble gum and reading The National Enquirer like some ditzy Carol Burnett character with a plumped up prosthetic ass. The Pretty Boy Sycophant of a business manager considered supplying my name, but was stopped cold by the horrible realization that he’d never bothered to ask me for it to begin with.

I suppose the lunchroom holds some dramatic promise, since the company also publishes B---- S---- W----, the longtime bible of the Unrepresented Actor Person. I paged through its many dubious notices to discover that Nelly is looking for an emerging rapper to write a jingle for a healthy version of his new energy drink, Pimpjuice; and that a new MTV series intends to find the next generation of Neil Diamond impersonators. Who knew there was an earlier one? An ad for egg donors promises “the right candidate”chocolates, massages, flowers, a weekend at the Ritz and a new set of professional head shots in addition to a ten thousand dollar payday. That ought to keep a girl in accent reduction lessons for another pilot season.

Two failed actresses forced to do time in Classifieds probably think I’m shy, since I sat reading David Sedaris this afternoon while they ate dim sum and argued over whether or not Joe Versus The Volcano draws an important life metaphor. “Look, I was in a John Patrick Shanley play at Chicago Rep,” one informed the other down the nose of her Lisa Loeb glasses.  “I know Shanley.”

Maybe next week I’ll close my book and bring up the Oscar-winning script of Moonstruck to demonstrate the fact that I, too, know Shanley. The truth is that having worked alone for so long, I’m not so good at doing it with others. Oftentimes I would write at home all day only to realize I hadn’t uttered a single peep since I woke up—except the word "gross" directed at my overweight wiener dog, who likes to eat his own poop.

I’ve also spent a lot of years outside that window—enough of them to know that sometimes life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Visiting his office, I learned that Jack London went to Alaska to become a banker, not to write Call of The Wild. In the living room of her Denmark home, I was told that Isaak Dinesen’s planned to grow coffee in Kenya, then wrote Out of Africa instead. So maybe Julie didn’t come all the way to Hollywood to be a lowly office temp, but the memorable view from that corner cubicle may some day become the establishing shot for my own eponymous movie. When that happy moment arrives, I suppose I’ll be happier still that fate didn’t take me to Fargo.


  1. 1. I love reading your blog. Such craft.

    2. I hated that movie Fargo! I totally 'got' it, but I hated it all the same, despite the writing and acting. It was just too gratuitous without the Tarantino irony. Well, that's just my opinion anyway. The wood chipper scene did nothing to endear it to me. I can't imagine why the gimp scene in PF managed to :p

    3. I really love reading your blog. :)

  2. Anonymous5:42 AM

    Moonstruck was one of the first scripts I downloaded to read, I love his writing

  3. Yeah Shanley has written some great stuff. Too bad he's written a lot less in the last decade, and that despite Moonstruck he and Hollywood aren't really a good fit.

    Stupid Hollywood.