2018, Mirror Image Edutainment, Alan John Mayer
I started this class nearly two years ago with a piece I had written for stand-up called “Landlord Lingo”. When Life Writing guru Bea Mitz, blonde at seventy-two, widow of a doctor, questioned me as to my background after reading for her, whatever I told her, she replied “Of course you were.”
I loved Bea Mitx from the start.
Jeff cursed me once several months back, then stormed out, and didn’t show up for two weeks. Bea called me, advised me “If you have to say anything, just shut up.” I laughed, still am laughing, and I did shut up. No mention was ever made again of the incident.
An older man used to join us regularly, Mr. Dancer he called himself. He was writing a story of a Jewish man who came to the U.S. in the late 19th century, only to find his American dream became a nightmare. Mr. Dancer always read first, for forty-five minutes. Everything he wrote was depressing, and his monotonous voice added to the depression.
I spoke with Bea over the phone about his lengthy reads, suggested we time people. She agreed, and guess what, she wanted my i-phone to be the timer. That worked for about one week until she didn’t hear the beeper. So I changed the ringer to a dog’s bark, and she thought it was Pokey.
One day, Mr. Dancer gave me input on my writing. I thanked him with much glee, and incorporated his input. By Wednesday, I was anxious for him to hear how I put his idea into words, but after reading, and listening to two more students, he “Had to leave”.
“I would appreciate if you would stay” I said.
“I have to leave” he replied, as he grabbed the door “I have to be somewhere”.
“We all have somewhere to be” I said.
“Who the hell do you think you are, asshole?” he yelled, stormed out the glass door to our classroom, and fell to the ground. The librarian came to help him to his feet. He popped his head in the door “Is everything okay?”
He never came back. That was a blessing. He never smiled. He was allergic to Pokey (or so he said). There is something wrong with people who never smile, and are allergic to dogs.
You are never fully dressed unless you are wearing a smile.
Bea called me the next day, after speaking down the grapevine, and said she would be happy to mentor me in private. I was amazed she would offer that. I told her so, that she would consider such a thing, I almost cried. I told her I would love that, but an important part of the class to me, is the enjoyment of hearing what others write.
Jeff has also had choice words for me which is why I only offer suggestions with great caution. Whenever I have, he becomes defensive. After the group has discussed his read, while I have remained silent, he turns to me and asks “What do you think?”
I think your idea of a sign up sheet is an excellent idea. I never say anything about Bea being late. I’m happy she comes. I have encouraged (perpetually late) Annette to please come on time. May she rest in peace, as of 2016. I honor her suggestions to my book by naming Nanny Needlepinch Carabella Annette.
Living beneath my landlady in almost wonderful monestic conditions (no noise after eight p.m. and no noise during the day), we settled our issues to great Korean extreme drama. I have her roof over my head another four months, then I will see what God has is store next.
One thing I have learned. Do NOT make yourself comfortable on this planet. Checking out soon, in spite of my centenarian genealogy, unless of course, my book sells, finds homes in bedrooms and living rooms throughout the planet, next to the kids’ Kindles, 100 million copies anticipated sold in over one hundred languages.
A few days ago, I remembered having written something in 1990, when the LAUSD placed me in their district office to punish me, an except I read in class. Since, I’ve uncovered an entire book, and it’s more ready for print than anything I’ve written this century. 2018, and it is still not published. Alone, however is well on his way. Once published, thanks to my friends Steve and Doris Lubin, I have to sell the book. That means giving speeches.
Bea is in love with Prince Aloneoous, and his crazy Aunt Hysterica, and she detests Princilla. To Bea, these characters are as real as they are to me. It was Bea who suggested the Queen not wear a crown, but rather two diamond studded ebony combs.
I stretched Bea’s idea, and gave the Queen two sets of combs, one ebony, one ivory.
Some of our classmates know the characters, even renamed some. This group is a team effort. Isn’t that life?
Searching through my files, I found ‘Up2Something’ and ‘You, Me, and The Cameraman,’ dialogue I wrote for reality T.V., before it even existed when I found myself living in the most interesting situation in Silverlake. Next door, an interesting upwardly mobile black family. Up the hill, an older Chinese couple, a black woman and her son. Next to them, a German family, a French family, two gay couples. Past the bend, a straight white couple, an inter-racial couple, me, one other pink person, and my Asian and Iranian building partners triplex mates. The only person missing the plot was the 6’6″ trannie with the size eleven feet, pink toenails, and daisy thongs who would later live above me.
I’ve been reading all day through works that have not seen the light of day for twenty-three years, looking for dialogue that could possibly find new life. And here I am again doing the same thing in 2018. Will I ever get published?
I will shut up now.