I always like to joke that I am an overnight success story of 35 years. Fade to…
The late 1970s, the apartment that I shared with my then-husband. He had just finished reading the initial draft of my first novel The Pipe Dreamers. I didn’t believe him when he told me that it was bad (actually he said it sucked, but I’m trying to be nice here).
But I went ahead and sent it out anyway, convinced that literary fame, fortune, and a movie deal were in the offering. I even had it cast, with Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving as twenty-year-old Vietnam war protesters (Steven Spielberg was Irving’s husband at the time, so it could have been a twofer and he could have directed it, had John Sayles, my first choice, passed on the project).
Turns out though, the ex was right and it took about a gazillion drafts and two-and-a-half decades for The Pipe Dreamers to even be commercially published. And after a few years of being a professional writer and journalist, I stopped fantasizing about the Academy Awards.
Fast forward to October 2014. I am having lunch at a restaurant, minding my own business. In fact, that afternoon I am booked to take a refresher course as a precinct judge for our local election – a rare chance to mingle with the public, since I work at home and have indoor cats — when I get an email from my publisher. “You own the TV rights to your novel Country Club Wives,” he basically states. “I was contacted by a TV production company who is interested in possibly developing it as a series.”
I was so shocked that I practically spewed salad everywhere. My server came over to make sure everything was OK and I ended up spilling the beans, figuratively of course. I have a tendency to confide in strangers when unexpected life events take place. It may not always be prudent but sometimes it makes great literary fodder.
Like most writers, I’ve had that “legend in my own mind” thing going in my head ever since I first set pen to paper (remember typewriters?). And this certainly is a delightful and unexpected confirmation of decades of hard work. But it’s been one day at a time, the way I’ve been taking everything these last few years, something I would have been unable to do in my impatient-for-success early career.
But Colonel Sanders and Grandma Moses might need to move over… A little.