I was working as a script coordinator on Burn Notice when I got the call from my agent. After a sly fake out, she delivered the news: Graceland, a new show on USA, had made the offer. I was - suddenly - a professional writer. Someone was going to PAY ME to type words for ACTORS TO SAY. As a college freshman ten years ago, I dreamed of this moment, but dreams never capture the overwhelming gut-punch of joy that only reality can deliver. I smiled so hard for so long that I looked like the Joker. And I finally replaced the ten-year-old Sony laptop that I had jerry-rigged with masking tape and a paper clip. That was nice.
The staff was an immediate family, full of huge personalities that, somehow, all clicked together into a cohesive unit. That never happens. And the show itself was full of thrilling possibilities; we felt strongly that we were working on something unique, something truly special.
Then, as you know, one day in November I complained about my back at lunch. Then I went home and my back hurt more. Then the ER… then the biopsy… then the cancer diagnosis. As any of the doctors can tell you, my first question - and my most immediate fear - was: “How will this affect my job?” I was three months deep into my gig at Graceland, but now it felt like it was slipping through my fingers.
My oncologist was hopeful that I’d be able to get into the office every now and then, but I shouldn’t expect to work full time. And when I did show up for work, I shouldn’t expect my mind to operate at 100%. I heard everything he said, but I clung to the “every now and then” part. As long as I was still part of this show, part of this team, I knew that cancer couldn’t win. Even being just a part-time writer provided enough drive to get through the chemo-iest of days.
Because I’m such a lucky S.O.B., Jeff and the staff handled my news with nothing but warm embraces, selfless rescheduling, and enough ball jokes to fill ten Adam Sandler movies. Oh, and a testicle cake. Everyone involved with the show - from the studio to the network to the actors - was kind and supportive. They never docked me for missing work or getting chemo brain and forgetting plot points. They never condescended to me or treated me with kid gloves because I was a cancer patient. In fact, theySHAVED THEIR FRIGGIN’ HEADS and then took me outside to play (touch) football. And when I began to freak out, convinced that the chemo had poisoned all the creativity right out of me, they reassured me and helped write scenes for my episode. People said that work would be a good distraction, but that undersold it. It was motivation and comfort, a reason to not accept anything less than “cured.”
Sure, Graceland is just a show. But it’s also the hard work of dozens upon dozens of talented people. And for me, underneath the compelling characters and sexy violence and violent sexiness, it’s a story of a dream that came true and how, when the dream was threatened, everyone rallied to keep it alive.
I hope you watch tonight. Maybe it’s your cup of tea, maybe it’s not (*cough cough* if you have bad taste *cough cough*). But I’m proud of the season and, more than anything else, grateful to have been a part of it. Check your local listings.
And on top of this, Graceland is getting fantastic buzz!
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
It’s been said many times before, but it bears repeating: Memorial Day is not a day for celebrating the military. It’s a day for honoring the military dead. A more appropriate gesture [than wearing camouflage uniforms] would be an MLB-wide black armband. An even better gesture would be a pregame moment of silence, without anything on the uniform. But as is so often the case nowadays, merchandising and pandering trump common sense.
— Paul Lukas, Uni Watch (via mightyflynn)