You Should Write a Book

One thing I like about my job (and you knew there had to be something): it’s a big hit at parties.  You tell people you’re a writer, and they look at you like, Yeah, right.  “I’ve never heard of you,” they seem to say, “and you’re obviously not a millionaire, so you must not be a very good one.  I have to… turn this way now.”  In other words, as Geena Davis said of Lori Petty in A League of Their Own, go pull someone else’s leg; mine are long enough already.  But people perk right up when they get a hold of a flight attendant in a social situation.  Some people say, “Oh, I always wanted to do that,” and others say, “Yikes, I could never do that.”  But everybody’s got an idea about what this job is like — some more realistic than others — and everybody’s got an opinion.

The first order of business (alas) is usually to hold the flight attendant personally accountable for one’s last airline-related travel debacle.  (I especially love when people carry on about the absurdity of their latest mechanical delay.  Cuz they’d presumably rather fly on an airline that doesn’t fix their airplanes when they break?)  And then come the questions: “Why are flight attendants so old?”  (Cuz they’ve been doing it a long time.)  “Why are flight attendants so cranky?”  (Probably cuz people are always asking them “Why are you so old?”.)  “What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on a flight?”  And that’s the fun one.  Partly because the answer is always refreshing itself.  Only one thing?  How do I choose?  Continue reading

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Do I Write Right?

In his madcap debut novel, Blue Heaven, my mentor of comedy writing (and former Frasier executive producer) Joe Keenan introduces us to self-proclaimed writer Gilbert Selwyn thusly: “He wants desperately to be a world-famous, flamboyant, provocative novelist and will do anything to achieve this goal short of putting words on paper.” This hilarious description (of a hilarious character) resonates with me for a couple of reasons. Practically everything Keenan writes is hilarious and resonant, for one thing, which is part of the reason I read his novels over and over again (if not in public, where the frequent guffaws can incite looks). Also, this is a spectacularly apt encapsulation of my own writerly ambitions and habits from my early twenties to my first crack National Novel Writing Month some fifteen years later. Continue reading