When I got to Cleveland Hopkins Airport for the flight back to L.A., I didn’t try to swing an upgrade to first. I was too drained to marshal the effort. As I squeezed into the middle seat, between two fellow passengers, I regretted not having tried for the upgrade.
I didn’t know it while it was happening, but the meeting with Those Characters From Cleveland’s execs was draining. I’d bet Andy, sitting in first class on a different flight, wasn’t nearly as drained as me. First off, after years in the business, he was accustomed to meetings and knew what it took to get through them. Also, he wasn’t an active participant in this one. Rather, he was laying back to see how I’d fare.
His brief kudos after the meeting told me I’d done well. I was filling a purpose for Andy and Jean. Writers come and go. Some are productive for a year or two and, for one reason or another, fall by the wayside. Others last for ten or more years. A handful make it for the long haul.
I would be one of those who would last for decades. Although I’m talented, I’ll be the first to admit there were writers who were as talented as me. Today, in the present, long after my Cleveland meeting, forty years after I wrote my first script for The Littles followed by twelve hundred more episodes of television, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not even in the same galaxy as Quentin Tarentino, Spike Lee, James Cameron, William Goldman, Paul Shrader and others. As Jean Chalopin once told me when I brought up Jeffrey Scott, I shouldn’t even be allowed to say their names. (I’m joking.)