Normally I don’t take requests. Because then you get into weird situations where people are acting a specific way because they want you to write about them, or people get resentful because you didn’t write about them, or people get resentful because you DID write about them, but that's not what they said, that's not what they meant, blah blah blah.
But Harvey wants me to write about him, so I shall, but in the context of me. Because it is my blog, after all. Heh.
Because what Harvey doesn’t know is that he’s a signpost. I first met him when he was an actor in one of my plays, I distinctly remember revising his lines in my kitchen while they rehearsed other scenes in the living room. It was me and my script, him sitting next to me going over his lines that I hadn’t revised. We weren’t even talking to each other. He was deep in concentration on learning his lines, and I was deep in concentration observing him. It was there that I realized I really could tailor lines to a specific actor if I spent time with them and got to know how they existed. A basic lesson, sure, but it’s not often you’re going to have that chance, at least, not with features.
I tried to work with him whenever I could. He acted in my 2004 staged reading of ZigZagged Ostrich, where he channeled his inner Peter O’Toole and made an excellent prince.
He shifted into a writing career. I gave him notes on his script that went on to win the Nicholl. He gave me notes on my script that grew up to be Pink Piggy.
We’d get together for dinner and every now and then to catch up. He’d tell me all his problems, because I find the problems of good-looking guys endlessly fascinating (and I mean that in all sincerity.)
And then he winked out of existence. Didn’t hear from him for three years, until he showed up in the reception area of Unnamed TV Network, as one of the producers on a pitch my boss was hearing a few weeks ago.
It was so startling to see him. I had an inkling he’d be there, since his name is pretty unusual. But seeing him, and giving him a hug and trading emails and promises that we’d catch up, there’s so much to talk about, I was surprised at my inner reaction, that Harvey is a signpost.
Where was I in my life when it was me and him sitting at my kitchen table x years ago? And where am I now that our paths have crossed again? Have I done enough, have I accomplished enough? Am I far enough down the Path Of Eventual Success? He knew me when I was a nobody writer. And I’m STILL a nobody writer, but a nobody writer potentially on the cusp of something great (or the desert of failure.)
So we had dinner last week to catch up. I hear everything he’s been up to, he hears everything I’ve been up to. I can look at his life and think wow, he’s definitely on his way. But he can look at my life and think the same thing. Neither one of us would look at our own lives and think, “Yep, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” It takes someone else other than yourself to point that out.
I hiked Runyon Canyon on Saturday, not realizing the air quality was so dismal until I got out of my car. But I was determined to brave the haze, the smoky smell, the few flakes of ash on my car (No, Mom, we’re all fine, please don’t freak.) I had brought my camera, I wanted to take a picture, kinda for Harvey, mostly for me, this is our signpost for our lives at this very moment.
And in my usual bumbling I Can’t Plan This Stuff way, I managed to hike up the stairs part and reach the plateau right as the sun was setting. My camera battery was dying, so I just stuck it towards the sun and ran off a few shots while I could. I didn’t think I was gonna get anything too great because of the smoky Mordor haze creeping in from the east, but when I uploaded the pics to the computer, I was once again stunned.
This is where I’m at right now. This is my signpost. Beautiful in its own twisted weird way. Hazy, probably unhealthy. And yet, I can’t look away from that sun. That’s the biggest sun I’ve ever taken a picture of. Is it lighting the world on fire? Is it gonna get choked out from the smoke? Is it a beginning? Is it an end?
I think it’s just there. Just there, in that signpost moment.
I love color in sunsets. I really really do. It’s one of the few girly things I’ll cop to.