I had a completely different blog post in mind for today. I’ll have to save it for another day. Great moments are not planned.
Sitting in the park reading Joseph Conrad. My kids and their friend playing. I look up every so often. I don’t totally ignore them, you know.
A woman I recognize, who I see around, but who I don’t really know, sits on the bench beside me. She recognizes my daughter and thanks me for a lift a home my husband once gave her son. She then wishes “mazal tov” to a woman who arrives with her daughter. (I think it’s her daughter even though a second later I find out her congratulatory remark is in honour of her first grand-daughter’s birth.)
Do you ever watch Srugim? The woman, who I don’t really know, asks. Kind of a random question. And I’m about to answer that I don’t own a TV, but does that matter? She’ll probably tell me I can watch it on the internet. “No” I reply. Well this woman here, she points to the tall woman she just wished mazal tov to, writes the script.
My jaw drops. Chava Divon, I find out later. A real life television writer. A successful television writer. An Orthodox woman, mother and grandmother.
“I’m a writer too” I manage to say.
“What do you write?”
“I’m in the midst of writing a book but I have a few ideas for movie scripts I haven’t quite gotten too.”
Another woman, who this time I know, steps on the scene, I politely say hello, she enters in conversation with the woman I don’t really know and blocks Chava from my view. Not wanting to end the conversation, I get up to go speak to her.
“Tell me about writing for Srugim.”
“It was hard. We wrote, we were rejected. We wrote it again, we were rejected. We wrote again. We got rejected again. Nobody wanted to listen. A show about a bunch of Orthodox Jews. Who cares?”
We almost gave up. And then somehow, I don’t even know how this happened, we found ourselves with two companies wanting our wares until YES [I think-LB] took us. And then they had us write three shows. And then another two. And only then did things take off. Keep writing.”
“I’m there. I’m meeting with my writing buddy tomorrow, so we can tear each other apart.”
“You’ll hate her, but listen to her.”
“Not at all” I say “I don’t want to hear what works, I want to hear what doesn’t work.”
Chava Divon nods. She smiles.
“But all I’m doing is re-writing. That’s the only thing that gets me. I can’t produce anything. I have nothing in hand because all I’m doing is re-writing the same thing, over and over and over.”
“That’s what it is. Keep writing and believe in your work.”
The conversation ended there because my kids wanted to go to a different part of the park, but those three words “that’s what it is” did it for me.
A real writer is one that rewrites; one that isn’t scared that they’re not published enough, or read enough. Re-write, re-write and re-write. At some point it will be good enough. If you’re re-writing, re-writing and re-writing again, you’re in the zone. The journey is a long one, but you’ll make it. And there will be serendipitous moments to make sure you do.