I used to be a writer. For those of you who think, Once a writer always a writer, it’s simply not true. Being a writer always seemed like hard work. I met plenty of women who felt they could do write my column better, and I agreed. Drafting a popular newspaper column for only $300 a week meant that I was constantly under pressure to make rent, get my roots done and attend parties that provided the best fodder.
I mined content from my friends’ lives, including stories about adult circumcisions, puck bunnies and speed dating. It seems quaint now, in the age of 23 and me. Now I’m older, and although I earn more than $300 a week, there are different pressures: kids who need athletic scholarships or to land a TV commercial to pay for their university education. Making school lunches that don’t include spotted bananas. Feeding a gluten-free husband who can’t cook. And trying to overcome the feeling of failure that comes with being a daughter, sister, mom and wife.
Before we had kids, we bought a floating home. It cost $120k and although under 1000 square feet, it was awesome. Both decks had views – the city on one side and the mountains on the other. We played Buzz TV on a 100 inch projector. Had people over for Crazy 8s. Partied with the local float home community which included a couple of good-natured fugitives, a musician who was a one-hit wonder and a lady who would lick my husband’s face and play Warcraft while hosting a Mensa knitting club.
Our two cats roamed the marina and slept in boats. Neighbours offered glasses of homemade wine as we walked down the marina, tired from our 9-5 jobs. It was heaven. We thought about staying there with a newborn on the way, but we heard a story about a 10 month old baby who crawled out of her crib and drowned while her dad was napping. It didn’t happen on our float home, but it was only a few doors down. I still think about the parents when we drive by the marina, although we’ve never met.
When I was a reality TV producer, I was a pro at finding heroic stories involving survivors of storms: F5 tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, blowdowns — even rogue waves qualified as a storm if there was a shark attack.
I would recreate hurricanes in the swimming pool at my tennis club with bed sheets, and count on viewers to believe that they were watching a house on the Florida keys in peril. Maybe viewers weren’t as discerning then, pre-kids youtube because even the Weather Channel had high ratings.
With today’s dire warnings of climate change on CNN, coupled with Alaskan iceberg footage and Nigerian factory pollution, the series might be considered a yawn. But three of my former colleagues are now afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, which probably warrants its own TV show around the environmental hazards of production offices.