Hi! Happiest Election Day to you, my friends. I hope you’ve gotten out to vote or, if you haven’t, that you’ve already planned when in the day you will. If things are as dire as the 80,000 emails I’ve been receiving say it is, then you probably won’t have to wait that long in line. I didn’t.
As I proclaimed last Wednesday, today is the beginning of my Terrific Tuesdays blog series. (That will be the last time I am calling it that. Just wanted to see how it felt. It felt terrible.) Leading up to the April publication of my YA novel Denton Little’s Deathdate, I’ll be writing about my creative process, my transition from an acting career to a writing career, things I love, people I love, and why I will never, ever have a cat.
I thought maybe I’d start with the origin story of my book and how it was I came to start writing it, but I always think it’s cool on TV shows when they save the origin story episode for later on (see: West Wing - Season 2, Episode 1), so instead, I want to go back even further, to November 7th, 2004, the day I moved to New York City.
I need to briefly interrupt to say that, until thirty seconds ago, I thought the date I moved here was November 1st, 2004. I even tweeted on Saturday that it had been ten years since I arrived. But just now I Googled the date, and it turns out I was WRONG. Because I know I moved here on the day of the NYC Marathon, and in 2004, that was November 7th. So, Serial is totally right - memory is completely suspect. And you, my friends, are being blogged to by an unreliable narrator.
Anyway, I moved here almost ten years ago, i.e. an amount of time equivalent to going to college two and a half times. Or, put another way: A baby that was born as my dad and I were in Brooklyn parking the small U-Haul truck packed tight with my belongings is now ten years old.
I’d graduated from college in May of that year, spent the summer as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theater Festival, then lived with my parents in New Jersey for a couple months before making the move to a neighborhood in Brooklyn newly referred to by opportunistic real estate people as South Park Slope.
My college friend Greg and I moved into a sweet, little apartment (if you stood at a certain spot in front of our building, you could see the Statue of Liberty!), bought our $70 monthly unlimited Metrocards, and began our new lives. I was ready to get my acting career started, and Greg was pursuing a job in theater or art history.
I need to interrupt once more. Suddenly remembering that I kept a blog ten years ago, I did another quick Google search and was able to find it immediately. Oh sweet God. Why did I think keeping a public journal during my early twenties was a good idea? The blog is now set to private, so you will not be able to read it. I’m sorry. But I will be choosing some good excerpts for future entries. Here is a small sampling now, written at 3:19 in the morning on December 18th, 2004: So, people, get this:
Greg and I just had our first annual holiday party, and I’m sorta drunk and feeling that post-party thing where you’re like, “Where the ladies at?” And then you’re like, “Oh right - they all LEFT.”
So, uh, yeah. That’s been on the internet for the past ten years. Super. That holiday party Greg and I threw was a bright spot in what had been a very slow November and December. One of the other bright spots was the Meredith Vieira-hosted Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, every weekday at 12:30 pm. For at least the first month of our lives in New York City, that was the only consistent daily plan Greg and I had. We didn’t have cable, but this was back in the day when you could use a hanger as an antenna, so we were all set. I feel like I’m 800 years old.
We watched WWTBAM? so much that I started thinking we needed to be on it. At the very least, I thought we’d each be able to make it to the $32,000 milestone, which would be, like, a lot of money. But it wasn’t the right time of year for auditioning to be a contestant, so instead I went online and applied for tickets for us to sit in the live studio audience. No one got back to me.
That November, I also made my New York City acting debut in a play called Sotoba Komachi at a hideous place called the Producers’ Club. Young actors, save yourselves some trouble and do not act in things at the Producers’ Club. And, really, everyone should be advised to never see things at the Producers’ Club (unless you’re being supportive of a young actor friend). I still remember waiting outside the door to our theater space 45 minutes before our show started because we couldn’t get in there until the real-life Kramer (who had supposedly inspired the Seinfeld character) finished the intro to his bus tour.
Later that month, Greg and I worked at the GlaxoSmithKline booth at a dental convention. At the end of the week, every booth was getting rid of their leftover giveaways, and I walked off with a bag filled with so many toothbrushes, so much floss, so much toothpaste; it was the opposite of Halloween, though no less joyful. “New York City, baby!” I thought. “Free stuff everywhere!" And no lie, that stash did last me until a couple of years ago.
But as all this was going on, really, all I wanted for my life and career was to be on The O.C. Or some other awesome teen drama. I wanted to be Seth Cohen. I have a history of unhealthily loving teen dramas–Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, and then The O.C.—and finally, I was out of college and ready to be on one.
Spoiler alert: I never was. Though soon after, in January of 2005, I co-created a weekly improvised teen drama called The NYC (get it??) with my buddy Pete Capella, and it was: A. very awesome and B. how I met my wife, Katie.
But more about that later. For now, let’s just linger in the smoke of late 2004 nostalgia, when life was new and MySpace was king. Thank you for reading this first Tuesday blog entry and for indulging me and this snapshot of my life way back when. I promise all of these won’t be me reflecting on watching game-shows ten years ago. (Only about 65% of them.)
Now go enjoy the day, vote if you haven’t, and please help yourself to one of my virtual toothbrushes.