The little girl sitting behind me on the plane Tuesday night said it best as we landed at JFK.
“I want to go back to California right now!” she declared.
“Me, too,” I muttered.
Not that I’m complaining. Well, yes, of course, I am. I had no desire whatsoever to see my vacation end since I had an absolutely fabulous time visiting my Uncle Joe and his wife, Sara.
I soared to new heights on this trip, as I tracked the migration of monarch butterflies in and around Monterey, hiked around the space shuttle Endeavor, met up with some of my West Coast cousins, and, craziest of all, took part in a “Pitch Slam,” where aspiring screenwriters like yours truly sit down with producers for a five-minute rundown on what they have to offer.
I was only in LA for one night before we hit the road and headed north in search of the migrating monarchs. These amazing creatures cover thousands of miles as they make their way to their winter home.
It’s just about impossible to photograph the monarchs without special equipment and the sharpest image I got was of an injured butterfly, which is kind of a cheat I suppose, but it’s still a nice shot.
Getting a decent shot of the Endeavor proved to be difficult as well. I took some photos at the shuttle’s location in the California Science Center, but you really need to see it for yourself.
It was amazing to look up at this spacecraft and think of what it’s been through, how many miles it’s traveled. You just can’t capture that with an I-phone.
In the Slammer
And then it was time to put pleasure on hold and take care of business at the Pitch Slam. I often go through guilt trips when I go on vacation, scolding myself to stay at home and write or make a short film like I’ve been threatening to do for too many goddamn years. So I felt good taking out the time to do something for my career.
As one of the hosts explained, the slam is like speed dating for writers. I have never done anything like this before in my life and for that alone I consider the event to be a first class success.
I was very nervous at the outset of this thing—like I am at speed dating nights. And just like speed dating and other singles affairs, I was tempted to run out the door before the show even got started.
But I held firm, going from one studio rep to another. I was very nervous at first, speaking too quickly and stumbling over my words. There were close to 30 reps in the room and I wanted to bail after talking with the first three.
However, as my confidence grew, so did my desire to speak with more people, so by the end of the day, I had run through all the tables like Minnesota Fats on a billiards blast.
I was initially wary of the other writers in the room, but then I realized that we were really allies, not adversaries. Everybody in that room wanted to see their dreams come true. I met some really nice people, including an 85-year-old man on a walker. It was a real slamming day.
I saw this little ditty about advice from a butterfly. Among other things, it suggests that you let your true colors show, take yourself lightly, take time to smell the flowers, and look for the sweetness of life.
I think I accomplished those goals.
When I went to get my luggage at JFK, some guy actually hit me up for change, proving beyond a doubt that I was back in New York. I was going to tell him to get lost, but I decided to slip him a buck. Even though vacation was over, life still tasted pretty sweet to me.