Friday, May 16, 2014

The Backstory of "Legendary," Pt. 2

The early 2000's were hectic and full of potential. Within a five year span, I wrote and directed King's Highway, we bought a house, Jacob was born, I sold another script, I took a new job at Cartoon Network, and I ran two marathons. 

The life changing moment in our lives was the day Jacob was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). When you’re told that your newborn child has a life threatening illness, your outlook on the world becomes radically different. His well being becomes priority number one. This is one reason I began working at Cartoon Network. The company offered stability and health benefits, in addition to the opportunity for growth.

I felt limited in what I could do to help spread the word about CF, a relatively unknown disease, and how to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Running a marathon became a way to get people's attention and raise money. Around this time, I discovered a new way the Internet was allowing people to communicate and express themselves, something called "web logging." It sounded like a cool way to keep family and friends up to date on my marathon training, as well as providing information on Jacob's health. And so, I began blogging.

My first blogwas strictly about my training. I kept it for three years. When my body finally told me to "cut this shit out" and quit running, I began a second blog, ''thunderbolt." It was on that website that I created "Basement Songs," the periodic column about the songs that were essential to my life. It was through “Basement Songs” that I met Jeff Giles, Jason Hare, and several other wonderful bloggers who were supportive of my writing and my family’s pursuit of finding a cure for CF. When Jeff approached me about becoming a charter member of the Popdose group staff, I didn't hesitate. I brought along "Basement Songs," and published my personal stories for over 100 weeks.

A couple years after "Basement songs" began running, I was in a conversation with a family friend. At the time she was a junior editor at Simon & Schuster in their Young Adult division. She, too, was a fan of "Basement Songs," so when I remarked that I'd always thought about writing a novel (which is true), she said, ''If you ever have anything, I'd be glad to read it.''

I took her words to heart. For two months I worked on adapting one of my more recent screenplays, the story of a teenage girl with a sibling who has CF, into a novel. I wrote about fifty pages before I hit a wall. If I'm being honest, I wasn't prepared to write about cystic fibrosis just yet, not the way this character me needed me to. However, I didn't want to give up. I really wanted to try my hand at prose. I had nothing to lose. In need of a story about teenagers, I went into my files and pulled out that old script of mine. I decided to adapt "Finding the Way" into a novel.

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