Friday, November 02, 2007


As many of you know, I'm a writer. Like - for reals, ya'll. I write for television. And while I sometimes roll my eyes when yet another character goes into a coma or isn't really dead, I enjoy what I do. I enjoy sitting at home, working in my yoga pants, while 90210 is on in the background. I like being creative. I love the people I work with. I like getting a paycheck for said employment. I love health insurance.

As some of you may or may not know, The Writer's Guild of America is about to go on strike. Power to the Unions! I hear some of you cry. And I believe in my union. My union made sure that when I was "nobody, wanna be writer #3 on the left" and negotiating my first contract, the studio didn't fuck me in the ass. My union makes sure I don't get taken advantage of. Most importantly to me, my union, after only 3 months of membership, responded to my cancer diagnosis by paying over $300,000 in bills. I gladly write that dues check once a quarter.

However, this strike may be long. And I am of course not really prepared. A few weeks, sure. A month, probably. Six? No way in hell. All around me co-workers are freaking out and "the industry" is buzzing. A strike is sad. It's not just the writers... it's actors who won't get those day player gigs that feed their families, it's caterers who won't have regular jobs delivering lunch to the set, it's sound guys and grips and drivers who will possibly be out of work. It sucks. It's scary. It's scary to sit on thousands of dollars in bills and not really be sure where the money will come from. To think to yourself, "Wow- Christmas is coming and I have no idea when I'll work again." To look around your house and think, "What can I do that costs NO MONEY?" (the answer - not a whole lot)

But yesterday, as the news of the impending strike started trickling down, I was with a friend who was getting her brain scanned. She was sitting absolutely still, saying nothing, pushing away the fear that after 2 years of being cancer free- it was back, and I was outside talking about turning in scripts early to avoid the strike. My friend and I joked how the morphine the doctors has given her that morning wasn't working. While she was getting a prescription for a drug that most associate with terminal patients, I had gotten a couple of "man, I need a drink" emails from writer friends. My friend had been having dizzy spells, headaches, coordination problems. I was frantically figuring out just what I could cut out of my budget. She had looked for hours on the internet - searching for reasons other than "breast cancer metastases to the brain." I had been looking for latest news on whether we'd get 6 or 3 cents a dvd.

Is a strike scary? Damn right it is. Is cancer scarier? Fucking unbelievably so. And I did that. So If I have to, I'll get a temp job or Discover the advantages. My husband works, I have family I could trun to if it got really bad. I'll survive. Not everyone is that lucky.

So while everyone else is praying for a short strike, I'll be praying for my friend - hoping that whatever's wrong isn't cancer. And if it is, that she has the strength for the fight. After all, my union keeps telling me to be strong in the face of a battle.

It's all about perspective.


Anonymous said...


This is the kind of perspective the world needs more of. I'll be praying for your friend as well.


Jaime said...

Hey's Jaime, from the YALC.....I will be keeping your friend in my thoughts and prayers....I also wanted to respond to your previous post, about the organization that blew you off...I had an experience like that last year, the incident that Matthew blogged about. I was shocked. And I agree that too many times, doctors blow younger women off, saying they're "too young" or so forth. I recently went to the student health center here (I'm a graduate student) because I found a lump, and what struck me was how WELL they responded to me. I go again next week, and I might be having an ultrasound. But it's sad when I am shocked at how WELL I am treated, when that should really be the norm. You know?
hope all is well.

Jayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Obsessedwithlife said...

Hey, I'm Rachel (Debbie's friend-the one who had cancer). She told me about your blog. It's awesome! I just started one too:

Good luck on the strike!


Anonymous said...

Dear Courtney,
I am working with VOICE (an imprint of Hyperion publishers) on marketing a memoir by Kelly Corrigan, a thirty-six-year-old woman whose life was changed forever when she discovered a lump in her breast. Kelly’s breast cancer diagnosis was quickly followed by her father’s own late-stage cancer. After reading your blog, I thought this book might be of interest to you, and I would love to send you a copy for review or discussion on your website. Please feel free to contact me at for more information.
Best wishes,
Anna Jarzab