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Musings On Amusing: I Can’t Be Creative When I Can’t Feel My Fingers


A blogumn by Jessica Glassberg

It was September of 2003 when I moved into my current apartment.  When the first “chill” of an LA winter crept into my dwelling, (read: it dropped below 70) I called the gas company to ignite my pilot light.  I would have done it myself, but I continually had visions of full room combustion and memories of Erica Walters lighting her hair on fire during the candle light ceremony at her Bat Mitzvah…

pilotlightA lovely gentleman came by and, with minimal chit-chat, lit my fire… not in the Jim Morrison sense, you dirty minds.  Now, when I wanted to work on a spec script for this amazing new show, Arrested Development, which I was sure was going to be a hit to go on for many years to come,  I wouldn’t have to wear two sweatshirts and wrap myself in multiple fleece blankets… I could just turn on my heater.  I don’t like to wear jackets when I write, drive or eat… I’m too restricted.  Quirky?  Perhaps.  But it’s how I operate.

Then, by October, like the torch Cruz Bustamante held for the Governor’s seat during the recall, so too was my pilot light inexplicably extinguished.  And so came another call to the gas company, and another visit from a different kind of fireman… one who lights fires…

(Isn’t fireman a more appropriate name for an arsonist… and extinguisherman more appropo for what is currently dubbed a fireman?)

Anyhoo… my pilot light was relit for the last time…

Not because it actually began WORKING… but, because it went out after a few days and I figured there are about 6 weeks of cold here in LA… and as a New Yorker, I can handle it .  In reality… since calling Los Angeles my home 7 years ago, my blood has thinned significantly and I cannot in fact handle cold.  Although, I can’t really handle heat either…

I actually only have about a 5 degree spectrum of total comfort.

Anyway… so, now, nearing the end of 2008, the cold weather has again paid a visit to SoCal… and I find myself wrapped in flannel PJs, a fleece sweatshirt and down comforter nightly…   I can’t operate this way!  No, I’m not a medical surgeon, and will not have to perform a literal operation, but I do give life to words when I tear apart and reconstruct a script!  I can’t write feeling like the brother in A Christmas Story… I cannot create when I am so confined!  Sure… yes, I can call the gas company again… but isn’t it all just a charade?  It’s like a bad boyfriend… We start dating, things are going great… he makes me feel good, but after a few days… he leaves me.  I’m just not ready for that kind of let down.

I had to write this from my bathroom floor, warming myself by the steam of my now constantly running shower.  Now I have a cold apartment and a high water bill… GREAT!  Sorry environment… hope it was worth it.

. Photo Credit: Jonathan Spangler