June 23, 2016: The Day Mr. Hollywood Came to Town

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Dear Diary,

I tried to write today. And by "I tried to write today," I don't mean I intended to write, but then I whittled the hours away reading back issues of Writer's Digest and arguing with people on Reddit. I really, honestly, truly tried.

After breakfast, I sat down right away to work. I didn't even check my email to see if my agent finally read my last manuscript. She's had it for two months and three days now. Not that I'm counting.

To get in the Writing Zone, I read over the outline for my new novel. I decided to make a few  tweaks to the plot...and then I had to do a bit of research...and then somehow it was 11 a.m.

I opened a new Word document, determined to start the first draft today.


I heard Mom screeching in the foyer. Even from my loft on the third floor, every drawn-out syllable was loud and clear. Dad must have just come home from his morning round of golf.

"Susan Long just called. The house on the corner has been sold at last!"

I tried in vain to concentrate on my writing. The cursor blinked on the blank Word document in front of me.

"You'll never guess who our new neighbor will be." Mom waited patiently, but alas, Dad did not try to guess. "I said, you'll never guess who our new neighbor will be!"

"I'm sure I won't, so why don't you just tell me?"

"Whelp," I said to myself, "Guess that's plenty of work for today!" I closed my laptop on the blank document and joined my parents downstairs.

Dad was filling the electric kettle in the kitchen, looking the perfect picture of upper-middle-class retirement in his white golf shirt and khakis. Mom hopped up and down beside him in a satin robe and fuzzy slippers.

"His name is Charles Bingley, and he's from California. He bought the house on the corner as a second home. Susan says she heard from Beverly that his house in Los Angeles is worth more than 5 million. Aaand..."

I was tempted to beat a drum roll on the kitchen island.

"He's a Hollywood producer!" Mom burst out. "A real Hollywood producer! Ooh, how lucky for our Janie!"

Dad placed a bag of black tea in a mug and opened a box of Scottish shortbread cookies. "What does our new neighbor's profession have to do with Jane?"

Mom batted Dad on the arm with a giggle, as if he'd just told a great joke. "This is the big break she's been dreaming of all her life!"

What Mom said was true...if you replace "she's been dreaming of" with "I've been dreaming of" and "all her life" with "all my life." Jane dreams of playing Portia at the annual Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Mom dreams of seeing Jane on the red carpet at the Oscars.

"We must make sure he sees Janie on the stage. We can give him a ticket to Into the Woods as a housewarming gift. No no no, that's too obvious. Let's give three tickets to Susan, and she can mention to him that she and Dan are going...."

"Good Lord, woman! Are you trying to win an award for Craziest Stage Mother? The man bought a vacation home here to relax, not to be henpecked into sitting through community theater productions of Into the Woods."

I couldn't help myself. "Oh, Dad. Don't you know that when a man with showbiz connections comes to town, he must be scouting for movie stars? What other possible reason could a wealthy Californian have for buying a vacation home in a sunny resort town famous for hiking and skiing?"

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