that I am lying in bed and I am having trouble falling asleep so I thought I would take out my super secret private journal and jot down a few notes about how I’m feeling right now at this very instant in time, not necessarily because anybody else will find it interesting (although who am I kidding, the very fact that I’m writing this here means I assume some people will find it interesting), but more because this feels like a moment in my life that I will want to REMEMBER and so I am putting it here in this internet place where I will be able to find it later, as a document of what THINGS ARE LIKE RIGHT NOW.
And this is just to say that I have been very busy these last several months writing and producing my own TV show, which still feels like a very weird thing to say and an even weirder thing to actually be a true fact that exists and is happening. Running my own show has been an incredible experience — I feel like Charlie after Willy Wonka gave him the chocolate factory. I got really lucky with an incredible staff of writers (not a dud in the bunch!) and an unbelievable cast of actors, and just the most wonderful collection of artists and animators and directors and editors and line producers and I’m sure I’m forgetting some people, but basically everyone’s been an incredible talent who has raised considerably the quality of the project, and I know that to say all that sounds like the bullshit that everyone has to say, but this is my own secret private livejournal, so you know I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true.
I remember around episode eight realizing that I could just start phoning it in and we’d still have an amazing show, just because of all the great work everyone else was doing, and I made the mistake of telling that to one of the execs at Netflix, who said, Well, uh, please don’t start phoning it in, and spoiler alert, I didn’t. (Netflix has been a phenomenal company to work for, by the way — so supportive and trusting and helpful — if you ever get the opportunity to make a show for Netflix, I highly recommend you take it. I remember around episode six realizing that this was the longest I’d ever worked on a show where the network still liked the show, and what an amazing feeling that was.)
And this is just to say that this part is kind of the Magic Hour, where everything is so full of wonderful potential — right now the show is on its way to being a thing that exists that could be perfect, as opposed to a few months from now when it will actually be an actual thing that exists that is not perfect. Right now I don’t have to worry about what other people think — I don’t need to obsess over all the things I screwed up that it’s too late to fix. Right now I can just enjoy the feeling of having something that belongs to just me and a handful of writers and producers and directors and artists and animators and editors and assistants and script coordinators and Netflix executives. Today I had a meeting with the people who are going to dub my show into Portuguese and Spanish and French and German so that people all over the world could watch the show that I created, and let me tell you that’s a trip. If you ever get the opportunity to sit in a room with people who are going to translate something you wrote into Portuguese and Spanish and German and French, I recommend you take it.
And this is just to say that one of the weird things about being so incredibly busy and then gradually not so busy is that things come back, the things you’re too busy for come back. A few weeks ago, after I finished writing the season finale, I had a dream about an ex-girlfriend, and I remembered, Oh right, THIS is a thing. I had been too busy for all my anxieties and neuroses and stupid stupid memories, like I actually just did not have the time or brain space to worry about all that shit, and then the second I got less busy it all came rushing back, which on the hand, Daaaaaaang, but on the other hand, Hello old friend.
Anyway, my apartment is a mess, and I still haven’t done my taxes, and I feel bad that I don’t make more of an effort to see my friends, especially now that I’m starting to have a little more free time, and on nights like this, when I can’t sleep, I just have this feeling that no matter what, even in spite of all my recent good fortune, I’m never going to just wake up one morning and find that I’m all of a sudden some other better me, the me I want to be that I’ve convinced so many other people to see me as, that instead I’m just kind of doomed to be the me that I am, and I work that feeling like a loose tooth.
But again, that’s just like default anxiety, that’s nothing to get all bent out of shape about, this is a very exciting time for me and I’m not a TOTAL idiot so I get that. I GET IT.
And I’m already worried about what people are going to think about this show (which doesn’t even premiere until August, which feels so far away but also like tomorrow) or that even if they like it, they won’t like it for the right reasons, or that a lot of people will like it, but the people that REALLY matter won’t, or most terrifying of all, that it succeeds beyond my wildest dreams and then I have to figure out what happens next. (MR. WONKA: “Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted…” CHARLIE BUCKET: “What happened?” MR. WONKA: “Yeah, exactly, right? I know, right? Totally….”)
But, oh my God, good problems to have, right? I saw my family last week and my grandfather told me the story of how his father got stabbed in the back by his best friend. They were working together for Polish independence, and then when they got it there was a big celebration which turned into a big pogrom, and because my great-grandfather was Jewish, his best friend stabbed him in the actual literal back, just because, like, that was a thing you did in those days in Eastern Europe. And my great-grandfather was like, Fuck THIS shit, I’m going to America. And because of that, he missed the Holocaust, and because of that all of us are alive.
So if that doesn’t put things in perspective, re: my dumb little Netflix series about a talking cartoon horse and all my dumb little neuroses, well then I don’t know what.
And this is just to say that I feel unbelievably lucky that I get to exist and be alive, as imperfect and embarrassing as I am, and that I get to tell my dumb little stories for Netflix, and write in my dumb little journal. These last six months have been amazing. These last thirty years have been amazing. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my great-grandfather’s best friend in Poland stabbed him in the back.