Tag Archives: the writing life

The writer’s crush-and-crash technique

Artists are creative, but they’ve got to work it. The creative part of the brain needs challenge. Painters should take pottery classes. Potters should make jewelry. Jewelers should take yoga.

Writers should abandon their notebooks and live the craziness they put on paper. Sure, people will say things like, “that’s not safe,” “can you get in trouble for that?”, “what if it’s not funny?” and “jeez, Shelley, aren’t you embarrassed?”

When you hear those statements, you know you’re properly challenging your brain. As a teen writer, I challenged my brain once or twice or 3,000 times. And a brain-challenger is how I met 1980s acting hunk Emilio Estevez, who’s still acting, writing and directing.

Let’s tell this story journalism style with our friends, the inverted pyramid and the objective viewpoint. Otherwise, I’d go creative nonfiction and make myself look like a whiz kid, which I was, but nobody likes a bragger.

A very old-school press pass creator.

A very old-school press pass creator.


Teens crash their crush

MINNEAPOLIS–Five teenage girls with forged press passes crashed a Twin Cities movie set to meet their favorite heartthrob, actor Emilio Estevez.

The girls, ages 13 to 15, learned Estevez was filming a scene at a metro hospital for his upcoming movie, That Was Then, This Is Now. Estevez adapted the S.E. Hinton novel for the film’s script.

“We’re used to fans spotting Emilio when he’s socializing, but fans rarely crash a set, even when it’s accessible like a hospital. We thought we had this lobby shut down,” said director Probably-Now-Shooting-Toilet-Paper-Commericals.

The girls, all from River Falls, Wis., left school early and convinced an uncle to drive them to Minneapolis. He left them near the hospital, where they wandered until they found the lobby with the actors and crew.

Each girl was carrying a forged press pass claiming they worked for the River Falls Journal. The press passes consisted of an index card pasted with their school portraits. The passes contained this line: The Press Pass entitles the reporter to access any scene for news coverage.

“These were not exactly professional documents. Did they think I was born yesterday?” said producer Born-Not-Yesterday-But-Three-Days-Before-Yesterday.

In an interview after the episode, Estevez provided the following account:

The girls appeared to be hiding behind plants in the lobby’s entrance. When Estevez waved, they used the moment and rushed to his side. None of them spoke.

“I thought they were from a school for deaf children,” Estevez said. “That’s why I didn’t call security immediately.”

Finally, one girl began speaking. Estevez said, “She told me they’ve watched The Outsiders on VHS at least 30 times, including once in the rewind mode, just to see what it looked like playing fast and backwards,” Estevez said. “They also kept telling me how short I am, which, honestly, I already knew.”

He gave each girl an autograph and agreed to some pictures. One of the girls, who went by the name Shelley, refused to leave his side. In dozens of pictures, this Shelley person is seen almost glued to Estevez, apparently refusing to let her friends switch spots with her.

Estevez then retreated to the bathroom. When he opened the door a few minutes later, the girls were standing in a sort of barricade.

“Going to the bathroom usually signals fans to move along. But not them. Now they wanted hugs. I didn’t have a choice. I was trapped next to the bathroom. There were five of them and one me and, like I said, I’m really short,” Estevez said. “When I escape in my movies, that’s a stunt double.”

After multiple hugs, the girls left. They were either late for meeting their driver, or they’d finally picked up on the subtle cues that it was time to leave.

“I was about to toss them out,” said security officer Too-Stupid-For-Words. “Thankfully, left peacefully and no SWAT team was needed.”


And that’s how Emilio’s DNA remained in my closet for years. Those wonderful hugs left splotches of makeup on my “professional reporter shirt.” (Please, don’t ruin the memory with quips about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski‘s dress.)

I know I didn’t give the shirt to a thrift store. They probably would have tossed it because of the make-up stain.

Honestly, I’m not sure what happened to the shirt. Maybe Mom threw it away. Maybe my accomplice-sister stole it. I like to think I took it to a bonfire, cherished the memory and then tossed the shirt into the fire, letting go of the past. Letting go of Emilio and freeing myself to love another, like Matt Dillon or Tom Cruise.

Summertime and the writing is NOT easy

When did parks getting boring?

When did parks getting boring?

School’s out, and so is full-time writing. Starting today, I’m a full-time mom and part-time writer – a part-time writer with a deadline for a second novel.

And that’s fine. My laptop will be with me forever, but my kid will not. We’ll be a duo of summer slugs until she flies out the door for a friend. She’s only eight, but that door’s already in constant motion.

Last summer, her budding social life carved out writing time for me. But it wasn’t the flurry of productivity I expected, and this summer’s going to be no different.

It will go like this:


I set up our craft table. We color and cut and glue and giggle. Then the doorbell rings, and she’s either out the door or taking a friend to her room.

The inventor of glitter has some explaining to do.

The inventor of glitter has some explaining to do.

So the laptop and I settle into my office. I’m on a hot streak and then … interruption.

Mom! The glitter bottle exploded and it’s stuck to the glue on the floor and the glue got on the floor because the glue bottle exploded.

How’d these bottles explode, Samantha?

I don’t know. We didn’t do anything wrong. I think YOU tipped ’em over or those bottles had too much carbon dioxide or maybe ants ate a hole in the bottom.


My daughter and I resume work on the ultra cool Harry Potter game we’re making. The doorbell rings, and she’s either out the door or taking a friend to her room.

Me. Laptop. Office. I’m on a hot streak and then … interruption.

(Sniff, sniff) Mom, I fell off the trampoline across the street. I think I broke my leg. So I jumped over those bushes and I ran home. I need an ice pack. (Sniff, sniff) Mom, can you take us to the gymnastics studio?


We plan a lazy movie morning with breakfast popcorn.

Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, will you take us to the Mall of America to look at American Girl Dolls?

No. I’m not driving to the city for dolls. Think of something else to do.

Can we go to the beach?

Not now. Pick a day next week so I can plan lunch and stuff.

Can we go to the Wisconsin Dells?

Are you serious? Really?

Fine! You never let me do anything!


My daughter and I set up her favorite game, Life. (The board game Life is longer than actual life, and Life inevitably makes me a broke mechanic living in a mobile home with so many kids they can’t fit into the tiny Life car. I love life. Hate Life.)

Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, I’m starving. Can you make pizza for lunch?


She shouts downstairs that it’s a yes, pizza for all, and a group of kids whoop. A group. There’s one pizza in the freezer. Clearly I’m still in winter grocery mode, but my cell phone holds the phone number for every pizza place in town. Problem solved.


And the body language says ... sooooo bored!

And the body language says … sooooo bored!

Another day. Daughter-Mom Activity. Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, we’re bored.

It’s the second week of summer. Are you kidding me?

We’re soooooooo bored! Sooooooo bored!

I knew this day would come. I’ve got this list for you and the gang. It’s “Ten Fun Summer Things Mom Did When She Was a Kid.” Don’t even whisper the word bored until you’ve done everything on the list.

And so she gets the magic list, which I will blog tomorrow. Summer cliff hanger!