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Essay for Semester in L.A. Program

I’m not sure if this is too sarcastic or just sarcastic enough.

I don’t have amazing, lofty career goals. I wish I did, so I could add some extra padding to this essay, but I really don’t. The only thing I want is to make a living writing, even if that means squatting in a recently condemned tenement, counting change so I can afford a box of ramen noodles. Hopefully, the Semester in L.A. program will ensure that my dreams of rat-infested squalor and scurvy will become a reality.

From what I understand of the program, it provides—among other things—a menacing, boot-clad foot in the door of Hollywood. It’s not, generally, easy to get a foot in the door. I’m often told to exploit every possible contact I have with Hollywood, no matter how remote. This either means taking part in Semester in L.A. or having my aunt in Boise write a desperate letter to Gary Cole, with whom she went to high school.

Semester in L.A. will, hopefully, make things a little easier than that. I have no delusions that it’s easy, or that I’ll suddenly and miraculously become the most in-demand writer in the history of the universe. But if I’m able to wedge my sweaty, corn-covered foot into the door of the Hollywood system, and if somebody decides to pay me to do something—anything!—related to writing (even if it’s reading, which I enjoy almost as much as writing), and I can quit my job at Starbucks and throw that green apron at my boss’s scowling face and say, “Never again,” and I can buy a small house on a pleasant suburban street, and I can convince my girlfriend to stop experimenting with mushrooms and marry me, I’ll be extremely happy.

Without this opportunity, I’ll probably be more depressed (and distressed) than I already am at my lack of skill and success in what I want to do. I’ll end up being a warped, frustrated old man who shoots bottle-rockets at squirrels and tosses hunks of ground beef laced with strychnine at his neighbor’s dog. Nobody wants that, especially not me.

I hope, for the sake of all the squirrels and yappy dogs in the world, that the Semester in L.A. program will help me realize my limited aspiration of being paid to do something I love.

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