While working toward my MFA in Screenwriting, I interned with a prolific Hollywood screenwriter Steven E. de Souza (Die Hard).
Implementing de Souza's red pencil edits into his scripts and pitches, while observing his work ethic and discipline, helped me understand what it means to be a writer. The secret? It's about the work. It was a joy to watch a professional at his craft.
On my way, I routinely passed an elderly woman trudging up a long hill from the beach. People strike me as fascinating. I want to know their story; even small, insignificant moments strike a curiosity. I later used her as inspiration for a micro-fiction exercise with a strict word limit:
She came from timber country in Appalachia—her daddy trudging up mountains, a livelihood of sweat and splinters. She escaped to Hollywood with dreams of stardom and a handsome chauffeur; the cushy life of soft steps on red carpet in fabulous heels. New-age paparazzi wind up their cameras and immortalize her smile; those eyes. But spotlights fade. Now, at 97, she trudges up the hill on her daily walk from the beach to her home in the Palisades.