The last six years have been the most unexpected ones of my life, although I have to say that the last week has been the most surreal.
Some background. At 39, I had a one-night stand with a super cute guy who was 29 and unemployed. We both fumbled on condom use, and I ended up pregnant. Both of us wanted the baby, although we resolved not to be together as a couple. Six years later, I’ve got this amazing little five year-old son and a very able bodied co-parent. The road to get here, to this very good and happy place, was pretty rocky. I struggled a lot with the idea of giving up my dream for a more traditional family. I struggled a lot with having a baby with a virtual stranger. You can imagine.
When my son Dolan was two, I sold a proposal for a memoir about the whole thing to Harper Collins. It was published right after my boy turned four. I called it “Accidentally on Purpose
” because I felt that this accidental pregnancy had ended up giving me – and my son’s father – true purpose in life.
Right around then, I sold the option for the TV rights, thinking, “Yeah, right. That’s the last I’ll hear from them.” I’m a movie critic – that’s been how I’ve earned my living for the last decade – so I’m familiar, on a fairly basic level, with how hard it is to get projects made, let alone playing on a screen somewhere, big or small.
But a clever writer named Claudia Lonow, who also happens to be a single mother, wrote a script, one that’s pretty different from my book, and as of this week, I found out it’s going to be a TV series on CBS, starring Jenna Elfman (remember her from Dharma & Greg? Cute, yes?), and slated to start airing in the fall, right after “How I Met Your Mother.” I’ve even seen a two-minute promo, where Jenna the movie critic is going home with her young man, played by Jon Foster. It is very strange to catch a glimpse of the sitcom version of your life.
Although it's not going to be precisely like my life, or maybe even not much like it at all. But I know it also starts in a bar, on a night when a single woman in her late 30s was looking for a temporary escape from the pressures of her life. Instead she found a whole new life. That’s a good plot, I know that much.
I’m giving away five copies of my memoir, which just came out in paperback. I think it’s funny and sad and wistful and full of love for the beautiful, complicated, mysterious thing that is motherhood. If I had to compare it just one thing, I’d say the seminal motherhood memoir, “Operating Instructions
” by Anne Lamott. That feels kind of boastful, but it’s certainly my hope. I’d love it if you’d read it, and let me know if I came at all close.