A Memoir by Kristen Roupenian
My journey back to my true self began with an odd choice: an awkward screenplay for a telemovie called “Me and Ellen.” (This is what I got for going to Kanye’s fashion show—and, OK, writing about it for a blockbuster publication like The New Yorker.) Still, since I’d come all the way from New Hampshire to Los Angeles to work on the script, I guess I should do it. After all, I wasn’t some subpar journalist. So that’s what I did.
When Kristen started to write her script about a troubled teenager named Max, she struggled with its linearity. The characters wanted to constantly move and dialogue flowed. The only problem? “Me” was in the middle of it all. I loved “Me” as a kid, but now it only appeared in synopses and in clips and around other people’s head shots. As if to compensate, I put more points of view in the script—people who’d grown up with me, mostly. They talked about my friends and about the way I was different and who I was different from. And some of them asked me tough questions. What made me different? Why did I leave home?
And those questions, I realized, are what she wants to talk about too—the idea that young people like me are fated to have messed-up lives. She wants me to have a more meaningful one. And so, for the first time, I stopped recording video of myself talking and stopped actually thinking about the things I’d been talking about.