Sorry I haven't written for a while; I've been around, but I just haven't had much to write about, related to the arts. That's still the case, but I'll plug as deeply as I can to find something of interest. :) Actually, there are things going on in my life, but I'd prefer not to post them here. I don't think most are of general interest and some are personal, and I'd rather keep on track. Anyway, I'm working 11:30-7:30pm today, to cover a co-worker's day off, so I thought I would check in. I won't comment on 7/7 in Britain, except to echo those who agree that it was tragic, that the United States and cohorts need to get out of Iraq as quickly as possible (and I still don't feel we ever should have gone in; WMDs and Sadaam Hussein indeed), and it is a tribute to the Londoners that they have gone on with their lives in a brave fashion. We live in a truly scary world, which the 24-hour news stations only contribute to, I'm afraid, by reminding us every moment of this fact. I prefer to watch Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, read The Boston Globe, and get on with things.
Not too much to report, as I noted. I read my play "Peanut Butter Sandwiches" at the Write On writers group meeting on Monday night. It was excrutiatingly hot, as it had been in June, and of course that's the only hot day we expect to get this week! The meeting takes place on the 4th floor of an old building in the Back Bay, with no a/c or fan (and the windows opened did little to alleviate the heat and stuffiness), so it made it hard to concentrate, as beads of sweat pealed down my back. Nonetheless, the 10 hardy souls :) in the room managed to prevail. (I am being facetious, of course; it was hot, but so what? It could have been snowing out, and no one HAD to stay.) Anyway, PB Sandwiches went up and didn't get a particularly good response, as I had feared. It sounded pretty awkward when read, and I'm not sure what to do about it. One writer noted that it was "too literal," meaning that it came solely from the daughter's point of view and gave the actors little to work with, and I think she's right. I guess I wrote it without a clear enough objective, so it doesn't really GO anywhere, and I need to think about the mother's motivation as well as the daughter's (who's been taunted by friends and feels alone in the world). I'm not sure how much work I'm going to do on this piece, but I will return to it at some point (people seem to feel it was worth reviewing).
Some pieces just don't flow, and this is the first one I worked on in my writing class at the Boston Center for Adult Ed, so it was a bit of a warm up, I guess. I've had poems and short stories that never seemed to flow, and then ones that have; I'd put this in the latter category. It's fine; live and learn, and it's always good experience. My play "Accept This!" was much easier to write (and felt more cohesive), whereas this one still feels ambiguous. I will ask D. to look at it again (she offered to), but it might need to be shelved for a while or indefinitely. The rest of the meeting went well, and we definitely had a good conversation about all the pieces, so I didn't feel badly, just a bit confused about where to go from here. It is so helpful to hear the work of others, and I really enjoy talking about writing, as I always have.
In the meantime, I have still not heard from any theatrical festivals and don't feel especially hopeful, except in the case of AYTB, a local company that had expressed interest and is looking for up and coming writers. Their deadline for the Fall Festival of New Works is this Friday, so I should hear by the beginning of August if they've chosen anything. I know how devastated I will feel if they don't choose anything, so I can only hope that's not the case. D. is continuously reminding me that I shouldn't take it personally--there are so many writers and so few slots--and I try to internalize this but, as with acting, it's so hard for me to. It's not that I put so much effort into my writing, although I do, but more that it's such an important creative outlet for me. I realize that I need to find OTHER outlets as well, so that each rejection becomes far less important, and I will try to do so for the Fall, though I'm not really sure where to look. I had a great experience recently, when D. and I went to a local film producer's house to evaluate films for the upcoming Northampton Film Festival (he also produces the Woods Hole and Underground Film Festivals). I had such a nice night. David the producer is in his 60s, D. and I are in our 40s, and I suspect everyone else there were in their 20s, but it didn't matter. We all bonded quite quickly (some people knew each other, some didn't), enjoyed the films or didn't (and laughed hysterically over a "found" film from the 60s that was deliciously bad), and just had fun. I felt as if I had eaten a really fulfilling meal when I left; that is, I felt full and satisfied and curiously energized, and realized that I had to do this more.
I also had fun seeing three films at the French Film Festival at the MFA this past weekend. D. is a volunteer for the MFA, so she worked the door and I got two free tickets and a discounted ticket. Two of the films were just okay, but "Changing Times" with Catherine Deneauvre (sp?) and Gerard Depardieu was amazing, and it was satisfying to see such a fine film and before widespread distribution. D. is working a few more afternoons, so I will go on July 24th to see three films, if not this Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to it. D's play begins its run, along with its six cohorts, this Thursday at Theatre@First, and A. and I are going to see it this Saturday night (and do tickets, so we get free admission, a nice bonus in a time when I am sincerely broke). D. said all the shows are professional, and I really hope hers goes well. I am still pretty upset about the fact that I didn't get cast, since I had a strong audition, but I realize that there were far too many strong women and far too few female roles, so I really didn't and don't take it personally (I'm just disappointed, though the time commitment would have been huge, so maybe it's just as well).
D. thinks I should audition for "Merry Wives of Windsor," their Fall production, but I would prefer to try for contemporary roles, and since they tend to choose from within their board and regulars (like most companies), I think my chances of getting a decent role are limited, so why bother? It's time to be realistic about my chances. Instead, I will audition for both Another Country's SlamBoston offerings and AYTB's Fall Festival and leave it at that. I did get praise this past Monday at Write On's meeting for the two roles I read (one was from a 25-minute one-act, and I did a strong cold reading), and I wondered why, if I could do so well there, I couldn't do quite as well at other auditions (or p'raps I did, but the competition was just too strong). In any case, it's better NOT to focus on auditioning unless the chances are decent, b/c, as I've discussed so many times, the rejection is killer. When I think about how many roles I haven't obtained in the last several months and how many I could have (thus adding to my very scant theatrical resume), I feel pretty upset, so it's best to look forward and to also be realistic. It is certainly helping that I've ended my involvement with ImprovBoston, since the fit just wasn't good (and hence am not auditioning for their Fall production, "GoreFest III," though my friend T. is, and I really hope she gets cast, particularly b/c she didn't even get a callback from their June auditions for new cast members, to my complete surprise). I also have completed ended my involvement with YESAnd, b/c it was too hard to read about other's successes, particularly in the area of improv. Best to stay focused and within myself and see what transpires, I reckon.
On the positive front, I am reading a lot more, since I have time to, and really like Nick Hornby's new book, "A Long Way Down." Since I'm not a novelist, there is no sense of competition. ;-) I would love to find a playwriting class for the Fall, if I can fit it in amongst advising and teaching the Year One seminar and my late work night on Monday nights (which I suppose is negotiable, if need be) and can find one that is affordable (that is the toughest part). We'll see. In the meantime, I have to really work at NOT spending money (when I say I'm broke, I mean it), finding a new therapist, working out without hurting myself (my left arm has some sort of strain, which concerns me, though my knees are better, knock on wood), finding some new idea to work on in the playwriting area, not binge eating (I'm actually doing okay in this area; not terrifically but better than in the Spring), and really enjoying the Summer, since it's so short in Boston. And now I'm off to work, where I'm thrilled to report that a new Registrar was hired, and an internal candidate whom I really like, so that's one less thing to worry about, always a good thing. I guess Registration will be manageable. I also get to see my two sisters and four nieces and nephew in two weeks, and am extremely excited about that. I also booked a flight to Florida for early October, and my sister is helping me pay for the ticket; there are good things ahead. Let's hope the arts is included in the equation!