Monday, May 29, 2006

An update, a towed car, and an acceptance

Yes, indeedy, it's been that kind of week (actually, month). Last Monday, I parked my car in front of my apartment building b/c I have to move it twice a week for garbage pickup (totally ridiculous but whatever). Wednesday, I go to retrieve the car b/c of street cleaning (it was on the wrong side of the street), and thank GOD I went out to move, b/c it wasn't there. Nothing was there. I asked someone passing by if there had been any towing and he said yes, on Monday, so at least I assumed it hadn't been stolen. (My car was once stolen, about a block and a half away, in the apartment building I used to live in, and it was one of the worst incidents I have ever encountered.) Anyway, I went inside, called three numbers before I reached the correct number at the police station, and they verified that indeed, it had been stolen, due to the car alarm going off. "But I don't HAVE a car alarm," I said (I don't--six year old Kias don't NEED car alarms in general), but they insisted that that was the issue, and I had to pick it up from an autobody shop/holding site in Brighton (about four miles away). So I took the subway four stops, walked for about 15 minutes (luckily, it was an nice, sunny day in the 70s and not raining, as it had most of May), and then walked into the police station to pick up the paperwork and retrieve the car. They noted that it could have been the car horn--my club (intended to keep cars from being STOLEN, not TOWED) had slipped and caused it to go off for three hours--and I had no choice but to pay the fee ($135, kids, not to mention the $20 ticket, to add insult to injury). Fortunately, the the sargeant arranged for me to be driven to the autobody shop, as there was no way to get there by subway, and I would have to have taken a taxi otherwise. The car was indeed there, and after I paid the charges (this is when I saw the ticket on the car, and nearly went ballistic), I drove it to a side street in Brookline where my sister used to live and took the subway into work, just a couple of minutes before the graduation clearance meeting that I had to attend. (I mean, I JUST made it.)

The rest of the week was not quite as frustrating, but I had a lot of work to do to help students get ready for Commencement, while attending to the portfolio reviews (only 35 students submitted, meaning we'll get about 100 books in July--sigh). Although I typically enjoy Commencement, I think I was just too burnt out to get into it this year, and there was an issue I won't get into that really dampended the day. That said, I was so very proud of the students, particularly Tom, the Thesis student I had worked with for about four years, and I know what a joyful day it was for him. Another student survived a life-threatening car accident that severed her right, drawing hand and yet came back to win the top award, Best of Thesis, and I was bursting with pride for her, one of the nicest people I've ever met. So aside from my own issues, it was quite a day for the students (73 graduates, I believe, one of the largest classes ever), and that is why I work in Student Affairs and not in a corporate office somewhere. There were other frustrations during the week, including the death and then rebirth of my mp3 player after getting the okay to have it replaced (and it wasn't easy to get that permission), and don't ask me why. Understand that I need music all the time, nearly 24/7. The only time I don't have music on is when I am sleeping (and I fall asleep and wake up to it). I have it on while I get ready for work, on the subway to work, streaming on the web at work, on the way home, and then when I get home from work (unless I am watching the Red Sox or The Daily Show/Colbert Report). So music is the most important thing in the world to me, aside from my family, which is why I was once a professional djay and why the loss of mp3 player feels like a part of me has been removed (dramatic but true). At least it's working again, if temporarily, and I don't want to test my luck. I was at a concert at the Hatch Shell on Saturday with my friend Anna, and hearing James Blunt, Brandi Carlisle, and The Fray on a perfect day (despite the brief passing shower) was a wonderful way to spend part of Memorial Day.

On an even happier note, my director for "Uncharted Territory" has resurfaced, after commitments to two other plays, and it's now full speed ahead. I attended a rehearsal last Monday, which was fascinating (read through with some blocking), and then David and I spent two hours discussing edits to the script, most of which I readily agreed with and incorporated. I find collaboration so exhilarating, which is clearly one of the reasons I am so drawn to theatre. As much as I enjoy attending new works, I prefer writing them. ;-) I can't wait for the festival, which I've begun seeing publicized in local papers and magazine, and am proud and excited that my p.r. work is starting to pay off. And now onto the best news: another acceptance! My monologue "Chair" was accepted by a festival in Billerica, MA (one of 12 pieces that will be read and televised). I can't be there, since I'll be in Florida visiting my family, but my work will be, and will be broadcast to the town in later weeks. I feel proud that this piece, which I am very fond of, will be heard by others at the Community Voices Middlesex and Essex County Summer Writing Festival. I am very sorry I can't be there, b/c I would have loved to have mingled with the other writers, network, read my piece, and just have fun, and alas it's the ONE weekend ALL SUMMER that I will be out of town. Which just figures. But so it goes. My resume gets another piece added to it (that's three this month, an all-time high that may never be replicated) and I get the pleasure of knowing I can share my work with others. (This always happens, btw, when I least expect it. Yesterday, I was telling the "Five" producer, Rich, that I had five pieces to go with the "Five" name, and then I get another acceptance. Five isn't much, I realize, but I suppose it's not bad for a burgeoning playwright.)

So there have been a lot of highs and lows over the past couple of weeks (and finally, the sun and warm weather have arrived, which always puts me in a happier mood, despite the cold my body has decided I need to have RIGHT NOW, for the fourth time over the past six months or so). I hope that June, with the trip to Florida, and the two play festivals I will be part of, is a great month, and that the letdown after Five ends is not too dramatic (so to speak). In any case, you'll hear about it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I guess I spoke too soon...

Or the submission fairy godmother heard me. In any case, I just got a 10-minute play accepted into a festival in Maryland! *jumping up and down* The play is called "Out for the Holidays," about Santa Claus coming out (as Santa, not as gay) to his college-aged daughter. I have no idea why I sent this one (along with two others), but I'm glad I did. :) The website URL is here:

So if you want more info about the festival, go there. I think my play might have appealed to the theatre b/c it has a part for a 50+ male, and the program it's on has parts for several...ahem...mature actors. Anyway, that's just a guess. It is not for me to question, just for me to be excited (they took 9 plays out of nearly 100, so I'm beyond excited). Okay, so maybe I was a BIT premature in thinking that my plays would never be taken by anyone. I guess it just FEELS that way sometimes (most of the time). I suppose I need to believe in myself a bit more and let the plays find their homes. (And of course I need to continue writing.) Remind me of this next time I bemoan my lack of acceptances, realizing that I won't believe you til the next time someone takes one of mine. It's not that I enjoy bitching, really. It's that I feel like a total nobody, a fraud, when I get a rejection, and it takes an acceptance to pump me back up. I know, I know, I should be able to find inner validation about my craft, can't. Not yet. Hopefully someday. But for now, I just want to take in the happiness of another acceptance. And breathe deeply with relief.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sad yet again (thanks alot, rejection)

Well, you think you get over it, but you don't (rejection, that is). I learned of yet another festival I was not accepted into today (I believe 18 people were, several I know from the binge listserv), though I haven't received official word (it was posted on their website today). DAMMIT. This is just getting ridiculous. The acceptances are so few and far between, and I KNOW my work is as good as others, at least some of it is (I've been festivals, I see what's being written and produced), so WHAT THE HELL?! It just hurst so bloody much. And I'm feeling really stifled creatively at the moment. I tried to write a short play about a yoga incident on Sunday, and it came out incredibly bitter. I am trying to make it comic, but it's just that easy. I REALLY need to take a break and just focus on writing again, but I need to feel inspired and I need the time (and I won't have it for at least a couple of weeks). I am also running around to so many plays and festivals, and I guess I need a breather. I left "Love's Labour's Lost" at the Huntington Theatre tonight at intermission b/c I was too damned tired to enjoy it (Commencement is coming up at my college this Saturday, followed by portfolio reviews next week, so it's ridiculously busy again). I really, REALLY need a vacation. Thank GOD I have one coming up in a few weeks, and I'll get six days in Florida to spend with my sister, niece and nephew. I hope to be able to hang out, sleep, read, and recharge.

I am beyond burnt out (even though the sun FINALLY came out today, after 10 days of clouds, drizzle, and finally torrential rains), and I thought that would make me happy, but it really didn't. I am doing very well on my diet (hint: write EVERYTHING down that you eat, and then you feel too guilty to cheat, as I have for the past week), not overspending, working out, and yet feel terribly frustrated by the creative life. I wish I could get over this, but I just can't. I want to be successful, even though it really doesn't matter. And so it bloody hurts, and it hurts a lot, and it hurts too often, and I say I won't submit, and then I do, and then others get into festivals and I don't, and the cycle begins anew. I hope the vacation helps me gain perspective again.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Drip, drip, drip...

By which I mean the weather, not me. :) It's been raining non-stop, I kid you not, since Monday, and the weather has only increased in intensity over the past two days. I had to drive 45 minutes to replace a tail light someone cracked, only to discover I had ordered the WRONG light (sigh), and it was in insidiously heavy rain, with only no gas in the car (not THAT the lack of gas was the weather's fault). I have to return on Wednesday to have the correct light replaced, and fortunately the perpetrator was honest enough to leave a note letting me know she had hit my bumper (she parks in the same driveway as I do), so she will pay the $180 (phew). Also on the good news money front, I finally paid off my overdraft protection loan (HAPPY DANCING). It had gotten up as high as $4600, and now has a ZERO balance. This is a VERY big deal for me, because I've now paid off two items--my car (November) and this--so I'm on my way toward ridding myself of debt, one step at a time. I continue to work, pro bono, with Jon, my financial planner (of sorts), the NICEST guy in the world, and that keeps me on track. I am certain I would be spending out of control, as I used to do, without his assitance, but because I have my bills all paid online or through direct deposit (except rent and renter's insurance), I can keep a watchful eye on my spending. Jon keeps me honest, and since I need to be accountable, I am far more careful than I used to be.

On a similar topic, I have been eat bingeing ridiculously over the past few months, and it HAS to stop. While I am not fat, my clothes are becoming quite tight, and I've had it. I fear I will have nothing to wear this summer, and I'm visiting my sister in Florida in less than a month. I also feel totally out of control. So my therapist came up with the idea that I write down EVERY SINGLE THING that I eat in a small notebook--this started Thursday--and already it has helped. If I were to, say, pop a munchkin (tempting today at the car dealer), I would have to write it down, and no friggin' way am I doing that. So I'm being attentive, and it's already helping. No snacking (with the exception of microwave popcorn) allowed, and I MEAN it. I don't know if I can keep this up forever--maybe I will have to--but I will for the immediate future, and this, in conjunction with my working out (still five days a week, with two days off), should pay off fairly quickly, considering HOW MUCH I've been eating lately. I'm only 5'1" (kind of ;-)), and I just can't eat as much as taller people (which is to say nearly everyone), so I have to accept it. I love, love to eat, and it is always such a relief in stessful times, but I just can't do it anymore, b/c I have to report it, and I don't want to, frankly. While I would love to just cut out eating pretty much altogether--I've done that in the past, and it worked, but only for a while, and of course I was more obsessive than ever while doing so, because I was HUNGRY all the time--I can't do it (God, I wish I could), so I have to do it the old-fashioned way: in moderation (I'm not so great with moderation, but I'm trying to). Anyway, I'll keep you, er, posted.

In other news, I have not received any acceptances since last I wrote, though I was rejected from a local theatre company's festival in Somerville. This irks me no end because they didn't have the courtesy to let me know, particularly when they do know me through Debbie, who directed a play for them last year (not that they bothered writing to her, either), nor did they answer my inquiry. I think it's inconsiderate at best, and I have no intention of auditioning for their festival, which I did last year, or seeing their show. Should I bad mouth them? Definitely not, at least not publicly, and that's why I'm not mentioning their name here But it's just inconsiderate and perhaps irresponsible of them to ignore me and others, and I don't intend to give them a dollar of my hard-earned money or a minute of time, since they didn't do the same for me. I am very excited about the "Five" festival, OTOH. I have done quite a bit of publicity for it, and even got through to the editor at Bay Windows in the South End, who said he would help out and pass it along to the editor at the South End News (the Devanaughn, the performance space, is in the South End). Very exciting! Since I've never had a play performed (just staged, which is cool, but different), I cannot wait, and I want EVERYONE to come! And I get to go to the TCAN Festival that same weekend, and there is a playwright talk back the first night of the festival--how cool is that? :) So this makes me feel better about the theatres/festivals who have said no or will (I assume) in the next month. Of course, it's possible that I will receive an acceptance or two, but I'm not holding my breath.

I did pretty much finish "Control," my hair play, and brought it to my Write-On playwrighting group this past Monday, and they liked it quite a bit, which made me feel quite happy. While I think the target audience is pretty limited, you never know, so I will hold onto it and see if any place might find it of interest. I haven't done any original writing lately--too busy and too unfocused (lots of ushering and the like)--but after Commencement next weekend, I hope to have some time free, and I am going to have an entire week in July to devote to working on my new one-act (or even...gasp...full-length play!). It's been quite eye opening reading full-length plays for a local festival. Most of them, I'm sorry to say, have sucked, far weaker than most 10-minute plays I've read or seen. I realize how hard it is to write a full-length play--I mean, I haven't yet!--but really, people, is it that difficult to realize if your work is that weak? Haven't you shown it to anyone and received feedback? Some of the plays have been mediocre, but a few were just pathetic, and I cannot for the life of me fathom how someone might think it was paying the $15 fee to submit it. Perhaps s/he thought s/he would get lucky. Sorry, ain't gonna happen, at least not on my watch. But it will be interesting to see what gets chosen to be staged. I'm on my last two plays and then I'm getting back to reading and watching DVDs (I still have two in my apartment that I rented at least two weeks ago; good thing I don't have to pay overdue fees!).

And that's about it for now. The acceptance still kick ass, the rejections hurt like hell, particularly when they are for local theatres, and I can't quite figure out why some plays get chosen and others (like mine and Debbie's, in some cases) do not. It's so damned subjective, but that's how it is. In the meantime, I just wish it would stop RAINING. I have to go out again (and take the subway this time) to see "Caroline, or Change," and normally I would be really excited about it, but not in this horrid weather. BTW, for more info on the Five Festival, go to Yippie! :)