Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blurring fantasy and reality

Okay, first the reality. My mom's cancer is gone. Nothing is more important than that, and I thank God that she will be alright. She still has to undergo seven weeks of radiation, which sucks, but she will be strong and get through this and God willing, she will be healthy for ever and ever.

Now, for the fantasy. I am addicted to American Idol and to Blake Lewis. He is a 25-year-old beat boxer with spiky hair, an affinity for plaid vests and hoodies (love the hoodies), and amazing talent. As Simon Cowell said, he is not the best singer in the competition (and let me just say, Duh, we knew that many weeks ago), but he is the most interesting and fun to watch. I fully expect to see him lose tomorrow night (I called 50 times, I kid you not, but there is only so much one can do, you know? and my hand started to hurt), which makes me sad, b/c the winner, Jordin, has a gorgeous voice but is only 17 and is not that interesting to watch. But I know that, like Chris Daughtry last year (now with only the biggest band in America), Blake will go on to do big things. You don't have to win to win.

I am also (or was) addicted to HEROES, which ended last night, in a blaze of glory, as Peter Petrelli and his ever-loyal (though we weren't always sure) brother, Nathan, flew away into the horizon, light or dark, life or death, we won't know till next year. It was a wonderful example of visual and writing expertise, as the ending was indeed in the beginning (the pilot episode had Nathan flying and Peter learning that he could absorb others' powers). Oh, it's just a show, say you, and that's entirely true. But one loses oneself in such, well, not entertainment, exactly, but experience, and can get out of the every day humdrum, the frustration one feels as being alone, not being thin enough or pretty enough or talented enough. I have to remind myself every day that I can write, I can look pretty (currently overweight, but I am determined to take care of that by learning how to eat properly again), I can enjoy times with friends, and my writing and my job DO NOT DEFINE ME. I listen to a lot of James Morrison when I'm feeling sad ("I'm not lost, not lost, just undiscovered; when we're alone, we're all the same as each other"). I can get past the disappointment of not being chosen for the Boston Theatre Marathon or the Dragonfly or countless other festivals I have not been accepted into or won't be, b/c that is NOT what defines me.

But sometimes I just have to escape into someone else's reality, b/c mine just feels too painful. And then it's the next day and I carry on.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

And the streak has ended

Well, it had to happen sometime, right? I've received three rejections in two days, plus another to come, and a "no" from Emerson College regarding taking a class for free through the ProArts Consortium. The rejections hurt, of course, but the no from Emerson hurts more than anything. I spent an entire month trying to get this playwrighting workshop approved, and then guess what? NO. The instructor of the class said absolutely yes, the director of the writing department said yes, the head of the ProArts Consortium at Berklee said yes, and then Anne Doyle from Emerson said no, and wouldn't even consider my request. No, she wrote tersely, it's a graduate level course and we do not allow grad courses under ProArts (the other colleges do, but apparently Emerson is better than the other ones). And clearly, the fact that I'm an alum (MFA in Creative Writing, '95) and had gotten permission for Dan Tobin and couldn't get into an undergrad class (my initial request) meant *this* much.

I am beside myself. Andrew Clarke comes highly recommended, he wants me in the class, Dan is fine with it (would like another body in there, b/c there is a chance it will not run, due to lack of enrollment--ah, the irony), Ross from Berklee is advocating for it, and Anne says no, no, and no. Delightful. Well, 1) see ya, bye, Emerson, if you ever think I'm giving you one damn penny of mine, and 2) now I have to try to find a playwrighting class elsewhere, and I can't afford to take one (adult ed is not of interest; been there, done that). Anne wrote (twice), Well, take it through continuing ed. Okay, sure, if I had an extra $2500 in my pocket (and she knows I don't). I desperately wanted to start working on my first full-length play in the fall. While it's true that I can do it on my own, I simply won't be able to. I need structure, assignments, feedback, instruction. That's just me. Claudia can do it on her own, which is terrifically admirable, but not me. When I've paid off my debt this summer, due to a pending inheritance (not a huge one, but enough), I can begin putting money into a savings account, intended for writing conferences/workshops/classes. But for now, I'm out of luck. No Albee Conference, no class. Just me and my computer.

Okay, I know I sound bitter, and I'm not. I'm just very sad and I feel as if my amazing streak of luck has come to a screeching halt (probably b/c it has!). The only good piece of news I received today, and thank God for that, is that Will Luera from ImprovBoston is going to direct and cast my play for the SEVEN DEADLY SINS festival in Framingham, MA next month. No one, and I mean NO ONE, had any interest (or time) in directing THE SATCHEL. I thought I might have to pull it from the festival (and I don't want to think about how frustrating that would have been). But Will read the comic script (actually, my only comic 10-minute script) and liked it, and so will cast it from ImprovBoston troupe members (I assume) and take care of this for me and Lida, the festival producer. This should be really cool, since I can't get to the production of it at Lakeshore Players in MN (Claudia will provide me with with feedback, however). I'm also pleased that the Renaissance Guild in San Antonio continues to work with WEDNESDAYS, the play that went up in NYC in March, and Jenelva, the producer of the festival and my play's director, says she and the cast are really having a good time with it. There is no pay for either festival (there is a small royalty, $30, from Lakeshore, which I appreciate but is certainly not necessary, though I won't give it back :-)), and that is just fine with me. I don't write for pay. I write to write and to get my writing out there, produced and seen. I have a day-time job. I do this b/c I want to be creative. That's why. And if others need to get paid, fine, but don't expect that from small festivals, b/c you won't get it. Anyway, that's just my opinion, and I respect other people's points of view, but I don't share them.

So it's lovely out, finally, 60s, sunny, and blooming trees and flowers all over Boston. I am still not sleeping well, never through the night, but I am working with my doctor to remedy the situation. And I have to believe that festivals will continue to take my work, and I'm just in a slump (and thank you, Shirley, for your encouragment, support, and ability to move past it, b/c I'm not that great at any of those things). Yes, it all comes in clumps for most people, and I'm in a negative clump, but maybe a festival in Chicago will say yes (hint: Drekfest), and then I can travel and get back on track again.

Well, that's about it. The illness issue (not mine) in my family is about to be treated, and it's almost the weekend. I can write, hang out with the book club gang at the Trident Restaurant in Boston tomorrow night, and will usher for a really well-received play, MORMON BOY, on Sunday afternoon. These are happy things that will help me erase the pain of this week (and maybe I can even sleep! what a plus that would be!). I hope I have happier news to write about in my next entry.