Monday, July 30, 2007

End of July check-in

Well, I'm going to try to check in once a week. We'll see how well I do...anyway, things are going well at work. Registration has not begun yet (which means I can still breathe), so I got to take today off (worked out, finished watching "The Mormons"--a fascinating documentary that Frontline produced, read some more of Augusten Burrough's POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS, another bizarre set of essays from this bizarre but brilliant writer, and am waiting for the heavy rains to arrive). It's been really humid in Boston, but unfortunately the air conditioner is in the living room, not in the bedroom, so sleeping is uncomfortable at best (the fan doesn't help much). I promised not to complain, however, b/c this past winter was so horrible (I thought so, anyway), so I'll deal with the heat and appreciate the less humid, sunny days which are due to arrive later this week. My dad and I are going to the Red Sox game this Thursday, and the weather is supposed to great (sunny, 80s), plus Tim Wakefield is pitching (I'm a big Wake fan), so it should be a fun day. We'll see how things play out at work, with the redesignation of several employees; I'm hopeful. The new TV is wonderful, I'm not bingeing, and yet, and yet...I feel this sense of sadness. I guess it's something I'll always have to contend with. The ups and downs are just the way I am.

Last night was just strange; I felt oddly anxious last night (a scratched DVD, or two, should NOT have worried me so much, though I did worry that I might have to buy a new DVD player, and I am trying to save money that I do not want to spend money on electronics). I kept spilling drinks, was sure there was a mouse or something in the kitchen--this is actualy possible--and couldn't focus. Okay, this all sounds like petty whining, and I don't mean it to. I am just trying to get a grip on my need to spend, eat,and exercise excessively (my knees are aching, so walking is OUT, at least for a while), and I am not writing. At all. Not one bit. And I don't want to. I just don't. Or I do but I'm not. And I'm beating myself up about it, which isn't helping. The more I feel upset about not writing, the more likely I am not to write, and so on. It's a vicious cycle. I think I just need to chill out and write again when I'm ready to. I don't like that I feel as if writing defines me, as if my not writing makes me less significant a person. I wrote a poem (not a good one, I have to admit ) called FRAUD a few years ago, about how insignificant I felt and how I was just faking my way through improv (I wasn't good at it, but I tried) and life (which is just too difficult to get into; too much baggage). Well, I don't think I'm a hack playwright, but it's tough, and sometimes it's tougher, and what's the point of forcing it? You do it b/c you need the money (and not many can sustain themselves that way, at least not through playwrighting) or b/c it feels fulfilling and you enjoy the process (and maybe the end result as well, the satisfaction you receive when you complete a piece). Well, that's not the case right now. It's just anxiety provoking.

So I won't write, not now. I can come back to it. Of course, I feel as if I *won't*, which is why I desperately want to enroll in a playwrighting course with structured assignments, b/c that way at least I'll have incentive to write (and assignments, of course). What if I *don't* write again for weeks, or months, or more? Does that make me a lesser person? A less interesting, less creative one? The answer is no, but it feels as if it's yes. So I struggle with my insecurities about myself and try to analyze why I'm not writing, and the end result is that I still am not writing and I'm also upset about it, compounding the problem. I must look at this like a break, not an end. I keep trying to. I hope by the time I get there, I'm ready to write again. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Catching up on a beautiful Sunday in July

And I'll be happy to read that title in a few months (hopefully more than that) when the weather is cold and my knees ache and I desperately wait for spring/summer/fall (though we don't get much spring here). Anyway, it's been a somewhat eventful month (I'd say I'd write more often, but I don't want to fool anyone reading this). To begin, my mom only has 10 more radiation treatments, thank God, and while they have been very tough on her and on my dad, the end is in sight. I PRAY I never get cancer, or anyone else in my family gets it, or anyone I know. It is such a frightening thing, and even if you catch it early enough, it still is life changing. But my mom should recover fine in a few weeks, though you never quite get over this. I have some good news on my front, though. A year ago, I was looking desperately for an apartment (or had just found one, I guess), was packing to move (it killed my back), was still in pretty serious debt, and was stressed out at work. Now I'm completely settled into my nice, sunny apartment, paid off my debt (though I am pretty far from being remotely wealth, never mind fiscally comfortable), and just got the news Friday that I'm being promoted at work (with an 11 percent raise). It was somewhat unexpected, as my supervisor, whom I like a lot, was promoted to Director of Admissions. I've always had a really funky title and job, and now my title is Director of Student Placement (I *think*, though of course there IS no Department of Student Placement). No matter; I continue to be mostly autonomous, like my supervisor, and don't have to supervise anyone except one nice administrative assistance, and only part-time. So I got lucky, and my 12 1/2 years have paid off. I was a little concerned about my security at work; now I'm not, and I could stay there for many more years, as far as I know. That feels good.

My debt is all paid off now (not easy to achieve this, but it is all gone) and particularly with the raise, I can really start saving (for those of you who know me, PLEASE remind me of this whenever I start to stray afar ;-)). I also soaked my cell phone in soapy Woolite water last week after I hand washed my yoga clothing, and it died. I was told it would cost $240 (!) to replace, but I renewed my cell phone plan, and got the phone (nearly the one I have now) for $18. No complaints there. I think my bank trouble have been resolved (at least I hope so; I've tried), and I love my 32 inch flat screen LCD TV. I hate sounding materialistic--I'm really not (see my Kia car for evidence)--but this is wonderful. It's just the right size, and the picture is so clear and sharp. I love watching Red Sox games and NetFlix movies on it. I've waited a long time for a nice TV, and after several difficulties with the cable company, all seems to have been resolved. So that's a nice feeling, too.

As for writing, well, that continues to be problemmatic, to say the least. I did write a three page, somewhat (I hope) amusing play for Asphalt Shorts in Canada, and if I get in (who knows?), I might go (it's in Kitchener, hopefully not too far from Toronto, and since a good friend lives in Buffalo, we might be able to get there). I also wrote a one page play that really isn't good for anything, but I wanted to write. But I haven't written one other thing in over a month, probably two months. Why? Lack of focus, imagination, motivation, I guess. I could pin it on the nice weather--I'd rather be outside, reading, or walking, or just relaxing--but since I have a nice seat by five bay windows, I can't use that as an excuse. Granted, it's hard to get rejected from a number of festival this month (including one I *really* wanted in Australia, for which Debbie and I were short listed) and still feel encouraged, but I did just get WEDNESDAYS into a festival in Lowell, MA (nearby, so my parents and I can go in September), so I cannot say I have been rejected by everyone, as that is simply not true. I know one way to break this--sit down and just WRITE, even for a half hour, even just drek--but I haven't been able to, so this is about as long a period as I've gone in quite some time.

I know I'll get back to writing when I'm ready to--it has happened in the past, and I've rebounded--but I do feel a bit guilty about it, particularly having one play I could revise and another idea in mind. It just feels overwhelming right now, and I'm not sure exactly why. I guess I need to be patient with myself, and when the time is right, I'll sit down and write a lot again. I hope it's soon, with Course Registration for students coming up in a few weeks. Otherwise, I'll have to wait until the fall,when things settle down. It's my choice, ultimately, so I write or I don't, and that's how it goes. I still see a fair amount of theatre--I am ushering for a show today, and another next week--and I always hope that will inspire me, though I spend an awful lot of time watching the Red Sox, and that could be time writing (I guess; a lot of the games are on after work, though, and I am typically too tired to write then, anyway). I keep wanting to just sit down and write, just work though the block or hesitation, but then I get anxious or uninspired--it almost feels painful--and I walk away. So I can't really explain this, but there you go. I'm waiting for the satisaction and fulfillment writing gives me (when I'm in the middle of a piece, usually, not beginning it) to return. I had truly hoped the class at Emerson would materialize, and I'll ask one more time in early August, but I just don't don't see work picking up most of the cost anymore, so I guess I wont' take it; $1800 is just too much for me, as I need to save the money. But last fall I was quite prolific, writing three plays in about three months (and two of them worked out well, though the third didn't), and that could happen again, with patience. A laptop would be so beneficial--sitting at Walden Pond or at the Esplanade lends itself to creativity--but that isn't goingn to happen, so I have to find other means. When they come, then they do, and I hope this time next month I can say they have.