Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Rainy/sleet and cold

The weather was lousy yesterday, and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for travelling in awful conditions tomorrow. If it wasn’t job related, I’d postpone, but since it is, I can’t. Minute by minute, with fully charged iPod and a good book will be my sanity-retainers. I’ll try to consider delays as extra time to read or meditate!

Lori, to go back to your comment on yesterday’s post, I think a lot of people like the “idea” of being something rather than actually putting in the work to do it. Yeah, sure, it’s fun to fantasize about being something brilliant and unique and wonderful and skilled and totally different than the life you lead. We all need fantasies, and some of them stay just that, and it’s fine. You can be the first three naturally, but unless you build the last, the skill, you can’t achieve the dreams. Because we’ve been forced into short attention spans/instant gratification/the-minute-you-don’t-feel-wonderful-take-a-pill mentality, too many people aren’t willing to put in the work and give up something, even as simple as a time-waster, in order to achieve what they think they want. And I think a lot of people also don’t have the courage to follow their dreams. It’s much easier to hide behind daily “duties” and blame everyone around one than it is to take a stand and say, “I’m going to do this, and this is how our schedules are going to change so all of us get to participate in what we want.” The pendulum’s swung back to martyr syndrome. I see it in people around me all the time — they’re desperate to feel valued, so they’d rather set up situations where, whether it’s at home or at the office or backstage, things “can’t function” without them. That level of dependence is unhealthy. Instead of doing what they really want and love to do, they do what they believe others want them to do, but expect emotional compensation and value for it. Most of the time, that behavior backfires and spirals downward into resentment and unhappiness for everyone involved. People get sick, emergencies come up, jobs are lost, deaths occur, there are life-changing accidents, all the rest. If people work on a method of independence along with a CHOICE of interdependence, because working together is more fun and more productive than working alone, rather than “this place CAN’T function without me”, I think, in general, both work and home atmospheres would be happier, more productive, and more would get done on all fronts.

It happens a lot backstage — a dresser will set up a track and purposely not put certain cues in the notes or not teach certain elements of a track to a swing, because that dresser doesn’t want any else to be as good or better. That dresser wants the actor to be dependent, and anyone who fills n to fail. That sets up a bad and sometimes dangerous situation backstage. When the dresser is confident in his/her own worth, the dresser wants things to work well in ALL situations, teaches things properly, communicates the details, and helps build the trust between the swing and the actor. That sets up a good atmosphere backstage, and the show runs well no matter who’s in what slot. Everyone brings something unique and different. And when you all work together positively, it benefits everyone. Fresh blood, people filling in for each other, can give an energy boost to the show, without devaluing the people who usually fill various roles. Managers don’t always like that, because they’d rather have people at each other’s throats to maintain a level of control. Good managers know better.

Did a lot of practical, business-oriented work. It never ceases to amaze me that I can spend a day full out on practical/business writing, knock off everything that has to be done, and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing; but if I spend the same time writing fiction, I feel like i’ve gotten somewhere.

My producer needs my next play faster than ever because the currently-contracted playwright up and died before finishing the play, and his was next up on the roster. I’m not kidding. There’s some sick cosmic joke in it all, but that doesn’t change the fact that, in and around teaching the workshops in the coming week, my primary focus needs to be on the plays. It’s tough to be under pressure to be funny, because humor has to come organically (initially) from character and situation, and then get tweaked and massaged with wit (at least, in my experience). Sitting there thinking, “this has to be funny” is counterproductive, so I have to read through my notes and outlines, and the first few scenes I have for BLOOD SOUP and see where it goes without forcing it.

I’ve been asked to speak again to middle schoolers in mid-March — different group — since the ones I spoke to in October are still talking about it. So that’s all good.

I’m figuring out what I need to bring up for my stint in Maine in April — I have a feeling i might carry up some of my pots, pans, and spices!

Started reading a biography of artist NC Wyeth, which is very interesting. I don’t know much about him, although I recognize the work when I see it. My grandmother was a big fan of his work. This book is something I gave her for Christmas in 1998; when she died last year, I received her art-related books. Reading it is a bit like remaining connected to my grandmother.

Seriously considering packing up and working at Greenwich Library today, where it’s quieter. When I get back, I can finish packing the writing bag and chill out a bit. I doubt I’ll watch much Olympics tonight — I need to be up early and out the door.

I’ve been promised good internet in Philly, so at least I’ll be able to blog, teach, and tweet!

My cats are seriously unhappy, although my mom is staying with them while I’m gone, and she’s their favorite human slave.

Back to business, to get everything done that needs to get done before I have to leave. If I can get the practical out of the way properly, maybe I can spend some time on the fiction.


Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 9:28 am  Comments (8)  
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  1. That’s a shame (and a shock, I expect) about the other playwright. It’s extra pressure for you, but you’ll rise to it.

    I often find if I’m trying to be funny it just never comes at all. It’s best for me to just be natural and see what comes naturally.

    Have a great trip.

  2. Good luck with the travelling .. it’s miserable isn’t it everywhere .. sounds like lots is happening for you, which is great .. big hug to the cats!

  3. Excellent observations, Devon. I think people are so used to expecting instant gratification that they’ve forgotten hard work. If they were hiring someone to build their dream home, wouldn’t they hope that contractor would take more than a day to slap together a house? They’d want someone who’s worked hard at her job who’s learned skill and craftsmanship. The same applies to writers. You can’t just say “I’m a writer!” because someone’s letting you put whatever you want on a website for five measly bucks.

    Safe travels to the area. We’re bracing for the unknown here.

    • Yeah, the people I’m covering for just checked with the airlines for their outward bound trip. The airport’s not expecting cancellations, just delays. It sounds like we’re going to get hit harder up here than you are in Philly, so if I can get to the city and on the Megabus, I should be fine.

      • And of course, that all changed over the course of the day, so chaos reigns!

  4. Hope you travel safe!

  5. Sorry to hear about the other play author. I hope you’re able to get everything done that you need. Take care!

  6. Very tired of the cold ugly weather.

    Sounds like you are keeping busy. Hope your work goes well. I hope you enjoy talking to the middle schoolers, they are an interesting group of youngsters.

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