Mon. April 16, 2018: Letting Go #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, April 16, 2018
Waxing Moon
Mercury DIRECT (as of yesterday, thank goodness)
Jupiter Retrograde
Patriots’ Day

Today is that weird day known as Patriots’ Day here in MA, about the official start of the American Revolution. However, I’m not taking the holiday this year; I’m on site with a client.

The Upbeat Authors theme today is “letting go.” The timing is interesting, because I’m in the process of doing that on many levels.

One of the hardest things I had to let go was my career working backstage on Broadway, when I moved from New York to Cape Cod. I was aging out of the work, slowing down, and didn’t have the physically or the mental stamina to keep doing what I did best. I knew I wanted to leave while I still loved it, not wait until I was in pain all the time and bitter. I also knew if I was going to make the commitment to my writing, it needed to be full-time. There’s a saying “the theatre is a jealous mistress.” That is not a myth. It is a reality. I had to choose between working backstage on Broadway and writing while exhausted, or writing (and yet, I’m still often exhausted).

I chose writing.

I let go of tech work backstage on Broadway.

Letting go of that career, writing full time, and moving to a completely different region was a lot. The stress and frustration increased when I arrived here and the expectation was that I would continue to work in technical theatre around here — for free. “For fun.”

And the attitude of “oh, we don’t pay for writers,” yet the constant stream of demands from local strangers that I should write for them without pay and be grateful for the opportunity.

And, how, exactly, am I supposed to earn a living? Oh, yeah, at a minimum wage or less job that has nothing to do with my career, because my career was never a “real job” in the first place., according to the locals.

Uh, no.

I had to let go of the fantasy that I moved to a place full of vibrant, working artists. That was the hardest, more wrenching, and most disappointing part of the move. There are plenty of vibrant, working, WONDERFUL artists here — but they’re not getting paid what they’re worth. Too few of them make their living at it, because the community does not support them as working artists. The community — and the artists — consider the art something to do ” on the side” which has never been my take on being a working artist.

I do not work in the local theatres for free, and the handful of local writing clients I have pay me. The rest of my clients are based at a distance, and we work remotely, or with infrequent in-person meetings (I do not work by phone).

I’ve “let go” of the idea that I’ll convince these entrenched individuals with their mis-spelled materials (which means they’ve lost my business) to pay writers. I’m not even talking about paying me, just, for the love all that is Oxford comma, pay SOMEONE fairly to come up with decent materials.

I get my work elsewhere.

I don’t argue with them. I say “no” and move on. When they try to argue, I add, “This is my business, not my hobby. You get paid to work. So do I.” That’s that.

I’m in the process of “letting go” of a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. When I moved up from New York, it took two moving trucks to get it all here. I still have a basement full of stuff that I haven’t gone through. I’m in the process of doing it. I’m “letting go” of what no longer works for my life.

I do NOT believe in the “if you haven’t used/worn it for a year, throw it out” or “for everything you bring into the house, throw something out.” During lean times, digging into stuff I’ve kept has sustained me through them, and given me the security to work out of them. As I’m letting go of stuff now, I trust my gut to its meaning, and whether or not I see it in the future I’m building. To me, the above “rules” are a way to get people to throw things out so they buy more things.

I’m even giving away books. I still have 250 boxes of books in my basement. I’m giving way mostly fiction, books I either don’t remember or know I won’t re-read. I’ve built my non-fiction library over the years, and I’m keeping that. With the way libraries weed out books nowadays, I often can’t find the books I need for research. So, when I buy them, I keep them. I end up using them for multiple projects.

“Letting go” of what no longer serves your life allows you time and space on both physical and emotional levels. I like to use the past to build the future, not just eradicate it to start fresh.

You have to do what works best for YOUR life. The best we can do is listen, offer our personal stories, and try to help each other navigate these choices.


Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 6:48 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 16, 2018: Letting Go #UpbeatAuthors  
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Violet under the undecorated tree

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

You go even a few miles in any direction and there’s snow on the ground. Here — nothing. I feel cheated! 😉

Brandy, as usual, I think your insight is spot-on. What’s also interesting is that this elderly gossip and her frenemy elderly gossip, who are so vile to most of the people who live there (smile to one’s face, stab one in the back; Look, if you don’t like me, I’d rather you let me know to my face. I don’t like you — meaning the gossips, not the readers — but I’m cordial without being hypocritical, and when The Evil Developers tried to drive us all out, I stood in front of your apartment and faced down thugs with baseball bats), go to Mass every morning. And people wonder why religious hypocrisy disgusts me.

Anyway, I had to change the outgoing message on my phone so it clearly stated that, if the caller was trying to contact the Elderly Gossip, they had to do so directly; I was not around to run messages. And I kept my phone off.

The calls tapered off by evening, so I’ve changed the message back. Because I really like my outgoing message!

Went to my friend’s, caught up on laundry, wrote all the overseas cards, and got a start on the domestic ones. I hate to say it, but I don’t think I have enough cards! I still have between 50-70 cards to write — and I cut my list WAAY down this year.

Those of you who know me know that holiday cards are a big deal for me. When someone says they “don’t have time” to write a card, what they’re really saying is that I’m not WORTH the time. And if I’m not worth that person’s time, I have to re-think if they are worth mine. I have a list of people and the ONLY time we are in contact is during this time of year. And that’s fine. We sort of pick up the conversation and catch up, and it’s all good. We are in touch, and, with many of them, although our lives have taken us in different direction, if the s— hit the fan, we’d be there for each other. And then there are people who move in and out of your life — you stay on contact for awhile, you drift away, if you find each other again, great, and if you don’t, you hope the other is living a happy life. That’s fine, too. That’s the way it is. But then there are those who you have a lot of interaction with (and usually do a lot for) during the course of the year, and they can’t be bothered to do something as simple as sending a card.

So this year, as I made my list, I sat there and evaluated the year with the person in question. Was it give-and-take, or one-sided? Do I have something to say to this person? Is this person really someone I want to keep in my life? Of whom do I need to let go?

Clearing out the deadwood, I guess. It’s necessary. You have to clear out the past to make room for the future. And why sit down and say to someone “you matter” when that person has made it clear over a period of years that I don’t? Time to let go. It’s okay. If we come in contact again, in the future, great. If not, may they all have long and happy lives.

The hardest to let go of was my best friend from childhood. She lived across the street, part of a big family. Her parents still live across the street, and I run into them occasionally. We were best friends from sixth grade all through college and beyond for a lot of years. Well, looking back, it was sort of off and on during high school — the times she got in with the popular crowd, she couldn’t be bothered with me. But I was going to college part time in high school, and determined to build a life in the arts without having to work in the corporate realm, so a lot of the time, I didn’t notice until after the fact. She got married right out of school, and she’s had a tough time, but she’s got two great kids. Even while I lived all over the country, working in theatre, we kept in touch. But, once I landed work on Broadway — not so much. I’m someone who believes in MAKING things happen. She prefers to LET things happen, not go after her dreams, and then wonders why she doesn’t get what she wants. My god-sister in London (with whom I’m still really close) was in school with us for three years, and said to me once, a few years ago, “I never understood why you were friends with her. She was never a very good friend to you.” Looking back, she was right — but then, my god-sister is almost ALWAYS right. But it didn’t feel that way at the time.

Anyway, I worked hard over the years to keep in touch, be as supportive as possible when she was going through difficult times. And, a few months ago, when I ran into her mom in the street, I realized I just had to let it go. If she wanted to maintain the friendship, she’d be putting in at least a little effort. How much clearer can she be? I’m sad, but it’s okay. I’m just tapped out. I hope she finds the happiness she’s always sought, but not pursued.

I think the theme for the end of this year is “letting go.” A few months ago, I’d sent an apology to someone to whom I believe I was thoughtless several years ago. I’d given unwanted advice, and, as well-meant as it was, it was inappropriate, especially in the way it was delivered. I could have found a way to say what I had to say more palatably. He lashed back, and the friendship was severed. As I was cleaning stuff out of storage a few months ago, I found some stuff from when we’d been friends. I tracked him down on the internet, wrote up a letter of apology, and sent it off. I never heard back. I’d like to think I was forgiven, but there was simply no place for me in his current life, but perhaps I wasn’t. That’s out of my control. I tried to right a wrong I committed, take responsibility for it, and it’s his prerogative not to accept the apology.

Recently, I was in discussions to work on a project with a group of people, tailored specifically to them. At first, things, seemed to be going well. Then, one of the participants starting behaving oddly. I finally put my foot down and demanded to know what’s going on. Turns out he’s either the nephew or second cousin or some such of the person mentioned above; that person is furious that I sent an “attempt” at an apology, and, on his behalf, this person is also angry at me. The most galling thing to all of them is that what I warned might happen if the original person made certain choices — happened as I predicted. In other words, I gave unasked for advice (which was inappropriate), the person was angry and chose to continue on the same path as previously, and my warnings about what would happen if he chose to continue on that path came true, so somehow everything bad that happened to him as a result of his choices is my fault. I’m not sure I follow the logic, it’s not like I’m happy to be right in this instance, but I don’t live in their skin, and they feel and believe what they feel and believe. I’ve withdrawn from the project, which I think is best for all of us.

You’d think Pluto and Neptune were still in retrograde with all this going on! I feel like The Ghost of Christmas Past has taken up residence here!

None of it is easy, but it’s all clearing out, making room, and necessary.

Speaking of which, I need to get back to putting up decorations and clearing out the boxes that hold the ornaments so we’re not climbing over them all season once they’re empty. I have a list of errands today longer than I am tall, so I better get to it.

Sorry it’s not a writing post today, but I’m sure all of the above will find its way into the work. It always does.


Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 8:35 am  Comments (7)  
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