When I graduated college just over two years ago, I found myself having a period of couch surfing/unemployment/spontaneous crying when I moved back to NY. I knew if I wrote, the rest of my life would work out. Because when I'm consistently working, the rest of my life either works OR I get a perspective chiropractic where I just don't care about the stuff I was worrying about and things realign and I realize I'm fine and that panic I'm experiencing about a paint color/unemployment/the weird bump of scar tissue where I cut myself with a knife a while back and didn't properly treat it (you guys, I might be dying) isn't about a real thing. And actually I just need to do the thing I love. Because things seem to get magnified when I'm not working.
But the problem for post grad me was that I had all these ideas and all this ambition and all of these days where I almost wrote.
I respect those who write everyday and finish out of discipline. I am a girl who needs to write for completion and, more importantly, a deadline where I am accountable to people not myself.
Thus, I created the september challenge.
I write a ten minute play a week.
The first year, I emailed a group of actors saying I was going to do this and cook them pancakes on x day in x person's apartment and would they read them please.
It was awesome.
So I did it again last year and opened it up to the public. My friend, playwright Matthew Klein, joined me. We had 80 attendees, read all 8 plays, ate frittatas and featured the work of 22 artists.
AND WE'RE DOING IT AGAIN THIS YEAR
We had our first meeting today. We talked dates for the brunch and deadlines and menus and venues and there was grilled cheese on gluten free bread with pesto involved while we talked. Pesto, you guys.
It's easy to get caught up in what I'm supposed to be doing/applying for/who I should know/where I should be/what that person I went to college with is doing etc. Sometimes you need to do stuff for the sheer fun of it, hang out with your friends, eat an egg based dish and read some plays you write because you deeply love writing plays. More than anything.
More than Mark Ruffalo and sunsets and sweet potato fries.
This is the poster from last year.
Expect a lot more blogged thoughts/feelings and announcements about this, kids.
I covet thee.
One day you will be mine, Abraham Lincoln Pendant I couldn't bring myself to spend $36 dollars on. Someday you. will. be. mine.
Tonight, I sat in a living room in North Carolina and listened to some local friends here read my play about some kids on a porch in Durham, North Carolina.
Featured in the photo to this blurb's left: actors and people listening.
It's amazing what substantial time away from a play can change how I hear it.
Six months ago, my mentor went to a reading and told me it was missing 20 pages, plus more sex and violence. I said "PSHAH" (which is a thing I never say, you guys) and also "Uhh there's a lot of sex and violence."
But tonight I was like "Oooh. Yeah. It's, for sure, missing 20 pages. And some sex."
Jury's out on the violence, Thurber.
But, as usual, you're probably right.
Mr. T read stage directions. Not my friend Jon Haas, featured here.
Mr. T did.
Today I drank coffee and skyped with Emily Dendinger, my playwriting homie and soulmate.
We wanted to do a lunch date but our digestive tracks and schedules didn't align with actual lunch. She drank her coffee. Out of a mug with a giant E on it.
A piece of advice, kids: find friends who do what you do and love what you do. Then talk about it with them.
Like begets like.
Conversations with Emily Dendinger make you sometimes jazzed about the work you're doing. Especially when you're on a mental health trip and have done more napping than working.
The idea that writing is a solitary venture is not my experience. I need other writers. Aaaaand I need everyone else in the process. I write plays, in part because I thrive on community. And Emily Dendinger is community, folks.
Read her stuff. It's fuuuuuunny.
Note: I googled Emily and found this picture. SHIT IS UNAUTHORIZED.
Sometimes, you just gotta get in your car and drive south.
Sometimes, you gotta take one last trip in your Nissan before you sell it and go to your happy place.
Sometimes you gotta sit on the side of a mountain in your firefighter friend's house and do nothing.
Sometimes you have to go back to the town you went to college with and see old friends and new friends who put on gold lame (luh-may) visors and eat power tools with their teeth because they can and because things are more possible in North Carolina.
I napped yesterday for three hours. It felt like a deeper and greater accomplishment than a lot of things I've done this year, you guys. Three hours.
Leaving New York sometimes is the best. Because there's a lot of noise. And everyone is so close to each other. And, because of sheer proximity and also many other things, possibility just gets deflated. And you wonder what you're doing.
And then you look at a mountain for a couple of days and drive a car and listen to that Robyn Thicke song people have feelings about and you remember that you deeply love your life.
And uncertainty can be a blessing.
Sometimes you just need someone furry who cuddles you and tries to eat your cheese and falls over comically when trying to get on your super high bed and barks at the crackheads in your stairwell.
My parents named her Dharma. Yes, they were serious when they did that. Yes, I have the kind of parents who would name a dog Dharma.
Sometimes fulfillment is just furrier than you thought it would be.
I am an optimist.