Monday, November 21, 2005
Cloudy and cold
The weather’s supposed to be bad today – just what I need, driving to and from acupuncture!
As long as it’s okay to drive on Wednesday – I want to go to Maine!
My grandmother, on the other hand, is hoping it snows when we get there so that we have to stay a few extra days.
My cats would have something to say about that.
Hop on over to Circadian Poems and check out the poems celebrating American Thanksgiving. We won’t publish again until next Monday.
Yesterday, I did the matinee on a track I haven’t done in ten months. It was okay – I paid attention, most of the time I was reasonably fast. One chorus girl got snippy – because SHE made a mistake -- and I told her, “B. might put up with that attitude, but I don’t.”
I enjoyed catching up with the people I like, and the show went by pretty fast. I started the essay for Wednesday’s Scruffy Dog Review Blog on the train, and then realized the topic is far too involved to be ready for this week. I’m going to touch on it, but develop the actual piece for another time. And I’ll have to upload the piece Tuesday night, because Wednesday morning, we’re on the road before six a.m., and I don’t plan to get on the computer at all.
The week after Thanksgiving, I’m going to stay in the city off and on, looking after my friend’s cats while he’s away. I’ll work on The Fix-It Girl when I’m working from home and Never Too Late when I’m working there. Maybe being in a different environment will help me come up with a better title!
Also, it gives me a chance to poke around the library branch on 41st St., where I originally came across all that WPA documentation. Since I don’t live in NYC, I don’t have a NYPL card anymore, but I can sit in the library and take notes for a couple of hours. And then go over the notes while I’m playing with the cats! I’ll take my camera and photograph the lions at the entrance of the library – Patience and Fortitude. I wonder if they’ll be wearing their holiday wreaths by then?
As far as the theatre work goes, I no longer get joy out of it, and that makes me sad. I’m capable of doing the work, thanks to years of experience, but it’s not coming from the heart anymore. It’s not that I don’t care about doing good work, it’s just that I have detachment from it. Which isn’t a bad thing; it’s simply not the way I like to work.
Every time it made me particularly sad, I remembered Mary Catherine Bateson’s book, Composing A Life, and reminded myself that I’ve played this movement in the symphony of my life and I’m getting ready to start the next one.
2006 is the second year of my three-year transition out of the business. It already proves to have as many emotional minefields in it as this year, as far as the transition.
But, when a job isn’t working, you’ve got to move on. You need – and deserve – to work in an environment that’s not only externally positive, but internally positive. When that happens, everyone reaps the benefits. People want and need the right people with positive attitudes in the jobs – people who want to be there, who do the work, and deal with their own lives on their time, not company time. People working need an atmosphere of friendly, invigorating professionalism without petty egos.
Too many people stay in jobs out of fear. It’s one thing to stay in a job to keep up the income while actively working to change your situation. It’s another to sit in the job, collecting the paycheck, bitching and moaning, while doing nothing. Sometimes it takes awhile to actually make the switch, but as long as you start putting things in motion and actively pursuing alternatives, you can find the right situation.
It’s that whole search-and-transition process that’s the most difficult.
Trying to decide whether or not I will tape Lost while I’m gone. The promo annoyed me – Sayid tied to a tree and hit by Ana Lucia? Why? The way it’s presented, it merely shows her again as a coward and a bully. She performed an act of manslaughter – face the consequences and take responsibility.
I also wonder if the creators are doing a disservice by making it so clear that Ana-Lucia is a tough woman who functions by trying to beat up the men, while Kate is a tough woman who never stops being feminine. It will be interesting – and annoying – to see how many gender-biased clichés the storylines fall into. One of the reasons I liked the show last year was that it took gender assumptions and played with them and against them. This year, they seem to play into them instead. It makes me wonder if the network is messing in the process more and giving the creators less creative room.
If there are twelve executives on a piece, each one has to put a thumbprint on something creatively, to justify his or her existence. That’s why so much that airs is a total mess. Instead of the network buying a creative vision and letting the creative team run with it, they mess with it for a variety of usually ego-driven reasons and you get crap. The fact that ANYTHING makes it on screen even halfway coherently is amazing.
And, when it does – films such as LORD OF THE RINGS, HARRY POTTER and Lucas’s STAR WARS films immediately come to mind, and RESCUE ME comes to mind as far as television – audiences respond positively.
And then, instead of learning from what works, production executives try to imitate.
Okay, time to put on my writing clothes and get some work done on The Fix-It Girl. Funeral scene next, with two other principal characters vaulted into an action that will change my protagonist’s life forever.
Thanks, Eric, for the advice. You’re right – I’ll read the book between drafts. I’m going to use it to add layers.
As usual, the second draft will be far overwritten – I’m expecting it to run 160,000 words by the time I’m done. And then, for the third draft – out comes the machete.
But, until there’s a finished first draft, it’s all pipe dreams.
PS I can’t wait to go to acupuncture this afternoon.