Plank closed September 16. That was about five-and-a-half months of nonstop, day in and day out doing the business of theater. It's never easy, and all it takes is one personality (or two) to make the entire process doubly harder than it already is. (One night over beers with another artistic director, they confided that with the show they were working on, they did not look forward to going to the theater at all. I had a few of those days, too.) So, here it is two-and-a-half months after closing, and I feel I'm just starting to right myself, feel I'm just starting to get a bead on what I'm working on next.
With the residency at Vermont Studio Center looming in January, right now I feel exactly how I felt at this time last year: What do I do now to make my time there most productive? What can I do now to the script to The New American, the play that I submitted on the application, so it's in some form where I can hit the ground running for the month and know what I have to do to the script so it's vastly improved when the month is up?
Sue and I make enormous sacrifices for me to be there, taking a month's time of me being away, plus the cost--$3,950.00. As with last year, I received a partial grant from the residency that eases the financial burden. I also got a $1,000 grant from the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust that brought my total grants up to $2,700.00 to defray the costs, so I feel even more--I don't want to say under the gun--but beholden to all of the people who support my work to deliver. I don't want to let them down because they've put so much faith in me.
You just have to trust that your brain and your talent will be there for you. And I do trust that. And here are all good signs:
Since closing Plank, I've written one short story, and I'm working on another. The first story, "The Road Into Beartown," took me only a few weeks to write and polish. Writing short stories is so different from writing plays, and I think because I concentrate on playwriting so much that sometimes I can get stuck. I also love the short story form, and I actually read and enjoy many more short stories than I do plays. For the most part, with short stories--or at least the ones I read--the arc of the story is so apparent that you can just sit back for the ride.
I'm also not only shooting, but I'm liking the direction my images are taking. So much so that I'm starting to feel I should start to get seriously back into photography. Last January in Vermont I took the day off from writing and drove onto some back roads and in the course of an afternoon felt that suddenly I was a photographer again. Writing and working visually for me are all tied together; there's nothing separate about them, though of course the approach is different. But, what I aim for is the same: A way to show reality using non-traditional methods. It's just how I'm wired artistically. See for yourself, with these images from the past two weeks: