Splay Open for Guts
Workshopping How to Hide Your Monster in the Creede, Colorado mountains, the spirals opening up this play during this development process are revealing the guts underneath each character's story. I'm glad I spent a year away from this script. Grateful to be working on it with artists who've never touched it before (the amazing Jeni Mahoney [director], Manuel Zarate [dramaturg] and a brilliant cast), whose questions and observations help me find the core heat inside and trace the strongest throughlines, tracking the outpourings that crack through the floor.
All week we've splayed open the skin to dig out the meat (every time we make that reference in the rehearsal room I imagine Han Solo slicing open the tauntaun to save Luke from hypothermia). In these last days before this version's first public reading (there will be a second in Pagosa Springs on Monday) it's about finessing the edges, sewing up this monster after its surgery to see how it moves with new life. But what else is burrowing inside this play? What other questions are driving me and what other interests, curiosities, visions? The revelation at the end is much bigger now, more Ancient Greek, Sam Shepard in its twisting. What will that unlock, and what questions might that discovery bring?
Such focused time on this play, without having to bother much with other work or responsibilities, or even my normal routine, boy it is a godsend. And this area, remote enough, these San Juan mountain surroundings and the energy here from other playwrights and artists at work...
I hope you all get a chance to get away soon, to dive into the work that you've been itching to scratch in a magical environment with smart, kind, inspiring people, too. I'm feeling quite lucky to be here now. Thank you Creede and HBMG Foundation!
I walked downtown in the evening as the city cooled. I found a spot to sit in the cement blossoming park by the Grove and finished Nick Jaina's book, crying the last few pages. After I stored Get it While You Can in my bag, I took out my phone to let him know how much I loved it.
A woman with a bald spot and long black hair sat to interrupt.
"Do you guys just sit anywhere?"
"What?" I didn't quite hear what she said or understand her familiar tone.
"I see people sitting all over in this city. College town. You just hang out wherever you want?"
This was a park or if not a technical park a public square, a place for hanging out, but I didn't mention that. "I was just reading."
She was dressed to go out, pale skin plumped over floral shirt and skirt. She looked out of another era of fancy, 80s or 90s. She asked what I was reading.
"My friend's book." I handed her the paperback. She thumbed through pages.
"Would you pass it on?" Like it'd be a good deed to share, a moral obligation.
I shook my head. "I can't. It's not mine."
"Oh." She handed it back.
She'd been drinking. She talked about how small the blocks were here. How she needed to get back to 11th Street, to the Safari Inn. How she was here for a funeral from Coeur d'Alene. Or Salt Lake. I got confused. She mentioned both places.
She said she was here until Sunday. Tonight she was getting drunk. Tomorrow she had to be all good and proper. She asked if I knew what that was like.
"Oh, definitely." I'd been nodding and trying to be understanding.
"You think I'm crazy. You're just smiling and nodding, trying to get me to stop talking."
"No," I said, "I understand, I was just--"
"Smiling and nodding."
"No, just going through my own time feeling in a similar way."
She took it to mean, "I was having my own moment when you interrupted me."
"Oh, I'm sorry to bother you."
There was no arguing to be done. I tried to continue the conversation a little, but she was done or embarrassed and I wanted to get my own space back.
As I was leaving she said, "I'm glad you're a reader." And then, "I'm glad you're a tree hugger. I am too."
I don't know what gave her that phrase. My dress maybe. My Keen sandals. No make up. Hair tied back.
It felt like something out of W. Somerset Maugham. I haven't read Maugham since Of Human Bondage when I was 15 or 16, working at the Fayetteville Free Library. I felt like this a lot then. Except there felt less reason for it. This Father's Day Weekend is a difficult holiday indeed, now.
Golden Goose Man
There was an old and crusty man. A goose of a man, made of gold.
But he wanted more. Wanted all the gold in the world.
For his clothes to be made of the stuff.
He asked the seamstresses and tailors to gather their thread makers and spin all their material into gold. This made the finest fabric, but also the heaviest.
He put on this suit for the ball. Then he sat under the weight. Buckled, more like. He couldn't go anywhere. Couldn't move. Everything too burdensome.
So they brought the ball to him. The night smelled like starlights.
A segment of paradise, all evening.
He saw the world change and grow in his bedroom and outside his window.
Saw the city blow up like confetti. Lots of falling out like snow.
Then he shut his eyes. It was enough for one life.
Reflect, Record, Renew
Happy New Beginnings, everyone. As with the start of 2017, I'm sharing highlights from last year. There are a few missing that I want to keep to myself. I'm also keeping my missed opportunities to myself. Private moments are good.
I do find it helpful to make note of wins, losses and contacts gained each year. Do you do something like this? How does it work for you? What is your process?
Here are three big goals for 2018 and 19:
3 Big Goals for the Next Two Years:
I smiled to see that one of my big goals listed last year, teach a college class, has now been checked three times over, with two more courses set to start Tuesday. My goal of "getting an agent" I replaced with the more active plan to beyond double my number of submissions this year, and then double that in 2019. I let my work sharing drop significantly while pursuing my MFA, and that number did not grow much in 2017. These submissions may include agencies as well, but more important to get my work out consistently. And even though I have other projects on the front burner now, it's time to start the next big play. As for traveling overseas, my partner and I now have our passports renewed. We'll see about the next steps...
Overall, I intend to cultivate a larger sense of spaciousness and joy in every act and moment this year, as much as possible. I aim to let go of worry, judgment and shoulds in order to make more room for growth, connection and breath. This moment is a backwards leap into next.
And to you all, an awake and bright new year with time for reflection.
Like what I'm posting? You can leave me a tip!
$1, $10, $100, whatevs :)
Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: