A quickie. I have followed the herd over to the New Play Exchange. I am listing my plays well received to those indifferently passed over. Plus everything in between.
A quickie. I have followed the herd over to the New Play Exchange. I am listing my plays well received to those indifferently passed over. Plus everything in between.
Oh my, I’ve been distracted from finishing Honest Women. It’s raining. Therefore, I will spend moments today composing dialogue designed to tell a story. I do too have a damn story, shut up! Where were we?? Oh yes!
Pipes cleared. More or less. I have recovered from that surreal St. Pat’s Beckett loop a bit. Have not forgotten it, but the inner tide of WTF is Happening Here??? has subsided a wee. Enough to let me laugh at manatees appearing to smooch or a cat making a dog flip upside down when that cat attacks it from around a corner or when a giraffe catches its reflection in a mirror. Tee hee.
I also have a short play [Mystery Meat Molly is the title and I have the tale to go with it, I just need…yeah] stewing in my head, cooking a bit in the inner casserole pan, as I mull over how to get it from said inner casserole pan to said page. And then clean it up, put page numbers to the pages, polish it a bit, then send it off to await judgment. Where people picking plays for this or that will go LOVE IT MUST PRODUCE FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. It’s my version of playing the lottery. Ooooh!
I bought seeds.
I plan to have a small garden and put in some straw flowers as well. [Bachelor-Buttons.] The best laid plans of mice and writerly gals…!
I did find a spot that’s out of the way and within easy reach of water for the veggies. No one will pee on it or throw chemicals on it thinking it just a patch of weeds or throw beer cans among the tender shoots beating all the odds to rise above the dirt at all. It will get some sun but not sun all day. It will also avoid the lawn mower, as it’s between the front lawn and the back lawn, this patch o’ground. I need to get some fertilizer– a small sack of manure. [Dried animal shit. Or some assorted somewhat natural substance that plants like.]
I need to jump back into my full-length and get ‘er dunnn. However you spell that most annoying ‘murican phrase since the last most annoying ‘murican phrase.
Is HW a comedy? A searing drama on the feminist mystique? A take-down of organized religion? A…ah, an homage to other playwrights and writerly sorts who played with structure, time, what a story is, etc? Yeah! Let’s go with that last one! OMG THE AVENGERS FIGHT SOME GUY LOOKS TOTALLY AWESOME…gosh, it really does, all feeble banter aside.
Okay! To sum up. I am partially, not at all, recovered from the relatives and their Beckett Fox News Waiting for Reagan time loop wafflings. I plan to have a tiny garden. I plan to finish my ode to the Avengers, the Honest Women…wait a minute! Sounds good, I’ll let that stand.
Note: it’s not an ode to the Avengers. Sorry. I’d probably get sued and my finances register at about twenty bucks, and I need that to buy fertilizer. And chocolate. Oooh. Or maybe I can buy a baby chick or two, and raise them to avenge my honor. Oooh! I have so many plans in my head. So many!
Oh hello, new month!
Last night, the winds blew. I mean BLEW. Freight trains rumbling through the very air. Thunder going crack crack, lightning, the whole grand cosmic main stage show at play last night in the heavens above Malheur County. I waited for the old cottonwood, which likes to shed dead large branches on vehicle or roof alike with bad-natured tree laughter, to shed a dead bit of lumber atop the house or even to fall over with a last maniacal snicker. It’s a very real fear we share here at Castle Wuehler. When will that old cottonwood give up the ghost and smash us to bits in the middle of the night? When O Lord, when?
It makes life ‘interesting’. Uh huh.
So!! I really have no topic I wish to explore in shallow, easily digested slickness. Gun control talk rages like a Los Angeles wildfire for now and that’s rather surprising. It seems the kiddies have stirred up the giant pot indeed, those kiddies from Parkland. And people think those teenyboppers should stop being disrespectful and go back to selfies and eating Tide Pods or whatever the kiddies are doing nowadays…yep. Because taking actual action after a shooting is just so…selfish or something. Or, it’s all a conspiracy, by the left, to take away guns. Mm. If you’ve been near the newz, of any kind, from America, well. And of course the Big Solution to shootings at a school is to…arm the teachers. More guns! WE NEED MORE GUNS. If everyone is armed! Then! Uh! Whee!
It’s rather funny if you don’t live here in America. It’s funny stuff. It’s absurdly richly funny stuff. And you hope the so-called grown ups are not serious. Except they are. In Pennsylvania, a church had a ceremony honoring AR-15’s. Praying for the guns. I. Can’t. My. Brain. Ooooh. Help. help help…Though, that church ceremony, which puts a gun where Jesus usually goes, might help turn the mighty American Gun-Lovin’ tide. Or not. Or not! Who the fuck prays over a weapon like one would pray over a dying kitten? God damn it! What the fuck is wrong with my country?? I blame Big Pharma, Big Agriculture and lack of Afterschool Specials!
So!! Before I meander into truly dark dystopian waters, waiting for that old cottonwood to crush us all beneath her bug-riddled carcass, let’s whiffle over to PROJECTS.
What has captured my writerly attentions?
The Honest Women. A play. Stop, come back, I am not sharing from it. Calm down. Seriously, excerpts from someone’s play makes people puke a bit. It’s like a learned response. Oh you wrote a play? [Taste of puke in back of throat.]
It’s in rewrite territory. I am reworking it.
For an indifferent set of rascals who will sniff somewhere near it, when I get it rewritten, pages numbered and sent off to various places. Those rascals will then reject it, and might even bother sending the form rejection letter about how many submissions they got and how they’d rather choose someone’s shopping list at the Dildo Store than your ‘play’. Usually, that rejection letter is so generic, they don’t put your name or the name of your submission anywhere in it! Fun!
Or not! Life is a capricious clam at high tide, after all!
I laugh as I type on that play, so that’s a good sign. Ha ha, I go aloud. Ha ha. Spinach wrap. Tape worm. White zombies. There are no zombies in my play, don’t worry. Or tape worms. Not yet, anyway. Not yet.
I don’t normally venture over into vaguely comedic territory, though I’ve been told I’m funny. By people rather off-put by my dark, dismal prose, plays or poetry. You’re funny, you should write more funny stuff, was their vague, damning praise.
Which renders me into a truly sad little muffin.
Trying to please people with my ‘funny’ writing, which goes about as well as you’d expect. As comedy must come from an honest savage raw place, so I’ve been told. By writing teachers who more than likely lied to me about my writing abilities. I also read that in collections of Important Quotes by Important Snots. [Comedy comes from PAAAAAIIIIIIIINNNNNN ARGH]
And that universe of cyclone-strong doubt wallops me. What’s the point of writing anything at all?
And yet I write.
It’s an old moldy habit by now. It’s the only thing I have. I don’t have money or children or a life. It’s the only fucking thing I have that keeps me from slicing my wrists open or swallowing a thousand ibuprofen at one go. I know to take those pills in shifts or you just vomit them up. And then you’re just throwing up and not dead. Another failure!
I have made a bit of a vow to be brave. To write the words that are actually in my head and not censor that awful spewing. Like oh…not admitting I think about just ending it nearly every day. That it creeps across my inner stage like a comforting old friend. To not admit my innards and inner workings always swirl with giant storms and horse latitudes and despair and weird smirkings and that I’m just trying to make it through to the next hour at times. I have been swirling along in a near frenzy of up-ness for a couple months now. And now that’s cross-fading into that down-ness that infects me. Hello, depression, my old friend, have you come to fuck with me again…and bore what few friends I have left. Hurray! Oh those poor not so patient sorts who have to endure my sniveling, I salute you, dear friends still left.
So, I’ll write. And watch, from somewhat afar, as kids burning with revolution and change, take on adults who’ve dropped the bullet down the rabbit hole. The kids, as they say, are all right.
And isn’t that a bit of hope offered in America’s twisted landscape at this moment? I think it is.
So, I will try to finish Act One today. And maybe submit to a few places, because it’s what I should do. You never know. They might like it. You never know. You never know. You never know. Come on, cottonwood, end it. I’m starting to think you’re just a big tease.
Before I go any further…my play, Lady Judas, was a finalist for New Light Theatre Project–
Like Jelly by Jeana Scotti
Lady Judas by Ann Wuehler
American Tradition by Ray Yamanouchi
Well, what to write this week. If anything to write this week. The world slumbers in the dog days of summer and nuthin’ is going on. Except the threat of nuclear annihilation and some other stuff, but hey…
I did write a very Mean Girls post but my better angels punched me in the face. So.
I’ve been doing submissions. Always a fun time. [That was sarcasm.] I did two this morn! Two. An excerpt from a novel entitled The Adventures of Grumpy Odin and Sexy Jesus. A one-act play about two star-crossed lovers at a Las Vegas bus stop, called Free Range Chickens. That one place did say you could submit excerpts from novels…and hey, I took them at their word.
I’ve also been writing while Oregon/Idaho/Washington State/Cali burns. The haze, baby, the haze. The sun peeked out today!
It’s been a rather smoky caul over my tiny corner of the universe lately. Rather like being back in Shenyang City, China. That was heavy industrial pollution, this is just wildfire smoke. Or being in Beijing, which is even worse than Shenyang! I know! They are trying to ‘clean’ that all up now, that pollution over there in China. We here in America are prepared to take up the pollution slack, however! Yay! Can’t wait! I’m not bitter at all.
What have I been writing? Oh? Um. well, let’s kindly call it ‘crap’, shall we?
Yeah, don’t worry. I will not be smearing that clear-the-head writing here. It’s bad, trust me. Note: maybe I will. I have tons of it. It might be the next ripoff of Games of Thrones meets LOTR with a splash of Story of O. Intrigued???
Ahem, anyway!! It has the depth of My Pretty Pony fanfiction. Not that I’ve read any. I’m assuming most of that is unreadable claptrap. I’m also taking a break from politics, life and life’s politics via said Claptrap Crap, which helps yours truly do some very minor coping.
I also now have Ibuprofin and have resorted to using the morning’s old coffee to make iced coffee in the afternoon, because I’m a resourceful little kitty-cat. And, poured over onion-flavored ice [don’t ask], leftover morning iced coffee treat is…well, something I can drink that’s not water-flavored. It’s the little things, baby. I’m jonesing for black cherry Kool-Aid, by the way. Yes, I made some sun tea! Geez! I found some ancient tea bags I got at the Dollar Store. Yum.
Now for a Serious Writer Gal update: I went back into the third book of my trilogy wannabe and let the chips fall where they wished. I’ve got the ending [note– it’s a sad ending for right now. I am letting that soak in the inner crock-pot gravy, don’t worry!], so where was I? I have the ending, more or less, and now just need the beginning and middle! [As the ‘story’ keeps shifting about like a damn Garden of Eden snake. Eve couldn’t have crucified that damn snake and…anyway.] Whee!! Woot woot!
Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice cooks in my inner crock-pot. It heats up slowly, I can leave it all day, come back in the evening and viola, meal. If you don’t know what a crock-pot is or why you can leave it all day…Google is your friend. [Not if you have a vagina, though…tee hee.]
I shall sludge ahead through the sludge, oh yes.
September is just around this hazy bend.
My book comes out.
THE HOUSE ON CLARK BOULEVARD.
GO VOTE ON A COVER!!!!
It will be cooler. Hopefully, we won’t be fighting for scraps in the bomb shelters. [I don’t even have mine dug yet!!! Fuck. Sonofabitch!]
Football, and pumpkins, and dying leaves, oh yes! The blankets come back out. Rain returns. We’re supposed to get another bad winter. I should dig out my mittens and scarves right now! Or go dig a bomb shelter. And find some, what, lead? Maybe line it with mangina juice scraped off King Magical Pumpkincunt? I had to get one shot in, come on.
Hey, if anyone wants to read Free Range Chickens or, um, like, produce it…HERE YA GO!!
There’s a dove nest in the small, twisted up old cherry tree. Or plum tree, it could be a plum tree. Right now I can’t remember what sort of fruit, if any, it produces anymore. It breaks out in fragile pink blossoms that the bees and wasps make love to for a week or so and then…I can’t remember what little hard fruits gently swell into place and then drop to the long grasses the lawn mower misses. There are two doves, and now, two eggs. White and perfect, in that badly constructed temporary home. The dove astraddle that nest explodes through the tree every time I pass too near. I try not to disturb the two expectant parents; what if they abandon their little trove of future babies? And we have no cats and the two dogs seem supremely indifferent to two nervous doves who’ve chosen such a bad place for their nest. I could ‘use this for a story’. It’s what I do. I use the most mundane, ordinary crap for ‘stories; or use truly harrowing personal abysses for ‘stories’.
But I stop at that truly honest reveal. I am self-censoring. Making it ‘nice’. Shying back from the deep wells of anger and rage within me that never get emptied. Shying back from the deep recesses of love and hope and want that crush me into bloody foam and make me wish for death. Some sort of peace. Any sort of peace. I’m supposed to be a writer and ‘lay my soul bare’ for public consumption. I’m supposed to be a canapé platter for the reading public to nibble at. Instead I’m blithering on about dove eggs and…
I’m not digging into the rich rotted earth of my soul. Oh my. Except it’s what I do. I just don’t actually share what I find. I pretty it up. I add a coating of candy and apologies and sarcastic retreating. I don’t wish to be seen.
Ah, so that leads to, of course, a self-promise to put those delvings in the rich rotted earth of my soul [OMG, how precious…See? I use sarcasm to deflect and blah blah blah. As if my two readers didn’t know that. As if!] Which, will of course, not be kept or kept far better than I will not figure out until much later and so forth and so on. Mushrooms will sprout from the rot. Flowers will unfurl their fragrant petals above the eye-watering fumes of my personal earth. [That’s rather a gross and indecent image there. Yowza!] I will not be afraid.
There it is!! FEAR. I am AFRAID of exposing my soft underbelly to the knives of the world. I’m afraid of being gutted, eviscerated, de-intestined. [That’s not a word, but it just bumps off the tongue like a clumsy joyous dancer bumps about a stage during a community theatre’s production of Hamlet! the Musical!. I’m quite sure there is a musical based off of Hamlet. No, I’m not going to google that.] If I let the reading public read my actual take on this, that, the other…or let them know how deeply and awfully I feel, I bleed or I hurt…well, Armageddon time, of course. The whole shebang comes down. Or, worse…I get ignored. Or people go, oh, that’s cute. Or people go, oh, you’re just being a drama queen. Or…yeah. Fear. It’s a bitchkitty. It claws the inside of your face.
Doves! This started off as some innocuous post about doves, their nest and their two fragile white eggs. And went into ‘writer barely freaks out about obvious shit’. Oh look, sarcasm used to deflect. That’s so original! Oh look, sarcasm again!! My rich rotted earth soul sighs and another mushroom growing in that creative compost rolls its spores at me.
There was a line in the television miniseries, Feud, where Joan Crawford confesses to her long-time companion and maid that she doesn’t know who she is when she’s alone. That’s me in a damn broken nutshell. I’m still not sure what face to wear when I’m alone. Which is far too honest to keep writing about so I’ll end there. And go write a short story no one will copy and paste into their barely read literary ‘zine. Rejection of my painful little fumbling words, it just doesn’t seem worth it at all anymore…
But the doves, I hope, will continue to foster their eggs and hatch their children.
I can be honest, brutally so. I’ll end this post with words from Connie, from my Care and Feeding of Baby Birds:
I’m out of resilience. Plum out. Nada resilience. I sit down to rewrite my resume to apply for jobs, jobs that already have a thousand applicants apiece, and wonder, why am I doing this again? Why am I bothering? Maybe I should have become a nurse, they always need nurses, they don’t need failed poets. Nobody ever needs a poet. I should probably write this all down in some masturbatory rhyming couplet. They can read it at my funeral. I’ll be cremated, it’s cheaper than a real burial. My mother was cremated because it was cheaper. She would have been fine with the cremation, I’m not being nasty. Poor people have to be practical about costs above all else, cause a single penny can fuck you three ways of sideways nowadays. See? I told you there’d be more cussing. But uh…what’s holding me back– is this picture of my dad finding me. But not so much anymore. Not so much since yesterday…
But I’ve been waiting for the good things to happen for years now. I’ve been patient. I send out resumes, I act nice, I go out of my way for my friends when I can. Is that why I never get anywhere? Cause I wait? Cause I try to be as small as possible, not make any noise? I even write polite poems. About nature and waterfalls. Nothing profound. I’m not profound. At all. I never let myself be. I write pretty, shallow poems to please everyone and they please no one…
I’ll never be a mom. Or a wife. I’ve spent my life in school, working crappy jobs, waiting for the mail, or lately, the emails that don’t get sent. Or the emails that say, sorry, we don’t want your shallow crap, good luck not being a writer, ever. Don’t you wish…rejection letters were honest? That the editors would just say, plainly, once and for all– you can’t write. Try marine biology. Or dead animal removal, I hear they’re always hiring. I would so love to get that rejection letter! I could finally stop wishing, hoping, waiting, dreaming! I could stop all that crap. It would be so nice. I could finally give up and move on, whether it’s nursing school or a razor blade. This being in limbo all the time, waiting for dreams to come true…it’s cruel. Believe in your dreams!! Hang in there, someday it will happen, my friends keep saying. They have houses and lives. They have money in the bank and go on vacations. They have children. A couple even have grandchildren by now. I have…nothing. I have nothing to show. No awards. No college teaching position, just until my book gets published crappola. I didn’t mean to get on this, God. I didn’t mean to get all…maudlin.
Is it peaceful when you die? I think it is. I think…I think it’s when you finally stop waiting. When you can stop being so tired. When you stop trying to save dying baby birds. When you stop sending off submissions and stop expecting great things. When you can just…just let all that shit go at last. Amen. Yet. Yet I don’t want to give up. I’m stronger than this. I’m stronger than this push in my head to kill myself. I’m stronger than this stupid, awful, crippling depression that has lived in me since I was thirteen. I am stronger than this! But not if they die. When they die! I’m still here. That has got to count for something. Baby birds die. Some of them live. And they learn to fly. They don’t care about pleasing anyone…
Trigger warning: this will not be about theatre, plays or writing. Proceed.
I thought of an actual ending for a play I’d thought [finished]. As plays are never finished, nor is any piece or parcel of writing. I have to say that, it’s in a contract somewhere. I imagined my characters simply performing a walk-out on hell’s rules and regulations. Taking off through the [audience– as in hopping off whatever stage this makes it on and heading off up the aisle…] and exiting that way, after probably a few quippy words and some interpretive dance inspired by man’s inhumanity to man. Because it’s THEATRE, man!
So, I added that just a bit ago. That ‘new’ ending. I’ll now have to go back through and ‘set it up properly, goldarnit’. So the ending doesn’t come out of left field and people are going, WTF, and then writing me barely polite rejection letters instead of the polite rejection letters. I won’t get bitter about that, I’ve already been bitter as an old moldy lemon for several posts now about rejection.
Oh and this week, my great-uncle died.
Heart attack. They revived him, got him to the big fancy hospital in Boise and then…he crossed the cosmic bridge to the Great Whatever. My aunt, years ago [a different aunt, not married to my great-uncle] had a dream. Where all the relatives that had gone on sat around this table, drinking beer. They were happy and playing cards and drinking beer. Even my grandmother, who hated beer. A message from Beyond? A mere wish that those who had died are still somewhere Out There doing what they did when they were yet alive? A mere hope that those who have died are okay and not suffering or lost? I don’t know. My faith, these days, is at low tide. It washes up on the mythical beaches of this god or that one and then crawls back out into the formless sea of the abyss itself.
One contemplates the nature of the gods when someone you knew since you were knee high to a grasshopper disappears from the world. You have those requisite Deep Thoughts. Where do you go? Where does the essential essence that is you…go? Does it go anywhere? Do you travel to some far distant green shore? Do you find those you’ve lost? Are you reunited? Do you just end? All those selections offered by religion and philosophy. Are they all true? Are none of them feasible? What if we chose wrong in life? What if. What if. What if.
I rather hope it’s like my aunt dreamed that one night.
That those we love are somewhere enjoying themselves. That they’re warm and it’s summer. One of those perfect early summer days before it gets too hot and the air, it smells like cut alfalfa and a lawn just mowed and sunshine. That there’s iced tea and ice cold beer and laughter. That the stories flow like wine from a good bottle. Those old stories told so often you have them memorized but you can’t wait to hear them again, those old stories of family misadventures, of family misfortunes and family comedy stylings that no one outside your family would ever find amusing yet recognize as their exact same story. Oh my gosh, we’re just like that, too! That moment of recognition that others have their stories, too. That the food is good wherever they are. Real good. Dripping with memories that get written in the air. That someone you love laughs and eats from a bowl of black cherries, spitting pits at a dog not seen for nearly fifty years by anyone in living memory. That there’s a seat for you and you can slip into it and get dealt a hand. That someone will slide you a glass of ice cold beer or ask if you want tea and then go on with their story about the time Joe and the dog, Stranger…that time. That time. And the touch of a hand on your shoulder and the whisper of a summer wind in the cottonwood. And you’re just happy to be there. You’re just happy. Just a plain, simple happiness that doesn’t demand anything of you. You’re just happy.
I think ole Jim has joined that game and is telling his favorite stories. And listening to the stories he’s not heard for ages now, laughing at all the right places, shivering when a shiver is called for, expressing disgust when disgust simply has to be expressed. I think he’s enjoying himself and gearing up to tell all his ole favorite tales and listen with a happy resignation to the tales told by those he’s not been around for years. And it all sounds new and it all sounds old as dust, it’s that long day that stretches into eternity itself. Just a long, peaceful day that never ends until time itself flickers out like a tired candle.
I hope. I hope it’s something like that…whatever’s after death. It’s rather simple and simplistic. The hope of some child hoping Christmas will live up to the hype at last. Someone I loved is gone. And the world rolls onward.
Oh. I didn’t mean to get into this. I didn’t mean to meander over into some dim little corner where a hope sign blinks fitfully. I meant to write some brittle tripe about some play I’ve birthed forth, not get maudlin. Remain light-hearted, not become a lead-footed philosopher spouting ten cent slogans on sale for a penny at any local community college.
Maybe I will dream a little dream tonight. And get to sit in on a game of five card draw, with my mother to my left, my uncle in front of me, my grandmothers…my grandfathers…telling stories, laughing at all the right places, shivering when a shiver is called for. Smiling at me and urging me to bet it all, bet it all, why not. And I’ll fill my inside straight and my mother will beat me with a full boat and my grandpa will tell about the time he sailed over the equator and…
Maybe I will dream a little dream tonight.
If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls, you probably still won’t get that title. It was one of the folk songs people were singing when the town troubadour guy got a gig with Neil Young…Anyhoo!!
For those of you playing at home, breathlessly awaiting news from my camp, moi finished her full length play! YAY!!!!
Sers-ssly. [Say that as if you’re a character on a CW drama set in the Middle Ages where everyone has their teeth and great skin and gym-honed bodies.] It’s two acts. 90 some pages. Pretty, professional-looking title page. Seven characters, all gals. No men. Hey!! Twelve Angry Men is all guys…or is it? It is!! I just checked. There are other plays with all male casts. Why am I on this…oh. Back to me me me now. My play, the Honest Women, is, ah, let’s call it a comedy.
Now, the first act is pretty conventional. Some women, in hell, trying to figure out why they’re in hell. Blah blah. There’s the sassy receptionist lady, Laura, who does everything she can not to actually help anyone! There’s Ulva, who’s smart but not a doer, per se. There’s Lejay, the firebrand and agitator. There’s Manda, the conservative mouthpiece and poor, gentle Ima, who’s Canadian. And two guards who don’t have lines…yet. But who wander back and forth through the landscape for no reason at all! Because when I wrote Act II and gave them actual purpose, I went back and added them into Act I.
Now, Act I ends with a soap opera-ish flourish. I had an abrupt, rather ‘normal’ ending to the first part of my not at all magnum opus and, as some of you might know, one of those ‘ideas’ attacked me. What if the lights came back up real sudden and we see the actors scrambling to get off stage and…? Ding ding ding!!!
Which left me with an actual cliffhanger to Act I!
Oh I had such fun writing this play. I wrote it in about a week. Which is fast or slow, depends on your own playwriting speed, my darlings. [Some people write like two or three pages a month. Some write twenty pages an hour. It DIFFERS.] I had that title for ages before I found the right set of words to go under it. I started a short story. I started a short play. I did not attempt a bad poem. I didn’t even consider a fiery essay about how fugly it is to be a girl these days. If you’ve dared go near my blog, you’re probably secretly relieved I’m not writing more essays. Orderly lining up of thoughts and ideas, yeah, that’s…yeah. Squirrel! [I still laugh at that dog in that movie, ah. Ah!]
I made up these names. Ulva, Ima, Lejay, Manda. I had Tara as well. Then I forgot I had a Tara and when I went back to check something on my cast list…went, oh, I forgot to add Tara into this and oh dear, combined her and another character and…so, buh bye, Tara! [Yes, yours truly forgot she had named a character.] ‘Tara’ became Ulva. Well, got absorbed into Ulva. Which is not that interesting but I feel I should attempt some sort of total disclosure here. For a play that probably won’t ever see the light of a badly attended stage reading somewhere in the outer burroughs of Boise, let alone a real city. [Joke. It was a joke. Calm down.]
Yep. You write a play. You get all moist and happy. And…then you send it off and wait. Or you gather your friends [if you have any] and do a reading or try and stage it. But getting strangers to take a gander at it and take a chance on it…that’s akin to winning those fabled Irish sweepstakes. Now, granted, I did get a hit on another play of mine, Beatrice and the Puppies, a few years ago, down in Texas. Texas seems to really like my stuff. As does Florida. Oregon, not at all. Texas and Florida, you betcha. It’s the nature of the business. You toil in obscurity and utter poverty, unless you have a trust fund or a ‘real job’, such as international Illuminati banker for the globalist elite or perhaps dead animal removal technician. You get a bright spot every so often– someone gives you a ping back to something you sent off ages ago. Hey, we almost like this, you’re a runner up but we went with someone else but we still like your collection of words. [I have seriously gotten praise-rejection letters/emails like this. We love your stuff, keep writing and sending it in, yet we totally don’t want to go near your stuff with a ten foot pole right now. Hugs and smooches!]
I will give you an example of that: As you already know, we all get the dreaded rejection letters (myself included). The ones that start with “We appreciate the opportunity to read your work” or “Unfortunately, your piece is not the best fit for our magazine.” Instead, I want you to know that we value your work, support you in your work, and read it multiple times.
We were unable to select your work because we only had a few slots to make selections for, out of the hundreds of submissions that we received this period. So, we really focused on the pieces that fit our literary philosophy. We want everyone to know exactly what kind of work that we are looking for: clear, concise, short work that uses familiar language.
Your work did not lack in craft or depth, and I ask that you not think of this rejection as a judge of your merit as a writer. Instead, I personally ask that you send more work during our next submission period.
Until we meet your work again, keep your creative spirit flowing!
[[The above is an actual rejection email. This is why everyone should avoid the arts and go into running guns for terrorists, dog grooming or farming.]]
So, why write plays? I don’t know. I have no answer for that crap. I just write. I’m a masochist. Hurt me, world, hurt me.
Wow, pipes cleared now. Back to the Honest Women. See?? This is why I don’t write essays for a living or for a hobby or to help me deal with all the damn voices in my head talking at the same fricking time. Must be a lady, must not cuss. Can I get a fucking amen for that one, boys?
Act II– has a decidedly different flavor than Act I. Yay! It’s rather like Into the Woods. Which is a combo of tales twisted together and everyone gets a happy ending– even the Witch gets to be youngish and pretty again, though she loses her powers. Those that deserve it got punished. The stepsisters, for instance. If you have no idea what I’m talking about or have never heard of Sondheim’s Into the Woods–GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW. Not the movie version that came out, either. [Meryl Streep was good, James Cordon was enjoyable but they took out everything that made that play work so well on a stage. For instance, they made the two princes nicer. No!! NO!! That second reprise of Agony gone! God damn it, why??] The stage version, with Bernadette Peters as the Witch. That one. Now, why am I blathering on about this…oh, yeah. So! My play, tee hee, has a very different style-wise Act I versus Act II feel.
Like Into the Woods does. The happy endings we saw in Act I fall apart in Act II and it’s not pretty or nice. Which made some people not like this musical. I love this musical. [Can you tell??] I love the songs, I love the story. That’s my critical take on it. Because this post isn’t a critique of Into the Woods. It’s all about me and my brand spanking new play [a joyous romp, not an angry dirge because you can be a feminist as long as you stand on your head and get a pie in the kisser while wearing a tiny bikini and smiling a lot] on hell, women, forgiveness, and female stereotypes. My Act II sparkles and shines like a vending machine plastic diamond ring! I think it ends with the nonsense word–merp. Intrigued yet?? Do you want to sit through an entire evening watching women kvetch about the Breakfast Club, forgiveness, and American values?
As the poisonous toxicity of America right now permeates me like an army of ghost penises, leaving rancid little seed bundles in my shirking, repulsed soul.
I won’t go into a Gilmore girls season six/seven rant. I had one, I deleted it. Thank me later! A beaver ate my thumb. It’s a catchy little tune. I sing it at odd moments and then go, what song is that? And then I sit down and write snarling feminist screams disguised as romps set in hell. A hell that’s rather cutesy and non-threatening, of course. Yay!!
Okay, before we get started, an update. The dandelion wine bubbles away yet. Saturday could possibly be the day I will drain the flotsam, strain it and then seal it away in some somewhat clean jars. I cleaned out the pickle jar– it’s gallon-sized– for my wine endeavors. Grandpa!! I made some wine! My first sip is for you.
I have almost sixty pages written on a NEW PLAY. Ugh a bug in a elitist rug! Whee and whoopee and yippee skippee. What’s worse is how much I’m enjoying writing it. I should be dredging the burned French fry remains of my toxic soul and instead I’m skimming the airs around me as lightly as some lead-footed butterfly, giggling to myself, giggling foully to myself. O woe is me, O Israel, I am giggling. I was working on the Tales of Beastface Bay and kinda smacked up against a rock wall with a Christmas-ish tale. I’d written enough about that imaginary coastal region for a bad novel, anyway, hello!
I don’t know what the Honest Women could be classified as. It took a decidedly weird turn at the end of Act One. I wrote a rather conventional and staid little Act One ending, with no idea where this play is ‘going’. It has no BIG TRAJECTORY that will WIN IT PRIZES. But then again, people argue that Waiting for Godot...and right there I start screaming and throwing things, like a monkey with a crack baby on its back. Am I comparing myself to Beckett?? Oh the horror!! Is my arrogance at composing conversation infecting me like a French pox?? [I hope not. Shudder. French pox.] What it does have is FEMALE CHARACTERS. Lots of em. Heaps o’gals. So many gals! It’s an all-gal salad with all-gal dressing. I feel you pulling away, gentle raindrops.
What that has to do with my whimpering that Beckett’s plays resemble still life escapes me at the moment. [I just felt a disturbance in the force as Beckett fans got a throbbing headache because someone somewhere DOESN’T LIKE BECKETT. Excuse me, I have to backtrack and assure them, yes, Beckett was a fine playwright, it’s okay now, shhh, relax. Shhh. It’s okay. Godot’s not coming today, yes, it’s brilliant. Let mama make you some lemonade.] Oh!! Yeah. Because my play just tap dances instead of drudges through Swan Lake like a good little trouper. Um. It’s one of those splatter paintings instead of a landscape with every leaf painted on the patient willow trees. Better?
Yeah, so it will never get produced, probably. I did keep the bad words to a sickening minimum and I make fun of feminism, hell, and liberals. Sometimes all in one sentence. I also make fun of anti-feminists, heaven and conservatives! No one is sacred, no one is safe. A woman makes out with a suitcase. That’s how Act Two starts. My brain is still waiting for me to thank it, probably with a gift card to Yankee Candle.
Because is there a better-smelling store?? If I get to go anywhere after death, I’m hoping whatever deity adopts me lets me sniff candles in the afterlife candle stores or whatever’s out there. Maybe fill my worship hut with Midsummer’s Night, my favorite. I’ll sing all the hymns, in tune, if my worship hut smells like dark summer skies. I’ll just put that out into the universe. I’ll let you know how it works out, of course.
Play! The play is the thing. I’ve been writing rather kitchen sink plays lately– you know, stark gritty reality, ABC linear blah blurgh blah. Now, granted, this play is a bit linear, but it does bulge alarmingly into other territories. I feel so arty! I feel artistic and special! I’m breaking barriers and exploring NEW FORMS and talking about THE ISSUES OF THE DAY AND THE TERRORS THAT INFUSE THE VERY PLANET. Wow, don’t you now want to sit through my play?? Who doesn’t want a bunch of gals screeching about rights for three hours while barely moving and wearing high heels to show they don’t hate men? [Just kidding!]
I really am taking the toxic [everything seems toxic right now. The entire world seems sick from a case of Toxic Shock Syndrome because the collective tampon got left in a bit too long. Eeeh, gross, she said tampon. That’s right, rabbit, I sure did.] sludge of talk, slurs, slings and arrows and forcing them to trot across my pages like good little ponies. If ponies were made of words, of course. They’re not, I checked. Oooh…I saw this short video today [stop, it does not contain cats or a racist rant from some half-drunk Wal-Mart shopper] on horses. Apparently, they’re treated better than 98% of the humans on this planet. They have their own barn and live ‘free’. As they’re not racing over the high desert hard pan as skinny as rails, well, they’re pampered lap dogs in actuality. Anyhoo!!
The horses, shock o shock, were shown FARTING AND SNORING. I know!! Horses fart and snore?? Yeah, there really wasn’t a giant revelation here. It was just these incredibly spoiled and shiny horses snoozing and letting out long, gurgling anus belches. It was funny and soothing. After hearing all day that the Tangerine Vader thought he had invented the phrase ‘prime the pump’ and that it had fired Comey over how Clinton had been treated…I needed some horse anus belches.
Which is probably why this play seems eager to leap almost whole from my fevered writhing brain.
If you’re a writer [isn’t everyone a fucking writer these days?? Everyone on the entire planet has one of these blog thingies. Hashtag WeAreAllBloggers] then you know those times when the words just gush. Maybe you don’t.
Maybe you’re one of those writers that writes five pages every day, no more, no less, like a writing machine. Those sorts of writers fill me with a whiny sort of “Mmm, okay, whatever, dude. I just found an entire season of Wonderfalls on youtube. I’m watching that instead of working on my Victorian era time traveling steampunk YA dino-human romance flash fiction attempt for this contest I found over on Craigslist.”
My brain seems stuck on overdrive. Which is a bit scary. As a crash is coming and it seems harder and harder to recover from those crashes. Enough of those serious thoughts! I wrote a post-American Empire feminist scream against the dying of the light! Wheee. Well, it’s mostly written. I plan to celebrate the Fin [see Beckett, bwha ha ha] of the Honest Women with a giant tumbler of, hopefully, drinkable and won’t send me to the ER, homemade dandelion wine. Viva la playwright!
Oh…an excerpt? Should I? Dare I? I dare, I dare! From my latest writing project, the HONEST WOMEN. This is first draft fun, my gentle readers!!
That is great advice for followers and sheep. And merpers. Merp merp.
[ Silence. She goes to the table, takes up a magazine.]
I think we should try being honest. Women are never honest. We can’t be. Not even when we’re alone. It’s not safe.
Safe? You’re worried about safe? Now?? They did something to the virgin and they dragged off the rebel. Stop being precious and concentrate on the here and now. We’ve got problems to solve!
I think you should play along, Ulva. Or the Garbage Hags can come get you, too. Doesn’t it seem nicer with that trash dragged out of here, Manda? Why don’t you go into a monologue about the virtues of taking the trash out. Boom! And talk about the good ole days where no one cussed and no one did drugs. Where everyone went to church and loved the flag and ate pie. Make it a good one. Make it a barn burner. Make people burst into tears and send checks to politicians to make America great again.
Well, don’t I feel special. Two rejections for my submitted something or other on the same day. Those pieces sucked anyway and I submitted them during the wrong phase of the moon and my energies were all wrong and I wasn’t being open to all the universe had to show me yet, of course. Life lessons or something to be learned here. Or that my writing sucks and nobody wants a thing to do with it. I’m a crappy writer who has delusions of grandeur. I should have gone into shoveling dead animals off the highway, at least I’d have enough cash to buy Christmas presents once in a while and some actual self-respect rattling around in whatever’s left of my soul. Which is poisonous thinking and I should pour some sugared sunshine posit-tronic thoughtjuice on that and smile through the pain and fake it until I make it. Wheeeee.
Yeah. Something like that.
I know we’re not supposed to admit a feeling of utter GODDAMN IT GODDAMN IT FUCK. That’s so…defeatist. No sense, none, not a single dropsicle of sense, needs to be wasted on getting upset, angry or in any way emotional over yet another rejection and another right after that and another, and yet another, oh look, another rejection form letter urging me to keep submitting; even though they enjoyed reading my work it was not suitable at this time for our needs. Maybe next time. Maybe next time. The two following little blurts are from actual rejections sent to moi. I have made them generic and every day to protect the guilty and the sadsacks alike.
Thanks again for sharing this. As always, there was a wide range of excellent responses to this image, but we received 262 poems in total, and the artist and I could each only pick one. Unfortunately we chose other work—check the [I’ll leave the name to your imaginations] this Tuesday and Thursday to read the two winners. [Subtext– come and read what a good poet wrote. Why don’t you try being a good poet so maybe your life will have meaning at last? That’s so not the subtext, brainworm. I should support other writers, so they’ll support me when I’m in the winner’s circle. And when will you get near that winner’s circle, o Ms. Crappola O’Crappy? ]
Thank you again for submitting your play, [ what does it matter? It lost. It doesn’t deserve a title.] We are finally gearing up for this year’s production of [when did I submit a play for this place? Oh yeah, back in September 2016], and while we enjoyed reading your play, we are unable to include it in the lineup.
UPDATE, as of May 5, 2017– just got one of my fave kinds of rejections. Where they tell you you did not win and then wax rhapsodic over the play that did win. Like, a giant bitchslap of just how much you sucked and that other play ROCKED THEIR UNIVERSE AND IS THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD, THE WHEEL AND THE INVENTION OF CATS. “We just thought you’d like to know you didn’t get selected.” End it there. I don’t need a revival-tent-ish testimonial to whatever did win. Fragile ego here, god damn it!!
Now, I do have a sense of humor about rejections, I do. I laugh– ha ha-– and then try to remember that rejection is a part of life and it’s all about learning something and that when you get lemons, drink vodka and that when a door closes, you still have cheesecake. Except when the cheesecake is at the store so you spread peanut butter on stale crackers instead, which makes you feel like a total loser because a real winner, even when they didn’t get picked from a random herd of sweaty, earnest other writers, would have fucking cheesecake in their fucking house. Amen.
There’s not even those fake Dollar Store cheesy puffy things in the house that try to be Cheetos but fail so miserably it’s laughable. Ha ha. Maybe the universe can send me one of those “You’ve won five dollars” scratch-off lottery tickets [One I don’t actually have to buy. One I find out in the yard beneath the oak tree. I’m totally down for some miracles right now. Magically appearing, modest-winning scratch-off lottery ticket, I’m in!] before deluging me with rejection letters. I think that’s fair. Totally, like, fair and stuff. There’s no balance here, universe. None! It’s a lopsided smackfest! At least send some fake ass cardboard-esque Cheeto wannabe products my way if you’re gonna keep sending me multiple rejection notices every other day. Hello!!! HELLO!! Is this thing on??
Oh, P-freaking-S– I was gonna, like, take a break from this here bloggie for a bit due to needing some mental health days [like, um, you couldn’t tell or something that my mental health, like Elvis, has left the building], having life flu, and generally, planning a dance like nobody’s watching dance party marathon for one, but…yeah. I decided to vent like a pouty little volcano and spew feeble almost-ash into the indifferent air. whee
Oh– Goddamn it, France. Remember when Germany occupied you, ahem, during that thing we labeled WWII? Why are you trying to put an actual far-right fucknut on your French throne there? [I know it’s not a throne, I was being cutesy.] So the actual right-now Germany can make movies about the noveau [neu– I hope that’s a somewhat correct German word for new. Again, I was trying to be cutesy.] French Resistance? Yeah, immigrants, Satan sent them. So maybe build a wall around France and then Satan can’t get in…oh wait, that’s America’s Bigly Planz. Um…let me get back to ya, France. BRB.
How bad does it have to get before people…Fuck. Really bad. It has to get kill a bunch of people, mass graves, atrocities and breaking news reports read by serious-faced perfect-haired automatons bad and even then, it has to get more and more foul until we all magically remember we’re all better than that and this cannot stand and how can people do that to each other…I forget that we all forget and have to repeat everything a bazillion times to get anything through our goddamn thick heads. And then repeat it all again after that because nothing sticks in our goddamn collective thick heads. Never forget? We never remembered in the first goddamn fucking motherfucking goddamn place. Amen. I ended with this French stuff to remind myself that rejections suck but fascism sucks more. It’s all about perspective, fellow babies. Now I want cheesecake and Cheetos. Hello, power of suggestion.