Monday, February 28, 2011

March 1, 2011 is the Official Start of the Rest of My Life

I have to clean this apartment and do the 2010 taxes. There is a one act play deadline on April 15 and all of my one acts are too long and can’t be cut. That means a new one. Oh, joy! Coming off 120 pages of monster epic, I don’t have much storytelling left.

I can’t put off the return to the gym one more day and I have to started getting information on Medicare so I’m not surprised on October 1st. My friends and family have finally and firmly forbidden me (F’s!) to speak of anything from before March 1, 2011 and I have run out on reprieves on that. I am moving on. Granted my face is shoved deep into the mud and it’s pouring rain and I have a bad left leg, but damn it, I am standing up and moving on. Lend me a hand to get up. Thanks.

It’s called normal life. It’s what everyone has to do every day and if I am going to speak to these people, if I am going to sell these people tickets, I had better damn well accept it and understand, so I can find the fantasy and poetry in it. And then, I will have brilliantly come up with some form of Art that will inspire and comfort the world as life gets poorer and more insane. With Congress freshly filled with morons, we will have dirtier food and air. We will not be able to travel safely and our computers will operate at 1/10 the speed of the rest of the world. Whoop di doo!

It’s going to be a fun final 10 years for me. And it starts tomorrow. With a vacuum cleaner and a calculator. All the rest to follow. Whoooo! Cough!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

We Will Never Be Rich or Famous...Never Produced, Published, or Hung

And yet, to worry about that is so Twentieth Century. It’s frustrating reaching my great old age to admit that the BIG REINHARD RAPTURE will never happen, but then, female artists don’t get fashion models in their beds, do they? We’re lucky to achieve the Jackie Collins accomplishment of purchasing serial young men...if we don’t think about it. I am hoping just to get a damned reading of a script. I’ll forgo the mansion and the Jaguar, although I wonder if I will indeed die without owning a wine bottle-green J-12.

The Twenty-First Century is just not proving to be a lighthearted. The economy is in free fall, the Mideast is exploding. The Teabaggers will guarantee that we’ll have more pollution, no broadband and starvation in the streets. You can tell the people who are joking about all this...they have salaries and health care. As a Disabled person over sixty, I am awaiting for the moment I will be asked politely to die. Scrooge is winning, but there won’t even be poorhouses.

And yet, one thing I’ve learned lately is that I don’t deserve artistic success because I need it and want it. You don’t get artistic success because you are a genius. Like it or not, you have to earn the sales and accolades. And yes, so many of the producers are the kind of idiots who actually thought “Spiderman” would earn back the $65,000,000 easily. Nonetheless, these are the people you have to deal with or you figure out how to produce it yourself. One dime at a time.

Or you die without it and History rolls on without your name written on it. Shakespeare never knew he was Shakespeare. All you can do is pass it on. Paint it. Store it in Google. Film it. Did Orson Welles know he was going to be called the greatest American Director? Or do we all have to be Picasso, with a tall woman on each arm...paying for drinks with a sketch on a napkin? What if your only choice is to be Van Gogh? Would you pass it up to drive a bus and have a pension? I have a pension...and the time and a computer. Yeah, I may be too old, but what the fuck? Maybe someday Willie and I will be up in Heaven and counting the gate. You never know.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Church of Our Lady of Essex County

I’m sitting here watching “La Strada”, by Fellini, definitely one of The Basics a writer or visual artist should know. I think of Kurosawa and Tennessee Williams. T.S. Eliot and John Irving. In a time where everything is about money and survival, the Arts have become a Religion and certainly a theology. We are of this Earth, but are thinking of the more ethereal aspects. History and the emotions are studied like the Torah. And what is the point of studying the Torah? To understand the Torah. If you understand the Torah, you understand Life, it’s that simple and necessary. Welcome to Reinhard’s Yeshiva. Take a seat. Yes, yes. I’m officially a Jew by female line, I can joke, I can kvell, I can nosh. Relax.

What is atheist art? Andy Warhol? I don’t know. He studies carefully the things we worship, like soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. There is no artist without some kind of faith and belief. Munch and Picasso showed the horror, the horror caused by man’s cruelty. This reminds me of Thomas Mann, who did not know if there was  a Heaven or a Hell, but felt so deeply their effects on life. Even the coldest Pinter or the most impenetrable Beckett brings us to the brink , wondering why are we here? Who made us and what, oh what are we to do with these days and nights? Dare I eat a peach? Is it over when the lights go out?

Art began in the churches and for the churches, trying to make tangible the shadows and lights of life. The glow of the halo in the Medieval portraits of saints also shines around the head of the man painting it. The soft chants of the choir and the music of the organ draws the people inside to the warm and camaraderie. It was only when money reared its ugly head that the churches became repressive or warlike, sending out Crusades to convert people to a religion in order to guarantee them eternal life. And even at the moment of Death, the most religious and certain person, be they Jew or Muslim or Christian has to have one brief second of fear and puzzlement, and that moment is where the Artist dwells.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank God for Fantasy and Idealization

Pure, bitter reality is never the goal in writing a play. Playwrights are leading you to an insight, dragging you through the briars or dancing you over parquet . I suddenly think of “Moon for the Misbegotten” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”  The symbolism is obvious to the hypersensitive and blissfully absent to those who just enjoy the show. To me, of course, Blanche DuBois is the outcast gay man, hoping for a ride with the closeted He Man. “Moon” is more than an ode to O’Neill’s brother. It is an elegy for the suffering borne by the sensitive, who do not have an outlet like his Playwright brother, who sings a song and suffers equally, if not more. I know Williams would issue a horrified denial that his play is anything but a fiction, with Miss Blanche being the dying South and Stanley the new, lower class, conquering generation. O’Neill would just smile at me and turn away.

I took 3 facts to create my leading man in “Amour Americaine” and thankfully, mercifully for both of us, left the rest behind. The lead female is beautiful and successful, i.e., nothing at all like me, except that she fantasizes and idealizes the man, which ultimately leads to her death. Homey don’t play that scenario any more, but I came damned close a few times.  Not this time, because this is a truly good, if tragic, man. His friends, who will not read the play, are not ready for either the happier or the grimmer aspects of the script (or his life) and I don’t give a shit. I know what I have and I’m going to try to get it produced. He said to me “For God’s sake, let it go.” Well, this is how a Playwright does it. It has gone. It has flown. It will circle my head for decades to come. And I will, alone, deal with it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If a Tree Falls on Facebook...Does it Make a Sound?

Right at the moment, Facebook functions solely as a way to make sure friends are still alive. I have a funny feeling that I appear in few News Feeds, and it’s OK. The idea is to sigh and mutter that one has “no time for that stupidity.” As I say in a play, “Few are strong enough for a game of Passive/Aggressive Facebook. It takes a person with nerves of steel and hours of idle time.” Today, I was in the Mental Health Committee meeting at Church, listening to real people with real problems, for whom I might provide a bit of help or comfort. Being neither BiPolar nor Schizophrenic (or is the former the new name of the latter?), I realize that I am a whining little turd with no real problem except an overactive imagination that kicks into obsessive/compulsive which leaves me married to a man so awful that I end up obsessively fantasizing about a different man and forget that I have a career rotting on the vine. That’s it. That’s all. I don’t hear voices. I don’t have panic attacks or wild furies. I have enough food and a decent shelter. I hate to say it, but I have had a damn good real life and a wild fantasy life that I’ve managed to turn into plays. No one will read this blog and I could probably say ANYTHING and there would be no repercussion (poopie kaka!)  and I will not sell one ticket to one play. That has to happen in real life, and not in my imagination or Facebook.

Friday, February 18, 2011

People Don’t Need Words, They Need a Sense of Purpose

As I listen to the woman upstairs, who has been unemployed for fifteen months spend yet another 12 hour day scrubbing and rearranging her apartment, I pause to think of what our purpose on Earth is. The woman upstairs stomps firmly and endlessly back and forth from  7 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day, 7 days a week, around 355 days a year, completely scrubbing and rearranging every object she owns. And then doing it again the next day, not unlike what I do writing this blog. When I had that legendary “I’m only doing this till the play sells” job for 23 years, I at least knew I had to be there to make sure 2,300 newspapers got their comics. Now, about 88 percent of every function at my old job has been automated. Both I and the lady upstairs are on Disability. And we have 24 hours a day to fill. She is 10 years younger than me, but I’ll wager neither one of us will find a husband, and if we do...what will be so damned special about our days? Shopping at A&P? Having someone to talk  with about “Jeopardy”? The lady upstairs never has one perhaps someone to comment on the sparkling kitchen floor? With no money for necessities, are the Arts going to be that important to anyone? Were I teaching, maybe...but what is the point of teaching if there are no jobs to apply the knowledge to? The idea behind a society is that there will be something for every person to do, but sometimes, there is nothing. At least I have an income. How frightening it must be to have a house and children when the unemployment runs out. Unless you seriously want to see the streets packed with starving and dying must think about what you can do about it...or what the computers can do.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

OK, the Snow is Melting. What’s My Excuse Now?

Walking into the Library this morning, with both my brain and the Earth thawing out; I realized that I have not read enough of these books. I am too restless to sit quietly and read. I like the action of a stage, a theater, a keyboard. I’ve barely read anything beyond a newspaper since college. And the recordings! My God! The Library has miles and miles of every kind of music  and what do I know? I get rap.  I adore Lady Gaga, but I am able sing along with Jerome Kern. Can’t help lovin’ dat man. I have heard Georg Solti conduct and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sing lieder. But I am proudest of having heard Janis Joplin and Liza Minnelli sing live. Janis gave a bit too much. You knew she was doomed, but you were thrilled to be able to witness the Thorn Bird burn like white phosphorus.

Too many people want to perform or write. Am I so good as to be the one to deprive them of their chance? I have to be so good that the audience doesn’t think they could do better. They applaud because they know only I can reach THAT level. And if I cannot reach THAT level, and leave them thinking they could do better, I have failed. I really should start reading all these God-damned books because I know that they are better than me and can make me a better writer. I should invest in a stereo and start listening to that music because they can improve my musical feel. We are part of a community. Part of an era. It is not just about us and our Art, but about the whole damned mess that makes up American creativity in the 21st Century.  I have to stop thinking about being produced and to concentrate on joining the community. To do any less is to fail miserably and I’m racing closer and closer to that point.

And I don’t have the excuse of Winter much longer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For Lara Logan. I Have Always Adored You, My Warrior Queen

nI’m still in disbelief over what happened to Lara Logan of CBS last week. I’m not sure we know of any other newswoman being gang raped and beaten as she was in Cairo last Friday. And knowing her, she will be back with all she can give us sooner than we think. From my play, “The Thirteenth Step”. Anya is a Bosnian refuge.

I met Satan in Srebenica. It was wearing a uniform. Every soldier in our house that night was wearing Satan’s face. Your Sainted Mother knew my pain and helped me to realize that to waste time and energy on revenge means that these people win. I will remember, but I will not let them control my life. Riza, like me, was also held captive and tortured by a Monster, and we became like mother and daughter. Only, I was not as pure of heart. I could not...I did not save my baby from that terrible night. There is no way I could have love for that baby. I could not...I could not.

It’s good that your family has returned to Arizona. I am comfortable with the Navajo. They know what it is to have strangers tear their home apart. To take all you have.

Your mother made it her mission to help women who had been raped. I would not be able to speak with a woman who had not been...initiated into our horrible Sisterhood. So many nights, the dreams would come and I would scream and your mother, this beautiful, golden-haired Icon, would come to my room and hold me till I could sleep again. No words were needed. She knew what the soldiers had done.

My country is a nest of vipers waiting fifty years for the Russians to leave, so that they could openly claim their “superiority.” The night they came to my village, they killed my father and brother. My mother and sister were taken to other rooms. For me....

I despise you, Sebastian! You want to die! You put poison in his body and for what? Were you violated in every way by a dozen men? Beaten and burned for sport while the screams of your dying mother and sister rang in your ears? Did you have to beg the doctors to rip the child from his body that Nature so carelessly created in such a night?

Your amazing Heart. She says to me, “You did nothing wrong. Live your life like other women. Marry and have children and enjoy the touch of a man. You did nothing wrong.” I tried to hate Jesse as the rapist’s son, but we speak of how we both feel strange in our bodies. The guilt we feel for being chose to survive. I tell him of the deaths of my family. He tells me of having to identify the bodies of his wife and son. So horribly burned that they could not open the coffins.

You were not there, Sebastian, and you were not there when Riza and Red died in the crash and Jesse had to give the Sermon at their funeral. It was hard to watch him standing up there with the tears pouring down. The coffins were open and she lay there so peaceful and beautiful. I wanted to join her and close the lid and never leave. So much did I love her.

Without her, the United States was going to send me back to that Jesse married me. For two months after we marry, I sleep in another room. Then, one night, I have the nightmares and he comes to my bed to hold me and I permit him to stay. For another week, Jesse holds me in his arms every night...only holds me till I am ready.

And then, the night comes that he comes to the bed and I am naked and he joins me in the bed...naked. So many kisses. So many gentle touches. I started to Love him. And then, he whispers in my ear, “Soft Lily. Gentle Dove” and touches me  so gently.... The man was no longer Satan...he was Love. My Jesse. My Heart. We made our baby that night. She was created inside our Love.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Words, Words, Words, I'm so Sick of Words

That's from "My Fair Lady", which Shaw would have hated for its "happy" ending. Liza and the Professor would have had a marvelous friendship, which Shaw knew. Freddy would have be an adequate husband, tagging along during the verbal sparring. Sex and domesticity would have ruined the friendship. What had happened by the mid-fifties that we could only believe in that as the happy ending...or was it America and Broadway? Getting back to my point, I'm feeling a bit of a burnout with words. Too much misunderstanding and machination. I want the gesture, the color, the light. I want to hear boots marching across the boards and hear a rattle of a thunder board. The best line of dialogue in any movie was in "Pitch Black". The line was "Not for me!" Perfectus in contextus. The Female Space Navigator had said her job, as a soldier, was to give her life for others. When the alien almost had Riddick, the criminal in his grasp, she stepped in between them and the Alien ate her and Riddick yells "Not for me!" and suddenly sees the light and becomes a hero instead of a villain. Three tiny words. That's the art of script writing. In my film script for "Redemption", the little boy says to his Stepfather, "My real father had to die." The Stepfather, being a policeman, hears the words "had to" jump out. Because there is nothing as powerful as small words. "To be or not to be..." That IS the question.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am fascinated by Acting, Directing, Producing, Screenplays

I am not a fresh 22 year old college graduate. I'm supposed to be thinking of wrapping things up, but I can't stop playing with new things like acting and poetry and volunteering to direct and reminiscing about producing and looking excitedly at my horrid attempts at film writing. What is this? I still wish I could feel more comfortable and excited by people, but in a Schmooze situation today, I decided I was too tired to risk a Schmooze with new Theater people. I would not leave a good impression. And I'm wondering, if I fail in the theater, will I avoid bitterness? What is the point of being in the Arts if one is left with bitterness? Or do I just say that because I have an income and savings and can take the time and leisure to do this? I could and probably will fail at these new interests and that's all right. I am starting to remember the pleasure principal of creation. Yes, having money helps, but I would like recognition. Even Shakespeare didn't know he was Shakespeare while he was alive and what a bummer! Can I be the Grandma Moses of theater. No. I am just not that adorable. I can be a real pain in the ass and as we go into the more political "Bulldog",  I plan to.  To paraphrase a line from "Rent:", today is the only day we have.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feed a Kid on Valentine’s Day...March for Peace or Justice

Enough. Enough with my moods and emotions and complaints. I have enough to eat and a roof over my head. I pay too much for health insurance, but I have health insurance. My plays are being read in churches and by folks on line. So what if I don’t have a Valentine? I spent forty years married or dating and never got one. I think it’s time that the single folks of the world try to do something for somebody who needs more than a red paper heart. Maybe raise money for heart research. Maybe make sure there are desks and books and food in Uganda. I’ve wasted too much time and energy on Love and Romance. I have no children of my own, but there are plenty of them out there and the great thing about charity is you don’t have to LIVE with the %$#%@ kids...just help their parents make Life better for them. I’m just saying, single guys and single ladies...put a lid on it. All feeling bad will accomplish is feeling bad. Take that energy and organize a march. Drive a senior to the doctor. Let’s make February 14 a Day of Love...Love for the whole screwed up, greedy, noisy, smelly Human Race. You might meet someone. I’m just saying

Friday, February 11, 2011

The New One Act Comedy for Estrogenius Contest Begins

(Her Again is seated in a lounger, wrapped in a blanket, clutching a glass of whiskey. She cannot sit up straight and looks like she has had a long and eventful life. She has a cigarette in the other hand.)

I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, no! It’s Her Again. Writing some damned bullshit about love and romance and men and women. Yeah, well, I no longer believe in Ghosts or Heaven. So, to me, Heathcliff is now just a pain in the ass! Of course, you couldn’t have Catherine, you feral moron! Just shut up and enjoy the money you earned in the slave trade. Remember to take a shower every other week and maybe you won’t feel so fucking brooding.

I’ll show you brooding.

Ladies, we got two possible endings to our stories...happily ever after or left in their dust. Either way, we should make a lot of noise. Keep our wits about us and our noses to the grindstone. Buy a won’t drink all your booze.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don’t call me Hippie...I am a Freak! Really! That’s What We Said

The strangest thing about being an old Peace Marching, Manifesto Writing, Pot Smoking, Country Joe and the Fish Freak of the late 1960’s is how fast we disappeared. I noticed when I was 30-years-old that the 22-year-olds graduating from college had very little interest in the political, but had embraced the sex part with gusto. My younger New York City friends had lost track of the number of men they had sex with after  getting to 100 (not sleeping with...going up into the high seats of Palladium and mating and parting without even knowing names...a practice AIDS stopped) and yet they became very respectable wives and mothers without a thought. I barely made it to 10 real  relationships (plus one date rape) in my whole denimed, communal, Woodstock life. The disco party started as the Vietnam War disappeared and died. There was no longer a Draft to resist and people discovered credit cards when the rates were 3 percent and you could pay it all off every month for free. We actually had to pay for things at bizarre.  I remember in 1969 at Ohio University, when the Pong Game arrived at the Student Union. Within 24 hours people were wrapped around the block, waiting to play that simple, boring little game. (By the way, Pong recently beat Andy Roddick in a tennis game, but we always suspected that Pong had the best return of serve.) Parents were becoming increasingly irrelevant and unimportant to the life of the generation after ours. Our parents, fresh from surviving the Depression and World War II, passed on different neuroses than the parents who slogged through Korea and only knew shopping as being at a Mall. We knew the world before plastic, but the generation born after 1956 were raised on Tang and McDonald’s. But now, like it or not, now, we have 2 stupid wars. We have a hideous economy and the rich oppressing the poor more than ever.  The party is over. We have to get back in the streets. We have to stop playing and start understanding. “One, Two, Three What are we fightin’ for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn! Next stop is Bagram!” Yeah, there goes Grandma again...talking about a Revolution.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Declare February 9 The First Day of Spring 2011

We are now going to dive into the play “Bulldog” about the changes in the newspaper business. The only romanticism in this will be in praying for the survival of newspapers. There will be absolutely no male/female bonding except perhaps between the war reporters, done quickly and efficiently under a desk and then on to the next battle. The other play that I want to begin is called “R U HERE? M I?” about Social Networking. For this, I may need more discussion with other people about. I want to have the positive as well as the negative things that go on. It is also the springtime for art and performance. With the $65,000,000 “Spiderman” getting horrible reviews and yet terrific sales, never have the words “Quo Vadis?” (Latin for: “Say WHAT?”) been more relevant for the theater. And most importantly we have to plant our feet as firmly as a gimp can in the East. in accepting our age, and trying to understand what it is to be a woman. We are growing stronger, and yet we still have to look closely at ourselves because we can make a lot of our own problems, as I’ve discovered. My generation started the fight for feminism but we can’t be here to see where it goes. If we leave a mark on it, it has to be the best possible one.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My attempts at "Haiku" Apologies to the Land of Japan

Over Here! Look Over Here!
Over Here at Me! I am
Waving my Hand!

Bad Poetry Is
The Refuge Of the Whiny

Frozen Water And
Frozen Heart.  Will Spring Bring a
Thaw To All Rivers?

I WIll Never Again
Offer Apologies For
The Immutable.

Why is Arrogance
And Self-Absorption Like
Catnip to me? Mom?

Monday, February 7, 2011

And words writ on computer screens are cold.

I spent the last few days studying Rostand’s form in “Cyrano de Bergerac”.  Free verse without rhyme, set to a count of ten. You can break a line, just keep the beat. Daddio. I know. I know. There are technical terms for this, but I just want the nuts and bolts; like building a set or hanging a light: concrete things that make the magic happen. I am not quite there yet, but this morning, I wrote one of the best damned pieces of free verse I have done so far, and I cannot share it because it is so very, very personal. And if there’s anything I’ve learned of late, it’s that if you’re selling this thing called Creativity, it cannot go too willy-nilly into your  Persona. Because sometimes , you will indulge in forbidden areas that only you can accept. Unskillful presentation will send the audience fleeing. If you can find  a way to touch the horror, and have them stay in their seats, then you are a legendary genius. I don’t know anyone who’s capable. The title of this piece, “And words writ on computer screens are cold,” is the one safe line and I love its mix of ancient and modern. “writ” on “computer screens.” The heat comes from the actor’s voice. From the stroke of paint. From the ink on paper. Maybe the Kindle will change this calculation. Maybe your mind can do it all. I don’t know. Perhaps words that are cold on the screen will be just as chilling spoken face-to-face.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Whoot! There it is!

OK, you'll want to see "Amour Americaine" this is the google.doc address:

If you can't get in, message me at with your email address and I'll set it in.

A sixth draft is not yet performance level. Not until I hear it and I'm talking to two theatrical groups about getting a private, working reading. Wow! This one is hard. "Cyrano" could be as romantic and devoted as he liked. But Siriana, as a modern she a addict? I gave her adventures and romance in her 14 year separation from Roxy.  Cyrano only lives for Roxanne, but that was the 17th Century. 1996 in New York was still confusing. Still searching for answers and pleasures and not noticing that the world was being sabotaged by the bankers. Every play I write, I open cans of worms that I must deal with. I paid a price for this play. I hope the audience gets the reward.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let's Kick This Off Again Since we Have a New Play

I missed doing this and I am still writing plays, so let's get going with this. I have a friend who is starting a new theater in New Jersey and I might actually get a reading of the monster, the 120 page "Cyrano de Bergerac" modernization that I call "Amour Americaine". It's copywritten. It's up to the 6th draft and getting better, but I gotta hear it. There is a contest for one acts, Estrogenius (I know. I know. But they do good work) that I'm entering and I'm turning the old ReinhardRites into an essay on the theater for another contest. I am entered in a contest to be printed and basically I am hopping up and down screaming SUSAN B. REINHARD IS A PLAYWRIGHT! which you have to do so they at least know your name. I'm also going to try to do something amazingly difficult and fix a huge flaw in my personality. The compulsive/addictive/romantic thing did give me a great play in Amour, but I can't do this any more. It's too tiring and I have vowed a million times to be a Feminist. Now, I'm going to try and I have to give up Fantasyland, which will not be easy for me, the addict, but it has to be done. SUSAN B. REINHARD IS A PLAYWRIGHT! Damn it! That's not such a bad thing to be.