Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freedom’s Just Another Word for Annuity

Spent the morning talking with the Banker about what to do about my tiny, frail, adorable little nest egg. It’s not much, but it’s all I got and it’s the difference between living comfortably or under a bridge eating cat food. I cannot believe that I, Reinhard the Ridiculous, who seemed to do everything wrong with theater, men, and life actually has a stash. Gee, guys, I got the impression I was too annoying to survive, but here I am, wondering how much MAC a grand will buy. The computer, not 6 months of the makeup.

Chase Manhattan Bank is Satan, but that means it’s the King of Hell and stronger than most angels. If they use their evil to pay me, I can’t complain. I have pension and disability. My apartment costs a third of what it would cost in New York. My 22 year old car still runs but I could replace it with a Mercedes toy car in this crazy day and age. I would like to be pessimistic, but I can’t be, at least, about money.

I am pessimistic about the environment, about nuclear energy, about stupid, unwinnable wars and the disastrous effects banks like Chase have on the world. I worry about racism in politics disguised as patriotism. Yo! Rufus! The country will be 40 percent white in 20 years, you better not piss people off. And please, don’t push to shut down the government when you live off Social Security. Yes, you Idiot, YOU won’t get paid. DUH! There are too many guns and not enough teachers and the greatest horror of all...Chris Christie is my Governor!

And as the crazy woman above me goes into her 6th hour of her 14 hour walk back and forth across the living room which she does 7 days a week, I realize she’s about the only real problem have. I imagined everything else. I dramatized everything else. And most important, I don’t have to drag my ass into New York and back for 4 hours a day. We’ll make it do for now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Clean Sheet of Paper on A Really Old Printer

Part of the problem of trying to do something with your life after the age of fifty is that you were supposed to have done it already. The kids should be in college and the mortgage paid off. You should have won your first Tony or Pulitzer or Oscar and be settling into the next phase of your life; not still be struggling to compete with the twenty-two-year-olds for fame and recognition. My friends are wrapping up their lives and contemplating retirement and here I am, still trying to get a put on a show and save the school.

Sometimes, I wish the only thing I had to outline was dinner. I wish that the only thing I had to sell were cookies at the church bake sale and not a 120 page script. Sure. Sure. I put up a brave front and try to be all defiant and inspirational, but there’s part of me that knows I should be writing the damned thing in Tweets instead of speeches.

And unlike a certain male friends who have hot young things on hold for their success, waiting for them to be able to afford them (I'm not joking, but the men understand. They want to be able to afford her. As a rich man once told me about women dating for money, “That’s why you earn the money.”),  I will have to do this alone, even if it works. I wasn’t bright enough to go to highest bidder when I was young and now I am just too damned old.  Not that dame playwrights have ever seemed particularly sexy or glamorous, Claire Booth Luce aside. The sisterhood laughed when the Hollywood powers decided that “Playwright” was the most exciting job Diane Keaton could have in “Something’s Got to Give”, AND they gave her a boyfriend twenty years younger with totally straight faces.

I’m tired and I have M.S. Granted, the Disability gives me some freedom, but I still spend more than I take in and that nest egg is getting to look more like a wren’s than a robin’s. I’m not in Playwriting workshops, which are basically a way to pay the rent through the fees and all the cost to the theater is one night of a reading for family and friends. Sometimes, they pay off, but like everything else in the Arts, there’s no money and too damned many people are doing it.

But still, I see a clean white screen and my fingers go to the keyboard. I automatically go into italics  and begin.

(A bar of a Midtown Hotel. Twilight.  A woman is seated in a lobby chair, reading a magazine. She looks up as a man in hat and overcoat rushes in and goes to the front desk and begins to ring the bell frantically.)

That was totally improvised in the moment, but I can’t help wondering what happens next. Maybe that’s the approach I should take to life, even after sixty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Princess Grace Submission...Am I Too Old to Emerge?

Susan B. Reinhard, DGA
Personal Statement
I realize that being 61 years old is a bold challenge to the concept of “emerging artist” and might be considered disqualifying by many. However, for those who have had long years of experience in trying to get a play produced, it is almost understandable.
What I bring to the stage is not just theatrical experience, but Life experience. Also, I am now retired, on Disability and I have one precious asset I’ve never had before: time. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the year 2000 and went into a 10 year depression that ended in 2010. I awoke with a start and at my age, in my condition, almost immediately booked a weekend of staged readings of “The Talking God” at my church.
My theatrical experience is very well-rounded. I was a line producer of plays in Philadelphia. I have directed at least three times. I have been asked to refrain from acting by wiser hands.
I became a playwright at the age of 14, when Lorraine Hansberry died. I wanted to carry on her inspiration and goals. I began in Business School, where an English teacher ordered me to become a writer. I transferred to the Playwriting curriculum at Ohio University. My first production “Lullaby Dance” was canceled when the school closed due to Anti-Vietnam riots. Then, the entire major was canceled due to the fact that I was the only one left. I call it the luck of the Borings.
I somehow got myself trapped in dead cities and bad marriages until I arrived in the New York/New Jersey area in 1982. Once there, you can see from the resumé, I worked and studied and got quite a few productions. Then, I was diagnosed and stopped all.
The amusing part of the genesis of “Amour Américaine” was that a gentleman had informed me in 2010 that he had no interest in me because I was “too short”. (I am 5’6”, he is 6’, my second husband was 6’7”, but, as Woody Allen says “The heart wants what it wants.”) And then, I realized: “Cyrano de Bergerac!” Thus, Professor Sirianna D. Bergmann of N.Y.U. was born.
There have been no female Cyranos because it is non romantic to call a woman ugly. BUT she can be disabled. She can use a cane and wield that cane like a sword. Roxanne is now Robert Xavier Yeager, called “Roxy.” Christian is now Chrissie. The setting is the art scene of New York City in 1996 and the plot turns on a whole lot more than a kiss.  And while there is poetry in “Amour”, I bow to Rostand and realize that I have to hear it to make it sing.
I have talked to my church in Montclair about starting classes for young people to write 10 minute plays. This is the sort of thing I would want to use the Fellowship for. I would also like to use my proximity to New York to experience other emerging playwrights. At this point in my life, I don’t have many more scripts left in me or the time to develop them. My favorite writing time is in development, working with director and actors. This is also an important skill to pass on to others. The Fellowship would help me to experience it again, frame it, and teach it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Drop the Mouse and Back Away From the Computer Slowly

When you write for the theater, you consider your audience and self-censor to appeal to this crowd or that. You know if you get really angry or really dirty, you have changed your audience and that is the only one you will try to sell it to. But, being a playwright, being dramatic (all right...MELOdramatic at times), can you really control the urge for flair when you are just commenting to a bunch of honest, regular people who have entered Facebok for different reasons than they enter a theater?

On Facebook, I’ve actually encountered more pressure to remove posts and comments than I have to remove my notes, which are often the same pieces I run in the blog. I hope that I’m allowed more leeway there; more permission to be myself. And perhaps it is a good thing if someone gently hints that you have gone too far or revealed too much for a possible crowd of 500,000,000 “friends” to understand clearly. This is honest feedback. Listen to it and become a better writer.

This has been an especially fertile and maturing time in my life. And believe me, even at my age, I have been incredibly childish and immature at times, but it couldn’t be avoided under the circumstances. And here’s a hint, Children...when you feel you are being misunderstood...if you feel that your side isn’t being told properly or honestly...shut up.

Seriously. The only way weird things end is if you stop them, because you can’t control other people. The SECOND you start controlling other people, you are telling them to remove posts and comments and you don’t want to be that person, do you? No. And the only way to stop them is to stop it. And if you can’t do it face-to-face...and you often can’t...shut up and find a nice, happy song about optimism, such as Donovan’s “Happiness Runs” to share and then review a movie and talk about your children’s art projects.

Is that censorship? Probably, but’s fucking Facebook. Chill. You wouldn’t do anything rash on LinkedIn because that’s professional. So is Facebook. You are dealing with coworkers and bosses. Your Mother may someday figure out that it is easy to open a page and you will HAVE to friend her. Chill.

Save the emotions for real life and real people that you have actually met, or with whom you have a face-to-face future with. Remember, it’s not about words or pictures, it’s about flesh-and-blood human beings. Put the mouse down and back away from the computer. Go out. Get some sunshine. You won’t have to censor yourself because only two can hear it. Real Life. Try it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bad Poetry Triple Play Day

I continue to crash around in the
Dark. Then denial is bathed in blinding
Light. It’s too late for riches. Too late for
Love. Nothing will take the disease from my
Head. Demographics kill the future of
Words. Life is “no” and “no” and “no” for old
Women. But still we rise, as Maya’s poetry
Says. I can read of romance, war and carnal
Lust. Perhaps write a bit from memory’s
Sighs. The transition from young to old is
Hard. I can’t go on. I must go on, says
Beckett. I do.  I will. I must. I can.

Fantasy thrives on the myth of control.
Reality has few happy endings.
Fantasy has no room for the real soul.
Reality must have compromise.
Fantasy dies in reality’s hole.
When the new wears off and life slithers in.

Truth, where is thy sting?
Hit me, I can take it.

Seriously, Man,
Shark has to move or die.

And unless it bends
The very fate of mankind

It doesn’t matter.
Even Shakespeare died one day.

Julius Caesar
Bit it one Ides of March.

Maybe I’m too nice
And you think I’m crystal.

Maybe I’m too tough
And you think I’m hard steel.

I don’t do revenge
And I go when I’m told.

Course, the worst thing is
If you don’t care at all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On LinkedIn, We're Having a Vigorous Discussion About Selling Art

Toon,  (a Dutch first name), doesn’t understand why people say that they love his Native American themed Art but don’t buy it.  Ah, if Love could only make one’s wallet bulge as well as it does other parts...we’d all have sweet young things in our beds and Rembrandts on the wall.

The LinkedIn crew have gone around and around in circles, but the bottom line remains the same: money. There is none in this Recession, or at least not enough to buy Art. Perhaps something “nice” at IKEA to hang over the couch, but the group is not speaking of prints. We are mourning the real painting or sculpture and the joy they can give a viewer.

For me, Art is a theatrical script with a cast of 20 and 5 sets. But, I can cut the cast and trim the sets, and as long as the core, my words, gets out, I’m happy. And Honey, in Theater, the playwright is the last one paid and we become rich only if it leads to a movie sale.

That’s not what the plastic Arts are about. Paintings and sculpture must be complete. You cannot have a core without the shell. The artist envisions a piece...completed...not an arm or a leg, or the Sun without the Sky.

If it’s about talent, if it’s about skills and vision, the Europeans ask, should they not get paid the proper appreciation? Shouldn’t we all? Then, we’d have the money to indulge in the luxury of Art. But, as I look at the paintings on my it  luxury? I can’t afford many, but aren’t they necessary on some level? The richness and color of real oil and acrylic can’t ever be caught in a print. They can’t be caught on a computer screen. To touch the paint is to touch the artist’s hand. What is the price of that? What are we losing if only the Super Rich can afford it, and the Artists  have to give up their crafts to eat? Just asking.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What is The Urge to Pass It Along?

Wounded as a child, some vow
To never pass it along.
And others, innocently think
They can make it acceptable
If they reenact the scene over and over
Until its darkness becomes white.

It never does.

If the wounded pass the deed along
It’s not so bad or evil.
In some ways, it felt good.
That has to make it right.
They cling to that good moment.
That wasn’t bad or evil.

But it was.

Most of us don’t think.
We just do without thinking.
To find the positive in the horror.
Then wonder why the Villagers
Come after us
With righteous torches


To forgive it is to lessen the heroics
Of those who refuse to pass it on.
The others are not villains
But must be stopped
For their sakes and for ours.
And especially our children.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Honestly Don't Remember Writing This on March 12th

(She is sitting backstage on a stool, chewing on a fingernail with one hand. In the other hand is a cigarette. She is dressed in a black leather miniskirt and bustier. There are splashes of color in her jewelry. Her hair is in a bouffant do, plastered with hairspray. She wears black lace tights and high heeled boots. Her makeup is heavy, but skillfully done, yet her eyes are panicked. She stands up and paces, then sits again.)

Maury! Maury! I need a glass of water! Where the Hell are you, Asshole? MAURY! Shit!

(She stands up and paces, then sits again. She tosses the cigarette on the stage and stomps it out.)

Don’t look at me like that. (pause) Like I’m some kind of a freak show for you...I’m not. Fuck! They get it. The men get it and they like it. (pause) I don’t know why they like it but they do and so do I! Look at me. I’m strong! I kick ass! Nobody messes with me.

(She listens.)

I don’t know. Sixteen, I think...why? (pause) Some guy from school...Al. Albert. It was O.K. What do you care? You some kind of perv? (laughs) It was no big deal. I didn’t even know what was happening and then it was over. Right! Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ma’am. It got better after that. I mean, the first one’s like got to get that out of the way and then you can start to learn with nothing in the way. It’s not like I was handing it out on the street or nothing. I thought I was in love. Right! A dozen times...I thought I loved the dumb bastard! Thought it was all sunshine and roses and I was going to end up with a fucking shanty in the suburbs. Petunias in the Garden, right?

(She lights another cigarette.)

There was one...Bobby Vittola. We thought we was going to make it. I sort of got pregnant...and that sort of fucked it up. But, we was going to try...and then, I lost it. That fucked it up even more. Bye, Bye Bobby. (pause) This is my first job dancing, you know? With the pole. The pole! They wish they were! Fucking economy, it’s the only way left to earn a paycheck...a good paycheck.
(She begins to pace and sing.)

MARY, singing
She works hard for de hard for de money... (spoken) When they start whooping and applauding, it gets easier...almost natural. Bonnie Rae taught me, she said don’t get vulgar...surprise them with a little move...a sudden pop! And don’t let any of them come backstage. Don’t fuck anybody you meet in the bar. It’ll just break your heart...or worse, get you killed.

Anyway, I got a man now. (pause) No, not a young guy...he’s a little older...been around the block a couple of times. Sometimes, he just wants to watch me walk across the room wearing nothing but a necklace or my boots. Christ! The smile he gets on his face right then, you’d think I’d given him a b.j., just from looking at me. (pause) You’re kidding? What kind of a College do you go to...b.j. is a blow job... fellatio...seriously, Honey! You need to try it sometime. Just to see the smile on his face. You know, I’ll bet you came up with this idea about writing a paper on pole dancers to make some man happy...some professor...yeah, yeah, yeah, you may not admit it but that’s what I think it is! What’s his name? (pause) Jackson, right! Yeah, I just want to write it...sure! You’re just like me. You like them with a little salt and pepper in the beard. (pause) No! Not if I don’t want to...nobody gives me orders. My man knows to ask nice. He doesn’t have to ask at all, I can just tell from the look in his eyes. (pause) Of course, I’m his equal...I’m the equal of every one of those guys out there...probably moreso. More equal because they’re paying to look at me. They crawl to put a dollar in my waistband. They crawl to me. O.K. College’s show time! Take notes. (to herself) Deep breath, Kid. Be their Queen!

(A pole descends from the ceiling. The lights change to blue and purple as she throws her leg around the pole and tosses back her hair. She looks beautiful and magical. End of scene.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another One That Can't Be Shared But Here It Is

Damn it! No one should understand fantasy
Better than me, who’s lived her life in it.
No one has bigger rose colored glasses.
Why should I be surprised that the object
I dream of is dreaming of others with
The same chance of happy ever after?

Forgive me.

When you are in the pain of losing her
I should not be mourning about losing you.
No one could understand as well  as us.
But we can’t speak of this because of me.
I wish you could feel my hand on your back
Without worry that I mean something else.

Forgive me.

I have lessened my life with the daydreams
You have destroyed your life with fantasy.
An addiction, a trance, comforting joy.
I know. I know and I am fighting it but
I can’t share my victory with you, Angel.
As it was about you, whom it kills.

Forgive me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Everything Changed In The Last Week

 Japan. Japan. Japan. Worse every day.
And we wait for the other clog to drop.
For what? We don’t even know what will
Happen when the reactors lose patience
And explode.

I've wasted too much time on Love and Sex.
I must write about our humanity,
All  of our hopes and dreams shattered by greed,
Advancing age, poverty and illness.
Nothing left.

The sky is blue and the sun shines brightly.
Tiny leaves slowly return to the trees .
I just want to talk to you face to face.
And once more make dinner of chocolate
And white wine.

We've been forced into a grim adulthood
Against our will. It is not fun and games.
Unless we turn off our minds and our ears.
We can't put it off one more day, until

Either idle or running like machines,
People are falling through the cracks of life.
Freedom is more than decadence, I fear.
No one is shocked or moved by anything.

So, we will never meet again to talk.
We will never meet again so lightly.
But we will be bound in the work to come
And wave at each other from far flung shores.
Moving on.

If I must be alone, let it be in
A crowd marching forward, demanding Joy
For the children who inherit this Life
That we didn’t cherish or respect till
It was gone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Incredible, Edible Ego

I don’t like being criticized, even if it is correct. I will put a frozen smile on my face, nod and take notes, then go home and hop up and down, screaming curses at my critic and myself...then pick up the notes, put them in order and attempt to apply them to my life...if I can.

And I always ask myself the key question: “What if I am wrong?”

I wonder if my critic ever asks his or her self that question?

You see politicians try to carefully explain away their errors and if they fail, try to divert your attention to the fat cat elementary school teachers or our Mau Mau Islamic leader. For many voters this works because they want to be able to explain away their own shortcomings. It’s a visceral circle.

All I know is that  I cannot live without feedback. Negative or positive, bring it on. I have a friend who finds an “incorrect” word in every Facebook posting. She is generally not right but it makes her feel better about life, so I always thank her for her suggestion. And refrain from posting my suggestion to her. I want her to do this because it keeps me sharper. It makes me make sure I’ve used le mot juste.

I think Harry Truman said it best: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” if you can’t review yourself and be open to criticism, you shouldn’t be saying anything or singing anything or painting anything. It’s a tough world with few openings to success. I suspect deep down, that I may only be a 99 percent good playwright when the market demands that you be 105 percent or somebody’s nephew. (HI! AARON!) And of course, the best critic is yourself. You have GOT to be able to hear that line go THUD! You have got to look at your life and say, “Well, that’s not working.” And isn’t it nicer to catch it yourself, before your friend says , “Are you SURE you want to wear the blue belt?”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shut the "Fuck" Up

Let it go, my Love.
It is clawing at your face.
Tearing your beautiful hands.
Destroying you.
Let it go. Let it slither away.
You cannot kill it
You cannot control it.
Let it go before the infection
gets into your blood.
Before you die, my Love,
and give it victory.
If you die, you take
A part of me with you.
I do not give you permission.
Strip the things down to nothing.
Not even the clothes on your back.
Bathe in the waters of Freedom.
All you need are those hands,
those eyes, that mind.
Bathe in the waters of Freedom.
Stop Stop Stop talking
And look into my eyes.
Stop Stop Stop talking
And look into my eyes.
The blue of my eyes.
The color of the sea.
Bathe in the waters of Freedom.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Was Challenged by a Minister to Blog About Family Value

That’s a difficult subject for me. I’m 61, and like many of my generation, I was  born only because my parents had NO idea how to prevent it, but I was allowed to stay because they were also expected to keep children, like cattle.  My mother had been abandoned by her parents during the Depression and my father’s father was an alcoholic because of the Depression. They have few “values” to pass on except “poverty sucks”.

Fortunately, back in the fifties and sixties, the societal pressures were high to perform and behave, and I was born with a 142 i.q.; if not for these forces, I would have been in constant trouble because my parents provided nothing but an occasional whack on the butt. Dad would occasionally lecture us about life and religion. My mother would threaten to send us to an orphanage if we bothered her. My sister was the Good Girl. She still is, greeting unpleasant subjects with a smile and unbending silence that will not be broken until you drop said unpleasant subject. But she is a Christian and did a good job of her marriage and of raising her two boys; one of whom refuses to have children and the other was so desperate to start a family he passed up a college scholarship. I am the crazy aunt.

I’m not sure what the values were or what a family is, actually. My father died when I was twenty-nine and Mom remarried and move to Florida to keep the questions and problems of family far away from her. I learned to make a family from the cast and crew of my plays, or the students at the theater I was studying at or the building in which I lived. In my twenty-three years at United Media, I suppose UME was the family with me as, again, the crazy aunt.

You can try to make your friends your family until Thanksgiving, when the knives come out and you don’t know what they’re talking about and they don’t understand why the screaming bothers you. My best friend injected herself into another family and disappeared. I met someone who felt like a beloved sibling, but I had to step away and leave this person and pray that this person's friends would take care of...him. My sister has invited me to live near them when the MS cripples me completely, but I will never be invited to live with them. Crazy Aunt and all that.

So, I suppose the Unitarian Church is my family and I do like their values. Forgive me if I don’t volunteer to help with the children. I was taught by my mother that they are noisy pests, but I’m so glad the Church does take care of them. The commitment to taking care of our children; of listening to our children; of loving our children is so vital, especially in the way that Conservative forces are corrupting family values. I'm not the one to come up with the answers...I leave that to the families. But I'll do whatever I can as a writer and a human being to pass them on.

Friday, March 11, 2011

But Enough About Me, There are Earthquakes and Tusnamis

Our basement is flooded, is being dried
That’s the extent of our tragedy now.

No earthquake, tsunami or disaster.

I’ve put on a little extra weight
Which means I had enough to eat today.

No starvation, want, need, or chill for me.

There is nothing here to feel sorry for.
Especially me, who should grow up

No charity, no gifts,  no help needed.

I am comfortable and surviving
Alone but never abandoned by life.

No misery, no terror, no danger here.

Dear God, give me the wisdom to embrace
People with real needs and true challenges.

And stop thinking about my stupid self.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Living in Real Time

I think the hardest part of growing older is realizing that this is it. This is the time you spent your whole life working toward and none of it is anything like you desired...nay! You DEMANDED! You knew. It was just a matter of staying strong and focused. If 99 percent of the people who tried to make it in the Arts, you were going to be the one...who didn’t make it. Somewhere out there was a person for you never found him. You can’t really think about the future beyond Medicare and Medicade...I’m already on Social Security Disability. If you think about the future, you can be pretty sure it involves things you don’t want to think about. Like Death.

So, here we are in real time. This day. Today. Just me. Toujours Seule, Baby! I really should get to the gym. It’s raining. The woman upstairs, who lost her job two years ago is spending another 12-14 hour day, seven days a week, cleaning her apartment, walking with heel-banging purpose back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, slamming things down forcefully to show that THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TASK THAT MAKES HER LIFE WORTH...something. I’m not kidding. She does it from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day. She is trying to qualify for Disability. If she’s using insanity, she has a  good chance.

Some of my friends spend their lives on Facebook, posting articles and videos. And if you have the right equipment, that can be a form of creation, but it’s not going to pay the bills. Despite the fame of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, it’s not an accomplishment to leave behind and it sure doesn’t earn you a living. I just lost two friends because I got too close to a third and maybe it’s time for all of us to take a break and go to the gym. I have to pay attention to the people there, talking to them and making friends. I have to volunteer at my church and, damn it, be humble. I’m not famous or important unless I give something to others. That’s all I can do right now.

I am submitting plays and attending Dramatist Guild meetings, surrounded by younger people who think it’s all going to happen someday. I try not to discourage them. I am an example of nothing and they are the shining hope of tomorrow. They have to be. It’s a necessary part of survival, of growing up, of making it here with a bit of savings, a car and an apartment...with an upstairs neighbor going slowly insane above me. I wish I could tell her to stop worrying about the dreams and listen to the rain. The apartment’s clean enough for now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Grandma May Go to Jail for This, but Before I Forget

Sex to me was naked and spontaneous. A sudden surprise while washing dishes or a mahogany bump on a Conference Room table after hours; with suits being pushed down and up and giggles echoing through empty halls. Pull the stop button on the elevator and drop to your knees; skillfully, quickly having your fun and arriving on the Penthouse floor, reminding him of his zipper. Being bent over the back of an armchair while in t-shirt and shorts. A tug and a thrust and there you are. And best of all, half-asleep, wrapped in flesh, in the dark, sleepy kisses with your fingers in his hair. Silky liquids in the dark, opening, filling...and what are the words for the waves of pleasure a man can cause? Electric is too harsh and even “waves” is too simple. It is about flesh and blood and feeling pleasure move down your arms and legs to your fingertips, which are sliding down his back, completing the circle of joy. And your mouths, your mouths all greedy and kissing till the lips are sore and the tongue immobile. And it’s over and you dash through cold air to pee and he follows behind you naked and hops up and down till you’re done and you trade places and he opens the lid and points as you put your arms around his bare body and then you run back to bed through the cold and throw the covers over you and cuddle close. This was sex to me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Actually, I May be Class of ‘71...But I Didn’t Graduate

For all of the bragging Ohio University used to do (before they became a Party School), it was quite disorganized, especially in the Theater Department. I was allowed to transfer into O.U.  my Junior year as a Playwriting Major. I believe there were 9 of us and one by one they defected to the English Department. It was about the time that they required us to take a Theatrical Construction course. (Set building 101) and while I am proud to have the ability to build a wall from boards and canvas, I haven’t had much call for it of late.

While Shakespeare was reputed to have done everything that needed to be done to get his shows running, from sweeping the stage to running the concession stand, (“Mead! Get your cold mead and hot pasties!”) the more modern Bards considered themselves AUTHORS and INTELLECTUALS...not carpenters. Fortunately, I saw the metaphor of it and loved getting my hands into the casein buckets, although I was less than thrilled crawling around the flying areas fifty feet in the air. Yeah! O.U. had THEATERS, baby!

I returned for my Senior year and just before Christmas was called into the Head of the Department’s office. It seemed Captain Crackerjack had forgotten to tell me about certain requirements for graduation that were now too late to sign up for. And even more fun...they were canceling the Playwriting Major as I was the only one left. I would have to return for a FIFTH year of college. Now, think about it. I don’t act, I don’t direct. I write plays. I can’t change to a different theater major and I was about 93 required classes short for an English Degree.

This was complicated by the fact that the guy I had had a fling with in Atlantic City the summer before was dating a virgin and let’s just say that when he realized I to approach, he showed up in Athens, Ohio and decide we should get married the following October, and me, being provably to this day, an idiot about Love matters, said “Yes!” It was years later that I realized that he had never said “I love you.”

So, therefore, I dropped out of college, wrecking my parental relationship and all possibilities of being taken seriously as a Playwright. No matter how many classes and workshops I took in New York, I couldn’t be a real playwright. And when I realized the producers preferred college professors because the schools will pay for the first production, I realized that I doth hath screweth the pooch for a marriage that lasted 7 years.

And now, in this economy there is no point in going back to school and little money to pay for it. I have the time because I am disabled, but being on get the picture. All I can do is write and say that I am Ohio University, 1971. Not necessarily graduated with the class, but I did make it from 1967 to 1971. And remember that Shakespeare wasn’t an academic either, so there!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm Running Out of Time to Grow Up

Still have problems reading quietly on a quiet night in a comfortable chair. Still daydreaming about things that would make you laugh like a loon. (I'm actually writing that play, called "Her Again.") I am not silver haired and sixty-one years old in my fantasies and the avatar only works with fantasy men. And fantasy publishing and fantasy productions. I mean, you got to sit down and write the damned thing, on a quiet night in an office chair; and then you have to take your crippled old ass out to sell it and pray they don’t dismiss you without a reading. It was demographics, I know!

And what is this fascination with me? I have to famous! I have to be rich and win prizes. Me! I deserve it because...because I want it..? I’ve been playing that damned tape for fifty years and it’s so not the era of tape any more. I should at least transfer to an MP3 player...if I could afford one. It has to be earned and you cannot think of the Producers as Assholes and Idiots. You have to find a way to get through to them. That's part of being an Artist, like it or not.

But, what’s wrong with just going outside on a nice Spring day and taking a walk? Why not? Am I depriving the world of my great gift or renewing it? I’ve spent far too much time on line and in Facebook and have the scars to prove it. Blogging every day even though no one reads any of them. Trying to find clever postings and the most interesting news...ENOUGH!

I’ve blown it. Wasted everything in life both personal and professional and yet, giving up is not an option. I know I can’t relive the past. The only day we have is today. But sometimes, I can’t help wondering if the fact that I don’t slow down and relax is one of the reasons I accomplished nothing. That, and ten years of self-pity that ended last year. One more blog. One more posting to Facebook. Read the damned Neruda and learn something, Reinhard.

You’re running out of time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bad Poetry Day in the Rites Replacement

It had to be done, I understand that.
But was it imperfect? You bet it was.
Clumsy, ham-handed, so badly managed
That I will always be ashamed of me.

It had to be done.

Too many distractions and worries re
Things that are not my fucking business
And over which I could have no control
Leaving my mind to race with vague shadows.

It had to be done.

But it will never be done, it haunts me
With questions. Did I somehow make it worse?
Did I need more humor ? Less mothering?
Did I put me first and run for the door?

It had to be done.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

All Art is Lonely and I Have to Work This Crap Out

All Art is Lonely.

What’s the worst part of being a writer? For one thing, it’s plain black letters on a plain white surface. You don’t know what it will look like until it’s bound or produced. You don’t know what it is saying or doing until someone else reads it or speaks it or reviews it. You know what the resonance in your own head, but what about the echoes in other minds? Unlike a painting, which has color and theme clearly stamped and finished and in your face, the written word is always a trembling possibility that may fall flat in a stranger’s hands.

All Art is lonely.

All arts have to deal with the idea of the future. Generations will see it differently. Translations into other languages will slightly bend the meaning. Like the translations of Pablo Neruda that do not flow as beautifully in English as in Spanish.  Plays will be performed in different ways, in different settings and ages, like Julius Caesar set in Nazi Germany. The great murals of the Depression often seem archaic now and the Communist Genre is a gentle joke in which we do not yet remember  why the workers are so shining and optimistic.

All Art is lonely.

Opening night parties for shows and exhibits are celebratory, but it’s also one of the few times when Artist and audience can touch. At the first theater I worked at in New York City, I wonder if my career wasn’t hurt because I had to get back to the suburbs and couldn’t stay out partying with the cast. And, I had to go from New Jersey to New York to work at 9 a.m., which also cut my nights short. I wasn’t the best raconteur or drunk and I wonder how much this truncated my career? And why, or why, did I permit depression to ground me for ten years. Ten years I could have done, something, anything more important than sitting.

All Art is lonely.

And that loneliness can get you in trouble. We are prone to delusions and fantasies to begin with. We tend to be needy and addictive. I declare undying love to a man I just met but he then declares undying love to someone he hasn’t even met yet. Game over! He goes me one better in both Art and Insanity, but that’s what Artists do. That’s why ears are sheared and heads go into ovens. I’m too modern to end up Vincent or Sylvia, but Lord, don’t I know why they did what they did both in Life and in Death...because all Art is lonely.