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.