What I Read: July 2019

The majority of my reading for July was comics and graphic novels. It’s funny how things work out that way, even when you rely on the library for your reading material. Big Questions by Anders Nilsen arrived with plenty of time for our graphic novel book club meeting, but it was followed shortly after by both volumes of Skyward by Joe Henderson & Lee Garbett and The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui.

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Turn My Stomach

I’m reading and writing a lot these days about a subject that turns my stomach.

Before I go on, I want to say that today’s blog post is about the fanaticism of college football and, more importantly and more disturbingly, the pattern of rape that many Division I teams cover up. I’m not trying to trigger folks. That’s the last thing I want to do. But please know the general outline of this content before you keep reading.

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Driven to Anger

Last week I saw a play that got me so riled up and angry.

In fact, when I criticized the play on the way home, my friend said “I’m sorry you hated it.” I didn’t hate it. Hating something doesn’t bring out intense emotions and critique, at least not for me. When I tried to relay my same critique to J, who had not seen the play and didn’t know anything about it. In fact, he’d been at work when I was out galavanting around town, seeing free theatre. He was tired. I was tired. And he said, “I’m sorry it was a waste of your time.”

It wasn’t a waste of my time. It wasn’t.

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Not My Life

Last night I said something that would have ruined my 25-year-old self.

Last night I got a text from a producer at 9:45PM, a text that the victim-blaming society that lives inside of me would say I asked for. I’d exchanged numbers with this producer at the top of the year, I justified. It made sense that he was using it. But it didn’t make sense that he was using it, not really. Phone numbers are for friends, not for texts from work contacts. They’re for pre-planned phone meetings, not for questions that could be answered in an email. And they’re certainly not for 10PM last minute meetings on Sunday nights.

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Falling in Love with a Pier

I showed up early to a meeting yesterday.

Like, really really early. Like, it would have been embarrassing if I wasn’t meeting with two of my closest friends, one who I call “best” and one who wears the title unspoken. So instead of waiting in front of our meeting place, head down, thumbs tangled in my phone, I walked. And then I realized I was a block away from a pier. So I walked there too.

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What I Read: June 2019

This last month was a roller coaster of reading. I read so many books quickly — within a couple of days, within 24 hours — and others took me weeks to get through. Sometimes reading is like that: a breeze, an uphill battle. That’s why I only write about books I love. Because the ones I don’t aren’t worth dwelling in.

Reading should be fun. That’s what I keep reminding myself. Reading should be fun.

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You Can't Copyright An Idea

There are four plays about the Voyager mission.

The first one is mine, but it clearly wasn’t the first one. Because to be first implies that I completed a draft before anyone else. In November 2016, full of pain and only just finally being able to crawl out of bed — I was freelance, or “freelance,” and in more pain than I had the right to be in — I reconnected with Maureen Monterubio. She wanted to submit something to the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival, something with a bite of hope, something to get us moving and creating.

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Crafting a Support System

I have a board of directors.

And I agonized over it. I agonized for the same reasons I always agonize over asking for help. It’s a big ask, right? Why would anyone donate their time like that? And what do they get out of it anyway? I kept talking about my hypothetical board of directors — how I would rely on them as I faced this seemingly lawless world of playwriting, how they would help me choose a new headshot, how I would tap into their expertise to quiet my own insecurities — for the better part of a year. But something kept stopping me. I didn’t want to burden anyone. I didn’t want to burden them. I didn’t want to be a burden.

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Capturing Myself in My Own Image

I went to a photoshoot this morning.

It was a photoshoot for a secret secret project that I can tell y’all about next month. It was a photoshoot for a play that makes me want to scream and laugh and read and share and keep working and keep working and keep working. But all of these thoughts and feelings and joys and frustrations come from working on the script, conversing with the characters, being alone in my apartment as I type into the void that is my computer.

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Crafting a Celebration of Our Own Successes

I took this photo on my way to class last night.

I love how much sunshine we’re getting these days, deep into the evening. I love how this rainbow reflects the lesson I was preparing to teach that night: how to get ahead of artistic jealousy by focusing in on our own successes — and by lifting others up unprompted. I love how this touristy little spot became my own moment of reflection.

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I Did Not Watch The Tonys

I did not watch The Tonys, but I did watch Rachel Chavkin finally win her award.

I watched her stand on the stage, full page speech in hand, edits made even on the ride to the theatre — the black Sharpie of a director who appreciates a cut, who pushes for a rewrite, who patiently lives with a play for so many years. I watched her tie this beautiful musical — one written 13 years ago with rewrites and revisions keeping the pace every step of the way. “It reminds us that that is how power structures try to maintain control: by making you feel like you’re walking alone in the darkness, even when your partner is right there at your back.”

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Finishing the Draft

I’ve been working on Voyagers since November 2016.

Maybe you’ve heard me talk about it. Maybe you’ve sat down with me as you try to share good news with me and all I can talk about is how the play isn’t working. Or how hard it is for me to write about hope. Or how little hope I was willing to share with my audiences. Maybe you came to the staged reading in September 2017, an event that coincided with my birthday despite my desperate drive to ignore the celebration. (My director Maureen brought cupcakes to rehearsal. Everyone sang. I loved it.) Maybe you were in the staged reading. Y’all wouldn’t recognize it today.

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