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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Mar 7, 2007

a hammer

I've been sort of freaking out lately. The normal stuff--what am I doing with my life?, how long can I stand being an administrative assistant?, should I continue to live in New York? etc. But also the fatigue is setting in. I've been working so hard--writing like it's going out of style (which it may be)--but also working so hard on getting my stuff out there, getting it read by strangers. I'm just really tired right now. Tired of all the work it takes to be a playwright. Tired of not seeing anything resembling a way to playwright for a living. And the other voice in my head is saying, "Really?" "Did you really think there was a way to make a living doing what you love?"

All this makes me want to quit, bow out, stop running the race. I'm in the middle of writing a new play. Literally at the intermission and I know I will finish it. Because that's what I do. And behind it I can visualize all the other plays I'm hoping to write in varying stages of clarity. And there is a novel there too, supposedly. And supposedly I'm going to go back to that novel after this play is written. Even though I hear other plays calling.

Even though I am so so tired. Of running on this track. And yet this track is also the only thing that keeps me sane some days. Try to talk to me sometime after I've gone a week without writing. It will not be a pleasant experience for you. You see, I need it to keep me sane but it’s also slowly driving me mad. So I'm not so sure what to do about that. And I keep beating my head against the wall and chips of the wall tumble down but this wall....how thick is this wall? Two feet? Three feet thick? And I need a fucking hammer, OK. My head is found to be insufficient.

But really I just want to stop, move to the country, somewhere where there are trees and I won’t be able to see plays every night. Because it’s not good for me anymore to see the amount of theatre I see. Theatre has taken my life away and I’m not fighting hard enough to get it back. But I love it too. I love the theatre and can’t understand why everyone else doesn’t love it too.

But this life isn’t working right now. I got to take a break. I got to . . . I got to finish this play. Dude, I am fucked.


Malachy Walsh said...

Dude, I can't tell you whether or not to move to the country. Whether seeing trees is better than seeing plays. Whether there's a living to be made writing plays or not.

But we have some of the same problems and I can say, you are definitely not fucked.

You're a writer. Currently, you write plays. That's important. And worthy.

You may never be famous enough to make money off it. But having shared both an MFA program AND an apartment with you, I know you didn't start writing PLAYS to make money.

If that ends up being a by-product, great.

I wasn't in love with New York, so I moved. I've been back a lot more often than I thought I would.

That may not be the choice you make.

But I think you'll find that the same questions - when it comes to theatre - will face you wherever you live.

I simply hope, for me, that I've finally found the place I can live long term so that I can begin to build/find a community in which I can continue writing theatre.

I love it too much to give up.

I believe you're the same.

Adam said...

I do love it too much, malachy. that's the problem. And I don't want to leave the community but it's too much sometimes. I mean, this too will pass but damn, right now, i'm feeling it.

Vinegar Tom said...

Adam, i know the feeling, believe me i do. I think when it gets to that point it is FINE and in fact really healthy and good to take a break -- even for a day -- and treat yourself to something nice. Or just give your mind a break from the hell of writing plays, and being a playwright -- which is a blighted BLIGHTED path -- but one we love anyway probably because we are all mental and fucked up from our childhoods (well me, anyway).

It will happen for you, and you won't be an administrative assistant forever, and you WILL make money writing...mayube not for the theatre exclusively, but you'll cobble something together, and you can make the shape of your life conform to something that does please you. so hang in there.


Adam said...

thanks, David. Yeah, I am taking myself out for a bit. Less theatre, more breaks. everything like that. looking for a balance.

Olivia said...

You know I was reading Malachy's blog and came upon his recommendation...so here I am at your blog Adam...I want to thank you for being so open, honest and vulnerable about your process as a writer. When I read this entry it made me think if something I give actors on opening nights...it is from Martha Graham..I bet I gave it to you but it is always worth a second look.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is or how valuable it is; or how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivates you. Keep the channel open, no artist is
pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.

I too have found myself wanting to leave the city..it is hard..it is like there is no buffers...no filters here...nothing that reminds you that there is higher meaning than concrete...however...I have found unbelievable acts of kindness here that I have not been able to find anywhere else. The beauty of New York is the community, there is a faith here...in eachother, I know that sounds ironic..but since moving back here..I believe I have been able to strip away all the bullshit...there is no room for it here...it is like you have to find yourself (an the beauty of yourself) here because that is all you really have....at least that is what I have found to be true.

Adam said...

oh hi, O. I just tried to get to work. it usually takes me an hour. today it took 2 1/2 because of the storm. I'm not loving new york right now.

i love the theatre here and the community but somtimes the day to day stuff like this wears me down. dunno. I'm going to go get some tea. Thanks for that quote again. i love it.