Saturday, February 3, 2007

Love, etc.

This afternoon I'm going to a gathering to celebrate the anniversary of a friend and her partner. They're both women, so it's not a wedding anniversary -- maybe they mark the day they met, or their first date? Someone should take a survey to find out what occasion most same-sex couples commemorate.

The invitation says there will be a time when guests may say a few words or sing a song in honor of the couple. (Our friend is a songwriter and performer, so I imagine many of her friends are, too.) I thought I'd like to sing a song, but I changed my mind after I took a look through my recent catalog. Here's a typical entry:


I fell in love the first time when I was twenty-three.
I fell in love with a handsome man; he fell in love with me.
I fell in love with being loved by someone strong and tall.
And that will be the death of me, how easily I fall.

I fell in love with hard times; I fell in love completely.
I fall in love with strangers, and they break my heart so sweetly.
I fell in love with suicide; I fell in love with sin.
I fall in love a thousand times, and then I fall again.

I don't believe in love, not the kind that haunts my dreams.
It's seldom what I need, and never what it seems.
I don't believe in love, not the kind that picks and chooses.
Whatever someone takes away, the other someone loses.

I'm still in love with making love; of that I still think highly.
There's love, and then there's love, and then there's something else entirely.
I used to be in love with love when I was twenty-three.
I used to be in love, but love fell out of love with me.


Maybe not the best message for an anniversary party. (Funny, reading the lyrics now, without the melody, it's a little like Dr. Suess isn't it?)

The Feds.

It's one in the morning, and I just filled out my federal tax return. I thought I'd do it as early as I can because I need it for my financial aid application. (I'm applying to U.T.) And, I thought I might get a small refund. Did I mention I have no money?

No refund. In fact, I have to pay $128! What a fucking drag. (Earlier tonight, Jay and I watched "Waco: Rules of Engagement," a great documentary about the FBI massacre of the Branch Davidians, so my opinion of the federal government tonight is ... on the low side.)

I made about $16,000 last year. I'm pretty impressed that I got by on so little money. Not only did that cover my living expenses (including six months in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the world), but I was paying about $300/month on my credit card debt from Life in a Box. I pat myself on the back. And now I'll go cry myself to sleep. Just kidding.

Good night.

Friday, February 2, 2007


I spent the morning researching CSA farms in Austin. Since I'm so broke now, like really broke, I have to stop eating in restaurants -- it's not like I spent that much in restaurants, we always eat at cheap places, but even 10 bucks for dinner a couple times a week is out of the question now -- and cook all our meals at home.

We've been buying most of our groceries at Whole Foods and Wheatsville, the local co-op. Whole Foods is, well, Whole Foods: great stuff, nearly everything you could ever want, and pricey. Also, not much local stuff. They try, but most of the produce is from very far away. And I love Wheatsville, but there's just not much there, and it's also expensive.

One of the CSA farms I found costs about half what the others cost, but you work on the farm for a few hours a month. That's the one I'd like to join. I think, with farm produce every week, supplemented by our garden when we get that going in the spring, we'll be able to eat for a fraction of what we're spending now. We may have to buy a little freezer, because I think I'll be processing and preserving a lot of vegetables to use later, and right now all we have is a smallish fridge/freezer.

Jay is more solvent right now, so he won't have to be as severe as me, but he supports the plan in general, for all the reasons (political, environmental, health) that it's a good idea.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


Speaking of Tiny Mythic Theatre Company, there may be a new production of my Lizzie Borden musical in the works. This is the musical that I wrote with Tim Maner back in 1990 (?), with not insignificant input from the original performers (Loren Kidd, Alison White, Abigail Gampel, and Tanya Elder, and later Annette Houlihan Verdolino).

We did it as a one-act in Tiny Mythic's American Living Room festival -- I think it was the first year of the American Living Room, which was the festival that started the whole summer theater festival thing in New York -- and then a few years later Tim expanded it into a full-length piece. I wrote a few new songs for that production, but I didn't participate as fully as in the first production, since by that time Y'all was taking up so much of my life.

Anyway, a New York playwright, who is an old friend of Tim's, has asked us about optioning the show for a new production. He and his wife are big fans of the show, and apparently have access to some investors and want to mount a production in New York.

I'm excited. Sometimes I regret that a lot of my work from that time is probably lost. We worked hard, did our shows, hoped for an audience, hoped for reviews, but all those productions had short runs and when a show was over it was over. On to the next one. I think some of my work from those off-off-Broadway theater days is some of my best.

What it is.

An artist craves an audience. Someone to tell the stories to.

For years and years, playing in bands, I could more or less count on an audience. We had gigs. That was the reason we wrote the songs and practiced them, to play out. Then I fell into the downtown theater world and Tiny Mythic Theatre Company. Everything I wrote during that time was for productions that were underway. We were all doing it by the seat of our pants, and I didn't realize till later how lucky I was to be writing musicals and having them produced immediately.

That work led to many years on the road, doing shows with Y'all, a musical vaudeville act that always had an audience. The audience spurred and sustained the work. It wouldn't have existed without its fans.

This solitary writing life is different. No audience. I'm writing screenplays, so there's always an audience in mind, the audience who will see the film if it gets made. But now, while I do the writing, it's just me. In fact, the writing usually goes better when I momentarily forget about that audience.

So I think that's what this blog is. An attempt to keep a connection with the audience alive. To tell the small stories while I work on the bigger ones for bigger venues.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I'm reading Times Square Red Time Square Blue by Samuel R. Delany. I'm not a science fiction fan, but years ago I read his memoir The Motion of Light in Water, which is about his life as a young writer living on the Lower East Side in the late sixties, when he was married to the poet Marilyn Hacker. It was one of those life-changing books.

This book I'm reading now is about the Times Square porn theaters, from the seventies through the nineties. I don't know of anyone who writes so humanely, and so sanely, about anonymous public sex. Anyone who doesn't understand why some people seek it, enjoy it, even consider it important, should read this book.

Making a living.

I'm broke again, but still determined to avoid getting a job for as long as I can. I screened for another drug trial today. This one is shorter and pays less than the one I did in the fall, so I'll probably have to do another one immediately after.

I guess this is how I make my living now.

The life.

There's no way you can know, here at the beginning of this project, everything you need to know about me for what I write now to make sense. So I'll just start, and trust that before too long details will accumulate and fall into place, creating an impression of a person who lives in a certain place and does certain things, who is surrounded by certain people, who has been here and there at this time and that, and has this to say about it.

I am 45 years old. I moved here to Austin last fall. There's not much about my life now that I recognize as a continuation of anything that came before. Maybe that's enough said for now.

More tomorrow.