Friday, October 28, 2016


I was in a funk for several days this past week, and because I've lived with this idea of myself as "sensitive" and "moody" ever since I can remember -- does anyone not have a half dozen go-to adjectives their parents assigned them practically at birth and that have stuck for all time? -- I didn't for most of my life think of these dark spells as anything I had much control over or particularly wish to know more about or even look at closely until I discovered Buddhist meditation in my early forties and realized that with a great deal of self-discipline (to be honest, more self-discipline that I can usually muster for very long at a time) one actually can get on more familiar terms with these states of mind. Inhale, exhale.

I was in a funk for several days this past week. I'm shaking it off now, but not completely. It was triggered by a dismissive review of a production of one of my shows, and around the same time a fundraising campaign for a new project got off to a very slow start, and then I caught a cold which has held on for almost 3 weeks now. I'm not sleeping well, and that makes it all worse. Or seem worse, which is maybe the same thing.

Even though periods of being stressed out, angry, sad, irritable, are not unusual for me, the last year or so has been tough. I've been increasingly anxious since my mom died. Aside from the grief, I can't stop thinking about how time is limited. Mom was less than 20 years older than I am now. The show of mine which only now is seeing some wide success, making a mark outside my tiny artistic neighborhood, bringing in a small amount of revenue (small), is work that I began 26 years ago.

There are so many stories I want to tell, so many shows I want to write. No longer can I just sort of casually believe that I will get to them all. Clearly, I won't. It's not new for me to fret over what to do now, what to do next, how to best spend my time, which project has the best chance of coming to fruition, but now, when I decide, "I'm going to work on this project now," I'm not just postponing the others. I am coming to terms (or not) with the fact that I may not have time for them.

Stacks of books in my apartment represent the stories I have some serious interest in turning into theater. Big creative projects, for me, always start with a lot of reading.

There's the Scarlet Letter musical that we've already written, and now we're trying to get it on a stage.

The other thing I'm actively working at now I usually call my Horatio Alger project. It's a mashup of Horatio Alger's biography, an adaptation of his most famous novel, Ragged Dick, and my own high school diary. I've written one and a half songs and some rough pages of monologue.

Other projects in the cooker (my brain) are a musical adaption of the life of Grant Wood. I call it "Wood."

"Syphilis, the Musical."

Something about the Gold Rush.

And a musical based on some aspect of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tom Hayden, R.I.P.

Years before I discovered queer politics or even knew that I was gay, I was a tween peacenik, and Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda were my heroes.

I'm not sure how that happened. My parents were not particularly anti-war, despite my mom's involvement in race issues in the neighborhood. Mom had two cousins, Lonn and Neil, who were a few years younger than she, and I remember anxious conversations about their draft status (I think it was A1, the most likely to be called up) but I don't remember now if either of them was drafted before the war ended.

I suspect it had something to do with our babysitter, Pam Fryer. She lived next door and she was a few years older than my brother and me and a total style icon for my baby gay soul, with her maxi-skirts and macrame jewelry. I remember reading the cautionary novel Go Ask Alice and thinking Alice was EVERYTHING. Not that our teen babysitter was a peace activist, but in my eyes she was a hippie and it was all part of an ethos I absorbed.

Anyway, I was surprised to see Tom Hayden's obit this morning. I thought: but he's so young! He was my mother's age.