Thursday, February 01, 2007


With an e-mail, I found today that while my friend Chris' play got selected for Surfacing One Act Festival, and an as-of-yet unwritten play also got slected (commissioned by the artistic director, to be written by a guy I know will do a good job and all, but still...), my one act was not selected. I could gripe about this but...

I wrote it very quickly. I wrote it for the deadline, not for the play. It's rough. It's got some major flaws. It's better than "In 500 Words Or Less..." was, but it's not yet as good as "500 Words..." could have been if I had crafted it better. Nevermind that they're both about students who are using almost superhuman powers of slack to not write papers. This is something I am good at. See, I wrote for the deadline.

Unfortunately, if I want to be serious, and be taken seriously, I can't submit shit like that. People expect a crafted product. I'm handing them a work in progress. It might be bold, awesome and impressive as a work in progress, but they assume I've done all the work I could on it, or that if it took me a long time to get it where it is it's probably not worth the hassle, and so forth, so they pass. I'm a master of the awesome first draft I've decided, and for years I had teachers who were willing to accept an awesome first draft as a finished product. I've never been happy with that, but it worked so I let it work. Angela tried to help me with that. No, scratch that; Angela did help me with that. I am sure my writing instructors at Webster will be equally as helpful. I just need to help myself.

And so it comes to this; I have turned in a play with potential, but have failed to unlock it enough for the reading committee to accept the challenge of unlocking it more. I obviously need to do more work on it. The e-mail said they won't give criticism on the works that were not selected due to the sheer volume of work submitted, which could give me false hope (and it has given me a small amount of this) that mine would have been good enough if not for one or two slightly stronger candidates. But I have to be pessimistic, which goes against my earlier New Year's resolutions. But, I have to be a better writer, which means I have to believe I can always do better than I have done.

I have to start writing another play now. This one for class. And I was without an idea, until I idly clicked on Memory Machine's blog over in my links (Urban Exploration). I figured it out. My uncle Dennis is in town. I could e-mail this guy. I don't want to go Urban Exploring, I just want to know what it's like. What is it like to go to one of these places? What kind of thing could happen there? The amunition plant interests me; my father once worked there. What could I do with that?

A lot.

Music to Blog By:
The Thermals - A Pillar of Salt

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1 comment:

notawritersfather said...

Technically, "working" was hardly what I did there. I was more an observer. No, not of the work, but the workers. I found people watching to be an incredible way to make it through the day. My shifts were eight hours long, Friday and Saturday every week, and, if I was lucky, I got a third shift Sunday afternoon. I was making $3.25 an hour, way above the minimum wage ($1.65), and was making 24 bucks a shift. On Sundays, simply because it was Sunday, I made $4.62, so that workout to 36 bucks for that shift. I was saving for college (Or so I thought) but the money was dissappaering on a regular basis as my mother dipped into my bank account on a regular basis. Anyway, I was wearing an onion on my belt...
The people in the kitchen were primarily black, and I had not been exposed to such... colorful language before. It took very little time to realize that the world view of my co-workers was very different from mine. I began to wish I could be black simply so I could understand. The factory workers were a scary bunch. The main groups were: Black guys with colorful language, strange dietary preferences and suspicious natures, white guys who seemed to exude loserness, and an integrated group that looked like hippies but couldn't be: It was an army ammunition plant during the Viet Nam War. There was a very small subgroup of black women and a small sub group of white women. There was no subgroup of integrated women hippies. The women all looked like they could hurt you... and needed to. I got all the food I wanted to eat, which was a bad thing, because my mother's cooking was so bad I thought school cafeteria food was gourmet. The factory food was good, or at least better than my mom's even if the kitchen was run by Greyhound (The "leave the driving to us" Greyhound Bus company). I had a job washing dishes, serving food, bussing tables, scrubbing pots and pans, cleaning refridgerators and freezers, and sampling the ice cream. Ok, that last bit was not a job description thing, but I did it often. All the soda I could drink was a limit I never reached, and still I gained not one pound. Lost a girl-friend, though.
I once pulled a man from a burning car one night after work, although to this day I do not remember actually doing it. I do remember covering him with my coat and trying to hold him down on a very cold Goodfellow Boulevard until the ambulance arrived. I screamed in his face until he stopped fighting me and remained still. I do not even know if he made it or not. One of the guys in the car that hit him died a couple weeks later in the hospital. That car hit the guy from behind and flipped. The car that got hit was torn in half although the halves weren't far enough apart for the gas tank to not be a danger. I remember thinking the guy had to be out of the car. The next thing I recall, I was sitting on him and he was under my new Navy "P" coat. When he came to, he was screaming in panic, and I was riding him like a cowboy. He settled soon enough. Apparently I scream louder. I suppose it is possible someone else pulled him out of the car and left it to me to hold the poor bastard down. He wasn't even bleeding, but I bet he was surprised!
I once drank so much canned orange juice (Donald Duck brand)that I puked orange juice for two days. Strangely, I still love orange juice. So, I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. It wasn't a nice white one, though, it was a yellow one. You couldn't get the white ones 'cause there was a war on. So anyway, I was wearing an onion.........