Today, I’m out of love with #playwriting. It’s like a bad day in a long term #relationship.

I realised something this morning, on a sunny day in the south of France. It’s a bit of a whinge. But it’s also a bit scary for me, and makes me sad.

I just sent off an application for a playwriting venture. One should keep track of how many competitions, initiatives, etc, one enters…but I’ve given up. Yes, everyone gets rejected, and I admit, tracking the number of things I entered and got rejected for became too much.

My FB and Twitter feeds have recently been filled with invitations to the Fringe shows of friends, as well as previews and reviews. I posted that I was a bit sad I didn’t have a show this year. That’s true…but not quite accurate. I’m also relieved I’m not doing a stage production, and THAT feeling makes me sad. I used to live for the insanity of putting on a show. Even when things went wrong, the result was a show I was proud of. I got the festival’s Artist Badge. I got reviews — good ones — and I could say “Yep, that’s me.” Audiences have told me how much they liked what I did.

Last year, I got my first ever 5-star review for It Started with an Allergy. I leveraged that, I promoted that show every hour of every day, and my houses still never got very big. The spectators who came loved it — there just weren’t very many of them. There’s a prestigious award given to theatre productions every year in Edmonton, and I really, REALLY hoped I might get nominated for Allergy. I didn’t. It’s occurred to me since that I don’t remember if I, or my director, invited the jury to the show! How can I not remember that? But I was also writing, producing, acting, flyering, doing the show. And I just…don’t… recall. That’s bad.

I submitted this play to yet another contest, out of resignation. I couldn’t muster anything to say in my cover letter: “yes, my play’s really good, these other industry people have said so, here’s my amazing CV of other amazing plays which nonetheless didn’t take off, PLEASE GIVE THIS TO ME.”

I wonder if that’s why I’m doing pre-production on a short film. Because it feels like I’ve done everything I possibly can in theatre, and I’m tapped. I’m on the French Riviera, on a writer’s retreat (which I paid for, didn’t get paid for, again). And still, today, I’m discouraged.

I’m one of the Best!

So says the Alberta caucus of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, anyway.

The weekend of May 29 to 31, 2015, the annual PGC Conference will be held here in Edmonton.  And on the very first night, ten short plays by Edmonton writers will have public readings at the latest Script Salon.  A brand new snippet of mine, My Boyfriend’s Cat, will be one of them.

It’s only occurred to me now that this is a national event, and other theatre folk from all over Canada will be here and may be hearing my work.  So.  Cool.

photo

Today is a good day in Endometriosis Awareness Month

The last three weeks…not so much. I’ve cancelled going to shows, going to a board meeting (some secretary I’ve been), and had to force myself to go to work, because I need to pay rent.  Spending sleepless nights lying perfectly still, yet feeling my abdomen being wrung like a soaked towel. My gynecologist assured me that my endometriosis was under control.  Which made the pain I was having more unbearable.  I had known what was causing the pain, and now I didn’t anymore. What he said then was that many women who have endometriosis also develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The constant pushing and pulling by the endo lesions in the lower body wreak havoc on the lower intestine, which reacts with…irritation.  So, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. That was in November.  I called my gynecologist’s office in February to ask if my referral had gone through – it had.  So then I called the gastroenterologist – they’re behind, but I was promised they’d call me to schedule an appointment in a couple of weeks.  It’s now 23 March. I will rant elsewhere about Canada and Alberta’s public health care systems being gutted by our increasingly conservative governments. What I’m concerned about today is that, six years after being diagnosed with endo, thirteen years after realizing something was wrong with me, it’s not over. I haven’t tried cutting down on any specific foods yet, because – unlike what advertisers would have us believe – each person can have different triggers.  That’s if IBS is what I have; I don’t even know yet.  I thought last week, perhaps, raw spinach was a culprit.  But I had some this past weekend, and I was fine.  It’s not likely gluten, because I haven’t made any particular effort to cut out bread, pasta, or soup using gluten as thickener.  And some days I’m good. Others, NOT. This Saturday, 28 March, is the EndoMarch at the Alberta Legislature, when all we “Endo Warriors” band together and tell the world that there is an insidious illness in 1 out of 8 women on earth, which has zero outward symptoms, but causes infertility, consistent muscle spasms and aches, depression, and OTHER illnesses, like IBS.  And no one knows where it comes from, or how to stop it. Today, this second, I feel normal.  Tomorrow?  In twenty minutes?  In five?  … I don’t know.

A kick in the butt, and I’m rethinking my life. Yes, again.

I’m going to try – and fail – to describe the Dramaworks workshop I was at for the last five days. Investigative Theatre, 35 hours in total, with Vladimir Shcherban, Associate Director of Belarus Free Theatre.

I knew very little about BFT before this. I had heard they’d done shows the government of Belarus didn’t like them doing, that some of their members had been arrested, and that they’d won several awards, including a Fringe First.

During those five days, I saw videos of two of BFT’s shows. (OH MY GOD, there aren’t words to describe how fantastic they are!). I acted out the days of the week, and got told “Good try” (after which I wrote in my notebook Don’t be hurt!). I sculpted my most horrible secret in plasticine (and everyone else got the feeling behind it), I took photos to show “Edmonton’s pain”, I filled my notebook with what Vlad said, and my own ideas for my solo show. He kept saying Бетон сітуацыя! – Concrete Situation! – that we each needed to get into what we wanted to show the audience, or else it would be dishonest. He talked about how it’s best and strongest to NOT talk, to find the object, the smell, the sound that would involve the audience – you’re not telling the audience anything, you are drawing them in. He said British theatre is wonderful…but they talk too much (!). The words are wonderful, but why do you have a body?

I came home every night to do my homework (lots), with my brain feeling like scrambled squid. And one thought in my scrambled brain…MORE, good enough isn’t good enough, MORE!

Rather than feeling inadequate and hopeless, I felt SMART, I felt yes, I’m right, I am still doing this!!

I also thought – and this is going to take a LOT of work – that I have to stop being afraid.

So yeah. It was farking amazing.

come say hi and have GELATO!

Okay, I’M having gelato. You can have whatever you want.

The intrepid executive director of Alberta Playwrights Network is going to be in Edmonton for Wordshed this weekend, and Friday night, June 20, a bunch of we playwrights are getting together at Block 1912 on Whyte Ave. I’ll be there, and if you’re cool, so will you.

Reasons I hate being single #1: Roadside Assistance (or, How I spent Father’s Day)

Most men like cars, and thus, most men have a car. Many also fancy themselves mechanics: whether or not they are, they’ve made the weekend trips to Canadian Tire, and acquired the tools to do basic auto repairs without causing too much harm.

So: If you’re in a relationship, you likely have access to:
A) another car besides your own,
B) tools, and
C) a person who can provide one, or both, A and B.

I am a newly-minted car-owner, and I’m single. Therefore, I have:
D) none of the above.

Today I picked up a piece of assemble-yourself furniture (more on that tomorrow), and was on my way home, going 60km/hr on a major road, when a lady pulled up beside me, and signalled for me to roll down my passenger window. I did, and she called out that my back right tire was looking very wobbly. ACK!

I pulled into the first tire-repair place I could find, but today’s Sunday, and it was closed. I called their 24-hour emergency number, and after a couple of tries (and 40 minutes), I learned there were no after-hours technicians available in the city. I briefly considered calling AMA (hey, what’s emergency assistance is for, right?), and thought…Sunday… Father’s Day…how long will I be stuck here?

In the end, I called my friend Barry – an auto-body mechanic who helped me choose my first-ever car. Barry is a dad. And I called him on Father’s Day. He happily came, and checked the torque on all my tires.

I have done pretty well at being an independent person: I hold down a job, I pay my own bills, and even before I had my car, I successfully got around on my own most of the time. I haven’t relied on anyone, out of necessity, but the upshot is, I am self-reliant. But while I sat in my car today waiting, I thought of the countless times I’ve heard girlfriends on the phone say: “Honey, can you pick me up?” Today…I felt helpless.

Yes, it is mostly that I really wanted to have a family, and that I feel alone. But I’m realizing recently how many tiny, everyday things are harder because I’m on my own. And I hate it.