Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Don’t Get Me Wrong.

The single sexiest female voice in rock and roll belongs to Chrissie Hynde. No contest. She has several worthy runner-ups–Hynde disciple Shirley Manson, for example, or Liz Phair–but for pure range between feral growl and tender sweetness, it’s all about Chrissie Hynde. [1]

My howl is greatly lessened today. I’m appreciative of the candor shown by my friends in light of yesterday’s entry. It seems that my girlfriend has had the unfortunate trend of making a bad first impression on my friends. And shampoo companies assure me that you never get a second chance to do that.

My boss did something incredibly nice for me yesterday, which has served to make me feel slightly guilty for the time I spend looking for a new job. He cut me a bonus check for $200 out of his concern for how much money I was paying for dental work (our office plan doesn’t get dental).

I should have received a review and possibly a raise a few months back, but the company was swamped with many, many projects and I didn’t feel like swamping others. Also, I’m always worried about asking for reviews since I’m afraid of what I’ll find out–in some ways, I don’t do much here for the company, and on other days I do an awful lot. Also, I still feel very strongly that I don’t want to work here much longer, and it would seem rather callous to make my supervisor go through the trouble of setting up a review, after which, maybe, I’d quit.

Then again, I’m hoping to be in graduate school by next fall [2], so I wonder what the point of getting another job that I’d only keep for a year would be–I’ve been doing that every year since I graduated. It’s so difficult to try and consider the various consequences of one’s decisions when one is still deciding what those possible decisions are.

One of the things I’m forced to remind myself, perpetually, is that I’m not yet 24. While there are more and more cases of younger successes, it shouldn’t destroy me that I’m not one of them at this point. Particularly as a playwright, I tend to beat myself silly with the genius works of other playwrights, forgetting that John Guare didn’t write “Six Degrees of Separation” until he was in his mid-fifties [3].

I submitted a short piece to the Bailiwick Theater’s upcoming show “Tiny Tales of Terror” a few weeks back. For a short piece, I feel that “A Dying Hour”–being an account of a ten-minute span of time in which Edgar Allan Poe, delusional and dying, is confronted by five of his fictional characters, people who he doomed to awful ends for the mere purposes of telling a story–is one of my best works to date.

I have heard nothing back. It’s disheartening.

Disheartened or not, though, I must push myself to continue. This may be the single most difficult obstacle I’ve faced within myself; I’ve had to accept when something I’ve done doesn’t work, and not be so crushed by it that I don’t try to fix what went wrong. Wile E. Coyote complex, I might label it.

One thing I never liked about Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius (Carnivorous Eatus) was that when his plans went awry, he never tried them again, he just bought another defective Acme product and had it blow up in his face as well. The jet-powered rollerskates weren’t equipped to handle the Road Runner’s (Speedus Ridiculous) sudden stops, and our poor villain would immediately pass by and then go flying off a cliff edge. Personally, I think the roller skates could have worked, he just needed to adjust for what went wrong the first time. This, I say with a crooked smile, is a metaphor for my personal Perfectionist Demon. Danielle, it is this ability of his best cartoons to be applied to the Human Condition that makes Chuck Jones so great. You’re right in wondering why it took them so long to induct him into the Animation Hall of Fame.

On the other hand, I ask myself, do I really want to eat road runner? Aren’t there other things in the desert?

And what if I catch the road runner and the meat’s all stringy and bitter? [4]

[1] Chrissie once told a great story about the song from which this entry gets its title; that she’d recorded it during a period when she’d been commuting back and forth from the US and England. She’d finished the song, it was about to go on the album, and then she realized that she’d inadvertently stolen those wonderful first four notes from the audio tone preceding the message “Thank you for flying British Airways”.

[2] John, to answer that question I never answered, I’d like to be the sort of drama professor who teaches English-style classes entirely on the works of, say, Dario Fo; and in the meantime, boost my chances for tenure by demonstrating my commitment to the American theatre with several well-received stage plays.

[3] John Guare always answers the question “How long did it take you to write ‘Six Degrees of Separation’?” by saying “fifty-four years”. It’s an interesting way of looking at it, considering most would answer with the time it took them from when they had the idea to when they’d finished the rough draft. It’s one of those things that endears me to Guare, especially as it makes me feel better about my own slower writing pace.

[4] My friend Frank convinced me, in high school, that there was a lost Road Runner cartoon made by two mischievous animators, in which Wile E. Coyote finally caught the road runner by infecting it with anthrax. And then, the coyote also lost, because when he ate the Road Runner, he too caught anthrax and died. [5] While I no longer believe in this cartoon’s existence, every so often I’ll perpetuate the myth to unsuspecting others.

[5] This also reminds me of a kung-fu movie two friends made in high school. The good guy, Jacky, is defeated soundly by the forces of the evil martial artist, Mr. Large. But then, at the bad guy’s victory party, nobody remembers to bring beer–so everybody loses.

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This entry was posted on September 5, 2001 by in Life, Theatre, Work, Writing.