Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
It’s past 3:00 am on a weeknight as I write this, the first thing I’ve written in this space since the end of May. It’s time for an inventory, of sorts, as I’ve been of late fielding the question “What have you been doing?” with a mixture of clinical detachment and disbelief, a hint of embarrassment, a dash of thousand-yard stare. I have to be up again in four hours, at work in six, but I’m alert now and I’ve been treating my day job with a type of spite. “You get me for eight hours of your well-paying nonsense. If I have to be awake at 3:00 am to be who I really am, then you’ll just have to accept that.”
What have you been doing?
A bit. A lot. Possibly too much. Definitely too much. There is only one minute in the entirety of the continuum and it stretches out, a sustained note riding the last exhale of its long-dead singer, coasting on the thermals, skimming the surface of the ocean. That’s the minute where I exist. In that minute the following is occurring and has occurred, and it is becoming something of a strain to keep the contents rattling about in my skull along with autonomic processes and bio-electrics. This is a purge, or perhaps the closest thing I have to a Pensieve. So: What have I been doing?
I work five days a week, from 9-5, as a Content Developer for Cognitive Arts, which creates training modules for other companies, the sorts of scenario-driven courses in which you watch somebody royally screw something up and then answer a multiple-choice question about what exactly Goofus did wrong. I write Goofus. I write the questions about Goofus.
I am also a Content Writer for Marshall Creative, a multimedia agency that works to help other clients maximize their exposure via web gadgets or other 21st Century tech. I currently produce all of the blog content for Strongbox Wine Cellar and also write a number of articles for the PERL Mortgage Company website. I now know more than I ever did before about both wine and real estate, and should probably do what I can to become a wealthy liberal elite as soon as possible.
I spent the majority of the summer writing and performing with The Neo-Futurists in Too Much Light, as is status quo, and co-curating the ninth annual Film Fest, which this year included performing in the staged reading of the 1970s social-conscience hapkido thriller Billy Jack. I’ve continued to function as the Neos’ Booking Coordinator, negotiating and organizing a number of gigs or tours, and also as a Marketing Communications Writer, which is a fancy title for what might be better described as a Social Media Coordinator, which really just means I keep our blog and Facebook and Twitter accounts active and interactive. Earlier this fall I helped organize a super-special Neo-Futurist video project that I can’t otherwise tell you about yet.
I wrote and performed a handful of times at Christopher Piatt’s weekly art salon The Paper Machete; you can read the three pieces I created here. I appeared on a panel at the Chicago Fringe Festival as an occasional contributor to the Twitter-based theatre discussions of 2AM Theatre.
My short plays The Final Night of the First Intention and The Opening were produced, respectively, by the Pend Oreille Players in Washington state and The Eclectic Company Theatre in North Hollywood, CA. The latter, which was receiving its world premiere production as part of the annual Hurricane Season Short Play Competition, swept all audience awards for its block, including actors, director, production, and script, and also pulled in the top prize from the official judging panel.
I’m currently revising the script for my play Redeemers, which will open in November at Rocco Ranalli’s under the auspices of my talented colleagues at New Leaf Theatre. Later this month, they will also be hosting a one-night “anniversary” reading of my adaptation, The Man Who Was Thursday at Chief O’Neill’s Pub. Early next month, you can also catch my ten-minute play The Short Straw at LiveWire Chicago Theatre’s VisionFest 3.
In the midst of that, I am deep into rehearsals for Backstage Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of the challenging Jonathan Lichtenstein play Memory, opening mid-November…an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, as intrigued as I was by the script and the prospect of working with a handful of actors who I find downright intimidating. The same weekend that show opens I will be back in Too Much Light, performing Memory at 7:30 and then high-tailing it over to the Neo-Futurarium to make the call for the late night show.
In the meantime, I have utterly neglected to produce a promised blog entry for the League of Chicago Theatres website and failed, despite my best intentions and fierce desire, to complete a draft of a new adaptation assigned to me by the supernaturally patient artistic director of GreyZelda Theatre Group.
I bike about 18 miles a day, from home to Evanston, from Evanston to rehearsal in Logan Square, from Logan Square back home.
It is 3:35 am. I’m not sure why I’m not slumped at my desk with exhaustion, except that I’m being just as spiteful with my own physical limitations as I am with my day job.
What have I been doing? I’ve been saying “Yes.” I will say “Yes” again. I will say “Yes” until it becomes impossible for me to speak and then I will nod my head until the bones in my neck are calcified, arthritic, and then I will blink once, deliberately, until the point I can no longer lift my eyelids again.
I don’t know when I’ll write in here again. I couldn’t guess when I’d have the time. I’m not complaining.