Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Writer's Work is Never Done

Even when he's not "working", i.e. going to an office or pulling down a W-2 (or more likely a 1099) a writer is working.  I bet my "to-do" list rivals the most industrious and driven office puke. And in some ways I bet it's more important, because my list drives my life, and not some soulless organization that would drop me in a minute despite the emotional and physical energy I'd devote to it.

I have plays to write. Yes, real plays that have to be written for next semester and to send out to theaters. And I have plays to send out to theaters around the world. Just last week I sent three short plays to a theater in Romania. Why? Why not? The theater was looking for plays, advertised for them in the United States, and I would love to see how my work plays in Romania.

I have plays and books to read. Plays for the Boston Theater Marathon, and books to read for my own education. Every time one of my professors mentions a book or a play or a movie that I'm not familiar with, I go to the library and pull it out. The stack of books is impressive, but when people ask me what I do without a television, they should see the stack. And I know most people's eyes would glaze over, but mine do too when I hear about Mad Men. (Just the other day on Hulu I pulled up a clip of Glee, just to see if my opinion had changed, the same way people will try Brussel Sprouts.) Nope.

I have a syllabus to write for the English class I'm teaching next semester. It's almost there, but I don't want any surprises somewhere around week 12, where we're all looking at each other going, now what? More on this in an upcoming blog.

I have to finish the proposal for a fellowship I'm applying for for next fall.

And I have to write a long overdue letter to a cousin whose wife died many months ago, but I just haven't been able to pull the words together. Families are like that. I could sit here and blather on for 2,000 words, but to write 100 meaningful words to a man who lost his wife of 50 years or so absolutely freezes me.

This is my day. And cook and pick up the apartment. And it's all self-induced. I don't have a manager who has to tell me what to do. Or a boss who lets me know when I can take a break. Or a anyone who says I have to do this or that or sit in on this meeting or when I can go to the bathroom or if I can take a vacation. (When I was in the corporate world, I think the one thing I resented the most was having to get permission to do things that were in my life.)

I do what I want, and everything you just read about are things that I want to do. Me. Not someone else. Me.

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