Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How To Stay A New York Playwright...Or Anything Else For That Matter

There was this post on HotReview.org that was making the rounds among the theater makers that I'm hanging out with, more hanging out online than anywhere else, but that counts, doesn't it? Right? An online relationship is just as good, if not better, than a real face-to-face one where you actually have to do all these annoying things like, well, wait for your turn to talk while the other person goes on and on and on about, well, God, I don't know because I'm really not listening. Or feign sympathy because the other person's cat died.

(Ok, all that was a joke, meant to for the style of the writing. If your cat just died I am sincerely sorry. No, really, I am. And whatever it was you were talking about, I really am happy for you. Really, I am.)

Anyway, where the heck was I?

This post about the sacrifices that you have to make if you want to be a playwright. It's good, dead on, and I found myself nodding my head because it nails some real-life things, like flossing and brushing your teeth because you can't afford a dentist. If I'm home all day writing and doing the laundry and baking bread and doing all the things I do to try to keep some semblance of order in our little home, I'll brush my teeth maybe three times during the day because I can't afford (time, energy, money) to have major dental work done.

But this post also got me thinking that anything you really want to do takes that kind of sacrifice. Sue and I are wanderers. It's one of the really strong bonds between us because we both love--love, I tell you, love--to travel. And more importantly, we love backpacking. We love the local buses and local restaurants and just soaking up culture that otherwise is sanitized in a Marriott or a Hilton or a big tour bus. In other words, we travel cheap, but when it comes to travel it still can be expensive. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of parallels to being a playwright and a backpacker.

No one believes me, but we have financed quite a few trips now on spare change. That's right. We have a cookie jar that we throw our spare change into. And we also throw in the money we might have spent. For instance if I'm getting a cup of coffee and that piece of marble cake for $2.50 looks so good, I ask myself if I really want it.  And then I think of our stock saying in that situation: $2.50 will buy a lot of beer in Mexico. Well, maybe not a lot of beer in this case, but it will buy a beer in Mexico and so I pocket the change and when I get home I chuck it in the cookie jar. You'd be surprised how much money you can accumulate by living like that.

What this article says to me is that if you really want something bad enough, there are sacrifices you're going to have to make, and many if not all of them are going to be in the materialistic world. That world is such a suck of time and money and energy. And you just have to decide what you really want in life, and then put all your resources towards it. Including your dental floss.

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