Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post-partum Depression

Forgive the silence - these weeks since the reading have been a bit challenging for me.  After such a long build-up -- almost 10 months of striving towards such a momentous goal -- I crashed and needed to step back from it for a bit.  I also needed to devote some time to my friends and boyfriend, whom I had by necessity neglected during the weeks leading up to the reading. 

I now find myself in a place that is all-too-frustratingly-familiar.  Everyone is asking me what’s next?  Have you heard anything?  Is anything happening?  To which the answers are I don’t know, no, and not yet.  I did such a good job of getting people excited and (literally) invested in my play, that they all want to know what’s happening.  It’s wonderful to have so much support and interest, but it is difficult to not be able to say, why, yes! I got a call from a Broadway producer yesterday and they will be mounting a production next fall!  To have no answer, and no real idea of where things are going to go from here, is very painful.  It is the reason why I stopped ever telling anyone about auditions I had as an opera singer, because it was just too painful to continually have to answer no when asked so have you heard anything yet?.  Perhaps painful isn’t the right word -- it feels more like shame.  I’m ashamed -- I feel like if I haven’t landed anything then it must not be that good.  Or at least that is what people must think, because the only way to know in the arts that something you have done has merit is if other people give it a stamp of approval.  Without the mark of commercial success on something, what you have created (or what talent you may possess) is all so much drivel.  At least that is how I feel.  I can say my play is good until I’m blue in the face, but without an external stamp of approval no one else has any reason to believe that.

Can I do this again?  Can I get my hopes up and strive for yet another creative career that very well may never happen?  Regardless of how good my play may or may not be, there are no guarantees that anything major will happen with it.  I used to believe (hope?) that if you are good enough, and work hard enough and stay in the game long enough, you will make it.  That the cream rises to the top.  But I know now that it is not that simple of an equation.  There are plenty of mediocre talents who somehow manage to rise to the top by their sheer dedication and the luck of what connections they have.  There are many great talents who don’t succeed because they don’t have the stick-to-it-iveness to fight the fight.  And then there are even people who have the talent and work their asses off and still don’t ever get the big break.  I felt like one of those people as an opera singer.  Am I prepared to risk being that person again as a playwright?

It is far too early to give up and I know that it is a long road for any work to get produced.  When I started this journey, I was fully prepared that my first play might very well suck -- I mean, who writes a great first play?  The fact that this actually seems to be good doesn’t change the fact that it will need more rewrites, that I will need to submit it to probably several dozen places and keep pitching it and slogging and working to get it out there.  And just because a producer didn’t walk up to me after the reading to hand me a check doesn’t mean my play won’t get produced someday.

So now begins the less-fun part.  The diaper changing, the late night feedings, the calming of the un-soothable infant.  All the un-fun stuff of parenting.  Do I have what it takes to see this through, to try to nurture this baby to grow up to its fullest potential?  I know I do; motivation and drive are never in short supply for me.  The real question for me is, do I want to.  I think in another month or so, when I have a little distance and can look at things a little more objectively, the answer will clearly be yes.  Because to let my play languish, to not even try, would be a bigger regret than trying and having nothing happen.

I just have to ask the world to be kind to me.  To not look down upon me as a failure if nothing major happens.  To tell me I’m still loved and respected for having tried, no matter what the outcome.  Or maybe I need to learn to tell myself that. 
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