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On hiatus

Posted December 13, 2017 By Curiosity Inc.

Last Saturday, I saw The Breadwinner. Not nearly as good as Tomm Moore’s other work (to be fair, he was only a producer and not the director this time, but his fingerprints were all over the finished product), mostly because the desolate setting doesn’t provide much in the way of compelling visuals and there were too many disparate storylines to juggle efficiently. Still, it was a sweet little movie about faith, stories, and the strength it takes merely to survive in such a hostile time and place.

Anyway, to repeat, I saw that movie on Saturday. It’s Wednesday of the next week and I haven’t even started my review for it. Why is that? Well, to be blunt, I just don’t have the time or energy for it. The cliched and boring explanation is to blame my work life and the holiday season, and while those excuses would be true, it’s not like those have ever stopped me before.

No, the crucial difference this time is that I’m actually getting produced. In fact, I’m producing two plays at once. Yes. Seriously. I know.

My first attempt at writing a play was “From the Ruby Lounge”, a collection of twelve monologues each told by a different employee within the same fictional Portland strip club. Five years after I finished the first draft, I finally have a venue willing to stage it this coming February. Which means that for the past several months, I’ve been scrambling to find a director, put together a cast, hire a crew, schedule rehearsals, and that’s not even getting started on the script rewrites I still haven’t gotten to or the crowdfunding campaign next month.

My most recent script was “Spider Drive”, a rock alternative B-side jukebox musical mystery thriller. To clarify: This is a rock musical neo-noir set to some of the greatest modern rock alternative songs you’ve probably never heard of. I’ve been developing this in collaboration with Torchsong Entertainment for their big Spring production next March, and they’ve been doing most of the heavy lifting with regard to production. Even so, I want to do my fair share of the promotion and I want to be available if script rewrites become necessary.

I didn’t exactly plan on producing two scripts at once, that’s just kinda how things came together. And while I’m doing that, what do we have to look forward to in movies?

Well, we’ve got the annual January/February cinematic doldrums. There’s Star Wars VIII and Black Panther coming up, both the kind of critic-proof tentpole releases I’ve complained about reviewing so often in the past. There’s my annual Oscars liveblog, but I won’t know how excited I should be about that until the nominations are out. The year-end lists? Man, those are a ton of work to put together.

All told, I’ve been keeping this blog on a pretty consistent basis since April of 2010. A lot has happened in the time since, and this hasn’t been the first time I’ve felt so burned out that I needed to take a break. But with everything going on right now, there’s simply no other option.

I only have so much time and creative energy, and I feel the obligation to put it toward developing my own work instead of writing about someone else’s. I’m fighting so hard to get something on the stage and in front of audiences when it could fall apart at any point before the finish line, and I just don’t have it in me right now to care as much about something that’s made and done for good by the time I see it.

So I’m going to step away from the blog for a few months. When my shows have wrapped up and I need this creative outlet again, I’ll be glad to give it the time and attention it deserves.

I don’t want to make anything sound too final, since I do have every intention of coming back to the blog, but this seems like a good time to express my gratitude. It bears mentioning that I’m entirely a self-taught playwright — pretty much everything worth knowing about writing or storytelling, I learned from analyzing movies and expressing my thoughts in concise and descriptive ways. And none of that would mean anything if I didn’t have your feedback to show me what I’m doing right or how I could be doing better. Moreover, it feels tremendously validating as a writer to know there’s at least one other person out there who gives a crap about what I have to say.

Thank you for sticking with me so far, and I hope to see you again on the other side. If you’d like to keep up with my onstage projects, I’ll be happy to post about them on Facebook and Twitter. But just in case I don’t get to see you, have a wonderful holiday and a great time at the movies.