What a Week!

Ok, that head is a lie. See, I’m sort of implying that it was an amazing week, filled with adventure and excitement. Or, conversely, a week weighed down with doom and gloom. I guess it wasn’t gloomier than others I’ve had during the Crisis, especially when you consider that one of the D-Days is rapidly approaching. Just two weeks till One-Income Day, and me not knowing when my next paycheck will be getting here. Yup, that feels good…

Not the actual cake consumed by the cast and crew of TRT

Not the actual cake consumed by the cast and crew of TRT

But, yeah, on the whole not a terrible span. Even though it started with my 49th birthday, the latest reminder of the slow crawl toward mortality (as if looking at the lines and gray hair in the mirror are not sufficient). No big plans for the day this year. I went to The Real Thing rehearsal like it was any other day, though Samantha did scheme with the director to interrupt the proceedings with a nice surprise: She came bearing her signature dessert, vegan chocolate cake. The actors were impressed.

The rest of the birthday celebration? Well, we saw the Blackhawks a few days before, which was fun but marred by our latest…”discussion” about the move and such. I should say the last discussion: I have it in me to argue no more. The fait accompli has been dealt and I will play my hand. The full realization of that came this week, so I guess that is one mark in the positive column for these past few days. I also got a swell Blackhawks hoodie, which I had wanted as a souvenir for our stay here. Oh, and someone sent me two cooking knives from QVC, with non-stick blades and plastic sheathes. How….lovely.

The workweek passed uneventfully. No major projects underway; no more tiny bombshells like last week’s. I just finished up one of those low-paying small jobs I lamented previously. One client did tantalize me with something new, a book that would be – for once, thank God! – geared toward adults. But it’s only in the planning stage and there’s no guarantee it will happen. And of course it will have one of those ridiculously tight deadlines some book packagers seem to thrive on.

(For the uninitiated: Book packagers are, like most freelancers, publishing whores; they will take almost any job with any parameters as long as there is a buck in it. They get projects from publishers, hire the creative talent, and turn over a package for the publishers to print and sell, hence the name. Most of my work the past 15 years has been for packagers. I intend no slur by calling them whores and of course am not referring to my specific book-packaging clients and friends as whores. Except for the ones who know they are.)

Looking forward to the first trip to Fenway in five years...

Looking forward to the first trip to Fenway in five years...

The rest of this week was spent preparing for my next fairly major project, a bio of one of our presidential lesser lights (no, not Dubya; that comes later in the year). Should be interesting, as I’ve never written about this one before. But the pipeline for the rest of the year remain painfully arid, though in a way that is good, as the Crisis angst has sapped most of the energy I normally put into writing. For work, I’m lucky to churn out the daily tripe for 3 or 4 hours before my brain cramps. No playwriting in months; just recycling the same old tired scripts no one wants to produce. The ideas are still there, but the motivation – gone. Even the posts here have been declining in number and, as I’m sure the more astute C?WC? readers would aver, in quality as well. Little passion for anything these days. Basketball, a bit. And the coming of baseball season will be nice. (Another cool birthday present: tickets to see the Sox play at Fenway in September with half-a-dozen friends.)  But the disengagement from Chicago life continues, and no blessed anticipation for all that awaits in CT has taken its place. Add the odd bouts of light-headedness and fatigue of late, and the constant sense of fighting something off (malaise? An increasing sense of self-loathing at times?), and the motivation for doing much of anything except sitting in a blob and eating pizza wanes.

There has been one exception to this black hole of self-pity and ennui: The Real Thing. For the most part, I just sit at rehearsals and listen, but for those three hours, I am out of my head and immersing myself in a play I love, an endeavor I find rewarding. Yes, it would be more rewarding if it were one of my plays we were rehearsing (even better if I, not Stoppard, had written this one…), but just watching the process of actors and directors and script coming together to produce what I think will be a fine show; I do love it. Not sure I would do this with just any play, and maybe it’s just the timing of this now, coming as a welcome diversion from so many unwelcome things. No matter. I’m digging it, and whatever puny contributions I can make to the overall process, great. Though I still think the actors are not quite sure why this old guy is hanging around so much. Hope I’m not creeping them out. But maybe every play about a middle-aged writer with relationship issues needs a real middle-aged writer with relationship (and other) issues as a mascot. All I need is a big foam head and a costume and we can blend March Madness with theatre mayhem.

As we slide into the days that end this less-than-amazing, less-than-suicide-inducing week, not much is on tap. Dinner with some of Samantha’s associates, a farewell dinner, with people who aren’t quite used to eating vegan. Should be interesting. More basketball. The promise of slightly warmer temperatures in this winter that will not die, calendar be damned. Another Real Thing rehearsal. The inexorable movement toward the fate I cannot change. And the continuing hope I will uncover something inside my brain/heart/soul that helps me find a positive in all that awaits. Or at least not begin each day wondering if the dread will rise once more before it’s time to go back to bed again. That puffy, white soft-landing cloud? Sometimes it’s there. More often, not.

And how was your week?

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~ by mburgan on March 20, 2009.

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