"In dreams begin responsibilities."
- Delmore Schwartz
Okay. I admit it. I've been a little glum lately.
In fact, some of my recent posts could send the most ardent "Don't Worry Be Happy" believer to consider a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge as an upwardly mobile thing to do.
But on Wednesday this started to change.
Over the weekend, Heather was in LA and we looked at apartments together. The first one we saw we loved. But it was also the first one. The woman who showed it to us (her name will be Susan) was lovely and clearly liked us, but like I said, it was the first one. The first. We took applications and then we looked at some more apartments. Saturday we called and said we'd take the apartment and come in with the paperwork on Sunday.
But Sunday, just before we went over, Susan called and said she'd rented it to someone else.
I couldn't blame her. Heather and I are a tough sell economically. She's an actor. I'm a writer. Neither of us have jobs. Just savings. And while there are plenty of reasons in our backgrounds to believe we'll make it, those things can't be expressed by numbers on a ledger sheet.
It was hard news. Heather cried. Though I kept our applications hoping something else might open up with Susan, I went into a deep funk. Deep.
How were we going to rent? Work wasn't/isn't coming effortlessly. We have debts. Our only assets: Optimism and a Mini-Cooper.
Things only got worse after Heather went back up to Oregon to finish school tour work and I applied for another apartment that was nice, but not as nice as the one we didn't get.
The landlord read me the financial riot act. It got me down even more because I understood how rational he was.
I'd faced this before once, in New York, but I'd overcome it there. Somehow, on the West Coast, I just felt more exposed. More vulnerable. Perhaps I want it more out here. I dunno. I certainly couldn't ignore what had happened.
I snapped at Heather over the phone. She reminded me that we had money. That she was still working. That we both had talent and that if we just kept putting it out there, something would happen for us. But I was wallowing. Work. Work. Work. Where is it, I groused, not counting the blessing of being married to Heather.
I went to AA meetings. I talked with my sponsor. I applied for more jobs online. I decided to continue working on my spec TV script and keep putting the ad portfolio fearlessly out there.
And then, Wednesday night, while I was hunkered down at the WGA, Susan calls.
"Have you and Heather found a place you like yet?" Susan asked.
"No," I said, "I'm afraid we haven't."
"Tell me a little more about your finances."
Twenty minutes later Susan said the other people had backed out and she was still interested in us if we were interested in her.
I signed the lease this morning.
You write a play. You send it out. 9 times out of 10, you get a rejection back in the mail six months to a year and a half later.
Sometimes the rejection is a nice one. Whoever is repsonding liked the piece enough to note it personally, even though, ultimately, they're turning you away.
Most times, though, I just forget who I've sent it to and move on.
This morning, even before I signed a lease, my phone rings. It's a 212 number I don't recognize.
"Hello, This is Malachy."
"Hi, Malachy, this is Maria Striar from Clubbed Thumb."
Clubbed Thumb is something I've written about before on this blog as one of the things about NY Theatre that I will miss most. Fortunately, not as much as I thought however.
Maria, whom I've only met once, briefly, following a show, offers me a space in Clubbed Thumb's Boot Camp to work on BEYOND THE OWING. Though I've sent her many plays - this is a play that I sent her in the spring following a workshop in Ashland at the OSF. After a reading in September at the NJ Rep, I worked on a new draft to send to the O'Neill. Matthew Arbour and I, (he's the director I've worked closely with on this piece for the past year) were recently talking about this new daft and thinking how good it would be to have a more formal workshop of it where we could really put some time against it together.
Maria is offering us that chance.
After I signed the lease, I bought a plane ticket to NY. I'll be there from Nov 29 through December 11.
Two of the other writers involved are Karl Gajdusek, who I admire and know through mutual friends, and Ann Marie Healy, whose work I've actually seen and admired often at Clubbed Thumb.
I get a call from someone with a job I applied for through HotJobs. They're not sure I'm right for them - and since it's in an area of expertise I'm not completely versed in, I'm not sure I'm right for it either. But they want to talk. Next week.
This all happens in one day.
I have a lot of work to do.
Where cookies will come from very soon.