Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Long Goodbye. Or soon anyway.

So, this morning I got up to an email and a post from Laura Axelrod (Gasp!) that she's going to stop writing about theatre on her blog. In essence, politely declaring she's done with the "theatrosphere".

I'm not sure exactly why, but she's alluded to the lack of civil discourse of late.

Certainly, this long drawn out war over ideas about groups versus individuals and plays in the regions versus plays in New York has been repetitve. We've had this discussion before. And we've had the development discussion before. And the discussion of color blind casting and, well, you get the picture. And there's been lots of cat pictures in between with shoutouts to all our favorite playhouses - SoHo Rep, Clubbed Thumb, etc.

On August 14 last year, I made my first post. It's coming up on a year and it's close to time for me to say goodbye as well.

My interest in blogging started with Adam Szymkowicz. Talented dude, to say the least. And great roommate. And fantastic advice giver. And all-around funny, smart guy.

The interest grew when Isaac published a speech from Eduardo Machado that basically said playwrights were being failed by the theatre world, among other things.

It was all interesting and new and I started to comment quite frequently on a few blogs. And I started reading more of them: George Hunka, Jason Grote, Playgoer, Mr. Excitement and Don Hall.

Then I moved from New York to Los Angeles. And because I thought it woud be interesting, I decided to blog about the transition, naively thinking that it would just take a year. And also thinking that I'd land a job quickly and get going without much else but a good portfolio of writing and an open mind.

Naturally, the process isn't over. I don't have a full time job (though I've been freelancing enough to keep the cupboards full) and it hasn't been as easy I'd thought or hoped it would be. But the one thing I moved for that was most important to get has come to pass - My wife and I are living under the same roof after two years of trying to make things work on two coasts.

PLUS, I've got some great things going that I didn't count on - namely, a boy on the way.

Over the last 11 and a half months, I've tried to talk about the generous people I've met here in LA, share the ways I've tried to get around the obstacles to percieved success (some of which live within) and add my voice to an interesting group of bloggers who are as afflicted as I am with theatre.

In other words, it's been a blog about my actual life, not simply theories about theatre.

Sometimes I've been shrill. Sorry.

Over the next few weeks, I'll continue blogging, but what I am saying is that I am very close to the end - an end that I felt was much overdue just a few days ago when I realized how repetitive I'd become myself lately (I posted a Joel Meyerwitz photo twice).

I plan on linking back to a few of my favorite posts - some by me, some by others. Offering a few stats. And putting the synopses of my plays up - as a final act of marketing (yes, George, marketing!). I'm sure there will be a list or two.

Here is my first swan song link - to a recent speech by Ed Sobel, Lit Manager at the one of the greatest theatres in our country, Steppenwolf.

Please take time from any theoretical postings about groups and individuals and arcane discussion of Greek and Latin roots for the word "radical" and read it. We could all learn something from it.

I'd sing a song, but my voice is just horrible.


Joshua James said...

I'm not sure if it's the civil discourse thing entirely, in her previous post, she writes about being ripped off, and it's a theatre thing . . .

But I don't know, for certain, myself.

Really, though, with regards to the civility thing . . . in any large group there are going to be people who disagree with each other, and do so passionately, so it's a normal thing, don't you think?

Malachy Walsh said...

I do think it's a normal thing.

And sometimes a good thing.

And, yes, it seems Laura's retreat is about more than that.

But there's also something to it. And for my part, I hate it when I sound like someone lecturing from the end of the dinner table.

If you know what I mean...

Joshua James said...

Absolutely, I hate that too, and for the record, I never got that from you . . . actually, I quite enjoy your perspective, which I find to be much closer to mine and different from others in the theatrical blog field . . . technically, I don't view my blog as only a theatre blog . . .

I don't know if it's because we're both doing writing for things other than theatre, or what . . . but there sure is a different tenor and I often feel like a red-headed step child compared to other theatre bloggers (but only for a minute - LOL!) . . .

But I get ya on the lecture thing, I hope I don't come across that way either . . . especially since I hate stuffy theorists who don't practice what they preach.

But sometimes things do need to be said, either for personal reasons or because no one else has said it yet . . . don't you think?

E. Hunter Spreen said...

Ack! I think this is more than I can take. I read you and Laura every day even though I don't comment. I've enjoyed reading about your impending dadhood. Your posts about marketing have been insightful and have given me a different perspective. Wish I had known this stuff three years ago. And I definitely don't get the lecture thing from you either. Maybe you'd consider a hiatus? I mean you're about to have one imposed on you anyway what with the arrival of Noodles.

Adam said...

You do what you want, and I know you will but if you go, you will be sorely missed. I for one don't care if you post that Joel Meyerwitz photo five more times.

tim said...

I'll chime in that you'll be missed. I read all the blogs through NetNewsWire so I hardly ever comment, but you're at the top of the list. I'll keep you bookmarked just in case it turns into a hiatus and not a cancellation.

Mark said...

I love your blog and I've really enjoyed getting to know you a bit through it. I hope you reconsider about shutting it down. I think that the outcry about incivility has been largely illusory and that most of us have really gotten to like and respect one another.

P'tit Boo said...

Arg. All the best ones are leaving !

First it was Mattj. Then Laura . And now you ?
Reading about artists balancing personal life and art making is fascinating and your blog was one of the least egocentric in that way.
You did it well and perhaps you will continue to do it well, what, with all our comments and such.

*look of "please?"*

maybe you could do like me and just post when you can and want to.
with blogfeeders these days, it's easy for people to still read you when you do pop up.

Joshua James said...

Laura's not really leaving, she just ain't posting about theatre any longer . . .

Alison Croggon said...

I don't quite understand the narkiness in the US blogosphere. No doubt I can't read whatever subtext is flying around. And maybe it's that here in Australia, we've been so starved for forums for discussion - there have been NONE - that everyone is dying to argue. Certainly, the people who blog seldom take offence or take it personally) when people differ with them (and I certainly don't).

Anyway, I think it's a shame that people feel that way. Chin up!

J.D. said...

Dunno...there's only one group I ever belonged to and that I felt I belonged in. (You know the one.) I am not a typical blogger. I'm not trying to be part of anything. I am merely a nice, sociable, friendly person who happens to be an artist. If I don't care about all the debating within the theatre blogging "community," it's because I find it unbalancing, and when I'm, uh, unbalanced (oh dear, I just sounded like a crazy person, didn't I?), no writing, no creation, gets accomplished. At least for me. (That's my caveat.) I like my art to feed my soul. I read infrequently, and I read few blogs. I have enjoyed yours.

Whatever you do, don't let it distract from what's important in your life, and in your art. However you do it. There's so much to celebrate in it, as there is in mine.

Your uncool pal,

Dave Tutin said...

Writers write. If we don't what good are we? And we all hope to get published, seen or heard in some way. Blogging is instant publishing. And fun because of that. Never before have writers (or anyone for that matter) had such a plaything - including instant comments and feedback from readers.

I think if you had not set a purpose for your blog you wouldn't be thinking of stopping it.

Why not do as someone suggested and just write? About anything. A writer as good as you will always have readers.

Scott Walters said...

If it is my fault that you feel this way, I sincerely apologize to you.

patrick said...

You'll definitely be missed, Malachy (by me, and obviously by others as well). I always look forward to your posts (even though I don't comment often), and enjoy the non-theatre related ones just as much (or more) than the theatre posts. I've been particularly struck by the essays you've written about impending fatherhood (and especially the one about your own father--that I keep meaning to comment on and link to in my blog). You've got a beautiful and insightful take on the world.

I imagine that you're going to find your time mighty short once your son arrives, anyway. And it is hard, as you point out, to keep finding new things to blog about on a regular basis (I find they come in waves). One thing to consider, though, as Dave points out above, is that you've actually managed to find and maintain an audience for your work by doing this. Whether you keep blogging or not, that's an accomplishment.

Malachy Walsh said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments. Truly, truly appreciated.

To those who've taken my leaving as something caused by incivility, please, worry not.

The exit's been long planned, but Laura's exit seemed like a good way in.

I'm guilty of conflating. Sorry about that.

But as I said, it's been long planned. As everyone knows, it takes a lot to write these things and with a baby on the way and projects to chase, well, it seems like the next week or so will be my last.

But I'll definitely continue writing. I've just finished outlining a movie and putting together a few scenes for a new weird play and, on Friday, I shot my first short film.

It's worth repeating, however, thanks for the kind words from everyone.

They're just one reason I'll continue to read blogs, even if I don't continue to keep one.

Jeff Shattuck said...

Malachy, I'm with Dave, you should continue. There's no pressure to post often -- look at me! -- and maybe you could start talking about having a kid and how that affects you. I would love to read your thoughts on such a subject. Please don't go!

The Playgoer said...

Sorry to see you go, Malachy, but understandable. Thanks for your links and visits to Playgoer and hope you keep reading.

- Garrett

Jaime said...

I'm sad to hear this. I love reading what you have to say.