June 3, 2004
Summer Ascends

It’s always unsettling when the adrenalin rush toward a deadline is followed by that moment of “Oh, it’s done.” The rush of projects from February to May–Lost City in Boston, Hot Fudge in Sebastopol, Long Shadow in Nevada City, and four radio shows alongside–suddenly was done. We made it. Now what?

Suddenly, you’re left back on your own recognizance, without the Finger of God pointing the way. Still a ton of stuff to do, but nothing takes precedence. The first impulse is to do what your body and soul are really crying out for: nothing.

And yes, that might be the wisest course. But our tendency is to feel that if we can just get a bit better organized, start work on the next stuff right away, maybe the next deadline won’t be quite so crushing. And maybe work out some plans that will make extra hours appear. If that sounds like politicians’ vows to balance the budget by “cutting waste,” well, it is.

So it’s a month of running in all directions. To Davis, CA, for an interview with Vietnamese musician Phong Nguyen, to San Francisco to interview cartoonist Justin Hall, and up a mountain near Healdsburg to interview Jeff & Pat–all for shows coming up in July and August.

And a trip to Seattle for the NEA to see a show by the UMO Ensemble. In process of which I bought a collection of Robert Service poems (“The Shooting of Dan McGrew,” etc.) and for a couple of hours vividly envisioned doing a theatre piece based on his mad, lonely, loony, windswept Yukon. Though I’ll probably resist the impulse.

We’re really looking forward to our July radio show, which will feature a 20-minute audiodrama entitled “Abbie“. Over a year ago, a friend sent us the story of his long process of bonding with a cat from the animal shelter who’d been bred as a fighting cat and was utterly unapproachable. The story of the change and of his eventual loss was incredibly moving, and like another story that we adapted into “Outside the Dying,” we felt we could come closer to its heart by adapting it dramatically. Presently scouring the Web for cat sounds, though it may be done with music.

And we’re in the final stages, personal deadline June 30, of finishing our second novel, Realists, based on a play we created at Juniata College three years ago. Our first, Tapdancer, hasn’t found a publisher, and this is in the same comic/satiric/fantasy vein, but hope springs eternal.

Except when excavating for the French drain. We have an extraordinary living space, but extraordinary living spaces take work, which at the moment means digging a 209 ft. trench for a drain to prevent flooding when the rains come–last year, gophers surf-boarding up out of their holes. Finding your way through and around gravel & tree roots, measuring the gradual descent, carting off load after load of excavation, and never knowing for absolute certain that it’ll work until the first cloudburst months from now… kinda reminiscent of playwriting.
Peace & joy–