Survivor Journals

Bob of If I Die Before I Wake has invited nine journallers to participate in a Cyber Survivor Adventure.

Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a "challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.

After the challenge entry is posted, the nine journallers will vote one of the writers off the site.

The "ousted" journaller will actually remain on the site, but rather than posting further challenge entries, they will act as a judge and commentator.

The first challenge entry has been issued, and can be found at the Survivor Journal website. The actual entries should be completed by
October 1, 2000.

Please take the time to visit, especially once the challenge entries are posted. There is a message board to post your thoughts/comments and also a instant poll where visitors can vote for who they would want to see kicked off the site.

The reasons behind Survivor Journals are simple.

1. To try something new.
2. Increase the interaction of the journal community.
3. The challenge.
4. Increased exposure to all journals involved.

So take a look around, explore all the journals involved.

If you would like to take part in Survivor Journals, Year Two (around Nov/Dec 2000), let Bob know!


October 31, 2000

I read somewhere a quote from someone who said something like “I love having created; I hate creating.” That’s where I am right now. I’m trying to write this damn review for the play we saw on Friday night, Waiting for Tadashi. This is a premiere production of playwright Velina Hasu Houston, who has apparently written some outstanding plays such as Tea and Ikibana, reviews of which I unearthed on the Internet. She is a well-respected Asian- American playwright and this premiere has been heralded as a wonderful collaboration between the playwright and the artistic director of the local theatre company, somewhat well known in her own right.

The problem is--I didn’t like the play. At all. It’s a surreal sort of thing where the timeline bounces all over the place. I found the dialog to be amateurish and, quite frankly, I dozed off through most of the first act (I bring Walt along to poke me in the ribs if I do). The second act was slightly better, but I really just didn’t like the play. Now, I could just say that, but my problem is that I know musical-comedy.

The next show I review will be Oliver! and I am on familiar territory there (we’ve seen it many times and Paul once played the title character). But I haven’t seen that many straight plays in my day and I don’t want to look like an idiot. I’m still remembering the former arts editor of the paper who reviewed a Kabuki theatre performance and complained that it looked like “a bunch of guys in drag.” I think she retired shortly after that review was printed.

So I’ve been struggling with this review for a few days now. At first I decided I would just lay it aside until after Peggy left. But that excuse has gone by the boards and I really need to turn it in tomorrow so I have to write it tonight.

Things got a little easier when the other reviewer for the paper called me tonight to ask me about something else. She had also gone to the opening performance because she had seen something else by this playwright last year and was eager to see her new work. To my everlasting relief, she didn’t like it either. Her reasons were more pointed than mine (“it sucked” probably isn’t going to be respected as a learned reviewer’s objective opinion!).

This reviewer had corresponded with the publicist and got some inside scoop on things that were left out of the play. She shared them with me and it does give me a bit more grist for my mill, but still I’m left with how to write the damn thing. So I’ve done what I usually do when I’m on deadline and stressing about it. Lessee...I cooked dinner for Walt (who is at the other theatre building a set for Kismet, which opens next week), checked e-mail every 5 minutes, emptied the garbage, paced around a lot, wrote a lot of e-mail, did some web surfing, cleaned up the kitchen, and ate more dessert than I expected to. (And you’ll also note I’m now writing my journal entry a bit early.) Still the words won’t come.

I’ve written 100 words. I have to turn in 650. It may be a long night. Usually when I get to a point like this, as soon as I find a hook, a direction to take, or get the first paragraph written, the rest flows rather smoothly.

One nice thing about reviewing plays, by the time you mention all the key characters, the director, the set designer, the lighting designer, and give information about the remainder of the run, you’ve pretty much written the review. But you still do need to actually REVIEW it somewhere in the first couple of paragraphs, and how to say “it sucked” in a way that sounds at least moderately intelligent is the frustrating task I’m struggling with at the moment.

I’m like this whenever I have a creative deadline to meet. I simply do not know why. I love writing (obviously). I love the act of creating something out of words, but put a “have to” in front of me and I become a twisted mass of insecurities. I’ve written my share of stuff for the newspaper over the years. I wrote school news, mental health news, press releases for everything and everybody, letters to the editor, and periodic op ed pieces. The ones I write on a whim, for my own amusement flow freely. The ones I’ve been assigned to do are always a chore. Maybe it’s too much like being back in school and struggling with a test deadline or something.

When I get a piece written, I cringe, hate it, and quickly e-mail it off to the arts editor. A couple of days later, I open the paper and read this lovely piece with my by line. I figure the arts editor has had a hand in reshaping the mess I sent him into something that sounds a bit more intelligent, but when I compare it with what I e-mailed, to my amazement it was hardly touched at all. That should give me confidence in my ability to pull it all together, but it doesn’t. I’m still left with the opening paragraphs of the review for Waiting for Tadashi and how to say “it sucked” in 100 or so intelligent words that hang together in some sort of coherent way.

I shoulda gone into computer programming. I’ll bet programmers don’t suffer the tortures of the damned like this. I feel like Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse staring at a piece of paper in his typewriter. It was a dark and stormy night...the moon was full...and the play sucked... Arrgghhh...I hate this...

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created 10/18/00 by Bev Sykes