Give a critic an inch, he'll write a play.
~ John Steinbeck
A Walk in the Woods
Lady Windermere's Fan
31 July 2004
It suddenly occurred to me, as I was sweating over a hot keyboard at 2 a.m. trying to get my Oklahoma! review written for the "early morning" deadline, that Im doing a heck of a lot of writing this week.
Ive been reviewing for The Davis Enterprise for about four or five years now and it always feels like something I do once in awhile. Heck, this week it feels like a full time job!
First there is the feature article on the upcoming Ghost Light Theatre Festival, which I wrote about earlier this month. Getting this article written involved many interviews, much research, and hours transcribing the interviews and putting the whole thing together. (A couple of people have asked to read it--I suspect its very boring to anyone who doesnt live here, but if you really want to read it, Ive posted it, in plain vanilla version, here. Read at your peril!)
In the middle of doing the feature article, I reviewed My Avisia Winger at Historic Schmeisers barn (about which I wrote a couple of days ago).
Tuesday I had the production of Oklahoma! at Music Circus to review. It was a fun production and all the leads were great. It also gave me a chance to write my very favorite paragraph, which only a handful (if that) reading this will get:
The ballet features Lisa Gillespie as Laurey and Jared Nelson as Curly. While Dream Laurey has some resemblance to the "real" Laurey, Dream Curly is blonde and slender, while "real" Curly is brunette and muscular. Still the sequence is beautifully danced.
(I'll be curious to know if anybody other than Michael and maybe Steve get what is so noteworthy about this paragraph!)
In the middle of all this reviewing, I also wrote a letter to the editor (published the next day) about the lost puppy, hoping that whoever owns her will rush right out to the animal shelter and bail her out.
On Wednesday, I spent some time at the newspaper office writing captions for the photos for the feature article.
Tonight I review Lady Windermere's Fan and tomorrow I review Romeo and Juliet.
And then on Sunday I have to make phone calls to interview people who are going to be nominated for the area "Elly" awards. The Ellys, named for the late Eleanor McClatchy, publisher and a devoted patron of the arts in the Sacramento area, are Sacramento's version of the Ovation Awards in Los Angeles--recognizing local theatre productions that are never going to get a chance for something like a Tony. This is the 22nd anniversary of the awards.
It's kind of cool. I have in front of me a list of everybody who will be nominated at this special party on Sunday (which means I don't have to go to the party, which makes me happy), but I am sworn to deep secrecy until after the nominations are revealed publicly. It also means I can't start calling people to get comments until Sunday night or Monday morning. My editor originally wanted the story on Monday, but when I pointed out that there might be a time problem, he gave me an extension to Tuesday.
But heck--this feels like being a salaried, working writer (well, I don't get paid for writing the letter to the editor).
I have never sat down and figured out how much I earn at this job. I'm paid by the review, not by the word or the inch or however "real" reporters are paid. For the amount I get for something like the feature article, after I've added up all the time spent in interviews and transcription, in sitting with the photographer for the photo shoot, watching rehearsals, and in agonizing over getting the article itself written, if I earn twenty-five cents an hour, I'll be surprised!
But it's all about artistic satisfaction, right?
Oh yeah, and in the middle of all this writing, I had a call from someone from the SPCA asking if I'd be interested in being on the newsletter committee. I had to smile. I've been involved with the newsletter of every single organization that I've ever been involved with, from the nursery school newsletter in Oakland and forward to PTA newsletters, La Leche League newsletter, Lamplighters newsletter, Davis Comic Opera newsletter, the PFLAG newsletter, and probably a host of others I'm sure I've forgotten. Heck, I once put out a family newsletter so that everybody would be sure to get all the information I wanted to pass on (nowadays that newsletter is called "Funny the World" LOL.)
So I've agreed to be on the newsletter committee for the SPCA. And probably on the Board of Directors as well (all this because I volunteered to take pictures of the animals from time to time, and then adopted a dog. They must really be hard up for Board members!)
Anyway, it appears that slowly, I'm approaching the point where I might really be able to tell people that I'm a "writer."
Suggested Web Site
You must read Alexandra Billings' journal. Unfortunately, I can't link to a specific entry--or to the journal itself--so at the link, click on "Live Journal" and then read "Steve's Brain." I think Steve has been living with Jimmy (his partner of 20 years, Jim Brochu, who was a friend of Lucille Ball's) too long!