IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
My Favorite Video Blogs
(for others, see Links page)
Drunk Driving Test
Steve Irwin Meets Ross the Intern
Volcanic Eruption 4/2/07
Polar Bear Cub
Interpretation of Leviticus 18
Support liberty and justice for all
14 April 2007
"Bev!" she squealed as she saw me in the theatre. We hadn't seen each other in a couple of years. "Weren't you just quoted.....?" her voice trailed off as she looked off into space. "There was an article....." she stopped again. "No, it wasn't you who was quoted....." she said, trying to remember where she had seen my name recently.
"You must be talking about the article I wrote," I said.
The lightbulb went off over her head. She had just read the feature article I had written about the play we were about to see. My name must have registered somewhere in her brain, but she wasn't quite sure in what context. The article appeared in the newspaper last night and, in fact, it was because of the article that she decided to come to the show. She and the director had gone to their high school prom together and remained good friends through the years, but she hadn't known about the play, and was pleased to be able to get tickets for opening night.
This happens to me all the time. I've been the theatre critic for The Davis Enterprise for seven years now. When I first took the job, there were two of us and we split the shows between us. But the senior critic was ready to retire and so my editor asked if I wanted to do the job all by myself. I agreed to give it a try.
So far it seems to be working out all right. I review sometimes 2-3 shows a week (there are occasional dry spells when I can go for more than a month with no shows at all). I tell people (and may have mentioned here as well) that the perk of the job is that I get to see everything that comes along. The down side is that I have to see everything that comes along.
The real perk is seeing things I never in my wildest dreams would have considered buying a ticket for and discovering that they are simply delightful. (This evening's play would fall into that category.)
But nobody outside the local theatre community seems to know that I am the town's only theatre critic.
There was a time many years ago, when Ned and Marta still lived in Davis. Ned and I went through a period of several years when we were a presence in the local Letters to the Editor column. Letters to the Editor of The Davis Enterprise is probably its most consistently read feature. The paper's policy is to pretty much print every letter it receives which comes in under the word limit and it can be quite a revealing look at where people's politics, local and otherwise, lie; what activities they belong to; and a whole host of things that reveal themselves when someone is passionate enough to write a letter for publication.
My annual Boy Scout letter, for example, is a Christmas tradition. Sometime around Thanksgiving, I write a letter reminding people about how the Boy Scouts of America discriminates against gay and atheist boys and potential leaders, and asking them to please buy their Christmas tree from somewhere other than the Scout Christmas tree lot so as not to support discrimination. Someone from the Boy Scouts counters with a letter thanking everyone who made the previous year the most successful in their history and inviting the townsfolk to come out and support the kids who work so hard.
We've been doing this little dance for years now. I've also written letters in support of various gay issues and occasionally against the current administration (I know this will come as a big surprise to you). Occasionally someone will call me to either congratulate me on a letter or to tell me what an idiot I am for writing it.
In January of 1995, we attended the 95th birthday of a local legend. A wonderful local doctor who knows everybody and is much beloved. There was a huge crowd of people there to help him celebrate and we all wore name tags.
I cannot tell you how many people came up to me, looked at my chest and complimented me on all of my letters to the editor. Several people followed the compliment by asking if I "ever wrote anything else?" (This was after I had been writing reviews and feature articles for five years!)
Sometimes it makes me wonder why I agonize so much over my reviews when apparently very few people actually read them. And if they do read them, they have no idea who wrote them.
I suppose I would feel more slighted by the fact that nobody realizes I have been a writer for the paper for seven years except for that Lamplighter History. Back in 1976, Alison Lewis found two other women (me and Carolyn McGovern) to put out a 25th anniversary book about The Lamplighters.
I helped sort photos, compile the index, transcribe interviews, and write one paragraph for the foreword. Alison graciously always acknowledged me as "one of the three authors of the book," when we know that really I didn't write anything at all. In fact, she had given me a section to write and I suffered such angst about it, she wrote that section herself.
When the book was finished, Alison and Carolyn went back to their regular lives and I stayed around to volunteer for The Lamplighters.
By becoming the only visible person involved with the history, I became, in the minds of most people, "the author of the Lamplighter history." I spent literally years correcting people who introduced me that way, always acknowledging that I worked on the book, but that the two writers were actually Alison and Carolyn.
Well, after all this time, I don't even bother any more. I just smile and act like yes, I am the author of the wonderful Lamplighter history. But I always feel guilty doing it.
I'm not sure which is worse--being praised for work you
didn't do or ignored for work you have done!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
For some reason, Dakota likes relaxing like this
This is entry #2571