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16 May 2016
I sit here this morning and realize I have nothing to say.
The bulk of yesterday was spent writing two reviews for the show we saw on Saturday. It was a good show, a world premiere of a show called Not Medea about a frazzled mother with a big secret that is eating her alive. She takes the day off, though it is her day with her daughter, who lives with the father, and attends a performance of Medea. As her story unfolds, she morphs into the character of Medea and goes in and out of modern day and ancient Greece as she lives the Medea story and explains why she has sympathy for the ancient enchantress.
As you can see from this rather awkward explanation, it's a complicated show -- but an excellent one -- and my job was to review it. Twice.
When I took the job with the Sacramento newspaper, I was tickled to learn that the reviews would be half (or less) the length of the ones I write for the Davis paper. Not only that, but the pay for each review would be slightly higher than what I get from the Davis paper.
I love writing for both papers, but it's not as easy as it sounds writing for the Sacramento paper. I've learned that it's much easier to write long than to write short. I have lots of room to talk about the show for Davis, but have to condense that into a much smaller space for Sacramento and still get the same points across. It's easier for some shows than for others.
There is also a strict format for the Sacramento reviews, with regard to how they are submitted and somehow it just doesn't embed in my head and it takes me nearly as long to format the review as it does to write the damn thing, getting the dates and times into the right format. It would be easy if it just rolled effortlessly off my head, but it doesn't. I suppose this is part of my "early dementia." Things like this don't stick, and I check and re-check and try to get it right...for some reviews I use abbreviations for the days of the week, for others I write the day out. The press releases list the dates of performance starting with the earliest day of the week, the Sacramento paper starts the dates with the day of publication and puts the earlier dates at the end of the review. It is ridiculous how much time it takes me to get it right. The Davis paper does the dates itself from the press releases sent out by the theater itself.
But then when I finally get the Sacramento review written, I go and write a whole new review for the Davis paper. I am careful not to repeat myself and to make the two reviews different enough that there is little to compare the two. If I have some brilliant turn of phrase that I use in one, sometimes I will use it in the other, just so everyone can marvel at my cleverness (yes, that's sarcastic), but as a general rule, I want both reviews to be completely different from each other.
Fortunately having to write two reviews doesn't happen often, but often enough (often other reviewers are doing a show that I am reviewing for Davis, or if I'm reviewing a Sacramento show, it's for a theater that does NOT get reviewed in Davis). For a run of the mill show it's a lot easier than for a complicated show like Not Medea. I realized this was a very. good. show that I wanted to encourage people to see, but it's an odd show and how do I explain that? I took me literally hours yesterday to get it right for Sacramento...and to do it within 275 words. I take lots of breaks. Spend lots of time sitting in a chair and just thinking.
And then when the review is finally written and submitted to the paper and the other 3 reviewers (and I had a nice compliment from one of the other reviewers, which means so much to me because I really respect his opinion and think he's an excellent writer. He was at the show too so this compliment was really special), then I have to start all over again and write it for Davis.
I still haven't quite finished the Davis review, though it is about 3/4 finished and the only reason it's not already submitted is that the editor won't see it until tomorrow anyway, so I have time to make sure it really says what I want it to say. But I actually had a good night of sleep and so my brain should be sharp this morning and finishing it will go easily.
In the middle of all of this is the pressure of The Cleanup. Ned is coming tomorrow to move my computer into the family room and I must clean everything off of it. This strikes fear and terror into my heart for several reasons, not the least of which is that some of the crap piled high on the desk are things that I use every day and I have to be sure to move everything in a way that I can find it all when I get moved. Also, I will only have one desk in the temporarily location and I really need both desks. AND there is the not small fear that somehow in moving the computer, which means disconnecting it, something will go wrong and it won't be able to be hooked back up again, leaving me without a computer. I realize that the last fear is silly. Of course it's going to work, but I want to be out of the house so I don't have to be here while the glitches are being worked out.
Of less importance, but still weighing heavily on my mind is a pocket letter project I'm in the middle of finishing -- which needs stuff I have to move out of my office -- and the letters to Bri and Lacie that I try to write each week, that I haven't written yet. Those are of such low importance that they really should not be part of my concerns, but just because trying to figure out what I am going to do about them is foremost in my mind, it becomes part of it all, and a distraction from doing everything else.
I am also going to design a Facebook page for a fund raiser Walt is in charge of and that is floating around in the back of my head as well.
So I have nothing to say today (and have said it in a full page) because I didn't do anything yesterday.
Today my cousin is coming to give my mother a pedicure and I am staying away from Atria because I always think it's better to force my mother to interact with a visitor rather than to just sit and listen to the visitor and me talking. But I am going to meet her at Atria toward the end of her visit (she is going to call me) so I can bring her a painting by my aunt that I found recently during The Cleanup. This cousin owns a beauty salon and wants to frame it and put it in her salon, since it was done by her grandmother. We are going to go out for a glass of wine. Even that has caused some slight tension since I don't do stuff like that and could not think of any place in town where you could go to get a glass of wine (I also don't drink). Thank goodness for Kari Peterson, who regularly wines and dines in Davis and was able to give me some suggestions of places to go.
Whaddya know. I wrote a whole entry about nothing. I'm the blog equivalent of Seinfeld.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
My aunt's painting
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This is entry #5896