First things first, Constant Reader – I’m happy to report I’m safe. I’m sure you’ve seen the images on the news; the pummeling of my city by the remnants of Hurricane Ida (which struck us with horrific fury and record-rainfall. (It managed to do this even though it travelled several hundred miles overland from the west to reach us and god damn it that’s not how weather is supposed to work we’re freaking doomed you guys, but let’s not think about that right now.) Fortunately, my part of Brooklyn didn’t experience the worst of the flooding; the subway is on elevated tracks right here, and our drainage system leads directly out into Gravesend Bay. I’m still primarily working from home, so I was spared the nightmare commute many of my neighbors endured. No, not to minimize the tragedy that many New Yorkers have just suffered, but for me the event amounted to a strong, hours-long thunderstorm outside my window.
And thankfully, I wound up working through the whole thing.
Right as the storm was starting, I had a zoom rehearsal for a play of mine that’s being presented in two weeks. It’s entitled For the Benefit of Jimmy Mangiaroli, and it’s being presented as part of an ongoing salon of new works. (Funded by a grant program designed to help theater artists as this city rebuilds from the other ongoing disaster – thanks, pandemic!) The event will be live, but we’re holding zoom rehearsals beforehand, so the first hour of the deluge was spent with me and the two actors making a few passes through the script, with me giving notes. When you’re a writer directing your own work, there’s always a feeling of inadequacy – if I’d made the script clearer, I wouldn’t need to give these notes now, would I? – but we’re all friends, and the time flew by.
Upon logging out of that meeting and checking my emails, I discovered that there was an emergency situation with the venue of another ongoing project I’m working on. I’ll spare you the full details – largely because it’s an ongoing situation that I don’t want to screw up – but it’s the sort of thing that requires emails to various artistic directors and board members, the crafting of contingency plans and the making of manifestos. Which was another hour or so of lightning and thunder – both outdoors and at my beleaguered keyboard.
I spent another several hours battering my keyboard even further, to make the deadline for a submission opportunity for one of my plays. As always seems to be the case, the organization had all manner of specific criteria for formatting the pdf manuscript – rules for how to name the files, rules for how to list the cast breakdown, rules for how to structure the title page, you name it. And these criteria inevitably change from opportunity to opportunity, so every time I submit something I have to create a brand new, completely revamped pdf. It certainly occupied the time – and given that the play in question is about life in the fascist ethnostates that I fear will spring up in the aftermath of climate catastrophe, it seemed like an appropriate way to spend a climatically castatrophic kind of night.
And that was, indeed, the end of the night – I hit send as the storm began to subside, and promptly went to bed. I feel a bit guilty that I got off comparatively easy. And I’m a little dismayed that all of this activity is, essentially, housekeeping – it’s not working towards the creation of any new work on my end, just the shopping and finessing of things that already exist. It’s frustrating having to devote time to that sort of thing, as opposed to creating something new – heaven knows there’s enough for me to be writing about at the moment.
But in any event, I didn’t have to go out in the storm. At least that night. So that’s something.