There is a predictable pattern to summer; it’s locked into our psyches in childhood, as we’re giddily released from school. Summer may be one season, but it comes in three distinct stages. There is the initial burst of activity, as we gleefully hit the beach and the amusement park and do all of the “summertime” things we’ve been dreaming of doing all the rest of the year; this lasts roughly until the 4th of July or so, that most prominent of summer benchmarks. There’s then a few weeks of doldrums, a period of sticky and hazy torpor as we sit about, inactive, wondering if there will ever be anything else to do. During this period we tend to forget about all the projects we actually have coming up, so around the end of July or beginning of August that third and final period of summer begins. It’s.a race against time, as we try and rouse ourselves out of heat-induced torpor to try and complete our various tasks, a sickening knot of dread growing larger in our stomachs, a frantic burst of activity before fall arrives, and the clock runs out.
This pattern may begin when we’re schoolchildren, but it extends into our work life as well. And it absolutely extends into a theatrical life – at least, it has this year for me, as it does most years. First, there was the mad scramble to prepare for the Valdez Theatre Conference, happening just as I was finishing a Memorial Day weekend show at Theatre for the New City as well. Then, all that completed, it’s been a daze of inactivity these past few weeks, trying to regain my mental clarity despite the summer heat. (Which is the worst it’s been in a hundred thousand years or so, the humid air also clogged with smoke particles from the Canadian wildfires. Nope, we’re not doomed at all.)
I’ve just finished revising a sketch of mine to be a viable ten minute one act. I needed to get that out of the way before I could finish researching and outlining a possible project. I need to get that out of the way by the end of the month, so that I can be finished with revisions to Before Vinson (the play I brought to Valdez this year, back in the first stage of summer) by the middle of August. I need those done by that time so I can prepare for a reading the piece will receive in the middle of September, after which I’ll be at work on a possible new ten minute play so I can have that ready to submit by mid-October. And so on.
That’s the infuriating thing. Just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean I’m not caught off-guard by it, just as I am year after year. I shouldn’t be, of course. Just as you shouldn’t be caught off-guard by my ending yet another blog post lamenting the lack of time I have to do anything (which presumably includes writing this very blog post). And yet, here we are.
Happy Summer Stage Three, everybody!