So I’ve been listening to a lot of Robyn, especially her Body Talk Album which is great. I noticed that the songs tell a pretty exciting three act story. Here it is. The optimistic version.
I’m too cool for this town. NONE OF DEM can dance. U SHOULD KNOW BETTER that to fuck with me. Oh, except you. Hey, you. You can dance. WE DANCE TO THE BEAT. Yeah, you can HANG WITH ME. Shit, this is getting serious. You better CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND. Hey, that was easy and simple. Awesome. We are STARS 4-EVER! That’s right - I said forever.
Oh - wait - DON’T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO. My boyfriend is killing me. Did I say that out loud? TIME MACHINE. Shit. Guess I’m DANCING ON MY OWN. You didn’t even see me at the club! Dancing in the corner! Were you with your girlfriend? Did you even call her? I’ve got to GET MYSELF TOGETHER.Cause LOVE KILLS. Even FEMBOTS have feelings.
You know? We all fall apart and make mistake IN MY EYES. I got to get back to dancing. Cause I’m a DANCEHALL QUEEN. Yeah! I love dancing! I still run this thing. I feel much better about myself, that guy was a jerk. Perspective. Me? I’m INDESTRUCTIBLE.
You’ve probably been hearing about this heat wave. I don’t really having anything new to say other than it’s been tough not to complain all the minutes of all the days. It’s been hard to remember that I’ve done things this summer that have been awesome and haven’t made me pass out from heat. To help me remember and appreciate summer, I made this list title: My Summer Vacation Has Actually Been Pretty Great When I Think About It Like A Rational Person.
Recent Great Things:
ATTACK THE BLOCK:
This movie is stupid good. They took all the boring parts out! They just left the good parts! 90 minutes of movie = 90 minutes of good.
Ice Cream was on super sale today at Fiesta. I got one with blueberries and pie crusts mixed right in. It’s not healthy but neither is 105 degrees.
I like Blue Monkey the best. I want to drink this every day. It gives me superpowers I think. I do respond very well to the marketing on healthy drinks (like Kombucha.)
THE HUNGER GAMES
This isn’t super recent but still it has a hold of my heart! Katniss. Katniss. Katniss. These books changed the way I think about fiction and made me remember my love of reading and give me new goals as a writer - that’s a lot, Katniss! I’ve read a lot of really good books but nothing has grabbed like this. Or maybe me care so much about a fictional character. If you haven’t read these, you should read them before the movies because you’re going to want to homestead your own imaginary world on this. I have high hopes for the movie but I’m glad to have got there first.
Okay. Now I will do some yoga and appreciate the warmth of my room and how it is like a Bikram studio. So good for your muscles. Sweat is so good for your skin. If that’s a lie, I don’t want to know.
As I have done more writing, I’ve made a difficult discovery. This may be something that is obvious to most people but wasn’t to me.
Good Hard Work is hard to do.
It is not fun. It is not comfortable. It is not all the things I like most about writing (the imagining, the playing). It is building and breaking and building again. It is revision. It is listening to other people respond to your work, thinking they are wrong and then realizing they are right. And that you have more work to do. That they aren’t not impressed by the pages you have written, they want more different better.
Good Hard Work is hard to get to do.
I recently got back from WordBRIDGE, a two week playwright laboratory. There were four playwright total and then a ton (like 50) additional artists to help serve the plays. Normally, I find myself a lot of playwriting adjacent work to do. Things like casting, things like rehearsal. Even asking the play smart dramaturgical questions. But at WordBRIDGE, there were other people to do that work. People who were really good at it. I was left with the work of writing.
And it was not easy. All those people made it easy to get to the hard work but I was alone in writing the play. And I did. I got some great work done.
Those two weeks also made me realize how much more I can push myself in my regular writing life. Another discovery I’m superficially not super happy about making. But on another level, a deeper level, it’s worth it.
I feel great debt to WordBRIDGE and the artists they gathered and the time given to us. And even more that, I feel grateful to have spent that time with a group of people (people who started out as a strangers) who thought the best of me. Who thought I could do good hard work.
Internet. Did you miss me? I was in Baltimore working hard (that’s another post I will write today instead of working on my new play) and watching Britney’s new video. You know the one internet. You are all over that. Seashells. What does it mean? Why does she look so awesome doing such a simple dance? Seriously.
No - Internet - I’m trying to focus on the books. Don’t let me get so distracted. I read another Jennifer Egan book, Look at Me, which was fantastic. It’s not as sharply brilliant as Goon Squad, which makes me like it even more. It’s easier for me to imagine Look at Me being written, you can feel a little more of the construction behind it. And there is a supermodel in it. Internet, you know how I like America’s Next Top Model and all that. This girl, this Charlotte would smoke them all. She would win despite the judges saying every week, we don’t think you want this enough.
I also read the Hunger Games. That is going to be a good movie internet. I’m excited. I read it on the airplane between Baltimore and Dallas, I didn’t stop once. I love that there were pretty outfits and crazy fighting. I liked that it was up front and fast. Things were pretty much how they seemed and by that I mean things seemed awesome and they were. What the book may have lacked in surprise, it made up for with intensity and speed. I would recommend this book if you were going somewhere with a long wait.
I have also started In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard. It’s great so far.
A Visit From The Goon Squad - Thoughts on Fiction & Expectations
This week I went to New York. This week I read A Visit From the Goon Squad.
I’d recommend both.
Internet, I don’t even want to tell you how good this book is. I just want you to read it so we can talk about it. Not even just the power point part. Not even Sasha and how we love her. Not even the joy I felt on the subway reading Jules writing about Kitty and thinking - oh! I know her! I want to talk about how the book gave me what I didn’t know I wanted.
As an audience member, we want different things but usually a few big things. We want a story we can follow. We want characters we care about. We want experiences and sensations familiar but new. Goon Squad, and other great works, give us things sideways and all mashed up. They don’t give us just what we wanted but instead the things we didn’t know needed. I was reading the book and I thought, on page 5, this is funny and delightful and easy to read. How many pages does that last until I need something else? Some sort of surprise or shift?
Reading the book felt a lot like walking in Manhattan and watching the city change. You are still you. The city is still the city. Everything just looks different.
My favorite place to read is on airplanes and airports. They are such anonymous, impersonal places and reading is such an intimate thing. Would that tension work in theater? How different is the experience of a play in a strange city when seen alone?
Great article about echos of spiritual practice in great plays. Reminds me a little of Bodies in Motion, Bodies at Rest by Thomas Lynch. Lynch writes, among many great things, “What is the one true word today? The good word, the good news? The truth, the whole truth? […] Is bearing a little witness the best I can do?”
I like the word the practice. I like that it is something you can do and something you can have.