Monday, September 29, 2008

A bad case of the Whatnexts...


After You Fall...

Last Ditch...

One play after another after a book after another... What do I get out of it?

Here's a shocking equation: 16 books and 5 plays have equalled 0 sales. It's something I have to face every day of my life. Other writers tell me how good I am, actors tell me they love my plays, but none of that means anything in terms of financial success. Nobody buys my stuff. It's a shameful admission. It makes me miserable.

Yet, I keep going.

I keep thinking, "Maybe if I do things a little differently. If I just get a little better." But I know that's not the case; we've all seen utter shit in the book market and trainwrecks on stage or screen. It's not a question of quality. It's a question of luck.

So, I keep going, thinking that maybe the next thing will bring me a little luck, a little recognition, make it all a little less pointless.

It's like gambling, you know? I've got a lifetime of losses to make up for - I should never have gotten into it.

My most recent play, Murielle's Big Date, is easily the funniest, most absurd, most dynamic play to date. I have no doubt that it's better than most of the rest of the shows I've seen. But what it's going to come down to has nothing to do with any of that. It's going to come down to the mood of the person reviewing it and whether they want something like that. (That's why I've made it a single set show with a small cast - to maximize the possibilities. Show runners love easy sets and small casts.) But the bottom line is that each person reviewing submissions, for shows or books or whatever, is looking for one specific thing and, if I'm not it, they move along. It's not about quality; it's about chemistry.

Anyway, it's all pretty damned heart-breaking.

And there's no stopping, of course. I've got three papers to write for school this semester but after those I already know what comes next. The next book is the follow up to Climbing Maya, a book not only answering the question of free will but also a story about my father's death and how each of his sons had a different part of themselves stripped away. It's going to be more complex, more emotional, and more profound than Climbing Maya, both related to and completely detached from the previous book. More marketable and more personal - because the bottom line, folks, is that there's much more than gambling going on here. I'm writing for far more than publication; I'm writing for me, too. The answers that I find are answers that I'm looking for, after all.

But I will say this. It's pretty damn exhausting.

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