Archive for December, 2004

Eine Kleine Mo Music

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

I’ve never tried this before, to upload an MP3, so I figured I’d do it twice.


This is the opening of the show that Mac and Jordana are writing with me. This is just an MP3 of the song with all midi instruments mixed way too low and my sister kicking ass on the vocals.

It took us months to get this far. I have no idea how anyone gets anything accomplished.

A story told in pictures

Monday, December 27th, 2004

I got a digital camera.

I took a picture of Michelle waiting for a train.

A train to a booty call.

Here’s that picture…

Michelle waits for a train to take her to a booty call.

Now, here’s a picture of her on the train, going to the booty call…

Michelle on the train to her booty call

I got no pictures of the booty call itself.

It was a wonderful wonderful Christmas.

Best Christmas EVER

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

Man, this Christmas will be so totally awesome.

Every Christmas it’s the same goddam thing, over and over, family, presents, food. The last few years we’ve even been up at Ian’s hellhole of a farm-house, where you have to go *outside* to reach half the entertaining shit you can do, where the only reprise from the endless discomfort is the incredible comfort of the entire house, where there is that asphyxiating oppression of knowing the whole family is under one roof. I mean, is there even enough air in one goregous majestic farmhouse for all these mouth breathers to sleep at the same time?

I don’t know, but I know we’ve managed to avoid all of that this year. There has been this lingering debate for the last few months. Will Kent and the family manage to get to New York? (“Oh God,” said me, crossing my fingers, “please let them think it’s too much trouble. If I have to spend one more minute with my nephews…”) Will Michelle fly out? (“She just got a new job,” me thought, “there is no way she’ll be able to take time off!”) Will Tessa and Ian stay in town? (“Oh please,” me pleeded with the heavens, “I’ve had all the wit and wordplay I can take. I’m so exhausted by talking about stuff that Ian and Tessa understand, please make them go away…”) etc.

I knew it was too much to ask for. I was gonna end up, again, stuck, covered in presents, eating those god-awful orange rolls, listening to Ian and Sean Patrick talk about music or basketball (two things I couldn’t possibly give another shit about) while Tessa and Jordana and my mom talked about writing (as if they know anything) and Steve bringing me *another* cup of frickin’ coffee while Michelle bores me stiff with more stories of her “fascinating” life.

But, no. I wake up this morning and it’s like a Christmas miracle.

1. Ian and Tessa. GONE! I can’t believe it. Driving to Texas as we speak. *TEXAS*!!! I will *FINALLY* be able to talk about my weight without someone in the room *laughing about it*. And Tessa with her endless fascination with *conversation*, as if talking about stuff weren’t a total waste of time. With them out of the way, I no longer have to worry about having a couple in their thirties who live in New York to relate to. But even better…

2. No FARMHOUSE! Oh, man. I will get to have Christmas where I always wanted it, in my two bedroom row apartment in Queens. I have a five foot tree that fits perfectly in the dining room (with the table moved over and the branches of the tree which face the wall sort of scrunched up, so that it looks less like it’s standing and more like it’s leaning, y’know, chilling), I have a string of lights around the front window (any more decoration than that and the paint will probably fall off the wall in sheets) and, best of all, I have one 4X6 bathroom which should be *plenty* for anyone staying here. Which leads me to

3. KENT and Family. My Christmas wish didn’t come true here, they are actually coming. But, their two options for sleeping are either a) 45 minutes away in Brooklyn (which is almost as good as them not being in New York at all) or b) at my friend Mac’s house (which hopefully won’t induce them to stay very long, as it hasn’t been cleaned since the Pleistocene). I couldn’t stop them from coming, but the Christmas miracle still happened. The weather is so bad in Ohio that THEY ARE POSTPONING THEIR TRIP BY A DAY! They will get here so late on Christmas Eve that I’ll be able to just say hello Christmas morning, explain that I have a lot of private thinking to do, and before you know it, they will be headed back to Iowa.

4. STEVE. Ah, bliss. Sure, I made the obvious overtures. Sure, I kept insisting that I wanted him to come. I’m so good at acting and I so completely believed my own line that I actually, for a moment, felt terrible when he said he was going to Utah. It took me a minute before I remembered, I WANT TO BE TOTALLY ALONE ON CHRISTMAS. Yeah, I got a good line when it comes to Steve, the old “hard nut to crack” thing, but I won’t have to see him *for the entier holiday season*. Which leads me to…

5. MOM. Always the hard case. She’s just always *there*. And *CHRIST*, I am so sick of being around this goddam know-it-all. Every thing I do, she’s hovering, either in the next room or at the end of the phone line, laying out advice for everything from orchestration to bread dough. God. I *get* it. You know *everything*, don’t you? And there is this myth that Christmas isn’t Christmas if Mom isn’t there. Well, you know what? I’ve hated Christmas forever, if Mom isn’t there, maybe it won’t have to be the same fucking presents/family/food bullshit it is every year.

Imagine my surprise when she decided to go to Texas. It’s like I won the lottery! I stopped for a minute, thinking she was pulling my leg. After all, it didn’t make any sense. But she had some explanation about hating Christmas (man, can that woman *talk*) and that maybe if she did it different… God, I can’t remember, but WHO CARES. She’s OUTTA HERE!

6. DAD. Oh, crap. What would I do about this. I really liked Christmas when my dad provided some structure, but if I have christmas with my dad, there is sure to be plenty of room and good food and a nice place for me to sleep, and Jesus, am I sick of that kind of Christmas. Fortunately, he agreed to come to New York for Thanksgiving, and I have him convinced that I am… Man, what is it? How do I avoid… OH YEAH, this is awesome, I have him convinced I am scared to fly. HAHAHAHA. What kind of shithead idiot is scared to fly? Anyway, he wasn’t coming out here, and I wasn’t going out there BECAUSE OF THE PLANE FLIGHT, so it all worked out.

7. MICHELLE. The only spot of bad news. Michelle is not only flying out, she’s coming out earlier than expected. I don’t know what the hell I’m thinking sometimes. Michelle calls and she’s like “the flight a day earlier is an extra $150, and I can’t afford it” and as I’m *thinking*, “maybe you should cancel the whole thing!” my mouth blurts out,

“I’ll help you pay for it, I can’t believe that it’s three days before Christmas and I’m here by myself, I’m looking at this pathetic tree and imagining none of my brothers or parents being here.

“I can’t believe that the family cracked and splintered on Christmas of ’85, and that the shattering was so profound that none of us has fully recovered but, despite that, we have one day a year when we remember that, at one point, we all lived under the same roof and, maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it was what it was, and we have one day a year to get together and both mourn and celebrate the death of that family and relish in the birth of this new one, a family that is patched together with the thrown off remains of the old family and created through *choice*.

“Because we learned that we love each other, not as brothers and sisters and parents, but as people. When we talk on the phone now, we know that we *could* live without each other, but we don’t want to. And we don’t say it, we don’t have a sermon about it, the fact that we are all together, fighting, shitting, eating, laughing, cooking, admitting our mistakes, bragging about our accomplishments, brooding about our failures, all under one roof for one day a year is like our makeshift religious ceremony. We are a people without a home, it’s never “next year in the holy land”, but it is always, “where will we all be next year.” It’s why we buy individual presents for each person instead of large master gifts, it’s why there is a pilgrimage instead of a phone call. We negotiate the time and place because it is hard to do so, we find actual gifts for each person because we are showing that we think of each person. We open our gifts the morning of and set out stockings because we are honoring our past. It is the only thing we have that approaches being a “holy day” and it became this organically. It is because it always has been.

And I find myself stunned at the precedent, that our yearly pilgrimage to be together will simply not happen this year. We have missed one person at a Christmas, sometimes, and we’ve even flown the day of to be where we need to be, but we’ve never been spread to four different corners of America on this day. If it was me that had to miss Christmas, but everyone was still together, it would suck but it would still be Christmas.

“So, yeah, I’ll help you with the ticket, and I’ll come pick you up. Kent and Melissa will get in late on Christmas Eve, but, shit, I’ll stay up all night if they want. I’ll do Christmas in a motel 8 in New Jersey. I just wish we could all be together.”

I can’t believe I said all that shit. It’s December 23rd and I am in my apartment by myself. I slept in this morning, ’till 9:30. I woke up because I was done sleeping. *THIS* is the kind of Christmas I want from now on.


Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004

I am not a metaphysical person really, which is strange coming from someone who only understands the surface, pedestrian ideas of science. But I like what I know. If you are boiling a pot of water, it doesn’t help to start with a little bit and then add water as you go, it will simply take a certain amount of energy to boil all the water that you need. If you want to jump high, going to the moon will help, but you still will have only a certain amount of strength to mass moved ratio. You will jump higher on the moon than you do on earth, but so would everyone else.

Your weight is actually a measure of gravity, it isn’t a thing like mass or density. It is a completely capricious measurement in astronomical terms. It’s even useless in talking about your health, mental or otherwise, because density, fat percentage, mass, that kind of stuff is what we should actually be measuring. My weight has always been higher than you would expect. I’m five ten, and at the same height in high school I still clocked in at close to 180 despite being thin as a rail. I once dropped to 170 and my family thought I had contracted a disease. Meanwhile, several of my friends are my height and 150-160 and they look totally normal.

I have gained a bit of weight in the last year, and about three weeks ago I finally talked to my wife about the fact that I just don’t believe I’m ever going to lose it. I hired a personal trainer and got my fat percentage down, and couldn’t sustain it.

Is it a will power thing? … I am going to go ahead here… (yes, I’m stalling) and I’m gonna say… No.

I really need to reject the idea that my weight is a failure, and I have a list of reasons. Yeah, I’m gonna list them, eventually, this is a fucking blog, this is what we do with blogs, we write stupid shit that is only really meaningful to ourselves and the few friends we have peeking in our lives, so yeah, I’m gonna write the list, but first I want to clarify the rejection of failure.

A lot of people state rejections of widely held beliefs not because they actually reject them, but because they desperately want to. “I will no longer care what people say about my shoes, I love these shoes, y’all can go suck it,” says a girl, who secretly wishes people loved her shoes. Am I doing this? Am I rejecting my weight as a sign of my own failure and self hatred because I *want* it to be true?

Yeah, probably.

Anyway, these are the reasons-

1) There are a bunch of physical things that I love to do. I love to dance. I love to play tennis. I love to conduct recording sessions (which is a pretty healthy upper body work-out). I love to golf. I like weight training with a friend, or even by myself.

But I hate almost all of the physical things available to me. I loathe the gym. I hate riding or running on a machine wherein you don’t get anywhere and there’s no point. I hate “going for walks” or “running”. I don’t just find it irritating and hard, it triggers all of the worst things about being me, the endless cycles of shit I have been asked to do during my life that mean nothing to me, where the end justifies the means, but the end is a million miles away and the means are soul suckingly boring.

I spent years in school wishing someone would give me an injury so I could get out of class. How is the gym gonna help me?

2) I’ve gotten quite a lot done in the last six months, but a huge chunk of it has been sitting at this desk. A lot of us sit at desks too much. It’s a problem we all have.

3) I’ve been saving money, or trying to, for the last two years. Yeah, I got a personal trainer, but instead of meeting with her enough times in a week to be effective, I kept trying to stretch it out to once a week, or less, in order to get my money’s worth. At sixty dollars a pop, she’s not expensive, but anything over, y’know, five dollars is more than we can afford. We also can’t afford dance lessons, memberships to tennis clubs, golfing, etc. It would cost me more money than I have to do the things I enjoy.

4) The ultimate reward for a good cook is a flavorful meal. I’m sure there is probably a way to cook and enjoy it that is less damaging to me than the way I currently cook. And this is one place where I am willing to change, I really would love to be able to cook healthier food than I currently do. I’m sure this can be done with spices. Currently, most of the flavor in my food comes from animal fat, whether in actual meat or butter. I honestly don’t cook with much oil, and I haven’t been exploring spices nearly enough.

5) I have to give a nod to the self-hatred thing as well. although I don’t think it is as deep or as rich as, say, my sister, who always finds a way to take herself to task for every possible thing she’s done wrong (and has since she was very young), but I definitely have an abiding joy in wallowing in my own suffering. Jesus Christ, you read this blog, you can tell I almost eroticize my own suffering, great long galloping paragraphs all about how much I suck.

I’ve gained weight *not* because I have no control and I don’t feel like going to the gym. I’ve gone to the gym and lost weight, but it is worse to go there than it was for me to go to grade school. And I probably went to the gym more times, all told.

There have been stretches when I could get my weight under control, but only if I had a show I had to lose weight for. I couldn’t even do it for my wedding. I need to find an activity that will keep me healthy, and it has to be something I want to do and something really affordable. I’m not lazy, if I’m gonna golf with my Dad-In-Law, I’ll get up and drive for an hour at 7 in the morning through heavy traffic. It is *not* a matter of me being unwilling to put in the hours. But I just can’t afford to go on my own.

And the fucking gym is out of the question.

A Very, Very, Very Fine House

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Jordana and I put in an offer on a house a few blocks from us that I am fairly sure we won’t end up getting. It was a fun experience, taking the plunge and offering up hundreds of thousands of dollars that we don’t have in an effort to have something we probably don’t deserve and borrowing the money from someone we don’t know in order to do it all.

In the discussions we’ve had with people, it’s amazing how much people reveal about themselves, and how much I reveal about myself. When I told my friend Ehren, I found myself explaining that we would be up to our eyeballs in debt, lest he should think that I think I can afford to be a homeowner. When I talked to either Seth or Mac, I tried to get them to move in to the rental. When Ian heard we had to re-do the kitchen, he said, “that’s at least fifty thousand dollars right there”, which will give you some idea of how far he’s come from the six hundred dollar kitchen we had at the beachwood house. Tessa just smiled when we said Astoria and said “I *knew* that was where you guys were happy, I’m so glad.” She’ll regret that we live so far away when she needs an emergency pair of babysitters, but she knows we’re chosing for our own happiness.

All the parents are thrilled. It’s interesting, if I had to borrow two hundred dollars to pay a parking ticket, everyone would be pissed, but they would totally loan me a thousand dollars toward a down payment.

The first floor of the house will be the social floor, and the basement will be our bedroom. There is a full bath down there and, strangely, a full kitchen (which we will have to re-build upstairs)(to the tune of somewhat less than fifty thousand dollars…) but it is a huge flow through space with no real windows, and Jordana and I realized that we have been trying to create this bedroom for ourselves for the last five years.

My favorite bedroom growing up was the one in the basement at our house in Iowa, and two houses before that, I loved Kent’s room in the basement. It may seem awful to some (In fact Jordana’s grandmother recoiled when we told her) but to me it’s the absolute best part of the house. The idea of having a den, an actual den like lions or bears, is just fantastic.

Jordana is totally light-phobic, and otherwise she is *completely* low maintenance. She does her make up in bed with the lights off, and it takes her about twelve seconds. The only pea for this princess is light too early in the morning. If we haven’t sealed out all the light at a motel or something, Jordana jumps straight up. Plus, this is the floor that is naturally cool in the summer, and with the hot water heater and washer/dryer it’ll be plenty warm in the winter. And, if not, we’ll buy extra blankets.

In any case, we gave an absurdly low offer because… well, because we offerred all the money we could possibly offer if the circumstances are perfect and, y’know, we have a tail wind. It’s a nice negotiating place to be in, knowing that if they want one dollar more we have to say no. But it also means we won’t get the house. Mostly it’s just a thrill to say, “Hey, Sean, remember when you thought your life was over at 28? Well, look what you’re doing now. Buck up, fucker, and quit yer bitchin'”

A Taste of Madeleine

Friday, December 17th, 2004

I think for a lot of us, our emotional shenanigans begin to feel like driving I-80 between the Wyoming/Utah border in late October. You’re unprepared for the black ice, you don’t dare hit the breaks and you just spend hour after hour creeping along, steering into the skid.

To me the most poignant thing about my own particular swings and spasms is that they have sensual accompaniments, both in terms of taste and sight.

The taste thing is well documented, apparently your sense of taste sits right next to your memory center in your brain and a taste of something can send you flying back. It’s no wonder that when you get a sense of something wonderful or something terrible, it can do the same. At moments of physical elation, like when I’m playing a sport or doing something physical that is enormously fun, I can still taste Mountain Dew and overpriced hamburgers from the cabana at the country club where we grew up in Iowa.

More than that, though, is this terrible metal taste I get in my mouth when I’m spinning my wheels a little bit. Fortunately, I got enough years under my belt to recognize it and deal with it. I can fix a lot of problems in my brain by employing a sort of empathy governor, if I read a book or read someone’s blog or try to put myself in other life for a while somehow, I actually do get out of my own shit.

But the visual thing is strange. My mood will bring up memories of places, really specific places. For some reason, the only real home-feeling I get is from a house that I moved out of when I was about 7, a house that exists in complete fabrication since my relationship to it is a point-of-view that exists from under four feet tall. It could be that the rooms were great expanses, that the kitchen counters are out of standing view, but my guess is that I got that all wrong.

What is strange is that not all these visual moments are specifically from my childhood. There is a crappy diner which, in my mind, is empty all the time. It’s a real diner, it is somewhere in the dessert between LA and St. George, still in California, and not on I-15. The diner is on the outskirts of a military base that exists in the middle of what I thought might be a shortcut.

The day I found out that my marriage was in horrible trouble, I was already packed to go to Utah for a recording session. The girl I was married to was scheduled to go with me. I don’t know how I made it through that first night, I don’t know how I managed to fight for the lies that began to spiral after the fifth night and the sixth night and on and on. I don’t actually know how I survived that time. And I really don’t know how she ended up going to Utah with me, the twelve hours in that shitty car I bought her. I can’t remember any of the negotiations.

But I remember the diner we stopped at to get dinner. I remember staring at the food, for the first time in my memory I was feeling something so profoundly terrible that I couldn’t eat. We sat there for a long time. We had to. That shitty car I bought her would overheat every two hours, we had to stop and re-fill the radiator and wait.

We barely spoke, but what little talking we did, she did. I don’t remember any of it, but I do remember the feeling of heart-break. I had a flash in that diner, a complete understanding that my marriage was over. It was a flash that lasted for the hour we sat there, for the next few months I thought we would make it. I fought like crazy, but at that diner I realized that I had finally gotten what I was so desperate to get, and I had no idea how bad it would be.

In my attempt to live a dramatic life full of unfair failure I had chosen this woman. I wanted it to be clear that I was committed to this marriage to a woman that didn’t deserve me who ended up treating me badly. I wanted it to be like this, but I hadn’t counted on what the reality of it would be. I felt like a skydiver who’s parachute didn’t open. Duped by my own love of something incredibly stupid.

I remember I smiled at her. Those of you who know me could probably picture this. I smiled at her and said, “I think you’ve actually broken my heart.” She asked me why the hell I was smiling and I just sat there looking at her and yeah, I was crying, but not like, y’know, bawling. It was like my head was leaking. And I said, “I wonder if it’s like a kneecap. Y’know?” She didn’t, which won’t surprize you. “If you break a bone, it ends up healing even stronger than before. You almost never break a bone in the same place. But you don’t get any blood to your knee. If it’s broken it stays broken.”

And, for those of you who wonder why I ever married this girl, the next bit might explain it. She smiled at me and said, “if the knee won’t heal because it doesn’t get enough blood, your heart should be fine.” She was smiling because she knew I was getting what I had wanted, and because I had been a fool for wanting it. To her credit, she never said as much, she never pointed out that she was following the script. It would have wrecked it if she had, but I doubt that’s why she did it. That day at the diner, she recognized it somehow, but she let me have what I wanted.

I was wrong about the heart, she was right, and I haven’t been that big a douche ever since. I wanted this horrible loss, this staggering blow, and I felt it most keenly at that empty diner. They took away my burger uneaten and we left and the days turned into more days and here I am now. But when I feel that quiet desperation (as if I am ever *quietly* desperate) images of that place come into the back of my head and I get that same taste in my mouth, the taste of not eating the meal in front of me for perhaps the only time in my life.

Tis the Season

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

We have a tentative plan for approaching the coming year as a production company. It’s all very interesting.

Our Fleet Week meeting went well, but afterwards one of the people we were meeting with sat and talked a little acting shop shit with me. We talked about our various agents and he said, “Sometimes I’ll go weeks without getting sent out at all, and then last week I was sent out about ten times. You gotta just stay on ’em.”

Well, I now have five agents working “for” me, and I haven’t got an audition yet from any of them. The myth is that it takes some time, but I know they just aren’t trying at all. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m extremely confident.

So, yesterday, I called all of them, just as I did the beginning of last week. Only yesterday, I was very charming in my instantly deleted voice mails. “Just wanted to let you know that I’m having a particularly fantastic hair day, so if you have an audition for this afternoon, I really should take advantage of it.” To another, “I woke up feeling strangely talented this morning, more so than usual, so if you’ve got something to send me out on, it’d be great!”

I spent about an hour swallowing my own bile. I had to leave the house and go to a grocery store and buy flour. I bought some flour to make myself feel better. Something tangible, a real building block.

But back to the company. We have a series of possible ideas for this year that could end with the company being way ahead of where it is now. We produce two shows between now and the festivals at the end of the summer. One of those shows follows the same model as the rest of our productions, the other will follow the “night of one act” model that so many other companies employ.

When it became clear that so many companies were doing nights of one acts, naturally we asked, “what the hell is the point?” There is no way to transfer three half hour one acts to any larger theater, there is no possibility for future success. And while that is true, what we have learned is that the possibility of success *now* is extremely high. If you get three playwrights from three different theatrical social circles, then cast between 9 and 15 actors, in theory you have just expanded your audience by 10 fold or more. The truth is, actors can generally bring in about ten or twenty (max) audience members, but each playwright can bring in about twice that, and any show we produce can bring in about 150 people without us really trying to promote.

So, we can do the one act evening, maybe sell 400 or 500 tickets (in a perfect world) and as long as we’re careful about the quality, the company can make a little money.

The first model is the “inner circle” play. We will only sell about 150 tickets to this show, but that’s fine because it will be a show that we have complete and total control over. We would want to do a show that Mac wrote, Jordana either acted in or directed and I acted in. Or, even better, if I sit on stage and throw poop at the audience. Mac and Jordi will never go for it, but you have to admit, it’s a great idea.

The “inner circle” play will continue to give us a chance to say what we need to say, and it won’t lose money because we reverse budget. What’s the least amount of money we’ll bring in? Fine, then we spend just shy of that. We *might* make money, but we probably won’t. What we definitely won’t do is *lose* money.

And then it’s the festivals. Fleet Week should go up somewhere. We go whole hog, spend the 15 grand we’re allowed to spend, make back half of it, but at least it offers the possibility of getting an extended run somewhere. Another producer picks it up. At the least, we will get reviews, start a paper trail…

After that, we could do another one act night or, as I’ve suggested, a night of horror plays to go up around Halloween.

How is this related to the bad feelings with my agents? I’ll admit this out loud, here on my blog, but in person I will totally fucking deflect this, so don’t even bother. But when I brought this idea for the season, the 2005 season, to Jordana and Mac, there was a thirty second pause when Mac said nothing and kind of stared off. I asked him later if he was okay and he said…

“I just saw myself doing an enormous amount of work, all year spent in a panic, only to find myself one year from now, no better off.”

I should point out that after September 11, I wanted to cancel our performing space, I wanted to take a few months off and work on the relief effort and Mac said, “We need to produce plays. That’s what we do, we make plays, so we need to go ahead and do that.” And he was totally right.

But, yeah. So I got a bunch of agents, so I have a show in January and February, and maybe I’ve got some ideas, good or bad, about how this coming year will go. But I’m tired of waking up every morning no better off than I was a year ago, or ten, or fifteen.

I made less money this year than I did the year I turned twenty. Sure, I’m married to a great person, I have wonderful friends (whom I never see) and I’m a much better artist, but I’d have to be some kind of frickin’ buddhist for that to make any difference to me. I am one hand clapping in the woods right now, and there are tiny moments when I think that if I just stopped giving to a life that isn’t giving back, I might be a little happier.

I’m wrong, of course. I wouldn’t. This is the only thing that makes me happy. But I have small dark moments when I think maybe I should.

I Just Woke Up

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

And it is nearly noon.

There was a time in my life when I really tried to make sure I was well up and out of bed before noon. I had to, because if I didn’t try I would sleep until dinner and then be up all night. I don’t romanticize those times, those were bad times.

Here’s the thing that no-one knew about me and that I never knew about myself during my long tenure in and out of schools. I would rather be working. Yes, I am happy having fun and talking with my friends, sure. And I think I’m probably pretty fun to have at a party, I certainly make the best of it. But there is absolutely nothing that compares to sitting down with a script in front of me, or the “blank page” (although I was born during a time where pages had very little to do with it) and putting in the hours of work.

It was always said of me that I was an underacheiver, that I was lazy. For about two years during my schooling I was in a private school with small class sizes and teachers who, despite their hatred of me, were proud of being teachers and wanted to reach all of their students, even the ones they hated. I certainly didn’t succeed there, I had to take three of my finals again in 7th grade or they were going to hold me back, but by the middle of my second year I was actually thriving a bit. I found acting, I was playing in a string quartet that we put together outside of school, I was playing in a band… that kind of thing.

About five weeks before my report card was to come out, I realized I would make honor roll, so I went to my dad and said “Hey, if I make honor roll, will you buy me a guitar” and he laughed and said, “sure”. When I brouoght home my report card, he said, “Yeah, I just made that deal because I never thought you’d do it.” And that’s just the garden variety shit you have to go through as a kid, I tell that story mostly because it cracks me up, and mostly to show just how far my dad has come in the last twenty years.

But, the problem is that, almost in the same voice, he said, “You screwed up, Sean, because now we know you can do it. All these years you just weren’t trying.” And then when I switched schools and started failing again, the myth was in place. I was lazy, I wasn’t trying. Sure, my next school was Morristown High, were we had armed security guards and I was getting my ass kicked bi-weekly, but even I believed that I didn’t like to work. I started to embrace my own lies.

When I started at Citrus as a member of the Citrus Singers, I still had the chip on my shoulder, I was still a fuck-up, and I’m sure if you asked any of those people now, they would say that I tried to get away with as much as I could. But I learned just how much I love to work. It took me a couple of years, and by then the politics was so bad I had to leave, but I love getting up at 6 in the morning and going to rehearsal.

So. Today. I just woke up. I’ve been working on writing this musical, while at the same time starting rehearsals for a different company’s musical, while trying to meet with agents and send out headshots, while trying to manage a piece of property for our grandmother, while rehearsing four books worth of songs and scheduling the kids who are supposed to record them, while trying (and failing) to keep the house clean and get dinner on the table…

But I swear, I hate that I slept this late. I wish I had gotten up and started working. I needed the sleep, I slept almost 12 hours, you don’t do that if you’re lazy. But I love the work. I totally love it.


Monday, December 13th, 2004

My friends had a baby over the weekend, by which I mean she spent the entire weekend in labor and then had a baby. I almost don’t know what to say about it. These are two of the greatest people I know, independent of being beautiful to one another. I’ve also known them almost since they started dating 12 years ago, so it’s exciting to be even on the periphery.

During rehearsal the other day, I had a run-in with one of the kids and I am so completely not used to disciplining anyone. In my world, kids either behave or they get fired. Sure, they don’t learn as much, but I am of the opinion that if you are pursuing art and you have no discipline and no taste for self motivation then you aren’t going to be successful anyway. Stopping a kid from pursuing art is better for them and for the world in the long run.

But in this instance, I had to discipline this kid. I couldn’t beleive how mad I got and how quickly. I don’t know what kind of father I’m going to be, but it’s good that I have some time to think it through.

I was just going through some of my old music files for the show I’m writing now and I came across several obtusely marked files. Things like “Coolness in D” and “12/8 thingie”. So I opened them and I came across two files that were the infant ideas of the title song we ended up writing for the show. It’s a song we’re all really proud of, the lyrics are great and the groove really works.

But I stumbled on the embryoes in two different files that ended up being married to one another and for some reason I found it really touching. These little ideas that actually aren’t anything alone, we nurtured them, we sorta gave them a chance. We’ve written a bunch of stuff for this show and I’ve come up with a *lot* of crap. I’ve written a lot of music that I never even showed my partners. But this little tune stuck in my craw and I married it to a different little piece of music and brought it out.

Again, I don’t know what kind of father I’ll be. I’m not sure if I will be overly angry – frustrated and violent, I just don’t know. I could be overly sentimental, keeping bad drawings in boxes for years and years. I wonder if I will look back on the smallest accomplishments and attach huge meaning to them the way I do to my own life.

In any case, to those of you just becoming fathers, good on ya. Keep a brave face and let me know what to do when you say, “stop doing that” and they, while still doing it, say, “I’m not doing that.” Let me know how to fix the crazy before I have to. I’d appreciate it.

Announcement Addendum

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

None of the below applies to Ehren Gresehover.

Or to my Mom.