Projects

My last post on this blog was on February 7th. Since then, I’ve restarted my Plays of Eugene O’Neill project on Murmurs from the Balcony, though I didn’t return to it till May. So, what else have I been working on?

COVID diary

Since lockdown began in March 2020, I’ve been working on a diary from detailed notes about what it was like up to getting the vaccine — except COVID had other plans, so that now I’m writing up through my partner getting the disease in July of this year. I know I’ll eventually finish the diary, but in trying to get in as many details as possible, I’ve overwhelmed myself with them. At least most of the start of the pandemic was written while it was still fresh in my mind. I struggled with writing about losing my job and all the aid organizations and billing services I had to contact in the days and weeks that followed. What I didn’t struggle with was detailing the incredible INCREDIBLE kindness of friends and acquaintances. Now with lockdown over and people acting like the pandemic is over (despite the fact that most of the people I know who got COVID got it in the few months immediately after restrictions ended — as if masks were working or something), it seems like most people are ready to move on, and it’s disheartening to see us retreat into our selfish lives again, with few cares for people who still can’t go outside because the disease will kill them.

The novel

One problem with writing a work of fiction over years and years and years is that the best you could’ve written it has already passed by the time you decide to abandon it. Such has happened with my novel, which might still make a good short story (which is where it originally came from), but won’t make a good novel without massive changes. But hey, I have two other ideas for novels that I’m working on, and since they’ve sprung from my adult brain, they should be more sustainable in that longer form.

Poetry collection

Almost two decades ago, I self-published a book of poems I wrote in high school (with some editing). Since then, I’ve been putting together a second collection of poetry. This collection was initially going to include all of my college poetry, but I’ve since decided to expand beyond those four years, which gives me more flexibility in cutting out all but the best poems.

The Plays of Eugene O’Neill

I mentioned this above, but I’ve restarted my survey of the plays of Eugene O’Neill (originally begun in late February/early March 2014), as seen through versions adapted for TV and film. I’ve also dived a little into the texts, especially when different versions play the same scene differently. My plan is to write four more posts (O Wilderness, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten), followed by a final post that collects performances of lesser plays (The Hairy Ape, Hughie, A Touch of the Poet).

Stories

If I ever get bored of working on the projects above, or aren’t in the mood, I have a bunch of short stories to fall back on. Some are fan fics, while most are original creations. One is near completion, but it lacks something.

Miscellaneous

Most of these projects have been put on the wayside for years. Occasionally I’ll stumble across them and think to myself, “I really should work on that,” but then I realize that “should” is a word I’m trying to retire from my vocabulary. These include ideas for plays, graphic novels, an epic poem, songs with lyrics, and music without them.

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A Touch of Madness

“True literature can exist only where it is created, not by diligent and trustworthy functionaries, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels, and skeptics.”-Yevgeny Zamyatin, “I Am Afraid”

It seems that to build something unique and lasting in this world, you need to be a bit mad. Such is the conclusion I came to upon reading this article about Scarecrow Video founder George Latsios.

If Latsios had used his earnings to pay his taxes and been more fiscally conservative in his approach to buying movies (he’d travel to Japan just to buy rare laserdiscs), Scarecrow would’ve looked more like Blockbuster — and been the poorer for it. Financial ruin is never a good business strategy, but Latsios’s unwillingness to be practical is what allowed for the rarity of Scarecrow’s collection. As his ex-wife Rebecca Soriano put it, “He wasn’t afraid to do whatever he felt, and that’s the reason Scarecrow exists. If he didn’t have the nerve to do it, Scarecrow wouldn’t be there.”

One wishes he’d had someone else run the financial side of things (people with vision tend to be awful at the practicalities of life), but despite bad financial decisions in the past and an economy that no longer supports video rental stores in the present, Scarecrow remains, while other stores have closed. And it wouldn’t have existed at all without George Latsios.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Final Post of 2021

Has it really been over 3 months since I posted something here? It’s not that I’m lacking for ideas, but when I have ideas, I’m not near a computer, and when I’m near a computer, I have no ideas.

Also, my routine has changed. I got a job back in October, so rather than focus on writing and voice acting (which led to my series of posts covering SIFF DocFest), I find myself working on those two things at the periphery of my days, vying for attention with more relaxing ideas of how to spend my time. This is no different from my situation pre-pandemic, except that now I have mostly set hours that end earlier, which makes scheduling easier, if less flexible. And my workplace is closer to home, so no hour-long commutes by bus.

My personal life has also changed, as I’m now engaged. With the craziness surrounding Omicron and the virus that refuses to die, (helped in the U.S. by human apathy, conspiracy theories, and a society not built to handle pandemics and support oligarchs simultaneously), this engagement might be longer than we expect, but considering how long it takes to plan a wedding (including how far-out venues are booked due to all the postponed dates in 2020 and 2021), I’m hopeful that some semblance of normal will have returned by 2023, though hopefully it’ll be better than the normal that existed before (no, we’re not gonna forget that people who worked from home last year don’t need to come into the office next year, or that everyone should have health insurance, or that essential workers should be paid a living wage, or that vaccines shouldn’t be patented, or that rich people only contribute to society in showing us how much they don’t contribute to society, or that there are better ways to deal with emergency situations than increasing the number of police, or that Black Lives Matter, or that women should have unfettered access to abortions, or that voting rights matter, or that copyright law needs to be fixed, or that fair use needs to be protected online).

Still, I am hopeful. I am hopeful because I know that nothing lasts. Eventually, we’ll have to reckon with these things because if we don’t, we’ll be the thing that doesn’t last.