Gratitude journals and their more public cousins—gratitude Facebook posts—have become mindful ways to connect with what is good in our lives. I’ve never done one, but it occurred to me a while back that doing a 365 Grateful for playwriting might illuminate a year’s worth of reasons why we’re so loyal to this sometimes discouraging pursuit. In 2014, there were many times I became aware of people, situations, events that only touched me because I wrote that first play and kept on writing–a phone call from a producer who wanted to share the tearful reactions my play evoked that evening, being part of the Buffalo theater community, meeting some super cool people during a production in a small town in the Catskills, the Dramatists Guild regional reps meeting, having actors in Ghana speak my words– as well as all the people, places, and things that just make it easier to keep on. Productions are wonderful, but being a playwright has generated so many rewards beyond just those, so, this year, now that Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project is finished, recording them all is my project for 2015. I’ll tweet once each day under #365gratefulplaywright (follow me @donnahoke) and also post to my Donna Hoke, Playwright page on Facebook, then post the updated blog every two weeks so that nobody is overwhelmed. (I’ll also start a new blog post every two weeks, so that this file doesn’t become impossible!) If you’re a playwright, think about what might go on your own list; it’s humbling to see how lucky we really are.
August 1: Twitter. Or the power of social media. Today was an incredible lesson and observation in how social media works when it WORKS. I posted to my blog: DISSECTING THE MOST DISGUSTING CALL FOR PLAYS I’VE EVER SEEN and my phone didn’t stop buzzing all day. To date, the post has been retweeted 144 times, liked nearly 1,000 on Facebook, and hit by nearly 5,000. Just something amazing to witness, and this is such a tiny sphere. Wow. My new idea from July 31 will pale by comparison! Please, continue the effort, and preach #playwrightrespect.
August 2: An absolutely incredible staycation day with my whole family. It has nothing to do with playwriting, but it’s all that’s on my mind today. I was just so happy all day to have the gift of all of us together, because it gets harder to do all the time. We were having so much fun, we didn’t even get a group pic (so my daughter’s boyfriend is missing; sorry!) My kids even got to see me laugh so hard, I was crying.
August 3: My first ten-minute Christmas play! I finally have something to send to all those holiday opps that come around every year.
August 4: Momentum. Today, Dramatists Guild president Doug Wright issued a formal letter to Words Players about their guidelines (see August 1). I don’t know what will come of all this, but it’s created a rallying cry around #playwrightrespect, and I’m grateful for the Dramatists Guild, BroadwayWorld, Playbill, and every playwright who has picked it up.
August 5: My little play, “Face Time,” is getting its third production in New South Wales. There must be some serious technology addicts there!
August 6: My fifth stellar review on the New Play Exchange for ON THE ROOF. Does anybody know who might want to do an LGBT period piece with a cast of eight??
August 7: My little RUDOLPH parody that tells the story of Rudolph and Hermey’s coming out will get its world premiere in Georgia with Lionheart. I never thought this one would get out there, but it makes me so happy that it did.
August 8: Research. When you have open-ended time to do research for a new play, it’s the most relaxing, satisfying, stimulating, and inspiring activity there is. You can just follow rabbit holes as far as you want or need to, taking note of all those little nuggets that pop up that you just know are gold. There’s no pressure to figure things out or make things perfect; it’s just collecting for and enriching something that hasn’t even begun to take shape yet. And yet you’re working. And playing. It’s glorious.
August 9: All the awesome playwrights who, at one request, sent my daughter ten-minute plays to consider for her junior directing project. Such an incredible group of people.
August 10: The launch of my #PLONY series. Check it out.
August 11: NURT—Niagara University Repertory Theater. I just saw one of their free shows for kids and it was thoughtful, well-performed, energetic, and hilarious. If you’re local to WNY and you’ve got kids, it’s must-see.
August 12: John Servillo, of the Official Playwrights of Facebook, who decided that in the spirit of recent events to protest Lowell Arts’ $20 submission fee for a ten-minute play contest. With his lead, letters—including one from the Dramatists Guild—have gone to the company asking that the fee be eliminated. Here’s our chance to see if quiet, organized, considerate protest has any effect. I hope it does!
August 13: Signs from the universe that things are moving in the right direction. At least if I can interpret signs correctly. or believe in signs. Maybe I can’t, or don’t, but for today, that’s what I got.
August 14: Gwydion Suilebhan—Washington, DC regional representative, the Dramatists Guild; Project Director New Play Exchange; Director of Brand and Marketing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; co-founder/playwright The Welders, i.e. tireless advocate for playwrights everywhere as well as an exceptional human being, friend, and overall fun person to be around. EVERYBODY should be grateful for Gwydion.
August 15: This poster for SAFE’s “out-of-town” tryout at Saginaw Valley State University. It gets its world premiere at Road Less Traveled Productions (an NNPN theater) in March.
August 16: My short play, “Survival Strategy,” made it to the gala finals at Short + Sweet Canberra!
To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.