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 17: HRC Showcase’s Barbara Waldinger, who respectfully requested some changes to my play, BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART. Yes, I cut some F-bombs, and also agreed to shelve a monologue for this reading only, given that it will take place in a church and the monologue might (would) be construed as disrespectful of that. We discussed, she respected the F-bombs I wanted to keep, and we had a great talk about the character motivations. #playwrightrespect
August 18: The ever-gracious first #PLONY Profile subject, Eric Coble, who said, “I feel very proud to be represented in this interview and as part of this ongoing discussion.” Thank you, Eric!
August 19: Dramatists Guild Twin Cities Regional Rep Laurie Flanigan Hegge, who is not only a stellar conference roommate, but a fierce and diplomatic advocate for playwrights. Being in Minnesota, she has picked up the reins on the Words Players situation, and continues to make inroads there, and, by extension, everywhere for #playwrightrespect. Read her response to an ill-informed column in the Post Bulletin here. Proud and grateful to be allies.
August 20: A publishing contract for SEEDS, probably my most underrated play. This play is a tough marketing sell. It’s not sexy, it’s got a cast of mostly women, and it deals with themes about whether or not we should have children—not the kind of stuff that gets jumped on. But it’s a strong play, and I’m happy that it will be part of Adirondack Plays’ Award-Winning Dramas (it won the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play) anthology because then I can dream that someday, somewhere in a dusty antique store, somebody might pick it up and read it.
August 21: Rejections like this: We’re sorry it’s not better news, but believe us when we say we loved your writing, and it came right down to the wire. You’ve got a great voice, and both of us would love to work with you one day.
August 22: Guerilla Girls, and their #thwartthursday compaign that led to the addition of a female-written play to the Manhattan Theatre Club season. Sometimes you have to be loud.
August 23: The Facebook Rejection Party in the wake of Lark’s notification emails. What fun! What friendship!
August 24: American Theatre magazine, a comprehensive source of theater news and commentary. My favorite feature: the complete texts of contemporary plays every other month! Just read Marjorie Prime and Guards at the Taj.
August 25: Awesome photos from “Black and White” at Open Eye (which are unfortunately too big to post here). Thanks, Amie Brockway!
August 26: Canadian candy. It’s always been great, but heading up to the Shaw Festival four times a year means a lot more opportunity to pick it up!
August 27: A brilliant end to our Facebook Rejection Party: Official Playwrights of Facebook lister Eric Pfeffinger got into the Lark!!
August 28: The excellent efforts of Brent Englar and Jeremy Fichter, which prompted M.T. Pockets to revise their guidelines to allow previously produced plays. Great job guys!
August 29: Timing. Happened to be walking by the new Road Less Traveled Space and was fortunate enough to get a quick peek at the new space. HOLY COW. It’s incredible.
August 30: Three gracious volunteer judges for WNY Playwrights Celebrate the Work of Charles Burchfield: Anthony Chase, Kathleen Betsko, and Doug Zschiegner. Playwrights have begun submitting and the top nine will be read January 9, during the Burchfield exhibition of MYSTIC NORTH: BURCHFIELD, SIBELIUS, & NATURE at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
August 31: Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD, who wrote three of the books I’m reading about superheroes for research on my new play. I’ve never been into superheroes, but she is making it fascinating! (For those of you keeping up with my submissions, I’m at 365 with crazy September/October coming up…)
To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.