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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.
May 1: END OF PLAY. Just typed it. I don’t even need to explain.
May 2: Eric Mindykowski and Winnie Wenglewick, co-artistic directors of Dangerous Theatre, who treated me like royalty during my whirlwind weekend in Denver, and to the very committed cast (including Eric, who also directed) who brought a moving version of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR to life in a new city.
May 3: Josh Hartwell, the Colorado rep for the Dramatists Guild. Always a pleasure to spend time with, Josh took time out of his busy schedule dine with me three times, give me a quick tour of Denver, and organize a reception on my behalf for his local membership. Denver wouldn’t have been—or be—the same without him, and, if you’re in the area, he opens DETROIT at Curious Theatre Company next week.
May 4: The audience who showed up last night at the reading of my new play, ON THE ROOF. They were many, responsive, and generous to come and support. The cast, director, and musician did a first-rate job and I couldn’t be more pleased.
May 5: Smart friends who give thoughtful feedback. Where would playwrights be without their generosity and insight? You know who you are, and I thank you.
May 6: The rewrite cave. Sometimes it’s a dark and lonely place to be, but I always emerge to the clearest, brightest light ever. I spent the bulk of today there revising ON THE ROOF, but the play is stronger for the time spent.
May 7: Money! As much as most of us aren’t in playwriting for the money, that doesn’t mean there’s no money. And a $200 royalty check in the mail for the production of a ten-minute play makes me very happy and grateful indeed!
May 8: My fourth Artvoice nomination for Best Writer. I’ve been honored to win this Best of Buffalo category for the past three years—the first woman (and only the second nominated) to ever earn the designation. And I’m honored to once again be nominated amid a field of four other talented (though again, all male) writers.
May 9: Being part of a community of playwrights who support each other. Tonight we mobbed to American Repertory Theater of Western New York to see RUST BELT GROTESQUE, at a collection of four one-act plays by four local playwrights: Justin Karcher, Mark C. Lloyd, Matthew LaChiusa, and Jim Marzo.
May 10: Lucky Penny, in Napa, California, which closes the world premiere of “A Mother’s Privilege” tonight. One reviewer said it was one of her favorite two, and the Napa Valley Register said: “’Privilege’ does a remarkable job of taking an honest and compassionate look at some of the emotions peculiar to nontraditional families, especially considering the restrictive format of the 8×10 festival.”
May 11: Will Dunne and The Dramatic Writer’s Companion. My new play has issues; I know that, but I couldn’t quite figure out what they were. Friends who read it said “more,” but couldn’t articulate more of what. One morning with Will Dunne’s book and I think I’ve got it figured out, and know what I need to do to proceed. Best playwriting book I’ve ever owned.
May 12: Rehearsals. Went to my first for FLOWERS IN THE DESERT at Western Door tonight. They’re just fun!
May 13: Don Zolidis and the small world of playwrights. Today, he was a guest poster on my blog, and while I was verifying some things on his website, my 20-year-old theater performance daughter walked in and said, “Don Zolidis! I know him. I did one of his monologues for an audition!” And then she thought it was super cool that I knew him; thanks for making me look like a rock star, Don! J
May 14: Just days like today. I got word that “Jack Pork” will be produced in Indiana, my 33rd state, AND that “Survival Strategy” is a finalist in the 2015 City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting Contest, and I’ll be going to Miami for the Citywrights conference next month! (And just to keep things in balance, I got two rejections today as well.)
May 15: The greater online playwright community. Yesterday, I reached out to the Playwright Binge members to send their most popular ten-minute plays to my daughter, who needs one to direct next year for school and who, after reading three anthologies, couldn’t find one she liked. She’s been deluged and she’s delighted! So grateful to this generous group!
To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.