As any writer knows (especially early career writers), you have to put yourself out there --- sending out query letters and scripts to theaters and contests, all in the hope that you'll get an email (or, in rare cases, a letter) with the greatest word any letter to an aspiring artist can contain: CONGRATS.
Or some variant. That was the note my good friend and OU playwriting colleague Greg Aldrich received earlier this week. "Congrats," it said --- one of his short plays was selected to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region II conference in January (essentially, the semi-finals for the National conference slated for April). Upon hearing this news, I did what any writer proud of his friend would do. I checked my email -- if he got his notice, maybe, just maybe, I would have good news sitting impatiently in my inbox.
Funny isn't it? When you're standing on the same rung as your buddy, you balance the happiness you feel for his success with the desire to have it for yourself. We all want to go the party. We all want an invite. He had his. And less than a minute later, I sat anxiously on the couch with my laptop booting up to find my email. That morning, I couldn't have cared less. When I enter a festival or contest, or submit anything for anything, I know the odds are long and it's easier to not worry about it. Why worry? I have no control -- this business is wildly subjective. A rejection does not mean I failed; it means that play wasn't ready or maybe wasn't a good fit for that opportunity. Plus, I know that more often than not, people get the "We had a tremendous response this year from hundreds (nay, thousands) of talented writers; it was a hard choice, and unfortunately we cannot produce every play and your play was not selected to advance/for production/insert the prize name." Hundreds --- nay, thousands --- of writers submit to these development opportunities for a handful (a frightening and disproportionately small handful) of spots.
But there was hope. Hope that I, too, could go to the party. And this time, I can. :) I was equally fortunate to be selected to attend this conference with my friend Greg. We're two of six writers in our category and the only two from our school (and the only school to send two writers I think). It's a great honor, of course, but it's all the more awesome to share it with one of my best friends.
So in January, we're off to KCACTF Region II festival 45. This time, I get to go to the party. And I'll savor it, because you never know when your next invitation will
Thoughts. From my brain. Anything to do with how we tell stories and the stories we tell each other. Literally and figuratively.
Writer. Husband. Father. Effulgent dreamer. A Fightin' Irishman (@NDdotEDU '01). A playwriting Bobcat (MFA in Playwriting, @OhioU '13). I write plays. I'm a geek. I wanted to be an astronaut. I go places in my head.