Archive | June, 2007

UNEXPECTED Premiere

28 Jun

Here is a picture from my post-play UNEXPECTED Premiere Party at Zanzibar.  Left to right: Jason Cruz and Megan Ofsowitz (the stars of the play!), me in my official playwright capacity, and Holli Harms, Director Extraordinaire!

unexpectedpremiere.jpg

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In Gratitude…

15 Jun

Well, I had wanted today’s posting to be an exuberant announcement about how my play won in The Samuel French Festival last night and that there was going to be another chance to see it as it would be going on to compete in the finals on Sunday. However, it didn’t exactly happen like that.

 

I was told that the night’s winner would receive a call between midnight and 1:00am, so when I returned home a little after 11:00pm feeling very satisfied about my play and in the after-glow of my after-party, I busied myself arranging my flowers and checking email. A little after midnight I crawled into bed and proceeded to roll over every 5 to 7 minutes to check my cell phone for the time, and to see if I had missed any calls that had mysteriously and inexplicably gone straight to voicemail. By 12:38am I was starting to feel like that girl who is home alone on a Saturday night, lying awake, waiting for the emotionally unavailable man who she is madly in love with and who may or may not be out on a date with another woman, to call. At 1:04am I drifted off into sleep thinking that it would only be a few minutes until I would be awakened by the loud ringing of my phone…

 

Lately in my life I have become obsessed with looking for the lesson in every single situation because as it turns out, there is really a lot to learn out there from all experiences, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, you know the drill. The thing is, I’ve noticed that I sometimes like to impose my own lesson on things. For instance, with my play, I thought the lesson was going to be: You find great people to work with on a project you are deeply passionate about, you work hard, and then you are rewarded because you WIN! (And then you are even further validated when you are PUBLISHED!) Unfortunately, that pesky Life can be sooooo uncooperative and disobedient.

 

Which got me thinking. OK, that wasn’t the lesson that I wanted to learn, but there’s gotta be another one in here somewhere, and fortunately, it was not at all difficult to find. Simultaneously, I have been trying to come up with a topic that I really wanted to write about in my June newsletter when this little experience/lesson fell into my lap, so I give you my Writeous Chicks Newsletter, June 2007:

 

 

About seven years ago I started writing lists of things I was grateful for in a small spiral hardbound notebook every night before I went to bed. I think I initially heard this suggested by Oprah. So I did this pretty conscientiously for several years and filled several notebooks, and then, when I was going through a challenging time that seemed beyond gratitude about four years ago, I gave this practice up. Two years ago at a teacher’s suggestion, I went back to it, only this time I type it up daily, in the morning before I start my day, and email it to a close group of friends, and they in turn all email me their daily gratitude lists, which has resulted in a circle of friends I think of as my Gratitude Girls.

 

It seems like such a simple little practice, but really, it has helped me dramatically transform the way I think. Whereas I used to walk through my days cataloging all the things that were going wrong (“Damn it, I just missed my train!” Internal Dialogue: Why me? “Sh*t, my pedicure chipped!” ID: Why can’t anything ever go right? “&*#@$&^!!!! I spilled coffee on my brand new skirt!” ID: When will Life just cut me a break already???), which resulted in a downward spiral of despair, taking time every morning to note what I am grateful for has reoriented my thinking throughout the day, so that I now catalog all the things I am grateful for, all the things that are going right, as I make a mental note to remember them for my list, and as a result my Internal Dialogue is much more pleasant and less of a total downer to hang out with these days…

 

So with that in mind, after the initial disappointment of figuring out that my play did not win last night, I was flooded with an abundance of gratitude, and I would like to share my daily list today with all of you.

 

Today, I am very grateful for/that:

 

*My play was performed last night!
*For all my wonderful friends & family who came out to see the play and to the after-party!
*For all my former co-workers from Time Inc. who filled a row of seats
*For PARENTS of the KIDS I GREW UP WITH who came out last night and who come to see every play I write and follow my career!
*For the crew of The Samuel French Festival for their assistance, support, enthusiasm, hard work, dedication, and for giving me this wonderful opportunity
*My Dad, who spontaneously decided to treat the entire after-party to a round of drinks
*My Mom, who brought to the party an enormous box of cookies from my favorite bakery, which is the place where she got all my birthday cakes from growing up
*Zanzibar for getting a great back room for us asap when the bar was filled up, which turned out to be the perfect party venue
*The great music they played, including Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” which was my anthem in Sept. ’06
*The Sage Theater for their help
*D for making 150 COLOR COPIES of my program FOR FREE!
*The outpouring of emails I received this week from friends near & far who could & couldn’t make it, to wish me congratulations and luck
*Congratulations emails from one of my all-time favorite playwrights, and one of my all-time favorite writers, both of whom I admire tremendously, what an honor!
*The outpouring of emails I received last night and today asking how it went
*My dear friend K who supports me in everything I do, and who even carted around my giant GAP shopping bag filled with flowers all night!
*For beautiful opening night flowers!
*My wonderful friend Diva JG who took it upon herself to be the historian and take pictures all night, and that she actively sought out great photo ops!
*A friend who shall remain nameless (you’ll see, I’m protecting her identity) who skipped a work function last night because it was so important to her to be there to support me
*Jason’s classmates from Rutgers attending the play, and how supportive they are, and passionate about theatre
*The most incredible theatrical collaboration with fantastic talents and just wonderful people in general – Holli Harms, Jason Cruz, and Megan Ofsowitz. If you ever get the chance to work with any of these people, JUMP ON IT!
*For everyone who told me they want to know what happens next for Brooke & Miguel. This one-act is also the first scene of a full-length play, so stay tuned, there is more story to tell…And to any producers on this mailing list: Call me! We’ll talk!
*That because my play will not be performed on Sunday, I can spend Father’s Day with my Dad, and then take a big, long, juicy, delicious NAP!
*That when I went for my daily coffee first thing today at my neighborhood Starbucks, they were rocking a Prince song LOUD even though the normal morning soundtrack is usually of the easy listening variety, and that this instantly lifted me out of a crummy mood
*Feeling so absolutely supported, doing what I love
*Sharing an incredible evening, and an incredible experience, with wonderful family & friends
*Everyone on this list for being a part of this community
*I am grateful I am fiercely determined & persistent and I don’t have any intention of giving up. Like, ever.

 

*I am grateful that although one of my greatest struggles is that I am a results person, always looking for the next, bigger, better thing to just make me happy already, I had the presence of mind to recognize that happiness & enjoyment can truly only ever be found in the process, and that everything about this process was amazing & inspiring down to the very last drop!

 

 

So while, yeah, it would be very nice to win awards, that is not why I write. I am very ambitious with my writing, and I have much bigger goals. I write to give people something to think about, something to talk about, to seek out and awaken to the sparkling magnificence that is always present amidst the simple everydayness, and so that they, and I, can maybe, hopefully, feel more understood, or more accepted, or accept ourselves more. I write so that people can stop, and sit still, in this crazy, hectic fast-paced world that can be far too individuated and isolating for my liking, and we can share a moment together, in a theatre, or on the page, or in an email, of…connection. And I absolutely, without a doubt, feel that I accomplished my goal last night, so thank you all. I am so grateful!

 

Heaps of love!

 

Jen

 

xoxoxoxo

 

Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Garam. All rights reserved.