December 14, 2008
The life of a playwright is tough
...The life of a playwright is tough. It's not easy, as some people seem to think. You work hard writing plays, and nobody puts them on! You take up other lines of work to try to make a living...I became an actor...and people don't hire you! So you just spend your days doing the errands of your trade. Today I had to be up by ten in the morning to make some important phone calls. Then I'd gone to the stationery store to buy envelopes. Then to the xerox shop: there were dozens of things to do. By five o'clock I'd finally made it to the post office and mailed off several copies of my plays, meanwhile checking constantly with my answering service to see if my agent had called with any acting work. In the morning, the mailbox had just been stuffed with bills! What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to pay them? After all I was already doing my best! I've lived in this city all my life. I grew up on the upper east side, and when I was ten years old I was rich! I was an aristocrat, riding around in taxis, surrounded by comfort, and all I thought about was art and music. Now I'm thirty-six, and all I think about is money!
It was now seven o'clock and I would have liked nothing better than to go home and have my girlfriend Debby cook me a nice delicious dinner. But for the last several years our financial circumstances have forced Debby to work three nights a week as a waitress. After all, somebody had to bring in a little money! So I was on my own. But the worse thing of all was that I had been trapped by an odd series of circumstances into agreeing to have dinner with a man I'd been avoiding literally for years. His name was André Gregory. At one time he'd been a very close friend of mine, as well as my most valued colleague in the theater. In fact, he was the man who had first discovered me, and put one of my plays on the professional stage. When I had know André, he'd been at the height of his career as a theater director. The amazing work he did with his company, the Manhattan Project, had just stunned audiences, throughout the world! But then something had happened to André. He'd dropped out of the theater. He'd sort of disappeared! For months at a time his family seemed only to know that he was traveling in some odd place, like Tibet, which was really weird, because he loved his wife and children. He never used to like to leave home at all! Or else you'd hear that someone had met him at a party and he'd been telling people that he'd talked with trees, or something like that? Obviously something terrible had happened to André.
The whole idea of meeting him made me very nervous. I mean, I really wasn't up for that sort of thing. I had problems of my own! I mean, I couldn't help André! Was I supposed to be a doctor, or what?!...
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