approbation validation

It’s an odd sensation I’m ruminating, even as I jump for joy. A play I wrote two years ago, started writing and rewriting back then from an idea that had visited me a year earlier than that, had a couple of readings, but it was inexplicable to many, both audience and colleague-level audience. I’ve revisited it a bit but gone on to other works – ah, the life of the playwright, so many opportunities restrict themselves to new work rather than rewrites,“finished” work rather than rewrites, anything rather than a rewrite – which is, actually, how plays get made, rewrites. No value judgment, this is the world I choose to live in, and I soldier through with the help and support of some gifted, generous, wonderfully snarky folks.

But this play? the one to which I’m referring? I submitted to a number of opps more than a year ago and moved on to the next thing, as one does. Just like auditioning for Broadway shows, you go in, do your best, and get on with your life. If you’re getting a callback, tho, it’s pretty quick, and from there to booking the show can be almost as fast as that, but the point of view is the same as submitting plays to theaters and development opportunities, or going after a day-job for that matter. You have no sway over their decision once you’ve left the room, so why beat yourself up over it, why rollercoaster through the tangled web of what-if?

Today, I learned that the play I mentioned earlier is now a finalist for an amazing, collaborative development opportunity. Am I excited? You bet! Jumping for joy? telling my colleagues and friends? adding that status to my CV?  Heavens yes!


There’s that weird time-lapse thing. You know. When you cook a great meal and eat it with loved ones, you enjoy it in remarkably real time. And while I have felt thrills when I’ve written something that works, or gotten feedback from those I respect that it does work, or heard actors voice it (and it works), it’s a different kind of happiness.

My plays have a bit of a time finding their audience, their home, much of the feedback I receive is, “Wha?” I’m struck by how low I sometimes get, how specifically and nonspecifically low. And how remembering this honor, this among many honors over the not-so-many years in which I’ve been writing, will be important the next time someone says, “Wha?” This approbation? In addition to the joy joy joy, it also feels like a vindication of sorts. Like, “Yes. Yes. My voice is not mistakable for anyone else’s, yet others out there in the world ‘get’ it.”

It’s easy to doubt oneself, sending bottled missives into the world. Easy. Ridiculous. Necessary. Makes this all the sweeter.










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