Sunday, June 1, 2008

That's life.

Whining and self-pity over.  Get a grip, get a life, get over it, my friends have said.  As Penny pointed out, in every competition there is a winner and lots and lots of losers.  That's life.  As Bruce pointed out, artists often feel that any review less than a complete rave is a pan.  "It's a nice review if short, with a good graphic of Gordin and the title of your book at the top.  What's the problem?  I've seen reviews for brilliant scores by Cole Porter or Rodgers," he wrote, "which said, 'Pleasant but not up to his usual standards.' That's life." 

I'm grateful for their admonitions but today, to tell you the truth, I can hardly believe that I was actually smarting for awhile.  This morning the Don Valley Parkway was closed for the Ride for Heart, and so, for my own heart, I rode my bike along the Don Trail.  The silence, the cascades of birdsong right in downtown Toronto - what a blessing.  

And then brunch with Nicola Cavendish, who finished the run of her play Misery last night croaking with a terrible chest cold.  But no self-pity for her!  I remembered the time I was in a musical with no understudies when many of us got a crippling flu - no choice but to go onstage and sing and dance.  They put a mattress backstage so that we could flop down in heaps until it was time to go on and sing and dance some more.

Nicola and I brunched with another old acting friend, Nick Rice.  Nick and I used to warm up for a production of The Three Sisters by singing folk songs on stage at the top of our lungs. Stanislavski would not have approved.  While others in the cast were doing serious sense memory exercises and immersing themselves in olde Russia, Nick and I were bellowing a song he wrote that went, "Oh I really don't want to do this show tonight."  That was certainly a premonition.  Not long after that, I left the theatre for good. 

I never forget one of the great things about writing as opposed to acting: you can go to bed, rather than to work, when you have the flu.  



  1. Morning Beth. People can blog you back. It's all working fine. All they need to do is go to bottom of your posting where it says '0' comments and click comment. It takes them to a comments page, they write their comment, join Google blog, and click it back after entering info.

    You click comment as it now says 1 or 2 comments and then you can read them. Voila.

  2. "It's a wonderful blog" - hmm, sounds like a good movie title to me. A vivacious writer unleashes fame, fortune and love with her wild and crazy blog. No? The only problem would be dramatising the actually blogging, which is me looking at a screen with my fingers moving. But if they can make Meg Ryan look good typing, they can surely make me look good too. If only I were blonde.

    Thanks to my dynamic digital fan, and thanks to Mr. Creative Keyes who has creatively ascertained that readers can easily write back.

    So go ahead! Make my day! (No, wait, wasn't that meant differently in some movie? I actually mean it. Hearing from you WOULD make my day, and more importantly, take me away from work.)

  3. Hi Beth. I've been reading your blog for a couple months now and enjoying it very much. I write, too, although I don't make a living doing so, and all my life I've loved reading the thoughts and experiences of other writers. It helps keep insanity at bay!

    I came up to Toronto (from Rochester) this past weekend to see a couple plays, Misery being one of them, as Tom McCamus is one of my faves. Tom and Nicola were both excellent (sorry to hear she was sick!) and, being a writer, I could really relate to the inherent misery. I think one of the lines that summed up the whole play for me was when Paul Sheldon was slaving away, trying to come up with the "right" story for Annie and he admonishes himself, "You thought your book was good, but, no, it was cockadoodie." Nothing like a little insecurity and self-doubt to cripple a writer.

    So, anyway, hello, and keep on writing!

  4. Mary, great to hear from you and hello right back at ya. Yes, I too love to read what other writers write about writing ... though I do try not to spend too much time reading about writing instead of actually writing.

    I'm sure it was apparent to you that Nicola and Tom had a wonderful time together in the show. They are a perfect duo, Nicky so open and spontaneous and Tom so grounded. You can just imagine Stephen King (love HIS book about writing, by the way) chuckling as he came up with the idea - a deranged fan keeping a poor writer hostage and forcing him to write to her specifications. But the problem for writers these days is finding enough fans, let alone worrying about deranged ones.

    So I am very happy to welcome you to the club, Mary. And by the way, all writers suffer from a certain amount of insecurity and self-doubt. The trick is having just enough to make you work harder, without having so much that you never write. Not easy.

  5. Now you're blogging.

    Next you will conquer your TV beeper

  6. Mr. Keyes, let's not get carried away in dragging me along the technological trail. I can get words in and out of little MacZine, and now I can even look at my friends Bruce and Chris through her camera when we Skype, which all seems like a miracle to me.

    My television however is a world of mystery, always doing incomprehensible things. And as for Blackberries - why use one when a little notebook and pencil are so handy? - and iPods - why use one when a nice little ... my God, I can't even remember what it's called, a portable radio/tape deck that you carry. Already so archaic that the name has gone from my mind. And yet if I want to listen to music when I travel, that's what I use. I know, it's like hauling giant trunks when you travel, instead of little cases on wheels.

    But sometimes ignorance is bliss.