One Day at a Time

My days are complicated - workwise and emotionally. 

Some things are very exciting - i.e. telling Pushing Boundaries at the Capital Fringe. I thrive when there are shows to tell.  I felt the telling was good at the first show. Frankly more than anything I was plain relieved to be able to tell it.  Well, my euphoria did not last too long. Two days later the reviews were posted - one really whapped me up side the head. The reviewer, a man, was baffled by the concept of Sisterhood - and turned off completely by the still strong feelings about the Equal Rights Amendment women have. So, although he "had nothing to critique" about my storytelling he gave me a three star rating. I was disappointed. 

But I decided to try and analyze his review and see if there was something I need to know. There was - - - although it took me a few readings to "get it". Because I was protecting myself and my ability to tell the story I had taken much of Jim's presence out of this version of the story. I can see that I have to put him back in because the bits about Jim humanize the story. 

So - here I am today reworking some areas of the story - which is going to make it much more of a challenge to tell. I talked with an experienced media guy about this - he did not pull his punches. "When you put something political in it you brought it on yourself." Ouch. 

I don't think of ERA as political - it was part of my life. "Doesn't matter. You don't know whether it was part of his - - in a negative way - maybe he had a messy divorce or his mother left him at school because she was at a rally."  Oops - says I.  " Stand in front of an audience and anything can happen."

"Why did you take Jim out?"  "I don't want to cry." He startled me by asking, " what's the worst thing that can happen outside of running your mascara? - - Put him back in. "
Hmm????? So I will look like a racoon. Maybe, so.

Lesson learned.

The other emotionally complicating factor is that two weeks from tomorrow is Jim's burial at Arlington National Cemetary. Around the edges of my peformances I am arranging the guest list and a small reception after the burial and honors ceremony. Its a bit much. 

I keep thinking I would like to have undisturbed time to think and journal in this last two weeks before the final burial. But I also wonder - are the diversions helpful?
OK - -  why am I doing the Fringe when these two events were bound to collide? Good question. I have often asked it myself. 

First I had committed to the Fringe before we realized Jim would not still be here with us. As that became clear he encouraged me to get back to storytelling as soon as I could. Its so easy to "lose traction" when you are dealing with a devastating loss and he was hoping storytelling would be the "grace" to help me through. I am hoping he was right - but I won't really know until both the Fringe and Jim's burial are behind me.
One day at a time. One step at a time.


Anonymous said...

I admire your ability to analyze and learn from that bad review (I think I would have been tempted to just burn it). Perhaps it would be good to reread the good ones as well and as carefully to see what was appreciated.
It is good to remember the wise and caring men who supported women's rights, and when you can, you will tell those parts. Hugs to you, my dear.


I was tempted to burn it - but I realized he was asking for a part of the story I was not telling - and I started to question - how much do we storytellers have to tell - - and decided that with personal story its a tricky business. The first question is how much is absolutely needed to hold the story together and to tell the truth of it. In this case - my husband Jim is a KEY element. This reviewer asks - how did this woman manage - I managed because Jim supported what I was doing - even when it meant he stepped in to "help." He was one of those wise and caring men - - and by taking him out I was leaving something important out of the story - and adding more of a "political tone" tone to it. We walk a tightrope don't we when we choose to tell personal stories.