A New Kind of Fall

I’m feeling very strange today. Actually, I’ve been feeling weird for the past few days. And I think I know what it is: after the blisteringly hot summer that all of you no doubt noticed, Philadelphia has suddenly been plunged into comparatively chilly temperatures. Fall is coming. I love fall- it’s my favorite season, partly because of my aforementioned nerdiness. Fall means that start of school and that means new school supplies. Nothing says “possibility” like blank notebook and shiny new pens.

I’ve already posted about feeling strange for not being in school, and that oddity is wearing off a little bit, even when I drive past my alma mater every couple of days. But it’s still a little weird, realizing that my job is not a summer job, but a job job, that will last as long as it needs to. Sometimes when something bad happens at work, I reach for the comfort that it’s only a few more months/weeks/days… only to realize that that comfort isn’t there. Thankfully, though the past few weeks at work have been terrible due to difficult, non-tip-giving guests, things are looking up, if the past few shifts are any indication.

Yesterday was National Suicide Awareness Day, and it hit me harder than I anticipated. While I’ve been aware of To Write Love on Her Arms since college, this is the first year I’ve really paid a lot of attention to their cause. I’m not sure why; perhaps therapy really has opened me up to things more. Before, I never wanted to talk about how I lost someone to suicide, but now, while I definitely don’t parade it, I wrote “Love” on my wrist and went to work  with it in full view. Before, I would have hidden it and kept it for myself, but yesterday, I was prepared to give an explanation, albeit short, of why it was there. It was a gloriously beautiful day yesterday, and while I spent some of my drive to work in tears thinking of those I’ve lost or almost lost to suicide, my walk around the city found me smiling at how beautiful everything looked. All in all, it was an emotional and confusing day.

Also confusing is working a day job with a bunch of fellow performers. It’s the time of year that theatres are casting their seasons and, in general, there are a ton of auditions. Every few days, another of my co-workers will come into a shift and happily announce that they’ve been cast in a show. While I, and every other actor in the world, have had years of experience being the one who wasn’t cast, that doesn’t make it any easier to congratulate someone when all you want is what they have… especially when they part they got was one you auditioned for, too. As always, it’s fruitless and cruel to be mean to them for getting the part- after all, they can’t help being perfect for it- but that doesn’t stop my jealousy. And as more of my co-workers begin rehearsals for their respective shows, the more desperate and hopeless I feel that I’ll ever get a show again. I’ve had this feeling before, especially while in college, and I know that I will be cast someday and as soon as I see my name on that list or get that phone call, I’ll forget all about this misery. But as it is, it’s completely eating away at me and distracting me every hour of the day.

Just as it’s the season of auditions, it’s all the season of play submissions, and this year, I’m taking part. For the last few months, I’ve been submitting both my full-length and one of my shorts to a few festivals. Many of them won’t be notifying me for a few months as to whether I’ve been accepted or not, but a few days ago, I received notification that my full length play, the one that was read in July, is an alternate for a theatre company’s season. While this isn’t as exciting as actually being produced, for an untrained and very new playwright such as myself, I’m still pretty pleased to have earned this spot, especially since part of the reason it was an alternate, as opposed to being produced, is no fault of mine. I’m also hoping that this will allow for another development opportunity far down the road.
It’s very hard for me to decide if I should even be submitting my work. I know many a playwright that does this, but they’re all either award-winning, seasoned playwrights or highly trained, new, and still award-winning playwrights. The only one of those descriptors I fit is “new,” and to think that my flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants plays are up against, if not those playwrights’ works, then that of their peers. I have confidence in my pieces, but is it just the confidence of my own untrained mind? But if I never submit, I’ll never know if my work is worthy, and one day, I might just get lucky.

As it is, it’s a new kind of fall: not the beginnings I’m used to, but beginnings all the same, and continuations, too. I’m just not yet sure if I like it…


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