February 7, 2010

Try your luck

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 8:03 pm

I’m not much of a gambler. I’ll bet on black if I see a roulette table and I’ve been known to make side bets during a craps game – but as a rule I’m a big fan of keeping the money I make in my pocket. However, when it comes to my future, to realizing my dreams – I have grown a much needed set of cojones. Taking a chance

As I’ve mentioned earlier, writers need to open themselves to critique, support, and improvement. Whether through submitting work for publication or participating in a writing class – we have to get out there and take a chance. Too many of us write absolutely wonderful things in diaries and on notepads and for some reason we never share our gifts. We may choose to share our ruminations with friends or family and if they like it we are satisfied to continue our passion in private. And worse, if they don’t like it, we guard our creations under lock and key. The bottom line is this – if you want a large readership or audience you have to go after it. They’re not coming to you. Even if you’re awesome, no one will ever know it if you don’t give them the opportunity to experience what you have to share.

My point is simple. Get in the game! I ran into two men this afternoon while walking around the Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad and they taught me a very valuable lesson: if you don’t play you can’t win.

 

It was like something out of the movies. They were running sidewalk casinos. Games of chance – a shot to double or triple your money. I gave it a shot with some pocket change  (like I said before, I’m cheap). But I learned two new games today.

I lost the dice game every time, but I did triple my money (once) on the lucky seven game. It’s the same with writing. Maybe you don’t get accepted into the university you wanted for a creative writing program – but maybe you do submit a poem to a magazine and get published. Maybe you don’t have an agent working to sell your latest novel – but maybe you will self publish that same novel and personally place it in the hands of your growing readership. You’ll never know if you never take a chance.

P.S. I submitted a play to the Penobscot Theatre’s Northern Writer’s festival today. The deadline is Feb 12 if you’re interested. If you’ve been sitting on a play maybe this is time to share it. Good luck!

January 28, 2010

The Staging of BOXES pt.1

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 7:47 pm

BOXES is now, finally, in rehearsal for a performance at Trinidad Theatre Workshop. A small black box theatre in Port of Spain. The play is being directed by a respected Trinidadian director and the cast is packed with all stars. I still don’t understand how. And, to be honest, the ‘why?’ isn’t a question I waste time on answering.  I have no connections in Trinidad nor did I win a playwright competition.

So why is the theatre staging my play? I simply love the performing arts, and so I  went to just about every event the theatre had. My constant presence led to me developing a friendship with the artistic director. We talk about Trinidad and theatre. He lets my daughter play on his computer. We’re friends.

I am still amazed that the play has made it this far. Since 1998 I have been an aspiring playwright. Even now the process of how a play makes it from one’s laptop to the stage is a mystery to me. I’m sure the process is a mystery to many. If you ever sat in the audience, as a writer, and wished you could ask the playwright “how did you do it?” this is your chance.

The next series of blog entries will document how BOXES finally hit the stage.

In addition to attending as many performance as I could, I also reached out to performing artists. A mentor of mine introduced me to an actress whose performance I admired. I shared with her that I was an aspiring writer and wanted to stage my recently completed play. One day she called me to the Trinidad Theatre Workshop to meet with her and the artistic director. It was last minute she said but could I come down to meet them? It was a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and my daughter and I were very busy watching cartoons in our pajamas but we made the time. I was honestly glad that I didn’t have a babysitter – I wanted my daughter to see mommy going after her dreams.

They threw out names of directors and actors and we brainstormed about how the play might move forward. I can’t remember now if anyone had even read the play in its entireity. I do remember that I was pumped to be in a theatre talking to theatre professionals.

They reached out to one of the directors on our short list and he agreed to read the play. I remember my stomach being in knots from the second I learned he had received the play. I want to say that I waited a week to call him, but I probably didn’t. When we spoke he said that he wanted to wait to give me his comments until we met in person. Anything was better than receiving one of those horrible self addressed stamped postcards that say “we read your play and uhhhh, thanks.”

He loved the play. I sat down with a veteran actor and director and we talked about words that I had scribbled on happy hour napkins and in memo pads during work meetings. Words that I had typed late at night after tucking my daughter into bed. He had read them and something about my words had made him think and question and feel. That alone made me feel like a writer, and more importantly, a good one.

After our discussion the director arranged two gatherings of his favorite actors for readings and discussions of the play. You can watch the video clips if you like.

January 3, 2010

I Feel Like an Artist!

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 10:30 pm

Today was exciting. Today was uplifting and surprising and necessary. Today, I felt like an artist.

Like many aspiring artists, I spend the majority of my time on things other than my passion. I go to work and the grocery store, I watch T.V and check my email, I sit in traffic. On my better days I actually make the time to practice my art: writing. Honestly, the writing has become the easier part because I’ve been doing it for years. What I have extremely little experience in is doing something with that writing. The process of publishing a poem in a magazine or taking a play from page to stage is my current challenge. And that is why today was a much needed victory.

Today’s event was not monumental. I didn’t witness the opening of my play on Broadway, or even recite a poem at open mic. Today was simple: I had a meeting with two awesome artists. I sat down with Architect Bravo and Mei Mei Chang (meimeichang.com) to discuss the set design of my latest play Boxes. Architect Bravo is an architect, capoeira enthusiast, and scholar who wouldn’t let me use his real name on my blog, he’s also  a great friend. Mei Mei is a gifted painter, teacher and mommy (not in that order of course).

These artists had taken the time to read and contemplate the play.  Unlike my loving friends and family, they had more to say than ‘it’s really nice.’ As visual artists they shared ideas on how to create a visual experience for the audience that would augment the play’s dialogue. At the close of the discussion we agreed to collaborate on-line using Celtix’s story board feature  (google it – you’ll thank me) and complete a set design. We also discussed strategies for staging Boxes in D.C later this year.

Underwater in Tobago

Conquering a fear in 2009

 

 

For many people, today’s discussion may not seem like a big deal. It was simply a logical step between writing a play and staging a play. For me however, it was a conceptual leap. Much of the mystery of staging a play has been simplified. Today it just hit me: D.C., Maryland and Virginia are full of actors, theatre lovers, and performance spaces that can be rented by anyone with something artistic to share.  Well, I have something to share, and I’ve decided to go for it. From now on I will not look at a play that I have written and pat myself on the back. Instead, I will be happy that step one of the process is complete and confidently move on to step number two.

If you are pursuing a passion – congratulations! I hope you continue to constantly seek out ways to develop your craft. And when you’re ready for the next step, I hope you’ll join me in taking a leap.

December 30, 2009

A Writer’s Resolution

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 6:21 pm

For five out of the last six New Years I have celebrated by running into the Ocean at midnight. I learned of this practice while living in Bahia, Brazil in 2003. There, people wear white, hang out on the beach, and at midnight they run into the waves. It’s pretty amazing. No promises to magically be better on the next day – just thankfulness for life and all of the joys it brings.

I’m not sure what I’ll do to welcome in 2010, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be near the Ocean. So, I’m reaching back to an old tradition (for me anyway) of outlining some goals that I would like to achieve in 2010. Instead of creating a list of ways to improve as a person (cuz that list is infinite), I’d like to focus on how I can improve as a writer. It’s one thing to lose weight and lessen my level of road rage from neon purple to yellow – but I’m trying to become a professional writer here. So here are my Writers New Year’s resolutions for 2010….what are yours?

1. The number of pages I write per day will outnumber the hours of television I watch (including news).

2. I will no longer be a super secret writer, I will speak proudly about what I’ve written and what I plan to write/produce to ANYONE who will listen.

3. I will read more… but I will not quantify more because I …. I um… I don’t feel like it.

4. I will submit my plays and poems to more workshops and magazines. At least one per month.

5. I will seek out a group of admirable and active writers to regularly share with and learn from.

Five is my favorite number so I’ll stop here. I’ll let you know in a few months how I’m doing. Feel free to hold my feet to the fire on this one.

Happy New Year!!

November 20, 2009

The Rebirth of Roseprose

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 6:50 pm

Wow, it’s great to be back!

As many of you know, I used to write all the time. I would scribble character ideas and poems on napkins and in notebooks constantly. Writing was (and is) my passion. Sharing an emotion or an experience with readers is an amazing feeling – very addicting. That addiction led me to perform at open mic’s and even to publish my poems in two books: “My Moments” and “Defining the Color of Ebony.”

This was my business card in 2002 - I was SO serious about being a professional

This was my business card in 2002 - I was SO serious about being a professional

 

Since “Defining the Color of Ebony” was published in 2002, I have been somewhat in hiding. The plays, novels and poems I’ve written during this hibernation have not been shared. Why? My eloquent answer is: dunno. Even though I seem to do everything BUT build a writing career, becoming a writer has always been my goal.  Despite the random jobs, travels abroad, and extra school- I remain just as passionate about writing as ever.  You can read a selection of these unshared works on the other pages. Check them often! I will regularly switch the content based on your comments and my moods.

The first step towards reviving Roseprose was “The Motherflower” (Thank you Viv!).  An interesting variety show in which I performed a monologue that compared learning how to cook with learning how to love. I enjoyed writing it just as much as I enjoyed performing it. The feedback I received was awesome and it made me want to do more. (I told you it was an addiction.) The more turned into “Boxes”, an experimental play that is scheduled to be produced in Trinidad in 2010. As proud as I am of the play, I am mostly just happy and excited to be writing again. Because if I’m writing – that makes me a writer!

Currently, I am living out my dream of traveling the world looking for adventure with my beautiful baby girl. We live about a half hour away from amazing beaches and we haven’t experienced winter in two years. For my day job, I am a Foreign Service Officer, which is honestly pretty fun. Still, I want to be a professional writer. 

So this blog is about my journey towards realizing that dream. Writing is my passion, but to be honest, I have been treating it like a hobby. And if I am ever going to see people purchasing my books, and buying tickets to see my plays I have to do something different. What that something different is – I’m not exactly sure of, but I’m committed to trying until I am successful. And I hope that by chronicling my attempts I will incite others to take action in their lives. Whatever your hobby is that you fantasize about doing full time – I hope my journey encourages you to make a similar commitment.

I look forward to hearing your comments and encouragement. Again – it’s great to be back!

December 15, 2009

Submission

Filed under: Posts — admin @ 6:34 pm

Submission.

To women and wives this word may make your lips tighten. Don’t worry. That’s nothing compared to the reaction this word gets from writers. When an agent, theatre, publishing house, or writing contest is accepting submissions we literally split into three equally insane people. One gets super excited about the possibilities of another human actually reading their words. One gets instantly depressed remembering all of the ‘thanks but you suck’ post cards – yeah, they don’t even send letters anymore. And the third, the really really crazy one, starts pledging to do the undoable. Like, the deadline is one month away and they’re planning on writing a science fiction romance about Rachel Maddow and Glen Beck’s love affair. Submissions.

However they make us feel – submissions are necessary. At least that’s what I believe today. When I have to prepare a work for submission I take it seriously. This isn’t just a diary entry or some story that I may finish some day – this has to be a finished work that I am not ashamed to be associated with. This has to be good enough to win, or at least make one of the judges mumble ‘not bad’ as they throw it onto the slush pile. Also, preparing a submission keeps you sharp. You have to remember the correct, or current, format. You have to actually do what real writers do all the time. It’s good practice. Torture, yes, but also good practice.

Today, I submitted my play Boxes to a playwrights workshop. I love the 24 hours after you mail off an on time submission. I feel so freaking superior it is ridiculous. I say to myself: ‘Writing is no longer your hobby babe (yes, I call myself babe). It is your profession. Pretty soon they’ll read it, they’ll love it, and you will be on Oprah telling all of America how you hated getting those little post cards but now you have agents beating down your door. You are doing what it takes babe, you are on your way.’ That first 24 hours is awesome. The 7 months that follow suck.

But, today, I am still within that 24 hour range and I am writing to you from a place of positivity. I want to be a writer, I dream of seeing my books on book shelves and my plays on Broadway. That is my dream. So, when I come home from work, after putting my daughter to bed, I write. When I have a free moment on a random weekend, I write. And every now and then, I find an opportunity to submit my words to someone else. I say a prayer that they will receive it as it was given, I slap a stamp on it and I send it out. What else am I going to do?

I submitted something today and I feel good about it. Now, who’s coming with me??

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