Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mister Resume

Five years ago I left a lucrative high tech career and became a writer. As in, fiction writer, theater writer, blog writer, but definitely NOT tech writer. I had a heavy-hitting tech career for 15 years, even taught tech writing and digital publishing, and was lead judge in a Silicon Valley technical writing competition. I was Mister Resume. I burned out hard.

Five years ago I started traveling the country, writing, visiting peeps, and eventually settled here in New Orleans. I've avoided tech writing and anything techie like the plague, and few friends in New Orleans even know about that time of my life. Ya'll call me an actor! But tech work has followed me here. Recruiters still email me and well-meaning friends offer work. I say no. I've been saying no for five years and getting by on part-time jobs that a recent high school graduate could do. All to leave myself free for fiction, my true passion.

A few hours ago, I turned in my first draft of a software manual, my first technical writing contract in five years. Money's tight (tres tight) and this project just fell into my lap. A referral from a gaw-jious San Francisco friend and colleague, Jen Dalton. Comparatively speaking, it's a light-weight project in terms of scope and time commitment. But more importantly, the project came at a time when I'm *willing* to take-on a tech writing project again. That's a key difference. Not so stubborn right now. Money's part of that difference, but also I may have recovered from burn out, in part.

As I said, this project is a small, tentative step. I don't yet feel the time conflict I used to feel between tech writing and my art, in which art always lost. In fact, I'm writing more in general, both kinds. This week I whipped out a detailed 10-page first draft of the manual and pushed the novel forward another 1000 words.

On the confidence of this project and others to follow, I may be moving. Yesterday I looked at a shotgun house that's for rent, and talked to a good friend about sharing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


You get it:

This year, instead of 41, I turned thirty-eleven on Monday. Not looking so bad for thirty-eleven, huh?

I had a fun, relaxy day. Slept late, did yoga, blended a fruit smoothie, read more of Don Quixote, swam, napped.

At night, I met friends for cocktails and cake at a bar on the edge of the French Quarter. They pinned dollar bills to my vest. One of my co-actors from Uncle Vanya, Helaine Michaels, played her electronic piano. My costumer for Out Comes Butch and John James Audubon, Veronica Russell (pictured above with me and our friend Ed Bishop), brought half a peaches-and-cream pie. My housemate, Gloria Powers, brought a whole chocolate birthday cake. There was baked ziti. EVERYBODY bought me drinks. At the end of the night, I made out with someone. Eventually I'll remember his name.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Smells Like Team Spirit

It takes a village to mount a Chekhov play, a sweaty, irritable village. With a cast of 9 all sweating like livestock every night, it's been quite a challenge to do Chekhov in New Orleans in July. High strung personalities, high stakes, heat. Plus, stagelights are HOT, especially when your costume is made of wool. Kvetch, bitch, moan.

But let me also say that our production of Uncle Vanya looks pretty darn good. Thanks to the work of many people, especially Michael Martin, we've pulled together a quality production that we can all be proud of. There was quite a lot of team effort, which really appeals to me. Much of the tension we've felt is evidence of deep-felt commitment to the success of the project.

Only one weekend more of Chekhov at the Beach, then I celebrate my birthday (July 21), and then take a break from theater. A couple months devoted to writing. I actually wanted to leave New Orleans for the months of August and September, go into retreat, writing seclusion; but I can't afford that. So instead I will create seclusion for myself, in town. Take time off from theatrical pursuits, other than writing some new stage material. But the main focus is the novel, Goodfriend.

Ah my good friend the novel, my long-time companion. At 3 years, this is officially my longest relationship.