Saturday, December 22, 2012

The First Actor

Thespis, a Leading Man
Glaucus, a member of the Chorus

Time: 6th century B.C.
Location: Ancient Greece. Backstage at Athens Amphitheater. 10 minutes until Curtain.

Glaucus: (Enters from wing, calling off-stage) Thank you, Ten!

Thespis: (Enters from opposite side as Glaucus, doing vocal warm-up exercises...culminating with) drrrrach-ma. drach-MAH! DRACH-mah.

Glaucus: Stop worrying, Thespis. You will give an Olympian performance tonight. And if that fails, you can always rely on your lovely face.

Thespis: But I will be wearing a mask.

Glaucus: Even wearing the mask of Tragedy, your unique qualities shine through, my boy. Like a star in the heavens! No doubt, after tonight’s performance, Zeus himself will reserve a spot in the night sky for your soul to sparkle when you die.

Thespis: Does my face look lovelier when I speak in this direction, (turns head) or facing this direction?

Glaucus: Where will your audience be? Speak in the direction of their ears.

Thespis: But what if I misspeak, Glaucus?! What if tonight, in front of all the free citizens of Athens, I, Thespis of Icaria, flub history’s first line?

(Groups of women and men are arriving for the show.)

Glaucus: Welcome to Athens Amphitheater, my ladies, sirs. Have you come to see tonight's Choral performance? Most excellent. We have a very special treat for you tonight. (to Thespis) See how the nymphs and even the satyrs...

Thespis: Satyrs! (Leading man smile, as if for the camera.)

Glaucus: ...much admire your comely good looks.

Thespis: But is god-like beauty enough, Glaucus?

Glaucus: I said good looks.

Thespis: I don’t want to be known merely as a mythical physique, an Adonis.

Glaucus: (under breath) Narcissus more like.

Thespis: I want to be remembered, nay Glaucus, celebrated, for my skill as …as an…what do we call this? Is it choric refrain anymore? With only one singer? We don’t even have a name for this in Greek. Am I really the first...ever…to try this?

Glaucus: In my knowledge, dear Thespis, which admittedly is not so vast as your own, I have never before heard of a Chorus member attempting a solo. Since the dawn of Chronos, there has always been a Chorus. We are the necessary foundation of a story well told. How else would the audience know the playwright’s meaning? Without the Chorus to explain it to them? In song? But never before has a single member of the Chorus stepped forward, by himself, under his own spot of torchlight, and spoken in the voice of another man or acted out the deeds of another man or pretended to be another. Indeed Thespis, this is a new kind of theater.

Thespis: How does one person pretend to be another?

Glaucus: Hmm…alright, let us start with your name.

Thespis: Surely you know me, Glaucus. We have sung together the stories of gods and heroes in  wildly dithyrambic refrain for 8 years. Thespis. Of Icaria.

Glaucus: Dear Zeus. Yes, I do know you, Thespis, my boy. Now introduce yourself as the person you pretend to be.

Thespis: Oh! Of course. Right! (grabs Glaucus by the forearm in a Greco-Roman handshake. Casually introduces himself as if to a business associate.) I am Pericles.

Glaucus: You are? Really? Is this how a statesman, an orator, a general of Thrace greets his warriors?!

Thespis: I am Pericles?

Glaucus: Mean it. Again!

Thespis: I am Pericles!

Glaucus: More authority! Again!

Thespis: I am Pericles! I am Pericles!

Glaucus: (tents fingertips together and nods) Goooooood.

Thespis: This will instill fear and respect for Pericles in the audience.

Glaucus: Not the audience. The armies of Thrace. If you pretend to be Pericles, then pretend to stand where Pericles stands. (turns Thespis by the shoulders toward audience.) On a hilltop, above the valley where Thracian warriors have assembled to receive his command.

Thespis: Yes, I see. And then, I shall roar like a fearsome lion. (roars) To ensure fear and respect in the audience...(catching on) armies of Thrace!

Glaucus: (beat) I like where you are going. Choose something else.

(Thespis struggles to come up with a new idea.)

Glaucus: For example, draw your sword, thus. Instead of roaring like an actual lion, speak your line…with a roar in your voice!

Thespis: (draws sword) I…Am…Pericles!

Glaucus: It makes me shudder. You are so real. There should be a name for what you can do, Thespis. Let us pretend to be another person. You imitate or mimic the words and actions of a character in a story. Thus you are a pretender? An imitator? History's first mimicker?

Thespis: No, I don't like the implied guile of pretender. What about charmer? Because I charm the audience into believing that I am Pericles.

Glaucus: Good evening, ladies. Yes, many good seats left. Just beyond the urinals there. Upwind, I assure you! Thank you for supporting local theater! (to Thespis) Charmer sounds like spells and magic, a snake charmer. A charlatan. What you do, Thespis, is Art.  And Craft. It requires Art, Craft, and a courageous heart to step forward into the torchlight and stimulate our intellects, arouse our emotions, stir our psyches with only your words and actions. You are the leading man of the Chorus.

Thespis: Leading man? (beat) No, that will never catch on. Besides, will the audience accept me, Glaucus? Are they willing to accept that I, Thespis, speak FOR Pericles? That I truly AM Pericles?

Glaucus: (ruminates) That depends upon your motivation.

Thespis: My what? What in the name of Melpomene is motivation?

Glaucus: Ah! Motivation is “why are you talking? Why are you doing such-and-such?” In real life, when we talk or do something, it is because we want something. We are motivated to talk because we want something. Why does the hero talk? What does the hero want that motivates him to say "I am Testecles!" (pronounced "testa-cleez")

Thespis: (raucous laughter) The hero in this play is named "Pe-ri-cles". Good thing I am chosen as history's first "Leading Man". (movie star smiles to more passing satyrs) Thank you for coming tonight. Stick around after the show.

Glaucus: Quite true! I have no mind for memorizing lines. I would flub history’s first line for sure if I were standing in your sandals. I need the Chorus to back me up, to keep me in line, in step with the group mind. Instead of a Leading Man like you, I am your follower. Perhaps I could be history's first…uhh… Thespian?

Thespis: Brother, you should be directing this whole show.

Glaucus: What would that make me then? A Director?

Thespis: No, a tyrant.

(They share a knowing laugh.)

Glaucus: Speaking of tyrants, Pericles wants to defeat a tyrant. That is his motivation. He stands above the battlefield, addressing archers, spearmen, charioteers, and common soldiers, trying to rouse them to righteous indignation against an evil tyrant. Pericles appeals to their clan pride as Thracians, in an attempt to motivate them into fighting and dying for Thrace. When he says “I am Pericles!”, he is declaring, “Pericles has arrived! Let the fight begin!”

Thespis: And this is motivation?

Glaucus: If your motivation is true to real life, if we recognize and sympathize, then yes, I believe the audience will accept you as the hero.

Thespis: They are lighting the torches. And calling Places. The flutes will start soon. How is my hair?

Glaucus: Tousled. Like a hero’s. Got your sword belt? Got your sword? Good and good. Ok, here goes. Let us each put on our mask.

(They stand side-by-side. Both solemnly pull down a mask from atop their heads. Glaucus is Comedy. Thespis is Tragedy. Actors may pantomime if no actual masks are available.)

Thespis and Glaucus in chorus:  Ahhhhhhh…. (Glaucus repeats chant over Thespis’ final line.)

Thespis: (with a roar in voice) I…Am…(draws sword)...Testa-cleez!

(Glaucus chokes on chant. He pulls up his mask. Now his face is Tragedy. Thespis pulls up his mask. He is Comedy. Fade to blackout as the panting Thespis, oblivious of his flub, turns to Glaucus for approval.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

40 Years of New Year's Eves

“Every man regards his own life as the New Year’s Eve of time.”
- Jean Paul Richter

1 male. Un-named. Any age, so long as he portrays the transition from age 1 to age 40.

Note on the dialog:
The dialog includes the preceding numerals, for example “Nine. Dad, how come there’s another New Years Eve every year?”

(announce) Forty years of New Year’s Eves!

1.   (Infant in mother’s arms, noisily nursing. Drops bottle.) Waaa Waaa Waaa (Finds bottle and resumes nursing.)

2.  Mama, Ha Pa Noo Yoo! (baby kisses, nose rubbing, and giggles.) Dada, Ha Pa Noo Yoo!

3.   (trying to say it correctly, from memory) Mommy and Daddy, Happy New Year Eve. (blow kisses) I love you very very much. (curtsies)

4.   Mom, watch! Mom! Dad! Watch me! (sings) Should old acquaintance we forgot, and never more to roam. Should old acquaintance, we forgot, (struggles to remember) and old lang zine! (end singing) Did you watch? Mom, did you see me? I’ll do it over again. Mom, watch!

5.   Dad, what’s mistletoe for? (starts to cry) I don’t want to kiss no girl!

6.   (playing with dolls) Happy New Years Eve to you, Miss Barbie. You look beautiful tonight in your long dress and high-heel-ded shoes. You look so pretty. I want to kiss you on your boobies. Mwah! Why thank you, Ken. You look handsome. Ken, you are the handsomest man in the whole land. You look so handsome. I want to kiss you on your pee pee. Mwah! Oh Ken…kiss kiss kiss.

7.  What's a New Years resolution? (looks to either parent) What’s a resolution mean? (Listens until it  becomes clear. Starts to cry) But I don’t want to stop playing Barbies!

8.  (playing with different dolls) G.I. Joe, Help! Save me from the evil Spiderman before it’s too late! Oh help! Don’t you worry, Stretch-Arm-Strong, I’ll save you! Oh thank you, G.I. Joe. You have saved my life. Now I have to show you thanks. Mwah! Oh G.I. Joe…kiss kiss kiss. Yeah, Stretch-Arm-Strong, I like it when you kiss like that. Hi, I’m evil Spiderman. but I’m not really evil. Can I thank you too, G.I. Joe?

9.  Dad, how come there’s always another New Year's Eve every year? Isn’t every day the same? It’s lLike a birthday? Who’s birthday is it? The year’s birthday?? Oh. Is that why you always drink so much beer on New Year's Eve, like you do on my birthdays? I thought we were you was supposed to drink champagne on birthdays and New Year's? Then when will I be old enough?

10.  Dear Diary, finally, I am old enough to stay up late and watch New Years Eve on the television. New Years Eve in New York City. But their clock up in New York is ahead of New Orleans by 2 hours. So really, I only get to stay up until 10 o’clock here. But that’s ok. 10 o'clock is still way later than I ever stay up. Daddy told me I get to watch the ball drop. He says he'll let me sip my first taste of beer. "Pretend it's the champagne of beers." Ugh. If champagne tastes like Budweiser, I hate it. I never want to get drunk.

11.  New Year’s resolution, I will never get stupid, falling down drunk like my dumb jerk dad, and then fight with my mom, and embarrass my son in front of all the neighbors. New Years Eve is supposed to be about starting over fresh. Not drowning disappointments in alcohol and acting all selfish, like an jackass. (looks out window) Terrific, now here comes the cops! Um..that cop looks kinda like G.I. Joe.

12.  After that whole mess last year with my dad and the cops, it’s nice of your parents to let me sleep over for New Years Eve. I don’t know why my dad has to get so drunk every year. Like it’s our job to make him happy. He’s not happy, so everybody around him has to be un-happy too. New Years is dumb. I hate New Years Eve. Oh wait, turn up the TV, here it comes! Four…three…two…one! Happy New Year! (surprised by a kiss) Max! Boys don’t kiss boys! (but likes it)

13.  (on the phone) Hey Max, what are you up to this fine New Years Eve? Nothing, me too. Yeah, my dad’s up to his usual. Mom’s all mad. Man, I really need a smoke. Well, just called to wish you Happy New Year Max. Wish I could come over there.

14.  New Years resolution. I resolve to never smoke another cigarette. I mean it, Max! You are a bad influence on me. REAL bad. I mean, you’re my best friend and all. But, you know... Smoking’s bad and gives you lung cancer. And you smell. All in my clothes and my hair. Teeth look brown. (testing Max’s reaction) And no girls ever want to kiss you on New Years Eve.

15. (sigh)  Wish Max still lived in New Orleans. Sucks his family had to move to Memphis. Now I’m stuck  alone with my dumb family for another dumb New Years Eve. I should be out with my friends. Or a girlfriend, if I had one. (watches TV) Finally, here goes the ball. Four…three…two…one. (to no one) Happy New Year. Yeah. Whatever. Man, wish I had a smoke.

16.  (writing in journal) Dear Future Reader, I write this New Year’s Eve journal entry to keep a record of myself for future eyes. I am only 16 years old, but know I will not live beyond the age of 30. Or rather I should say, I don’t want to.

After the epic life I will lead, why would I wish to watch my body become decrepit and my brain go senile at the age of 30. I mean, after I win both the National Book Award and Nobel Laureate for Literature—at age 25—what more is left to look forward to than decrepitude, senility, slow monotonous decomposition, and then finally, the grave. No no no! I resolve to spare myself that intolerable fate! On the Eve of the New Year when I am 30, at the stroke of midnight, I will commit ritualistic hippaku. Just like my heroine, Cho-Cho-San, I will plunge the hari-kari dagger deep into my gut. Only first, Future Reader, first I must find my own Lieutenant Pinkerton. My true love. Un bel di vedremo!

17.   Hey. So your dad works with my dad? Michelle, right? Yeah, this party sucks, totally. New Year’s is for posers. I totally hate New Year’s Eve. Every year, the same crap. My dad gets super drunk, mom gets all mad, and then they fight. One year the cops came and…what? Mistletoe? (looks up) Oh right, mistletoe. (nervous) Who put that up there? Ha. Um, yeah totally, I kiss girls all the time! Who says I’m Gay? Your dad too? Well, that’s not true. Here, let us just step under this mistletoe right now, and I will show you who’s Gay. (kisses girl. Doesn’t like it.)

18.  (on the phone) Hi Michelle, I know it’s almost Midnight. Sorry to call you just before the ball drops. You can get back to the TV in a sec. Oh, my New Years is going ok. Sorry I couldn’t come over to your house.

Look, here’s the thing. You’ve been a great girlfriend this whole last year of high school. But…I wanna break up. Sorry, Michelle, sorry. Please  don’t cry. I know it’s New Years Eve. I feel like a total jerk. But we’re both 18 now, both moving on. Graduated from high school, going away to different colleges. I’m going to Tulane. You’re going to Loyola.

Virginity? Michelle, you know I am saving myself for my wedding night. I told you I am not Gay! I wish people would stop saying that! Look, I know you’re sad because I’m dumping you and all on New Year’s Eve. It’s a crap-tacular thing to do. Truly, I do have feelings for you, Michelle. We will always be good friends. But New Years is all about new beginnings, fresh starts. And this year, I’m ready to start fresh.

19.  Ah 19! My first New Year’s Eve as an adult, living in a dorm room, away from my crap-tacular family. Woo frickin’ hoo! So whad’ya say, Michael, how ‘bout you and I share this bottle of cheap-ola champagne, maybe light some candles? So what about the rules? What’s a few candles? It’s not like you and I are a fire hazard. Come on, Michael. It’s New Years Eve, we’re in college, we have champagne and candles. Why don’t we experiment a little…?

20.   (talking to self in hand mirror) Two entire decades of my life are over, and Middle Age soon approaches. This is a good time to take stock. On this 20th New Year, this new beginning, I resolve to myself to be honest with myself about what I truly am. Who I truly am.

21.   (back against the wall of a crowded bar) My first New Year’s Eve inside a real Gay bar! Finally, I’m legal. Gay bars must card everybody. (take in the place) This is cool. Lights. Music. Kinda crowded. Lot of hot guys. Hi. Hot guys are staring at me. Hi. God, I feel like fresh meat tossed into the lion’s den.

Oh hi, yeah, Happy New Year’s to you too! No, I’m here alone. Sure, I love champagne. But I’d prefer a screw…driver! (giggles like a fool until surprised by a kiss!) Oh my god. I am totally getting kissed by a HOT guy on New Year’s Eve! His face is so CUTE! And his cock! I can totally feel his bulge through his jeans. Yup, I am going for it. Totally. Anything he wants, he can have it. I will give it all up. This guy is the perfect guy for me. We totally have got to become boyfriends!

22.  (sitting at the bar) No, I hate New Years. Last year on New Year’s Eve, at this very same bar in fact, I met this total dickhead. Totally. Yeah, we dated a few times. Mostly we just fucked. He fucked me. Gave me my first STD.  Scabies. Said he got ‘em from his cat! Scabies! What a dumb-ass dickhead. I rode the streetcar all the way downtown to the Parish STD clinic, got this prescription for Quell, and had to use this little nit-comb.

Whoops, too much information, right? Ha. I’m a little drunk. Hell, it’s New Years Eve! They also made me take this blood test. Well they didn’t make me. I just thought it was a good idea, under the circumstances, you know? Everything checks out OK, totally! But God, I felt like I dodged a bullet. You can see why I am not too eager to repeat last New Year’s Eve.

So, you wanna leave here, maybe just hang out together at my place? I live nearby. Uh, sure, I have Beta-Max. Straight porn?! Uh, ok, if you bring one over. I only have Gay stuff. But really I was hoping we could just watch a romantic comedy, put up our feet, eat some popcorn, snuggle on the couch… Sure, we can stop by the video store on the way. (sigh) Ok, you pick out the video.

23.   (writing in journal) Dear Future Reader, finally, at the ripe age of 23, I have found True Love, my own Lieutenant Pinkerton, the man I have sought my whole long life. One year ago tonight, on New Year’s Eve, I met Mark, the man of my dreams. And I will never feel lonely again. Mark and I are soul-mates, even though we see each other only once every couple weeks or sometimes only once a month. Mark is a very busy man, a travelling salesman.

Midnight marks our one year anniversary. And although I drink alone tonight, I toast the anniversary for us both. After this blissful year, I have finally come to understand the meaning of “long-term relationship”, how love deepens over time. When we’re together, Mark and I can be truly honest with each other, really communicate. And he matches me passion for passion in the bedroom, on the couch, in the tub, or my favorite, the step-stool in the kitchen. With a love this strong, I know that Mark and I will always be together.

24.   (on the phone) Thanks for the invite, Michelle, but this year I think I’ll just stay home. Yeah,  a mellow New Year for me. That’s ok every now and then. No, I’m fine. Really. Ok, I do get a little bluesy around New Years Eve. It was our anniversary, after all. Yes, it has been six months, but I am not ready to move on yet. Yes!  I know Mark is married…to a woman. But if I have gained any wisdom in my 24 years on this Earth, it is that booty got its own logic.

And besides, you and I both know the grieving process lasts as long as the relationship did. You’re sweet. I never got over you too, Sugar. But really, Mark and I were together a year-and-a-half. Shut up, we were TOGETHER for a year and a half! You think I can just get over a long-term relationship like that overnight? We’ve only been broken up six months. I still have a whole year more of grieving ahead of me before I move on.

I am not being operatic! Well you can stop worrying about me, I am fine. I am not Cho-Cho San. I am not going to commit hari-kari. Alright, I promise! I resolve that I will not prank call Mark’s wife…again. Don’t judge me. Look, I will stay home and be a good boy and drink this bottle of champagne all by myself. Then this bottle of Jack Daniels. And maybe I’ll try to write something.

25.  (slurry drunk at the bar) This year I am treating myself like I deserve. That’s right, this year I am totally (trying to quit saying that word) only drinking the best! Champagne and Jack Daniels cocktails. (kick it back, then order another in a Frenchie accent) Mon ami, un autre Jacques Dani-el! My New Year’s resolution? (raises glass) I am totally going to stop saying totally!

26.  (talking to self in the mirror) Well, I did not win the National Book Award nor the Nobel Laureate for Literature last year. Nor did I meet the man of my dreams. Thought I did for like a minute, but no, that turned out to be a crock. And now I am 26! All I have left to look forward to is decrepitude, senility, and even more loneliness. Who’s gonna love me when I’m old? Shit. Fuck New Years.

27. My New Years resolution. I am totally (sick of always saying that word) going to cut back my smoking to a pack a day.

28.  (on the phone, drunk, smoking) Yes, I am drunk-n-dialing you at (check wall clock) 3am. But I just wanted to call you up, Michelle, and apologize for breaking up with you that crap-tacular way on New Years Eve. Shut up. You were a really really great girlfriend in high school and you have been my best friend every since and you didn’t (hic) deserve...  No, no I am fine. Just a bit tipsy, iz’all. It’s New frickin fuckin Years Eve! You’s s’posed to get bit tipsy! But look Michelle, I just wanna say I am sorry. And I love you. And uh…Happy New Year. (singing) Should old acquaintance be forgot…

29. (pacing, reasoning with self in the living room) Think this year it’s a good idea for me to try a sober New Years Eve, for a change. No drunky mess. No picking up strange guys in backroom bars. No late night drunk-n-dialing. No anxious expectations getting me all worked up, then letting me down. Geez, I do not have to kiss someone at midnight! That’s my whole problem. I get so worked up over a stupid kiss. Like I’ll be lonely my whole life if I don’t get that damn kiss. I’m lonely anyway. What’s a kiss got to do with it?

30. (writing in journal) So according to another journal entry I wrote when I was 16, on the New Year’s Eve that I am 30, I am supposed to commit suicide, ritualistic hippaku, like Cho-Cha San from Madame Butterfly. I’m supposed to plunge a hari-kari dagger deep into my gut, because my true love has abandoned me. And the language I used when I was 16! Talk about operatic!

But no, don’t think I’ll be doing that after all. I want to live, damn it. Life can be operatic, for sure, but there’s still plenty of life left for me before I slide into decrepitude and senility. At age 40. Yeah, kinda liking this 30 thing. I mean, what’s 30 years old? Just one more decade. 30. That’s alright. 30 is not Middle Aged, except in Gay years. But I look great. My face is holding out. My ass is…(check ass) well, my face is holding out! Hmm, a New Year’s resolution…? I really should quit smoking two packs a day. Cigarettes gives you wrinkles.

31. Oh God, I want a cigarette so bad! I spent the entire last year trying to quit smoking, but after all the headaches and the constipation!, I still crave cigarettes! Plus I got fat! Why didn’t somebody tell me the food cravings would be so bad? Basically, I just built myself an igloo out of chocolate bars, and then for 6 months ate my way out. Fatty fatty Bumba-latty, who would kiss you on New Year’s Eve? Ugh. Think I’ll sit this one out, on my fat ass.

32.  (slurry drunk at the bar) My New Year’s resolution? No more boys under 30! They rush off when they’re finished with you, and they don’t like to kiss. How old are you? Do you like to kiss?

33.  Nobody to kiss me on New Year’s Eve. AGAIN. (sigh) Oh Hello! Hot Daddy at 5 o’clock. Fuh-ine! Hey, Happy Near Year, Handsome! Mitchell? Kiss me under the mistletoe, Mitchell. Just kidding. Not really. Ha. Oh yeah, I totally love New Year’s Eve too. Totally! The whole tradition. Champagne. Mistletoe. Kissing. But you know what I heard? Mistletoe is really a weed, an invasive weed that grabs ahold then strangles the life out of its host. Ha. (slow kiss) Ah, the New Year’s Eve kiss is just so magical. Like, we are destined to become husbands!

34. (on cell phone) Michelle, oh my god! Have I got a HOT boyfriend on New Year’s Eve! Finally! Woo fuckin’ Hoo! No need to worry anymore about who I’m gonna kiss at midnight. Nope, those pathetic, desperate, loser New Years are far behind me. Auld Lang Sine. (singing) And never more to roam! (speaking again) Michelle, we are true soul mates, Mitchell and I, husbands, and happier than I ever thought…hey, who’s that pretty boy Mitchell’s talking to over there? Seems I’ve seen them talking before. go bust that up. It’s almost midnight. The ball is about to drop. Gotta-go-Honey-Happy-New-Year-love-ya-bye!

35.  Who breaks up with their boyfriend on New fucking Year fucking Eve, Mitchell?! I do not strangle you! Mistletoe? Ha Ha very funny, asshole. You’re leaving me for that rent-boy you met LAST New Year’s Eve, aren’t you? Did you bring some disease into this family? All you ever do is let me down! (Mitchell leaves) Mitchell, I’m sorry. Come back!

36. Fuck resolutions.

37.  (Sitting in lotus pose. Sigh.) I feel calmer already. This was an excellent idea. The best New Year’s Eve idea I have had yet. Zen meditation on New Year’s Eve, followed by Pranayama breath work and then chanting. And at the stroke of midnight? Nothing more than a little brass gong to mark the transition. No drunken craziness, no drama, no mess, no kiss. And no cigarettes! Just deep-breathing, letting go of all the crap-tacular, fucked-up stuff that happened to me this last year. So screw you, Mitchell. Ha.

What’s that, Sensei? Oh right, ok yes, clear my mind. No thoughts. (deep inhale and release) I am not thinking of you. Not thinking of you.

38. Hmmm…what about the Rawhide? God, am I really so desperate that I need to resort to that? The backroom at the Rawhide on New Year’s Eve? And then afterwards the self-loathing. And the panic! Ugh. Stay home! Don’t get drunk. I will not get drunk. (sigh) It’s been 2 years since I quit smoking, but I still want a god-damn cigarette. Shit, guess I’ll always have cravings. Maybe I should try to write something tonight.

39. I should write something tonight. Why would I even want to go out? Out again into that drunken melee, searching for easy love or just more risky, meaningless sex. I feel safer at home, away from the callous world. Alone, private, safe. Quiet. Tonight, I am resolved to write.

40. ENOUGH already! God, I HATE New Year’s Eve! Every fucking year, the same self-centered, self-created, self-inflicted distress. I’m 40! Time to stop doing this to myself. Stop the cycle! Go out or don’t go out. Kiss somebody or don’t kiss somebody. Kiss yourself, give yourself a big fat hug, then JUST LET IT GO!

(Break the 4th wall) If New Year’s Eve has got to symbolize anything, instead of loneliness or selfishness or pettiness or addiction or craving, let New Years symbolize change. Transitioning from one place in life to a better place. From the cold of winter to the blossoming of Spring. Everybody deserves a fresh start.

This past year, I’ve been writing a lot, every day almost. Writing helps me figure stuff out. Like, a new year is really just a blank page. We get to write whatever we want on it. And this New Year’s Eve, my 40th, I’m starting a brand new story.

Quick fade out.