This morning was hard. I woke up and it was raining. Over the last month, I have been coming to recognize a hard truth — which I finally realized this morning.
Over five years ago, I started this blog to force myself into a weekly discipline, to improve my writing skills and to explore how I could start a whole new career after retirement from a very happy first career as a lawyer.
My whole life I had quietly wanted to see if I could create a life as an artist.
After writing 10 plays for the wonderful little theaters in Baltimore, I decided to see if I could break into New York professional theater and I committed to writing and publishing poems.
I took classes at the New York Commercial Theater Institute and was fortunate to be accepted into the poetry program at Bread Loaf in Vermont.
All of a sudden, it was starting to happen, this improbable dream of mine.
My play “Onaje” was selected by FringeNYC in 2018 and, after great reviews, got picked up and nurtured by a NYC producer. After the rewrites and several table reads to make it a more fleshed out two-act play, “The Grace of God & The Man Machine” was ready.
But then COVID hit in March of 2020. The theaters shut down just as we were waiting to open off-Broadway.
Then in February of this year, we were ready again. We planned to open off-Broadway in November 2022 for a one-month run at Theatre Row on 42nd Street.
Also this year, I published “An Accidental Diary: A Sonnet a Week for a Year,” so we were on our way.
The dream was coming true!
But then, a month ago, COVID struck again and the producer went out of business after 15 years of producing successful shows. Even still, the producer offered the use of the performance space if I could find a new producer with such short notice.
This seems like an impossible task. I looked in the mirror this morning and I said it: “This lifetime dream may not happen.”
But then I realized, I’m not ready to give up just yet. Somewhere out there, there may be a partner, or a resource, or some other way to make this happen.
I turned away and looked for a diversion, for good news to chase away this awful gathering sadness.
Well, last week I learned that, along with my sonnet “Summer Thunderstorms” being chosen a runner-up for the Robert Frost Foundation poetry contest this year, “City Snow” had been included in the “Maryland Bards Poetry Review 2022” anthology. Both poems are from my book, “An Accidental Diary.”
I sat down by the window and opened my little book and reread “Summer Thunderstorm”:
As with the generations long since dead
The fire and brimstone of the status quo
Wakes him up from the safety of his bed
And lightening frames him in the window
And photographs him in its afterglow.
Tonight he feels his present and its past
As the summer storm also comes and goes.
Conclusions are foolish in a world so vast.
For at the edges of his world and heart
Far past the farthest boundary of his grasp
Where ideas cause worlds to come apart
He lives in this place that will not last.
He loves his life more than he can explain
And leaves the window open to hear the rain.
I opened the windows to hear the rain.
After I looked out at the storm for a little while, I got a fresh cup of coffee and started writing this. I have stuff to do. It’s time to get back to work.