This time, I literally JUST got back from a trip back to Dallas. It was really nice getting to see everyone and the time absolutely flew. Being there was a bittersweet element, actually. On the sweet end, I really love my friends there and we had so much fun playing games, going to bingo, and eating like fifty Thai meals. The amazing thing was everything felt like it picked up where it left off. I was worried it would be one of those outsider trips, with me being the outsider. You know what I mean: We’ve all had that friend or relative who comes back to town after moving and things are just weird. In a way it seems like your lives have moved on kind of without the friend. And there are new inside jokes and different expectations… Overall things just feel…off. I was worried that would happen and admit I was a bit nervous. But it didn’t feel like that at all. We all got together and had a great time.
On the bitter side, once I was there, my thoughts of writing, singing, acting, etc… just flew out the window. It really reaffirmed my belief that the decision to move to Page was correct. There is SO much to do in Dallas and so many people to see that I’m just continually distracted. I need to rise above the distraction and work, but it’s hard. Part of my move here is to get some focus so that I can move anywhere and continue working. Honestly, this really shouldn’t be referred to as bitter. It’s actually a very good thing. So we are now going to refer to the trip as sweetsweet.
Like on the Phoenix trip, I didn’t get to write much. BUT, again, I did try to observe lots of interesting people. Here was my favorite:
1. We went to Bingo Friday night and it was super fun! A cumulus cloud had actually settled inside the building, creating a nice fog. Except instead of a cumulus cloud, it was a wall of cigarette smoke. And instead of a nice fog, it was second-hand cancer air. But it was definitely worth it! Every single person in there probably had a story to tell. There was a lady behind us who looked very angry that we were talking and joking around. She apparently took her bingo VERY seriously. Sitting in front of her were about a million daubers (they are basically stamps that mark the bingo cards). At first I thought she just wanted to make sure there would be no daubing emergencies. But then I realized it was actually a luck thing; they were arranged in a very specific pattern. I wonder how she decided which pattern was the “luckiest”. Did she randomly try them and, when she won, she’d keep that base and add to it? Or does she stack them in order as they run out and think that the mojo also stacks (so when she has a table full, she’ll win every time)? I’m not sure. I would have asked, but she really seemed to hate us. I kinda compare her to myself with Luby’s. I take my Luby’s very seriously and wouldn’t want some whipper snappers sitting at MY table laughing at everything. If they’re not fully invested in the baked fish and macaroni & cheese, they don’t belong there!
I realized that, when not warmed up, I sound really awful sometimes. While playing board games Saturday night, a friend put on the Disney Pandora station. I know EVERY song on that station! And I have to sing them. It’s not like an optional thing. Something in my brain takes over and I literally MUST sing. Maybe it’s like an OCD thing where I think my family will die if I don’t sing. Except for the fact that that’s not it, that could be it! Anyway, I remember hitting some really awful notes and telling myself I’d get back to singing the second I got back to Arizona.
So today, as I made the 2-hour drive from Flagstaff to Page, I warmed up and did some of my practice songs. When I haven’t sang for a while (just a couple weeks, even), my range starts disappearing. It’s like my voice is Marty McFly and warming up is his parents’ kissing. I probably pushed myself a bit too hard, but I have to sing on Saturday and I want to make sure I’m ready.
This week, all three songs are completely unfamiliar. Fortunately, I have a CD of the music so I’ll be sitting in my car every day practicing.
I wasn’t in Page so this section isn’t really applicable. But I will say that I’m going to try writing outdoors for the first time Wednesday. I’ll be taking a portable chair and my laptop out to Hanging Gardens. Then I’ll wander off the path and find a really secluded area. I’m really excited to try setting up there and see what happens. I just hope it doesn’t rain…
Random Learnings or Stories
Hmmmm I’m trying to think of the one story that really jumps out at me. OK this isn’t related to the trip but it’s a lesson in being thorough:
So, I wrote a stage play awhile back. It’s a full-length play and the premise is just simple and fun. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s a comedy and doesn’t really go into anything too deep. It’s kind of about guys being guys. They goof off and cuss and talk about sex and stuff like that. I actually wrote it because I wanted to give myself something I could act in. But then I didn’t market the play anywhere so nothing happened. Well, this trip is about me getting over that stupid fear of rejection, so I started looking for playwright contests. After Googling, I found one that looked really promising. They only accept unpublished works from unknown authors. And they’re taking submissions right now! Perfect!
In order to formally submit, they require a bunch of information along with a favorite excerpt from the play. So I spent like 2 hours today getting everything together. Then I got a full size envelope (they don’t accept electronic submissions!?) and got it ready as well.
Just before sealing and sending everything off, I went over the submission rules one more time, just to be safe. THANK GOD I DID!! At the very bottom of the rules page sat the following statement that I completely overlooked:
We accept submissions for full-length plays for young audiences (approximately fourth grade level).
Let me just say that the excerpt I chose included a reference to sticking a Crayon up someone’s butt… OMG! Talk about dodging a bullet. I would have been mortified. I can just imagine what the rejection letter would have said…
So the moral of the story is: Read all the rules before submitting anything. Otherwise you risk making an ass of yourself. Pun intended.