Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Daily Grind: Don't Quit Your Day Job

Real artists wake up to the sound of birds singing. They make a pot of hot coffee, hang their “Do Not Disturb” sign, and then close their solid door with a smile as they enjoy hours of uninterrupted time. Once a year they hibernate in a secret log cabin deep in the woods, where they cannot be found on Facebook, with nothing but pen and notebook and peanut butter.

As for me…I rush from job to job, waiting for the day when I won't have to.
Then, just as I am about to crash the car on purpose, thinking a hospital might be a good place to focus, out of the sky flies a paper airplane.
I unfold it.

a message from your deathbed

After hours of alphabetical filing, Chad will write his best poem on a bathroom break.
All will be revealed when a pigeon flies into Paco’s restaurant.  Finally, he knows the truth about birds and bird eaters and he puts it in a play.
Susan’s best photograph snaps her break-of-dawn commute on the Staten Island Ferry.
Heavy cases lift the words of Patricia’s dog days in court.
The current in the screenplay comes from years of 

you teaching hundreds of students teaching you hundreds of possibilities.
The pressure that presses the finger to the key is the gift we get when we can’t be late to work.
A city of stories lives in this splintered focus.

Dig deep daily grind. Dig Deep.
Because the point of intersection, is the spark that starts the story. 

Exhibit A:

Friend/actor, Bat Parnass worked in "the biz" and then she made this Selfie Series, PreProduction (Fake It Till You Make It). Watch an episode

Exhibit B:
Hours at the Clinique counter inspired Bat's new show, Maybe Its Mabelynn
In this half hour comedy,  Bat takes us behind the make-up counter to expose the daily struggle between workplace politics and pleasing the customer.

Exhibit C:
The show I am writing, DIAMOND THE BAD, jumped out of years teaching in the Bronx. 

Pirate ships and public schools are mashed together in this comedy about culture clash and the great divide between Diamond’s home life with her dad Captain Blood Ruby on the YOHO YOLO (a pirate ship anchored in the New York Harbor) and PS 2000 (a struggling public school on the lower east side).

Exhibit D:
Theodore Roethke worked in a pickle factory and then he wrote this poem.

Pickle Belt
The fruit rolled by all day.
They prayed the cogs would creep;
They thought about Saturday pay,
And Sunday sleep.

Whatever he smelled was good:
The fruit and flesh smells mixed.
There beside him she stood,
And he, perplexed.

He, in his shrunken britches,
Eyes rimmed with pickle dust,
Prickling with all the itches
Of sixteen-year-old lust.

Exhibit E:
11 more Artists Who Didn't  Quit Their Day Jobs

Exhibit U:
Your story goes here


The only danger in our day job is the excuse it gives us when we come up empty.
The truth is, our daily grind does not deflate the page, it fills it.