Sunday, January 26, 2003

What a weekend it has been! Right now snow is falling over New York City, and I am snug in my warm home after a couple of hours of actual work. This is quite an achievement: like most writers, I often spend more time than we'd care to admit rearranging my hard drive, sharpening pencils and staring out of windows. It's part and parcel of the trade.

Nevertheless, there comes a point when suddenly the deadlines loom and real work actually commences--and if you've done enough window-gazing and hard-drive-rearranging, the words flow out. Maybe not in a fine mist, or a terrible mine's been moving in fits and starts, the way that my water pressure has been ever since the Italian lumbers came by and hacked it, trying to get it to stop leaking by twisting, pulling and turning everything they could see. I kept thinking if this is what they do to their wives...may God give them the strength to carry on.

Pressure usually brings out the best in me, and this weekend extra pressure was created by the arrival of John Tynes, my friend, coconspirator and confidant from my old stomping ground, Seattle. Jean-Michele arranged for him to show up and surprise the hell out of me, and if you peruse his blog you can get the 411 on those events. Basically Friday turned from a drinky social affair with chic and class into a sprawling party filled with karaoke, spilled beer and hot Australian action. My manager and my editor both displayed excellent singing ability, though sadly my literary agent begged off with a head cold--he won't escape in the future!

Saturday we spent at BAM, seeing the Sam Mendes' Donmar Warehouse productions of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya. This is the productions that share casts, with Simon Russell Beale and Emily Watson in both shows. I would comment at more length, as these were really textured and interesting pieces of theater, but others have done so at length AND I need to get back to work--so I will simple link to a quick Googling and call it done.

That was 6 hours of theater on one day, after which we had a ceremonial viewing of The Office a wonderful BBC series that traces the hopeless life of a cube farm at a paper merchants in Slough, England. I've seen it before, and while it has a different sensibility than the show I'm creating, it is always very instructive to see comedy done well, especially when working with some of the same material. If you get a chance, definitely see it.

So that was something like 8 hours of drinking and singing, a brief nap, then 6 hours of high drama, junk food, 3 hours of dark comedy...when we went to bed we slept for 12 hours. Waking up today I felt bleary, confused...

...and oddly enlightened as to where my work needs to go. So we had a great meal at Katz's, after which I headed to my favorite haunts for writing. When JM and John meet me back at home we will finish off the evening at a great little bar here in Brooklyn, then to bed.

This weekend, with its excesses, pitfalls and deadlines has reminded me of a great many things I had nearly forgotten, and foremost amongst them is that I am grateful, so grateful, to be able to live here. I have so many great friends, wonderful colleagues and interesting opportunities here that really couldn't have happened in Seattle...and I hadn't recently reflected that my life is in a great spot.

Strangely, as soon as I appreciated that my heart lifted and suddenly I was ahead of the game.