What the Friday? The Journey Continues

In which we thank Presidents Washington and Lincoln for a three-day weekend.

It’s Friday and weather reports for the weekend are, at best, depressing. Still, there’s much to be done.

Tonight, we’ll be seeing friends perform A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters at the Ashland Coffee and Tea, and tomorrow we’ll be seeing other friends in Steel Magnolias at The Theater Company at Ft. Lee.

I’ll be using the free time, including the Monday holiday, to regroup in the home office and get a handle on where some things are with writing projects.

Oh, and if my director is reading this, of course I’ll be learning my lines for A Red Plaid Shirt, opening on March 15 with River City Community Players.

Monday night, I have an audition. I’ll let you know when you need to know.

What has become increasingly clear over the last week is that the January lull, if there was one, is over.

That said, the time was good. I have a clearer sense of direction. I know what I want to do, and I’m pretty sure I know how I’m going to go about doing it.

It’s funny how things have changed over the years. Thirty-three years ago, this week, I started my job in Washington DC. I was there for almost eight years. I was reminded of this the other day as I rode down the elevator with another gentleman.

I had my scarf around my neck, my earring, my denim jacket, and my sensible shoes (which happen to currently be a pair of black Reeboks).

He, on the other hand, entered the elevator with his newspaper in hand. His hair was neatly trimmed, and he was dressed in a conservative suit, and a charcoal overcoat.

That was my Washington, D.C. uniform and, for a while, my uniform here in Richmond. But times changed and offices became more casual.

And I started becoming more artsy. My wife also requested that I be less fartsy.

That’s another story.

These days, I dress for the day job because I still have to have a day job. But my “real” job is in the world of writing, theater, and art. I look a little different.

And, if my currently nutrition regimen works, I’ll look a lot different before long.

Again, another story.

But, it’s a matter of, at sixty, becoming who I am. Not who society tells me I need to be.

I’m not sure society ever told me that I needed the conservative suit. Then again, I took some seminars in college that led me to believe that was how I’d always dress.

In my current role, noted above, I play a retired English teacher who doesn’t know what to do in his free time.

On a side note, I will never have that problem.

But Marty says he wants to branch out, to not give a damn about society’s rules.

I’ve thought about that a lot lately with the writing.

Stephen King said:

“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

–  Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On another side note, I need to read that book again this year.

I’m not setting out to just write things to piss people off. In fact, I’ve made a conscious decision to not write about certain things like politics and culture.

I’m also working through the whole concept of having to market myself and my writing. Oh sure, I can talk about me all day long on social media. But that’s not booking work.

I’m looking for the happy medium between having people beat down my door asking me to write for them, and me making enough successful pitches to keep myself busy. And profitable.

If a brilliant story is written in a forest and there’s no one around to read it, does it still get a commission?

Or something like that.

The journey continues. The clock is ticking and the days building up to the magical, and as yet undisclosed retirement date, are fading.

I have work to do.

I have a weekend, and I’m not afraid to use it.


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What the Friday?: If Not for Grace

Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.

Ephesians 4:31,32

It’s Friday in the Commonwealth of Virginia and no one wants to refresh their news feed.

What a week.

I mean, I work in an amusement park (seasonally), and I don’t do roller coasters. This week in Virginia has confirmed the wisdom of that decision.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know about the scandals swirling around the Virginia State Capitol.

As I write this, I think that the three top officials, or at least two of them, will stay in office. It’s just a practical reality that the Virginia Democrat party is not going to turn over the state government to a conservative Republican, a.k.a. the next in line.

I have been trying all week to write about this. Sure, there were the days when I was blogging politically under a pseudonym. If you need to know what it was, you already do.

I could have gotten a lot of hits from the snarkage.

But, I don’t do that anymore. And, I really don’t want to play the game anymore.

Still, it’s hard to not be fascinated.

As I posted on Facebook the other day, I have written political thrillers for Nanowrimo that I thought were too far-fetched. I’m not so sure anymore and I need to go dig out some files.

It’s easy to sit at our keyboards or on our phones and pass judgment.

More and more I’m thinking the whole story is not about who we were, but who we are now. I’m not excusing anything, but 1968 Virginia was way different than 1980-85 Virginia. And both are vastly different from today.

I am certain that there are no yearbook photos of me in blackface.

I am also certain that I did some dumbass things in my teens and early twenties.

And, probably a few in recent weeks.

Politically, with my background, it would be easy to condemn both the Governor and the Attorney General. Likewise, I think with the Lt. Governor, the story needs to be heard from both sides.

But, as a follower of Jesus, I’m wondering when we can talk about redemption. When can we talk about grace?

I don’t think either the Governor or the Attorney General is a racist or that either harbors racist sentiments. I don’t think the Lt. Governor should be judged in the court of public opinion.

It is no secret that this Commonwealth has a racist past. So does this country.

How do we account for people changing and views evolving?

If we’re looking for perfect leaders with spotless pasts, we’re not going to find them.

There was only one.

And he offers grace.

Maybe we should too.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.

Proverbs 24:17




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