blog moved.

to here: http://jennyjanuary.wordpress.com/

well, i should say, BACK to there.

http://jennyjanuary.tumblr.com/ still also exists. internet scrapbook. 

This is how it works:

The thing you have been dreading for two years happens and then you don’t die, the world does not end, you breathe in and out and think, “Ok, then. It happened. What’s next?”

You wake sweating in the night, thinking, “I shall never be a published/produced writer; I shall gain no recognition for my work; I shall die in obscurity.” But then you ask yourself, “Does that mean I want to quit writing?” And the answer is always ‘No’, so you get up and go back to work.

You download an album and get stuck on one song, which you play over and over, but still declare the album in it’s entirety a revelation. Which it probably is — you will probably discover several months from now that you were right all along.

You spend the day collecting things you want to tell him, but he’s out of reach. He IMs you at 1AM Eastern Standard Time to tell you he pooped in the Middle East for the first time in his life, and you laugh. You forget everything you wanted to tell him. You resolve to write it down and send it in the care package you’re putting together, but by morning it’s gone. You stick a notebook between the box spring and the bedframe so you never miss an idea.

And by “you” I, of course, mean “me”.

How to Receive Good News

About a month ago I heard that I would receive the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and the official release is out today. Read it here.

When I first found out, you may have thought I was like:
OMG CAT

But I was totally all:
Sloths. 

And today, I’m feeling rather:
High Five! 

Seriously, though. I’m so very thrilled to be a recipient of this fellowship. I’m excited to meet everyone else involved and I’m really looking forward to working on HARLOWE again. Full of love and gratitude today.

In honor of the opening of CONVERGENCE…

…I am going to do the thing I always love to do, which is to post something that has been cut from the show. In this case, it’s a chunk of monologue that I think is quite lovely, but had no business being in the play as it was.

MAN
She contained multitudes. I remember she said: I’m going through something that I very begrudgingly acknowledge as perhaps inherently female in nature. All of a sudden I have reached my thirties and my body has rebelled against the long- standing desires of my mind. Babies, it whispers to the rhythm of my heartbeat, babies, babies, babies. Thank God, it’s not constant. I can now tell you precisely when I’m ovulating based on whether or not the pampers commercials on TV have any effect on me whatsoever.

(pause)

She said: And there’s this other part of it, too. Something simpler — home, home, home. Not the home I grew up in for, although it’s always nice to visit, there is something haunting about it, as though the ghost of my former self still walked within those walls, listening to Bikini Kill and piercing her ears with safety pins. And I don’t belong with her any more, she doesn’t understand me. But New York City doesn’t feel like home to me either. Maybe it’s the constant movement, the ebb and flow of friends and colleagues, I’m not sure. I have great friends here, friends with whom I intend to remain close for the rest of my life. But I sit in my small apartment with my two cats, and I feel cozy and comfortable and utterly rootless in this world, and I can’t help but feel that this rootlessness is the cause of both my literal and metaphorical bad sense of direction.

(pause)

Before this startling admission of my secret heart that I might want to be a mother, it whispered writer, writer, writer. And that is all my mind has continued to want, after it let go of old wants and before it takes in new ones. Writer, Writer, Writer wants a home, home, home.

(pause)

So this female thing I’m experiencing, it has something to do with babies, and home, and balancing that with writer. Can I just ditch the life I’ve made for myself here? Can I really just pack it all in and go somewhere else?

(pause)

Yes, she said, actually I can. I can. Because how can anyone plant roots from the 5th floor?

CONVERGENCE
Performed by Avery Pearson

Written by Jennifer Lane
Directed by Calla Videt
Created by 
Sightline
Genre: Multi-character, multi-media drama
Running Time: 50 minutes

Friday, June 8 at 9:00 pm
Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 pm
Monday, June 11 at 9:00 pm
Thursday, June 14 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, June 17 at 4:00 pm


How far would you go to protect your family from harm, or to ensure them a spot in the Kingdom of Heaven? A haunting story of fear and love, faith and reason, Convergence explores the intersection of seemingly opposed forces, and the explosive consequences of their collision.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS!

video

CONVERGENCE Trailer

Written by Jennifer Lane
Performed by Avery Pearson
Directed by Calla Videt
Produced by Sightline
Part of the soloNOVA Festival 

These are the rules.

This Saturday will be the first reading of a drastically updated draft of my play, once titled Asylum and now titled The Seer and the Witch. And one of my favorite things to do is to share a long-ago-cut scene from the very first draft of the play, back when it was a total train wreck, unfit for public consumption. The character that used to be called Alice is now called Emily; The character that used to be called Daniel is now called Greer; The character called Elizabeth is now called Eleanor; The madwomen are no more. I’m pretty sure that I had just finished reading the complete works of Sarah Kane when I wrote the first draft of this play…

Scene 6. [dream] Any space, outside the contextual markers of time or place.

ALICE: You came.

DANIEL: I had to.

ALICE: What are the rules here?

DANIEL: No rules.

ALICE: We’ll say we’re in love, then.

DANIEL: We’re in love.

ALICE: And we’ll remove from each other the things we hate most and we will make each other perfect. As a show of solidarity, you can go first.

DANIEL: All right.

He reaches out and, as gently as one can do such things, he rips her eyes from her skull. He puts them in his pocket. She makes no noise. She weeps blood.

ALICE: That was to be expected. But it won’t change what you want changed.

DANIEL: It’s your turn.

ALICE: Before I go, I want you to say that you love me.

DANIEL: I love you.

ALICE: You lie.

DANIEL: Not here.

ALICE: But you do lie.

DANIEL: Everybody lies.

ALICE: I don’t. No point.

DANIEL: Look where telling the truth got you.

ALICE: I should really start taking my sleeping medication again. I’ve been tonguing them and hiding them in my jewelry box. I can tell you these things here.

DANIEL: Yes.

ALICE: But I should really keep taking them. Not that they do much for me, but I can feel my heavy body, and it ruins the illusion of this other world.

DANIEL: It’s your turn.

ALICE: All right.

She reaches forward and touches his face, patting him gently. She cuts out his tongue, hands it to him. He puts it in his pocket.

ALICE: I hope you didn’t have something left to say.

DANIEL: (shrugs)

ALICE: Is there anything else you want to take away?

DANIEL: (he opens his mouth as though to speak. Blood pours out.)

ALICE: I’m sorry, I should have let you go twice.

DANIEL: (he shakes his head)

ALICE: Are you in pain?

DANIEL: (shakes his head, no)

ALICE: I’m not either

DANIEL: (he reaches forward and tugs at her clothes)

ALICE: Now, yes, now. Now is fine.

She kisses him and pulls back red, their blood mingling. They undress. Naked, Daniel reaches out for Alice’s hand, and places it on his chest.

Elizabeth emerges from the shadows, watching.


(And if that weren’t crazy enough…)

Scene 8. [dream] Alice and the madwomen are playing a round of poker. They are sitting at a table and chairs built for a child. They are all wearing dress-up-like clothes and smoking cigars. There are stuffed animals in the empty chairs — they, too, are smoking cigars. Elizabeth watches.

ALICE: What are the rules?

MADWOMAN 1: Five card draw, deuces wild.

DANIEL: Give me 2 cards.

MADWOMAN 2: You.

ALICE: My cards have no faces.

MADWOMAN 1: Fold.

ALICE: All right. (she puts her cards down.)

MADWOMAN 2: Bet?

MADWOMAN 1: (she rips hair off his head and places it on the table) I call.

MADWOMAN 2: (rips out a tooth, tosses it in with the hair) All right. What’ve you got?

ALICE: Someone’s here.

They all look up at Elizabeth.

MADWOMAN 1: If you’re gonna stay, you’ve gotta play.

ALICE: Those are the rules.

MADWOMAN 2: You have to leave if you’re not going to make a bet.

Madwoman 3 is dead upstage.

ELIZABETH: What happened to her?

ALICE: She didn’t want to play.

Saturday, April 14 @2pm
The Seer and the Witch by Jennifer Lane
Directed by Kimberly Faith Hickman
Featuring Megan Channell, Jed Dickson, Sofia Jean Gomez, Maria Maloney, Jens Rasmussen, Carly Robins

The past and present collide in the forms of Eleanor and Emily, two women who haunt the same room at the Elgin Institute of Mental Health. Though they live a century apart, finding each other may be their only hope of a life outside hospital walls.

The New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street (btw Greenwich & Washington)
 No Reservations Required - $10 Suggested Donation (cash only)
Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Monsieur Touton Wine 
I want to play, too.
Daniel S. Burt’s Drama 100

Via http://fuckyeahgreatplays.tumblr.com/. Daniel Burt’s ESSENTIAL 100 PLAYS. Bold what you’ve seen, italicize what you’ve read, underline what you’ve worked on/been in. 

  1. King Lear
  2. Oedipus the King
  3. Hamlet
  4. Oresteia
  5. Macbeth
  6. Long Day’s Journey Into Night
  7. Othello
  8. Waiting for Godot
  9. Medea
  10. Twelfth Night
  11. A Doll’s House
  12. The Cherry Orchard
  13. The Bacchae
  14. The Importance of Being Earnest
  15. Antigone
  16. Tartuffe
  17. Antony and Cleopatra
  18. Mother Courage and Her Children
  19. Lysistrata
  20. Doctor Faustus
  21. Death of a Salesman
  22. Woyczek
  23. Volpone, or The Fox
  24. Henry IV
  25. A Streetcar Named Desire
  26. The Way of the World
  27. Major Barbara
  28. The Tempest
  29. Endgame
  30. Miss Julie
  31. Sakuntala
  32. The Peony Pavillion
  33. Three Sisters
  34. The Misanthrope
  35. Life is a Dream
  36. Hedda Gabler
  37. School for Scandal
  38. Playboy of the Western World
  39. The Iceman Cometh
  40. The Love Suicides and Sonezaki
  41. Everyman
  42. Angels in America
  43. Six Characters in Search of an Author
  44. Man and Superman
  45. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  46. Phedre
  47. Romeo and Juliet
  48. Look Back in Anger
  49. The Homecoming
  50. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  51. The Plough and the Stars
  52. The Alchemist
  53. Trojan Women
  54. St. Joan
  55. Blood Wedding
  56. The Glass Menagerie
  57. The Marriage of Figaro
  58. The Good Person of Setzuan
  59. She Stoops to Conquer
  60. Murder in the Cathedral
  61. The Bald Soprano
  62. Ghost Sonata
  63. The Inspector General
  64. The Crucible
  65. Marat/Sade
  66. Translations
  67. The Beggar’s Opera
  68. Amphitryon
  69. A Raisin in the Sun
  70. No Exit
  71. Our Town
  72. The Country Wife
  73. Travesties
  74. The Lower Depths
  75. Private Lives
  76. Fool for Love
  77. A Flea in Her Ear
  78. Glengarry Glen Ross
  79. King Ubu
  80. Cloud Nine
  81. “Master Harold”…and the Boys
  82. Orpheus
  83. At the Hawk’s Well
  84. The Well Curb
  85. The Little Foxes
  86. The Other Shore
  87. Fences
  88. The Dybbuk
  89. The Visit
  90. The Weavers
  91. Le Cid
  92. The Rover
  93. Awake and Sing!
  94. The Brothers
  95. The Balcony
  96. Accidental Death of an Anarchist
  97. The Hostage
  98. The Heidi Chronicles
  99. The King’s Best Magistrate
  100. Peter Pan

I feel like a) I’m not familiar with too many of these plays for someone with a gosh-darned MFA in playwriting and b) that there are some big ones missing. To say nothing of the poor showing of ladies on this list. So I made a list of some of my favorite lady-writer plays. I have read all of the plays below, but I have seen precisely two of them.
  1. Eurydice - Sarah Ruhl
  2. Blasted - Sarah Kane
  3. Ruined - Lynn Nottage
  4. How I Learned to Drive - Paula Vogel
  5. A Number - Caryl Churchill
  6. Lascivious Something - Sheila Callaghan
  7. Scarcity - Lucy Thurber
  8. 'night Mother - Marsha Norman
  9. The Aliens - Annie Baker
  10. Topdog/Underdog - Suzan Lori Parks
  11. The Heidi Chronicles - Wendy Wasserstein
  12. The Children’s Hour - Lillian Hellman
  13. Stop Kiss - Diana Son
  14. Yellowman - Dael Orlandersmith
  15. Birth and After Birth - Tina Howe
Now you add your favorites.
This Woman’s Work

I remember when I was in college, I was very concerned about my writing being labeled  ”too female”. I’m not even sure what that means any more, “too female”. I lived with a collection of the precious few straight men on Sarah Lawrence’s small Westchester campus, and they were some of the dearest friends I have ever made, and their irreverent, boisterous natures rubbed off on me and the work I was producing. It was very important to me that my prose be sharp and direct, lacking in sentimentality and evading anything that so much as peripherally touched on such concepts as love or romance or, God Forbid, things like child birth or breast exams or menses. My writing was stripped of my female experience completely, and as such, it fell so short of my potential that I had thought I might give it up altogether, this thing I loved so much. Of course, none of this was the fault of my friends, even slightly. They were supportive and receptive, and I felt like a part of some secret boys club, where we drank whiskey and smoked cigarettes and had sexual conquests, and never once did I feel other; I was always one of them.

And I’m honestly not sure what shifted in the years between college and graduate school, but something fundamentally changed in the way I viewed my work, or at least the way I viewed the world and my place in it. It might have started when I talked to my mother about her experiences as a business woman. “I remember,” she told me, “being seven months pregnant with you, flying to New York City to receive the Business Woman of the Year award, and returning home to a working environment where I was making less money than my male employees.” She gave a slow shake of her head, but ultimately simply shrugged her narrow shoulders and smiled — it’s just how things were. Were. But in many ways, it’s still how things are. Women are outperforming men in almost every sector (they are earning better grades and completing more degrees, they are entering the workforce in droves and their unemployment numbers are lower); and in almost every sector, women are making less money and enjoying fewer opportunities (all you need to do is take a look at the most recent census information to corroborate these statements).

Sarah Lawrence was a great place to undergo the pain of transformation from teenager to adult — it was a cozy, liberal cocoon that was 70% girls anyway. But I think it made me blind to the reality of what it was going to mean to be a lady writer (or, indeed, a lady anything) out in the real world. Sure, I’d studied my feminist theory, but I was oblivious to the fact that there are people in this world who, when a woman speaks up for herself, will call her names in order to silence her. There are pundits who will hear the congressional testimony of a smart, young law student and he will go on the radio and he will call her a whore. I didn’t see how fervently people would fight to keep us from having what I think are basic health care rights, how so many of these decisions were being made by people who don’t even possess the genitalia in question. I had no idea that the very act of getting engaged would throw me into a total identity crisis because I didn’t want it to mean that I would have to give up everything I had worked for, only to be subsumed by the ideal of a normal, nuclear family. I could not have foreseen the number of times I would close my eyes and wish to wake up a boy so that I wouldn’t be dismissed as being too emotional, so that I wouldn’t have to worry about walking home from the bar after midnight in my neighborhood, so that my writing — the thing that I loved above anything else in the entire world — might be seen as a universal story, and not just something for other women. 

I went so far as to try to come up with a male pseudonym (I had no trouble determining that this Jenny would, if she were a boy, make a very fine Jackson). Maybe, just maybe, I could fool the world into thinking I was back in that boys club. And I wrote with the goal of making my stories easy and accessible, with a male protagonist who was always full of brooding and smoked cigarettes and drank whiskey and had sexual conquests. Then I entered graduate school trying to convince myself that my gender needn’t play a role in the work I was doing, one way or the other. And while I was there, I played with style and I experimented with language and movement and I exploded my idea of playmaking and threw all my interests up into the air and let them rain down on me in a million weird little stories and then —

Then I wrote my thesis. Quickly, urgently, and all at once. One day there was nothing there, and then three days later, there was a whole draft of this weird new thing. And it was the most me that any of my writing has ever been and it was female. It was a broken woman who had lost a pregnancy who languished in the womb-like solace of a warm bath, reconciling the loss of her mother with the incessant nagging of an overbearing sister with the strangeness of her own battered body, and it was so wholly me and so wholly of a woman that I was no longer able to deny those parts of myself. And then I stopped wanting to. I stopped wanting to be in that boys club — I think the boys already have all that stuff covered.

I decided to write all this down today because I want to contribute to the national dialogue, in some small way. The national dialogue about a woman’s place in this country, as a citizen, as an artist, as a writer. I want to remind the Powers that Be that women consume more media than men, and so telling a woman’s story is simply a smart business move. I want to tell the cruel pundits that calling people names is not enough to silence them. I want to be another voice that is shouting at the politicians to stop attacking the basic health rights of your female constituents because it’s just a waste of time and money. We are tenacious: our stories are stories of resilience and healing. And I know now, finally, as I begin to officially push 30, that it is important that the work I do come wholly and unapologetically from me, a lady writer.

writerly meme

I was recently interviewed by Adam Szymkowicz, and that was pretty fun.
(Click here to read the interview.)
And the thing I liked best about it was how it got me thinking about what was important to me as a writer, playwright, artist, business person. So I have created a cut-and-paste meme for writers in the hopes that it will help me refocus as I embark on a slew of rewrites and start-from-scratch projects. I’ve compiled a list from several memes for writers and artists, and I have cut some questions and added others. It’s for fun, it’s for work. If you write things down for fun or money, you should answer them, too. I really, really want to read your answers.
(Also that amazing header image is from this article.)

1. What kind of writing do you write?
Plays, primarily. But also fiction and teleplays. I have yet to finish a screenplay, but I fully intend to, some day. 

2. What writing-related sites have you signed up for?
The Playwright’s Center (http://www.pwcenter.org/) is definitely at the top of the list of most-helpful-playwright-sites-ever, but there have been others. The Official Playwrights of Facebook group has also been good. I also like Poets & Writers, the website and the magazine. 

3. Share your oldest piece of dialogue/prose that you can find.
The following is from the very first play I ever wrote, a terrible thing with an excellent title: The Will of Wild Birds. In it, Frankie and Brendan are married, and Frankie has a nosebleed.

FRANKIE: I have a nosebleed.

BRENDAN: You need to quit digging for green gold up there, baby bird.

FRANKIE: It’s just because the air is so dry in here!

BRENDAN: Uh huh.

FRANKIE: I did used to bury it, though.

BRENDAN: What?

FRANKIE: When I was a kid, I would pick my nose and bury my boogers in the carpeting.

BRENDAN: Gross. 

FRANKIE: Only when I was mad at my mom, though. What strange things we do as children, to seek our revenge.

4. What defines your style?
A strong, distinctly female perspective and the use of poetic language. I also don’t tend to exist firmly in the realm of total naturalism. 

5. What is your favorite piece that you have created?
Harlowe. It was an intensely personal project in so many ways, but it was also the most artistically fulfilling thing I’ve ever worked on. Some people are strong and some people are not and strong people sometimes don’t seem strong, while weak people sometimes do. I am a weak-seeming person who is secretly strong. He was a strong-seeming person who is secretly weak. I am much more powerful.

6. How do you define your biggest failure?
Every time I don’t apply to something because I figure I just won’t get in, that is a failure. And I do it a lot, and I find any excuse not to apply. I mean, what is that about? Don’t I want to succeed? Obviously, I do. And I make myself apply. I have gotten in to somethings, but most things I have gotten rejected from, and I think it’s just exhausting. It’s a struggle, every time I send something out. But I do it. And I need to do it a lot more, I need to be doing it constantly. So to boil it down, I guess my biggest failure has been my shoddy self-promotion.

7. Are you looking to make a career of writing? Why or why not?
Yes. That is my Ultimate Goal, when people ask me, “What do you do?” I will say (as I do now), “I am a writer.” And when they follow up with, “Yes, but what do you do as a job?” Instead of saying that I work in arts administration, I want to say, “I am a writer.” 

8. How/where do you physically work?
I do the bulk of my work on my bed, laying on my tummy in front of my computer. And it’s like a bad dream, where every few minutes I sit up, type some more, lay back down, type some more — I toss and turn. I do my editing at a desk, preferably with a red pen which I then type back into my document. I cannot write seriously with other people around, or with the television on. I get very snippy and irritable when I am interrupted when I’m on a roll. 

9. About what would you absolutely refuse to write?
I would probably refuse to write propaganda of any kind, but other than that… Oh, Mike has asked me not to write about the Navy, so long as he’s serving in it. But I probably will one day after he’s out. 

10. Are names important to you? Titles?
Names are absolutely vital, they are often a turning point for me in character development. Titles are not as important on an artistic level, but they are on a business level, I think. I saw this amazing play once about this girl whose twin sister dies in an apocalyptic flood and she carries her around and tries to give her a life — it was absolutely incredible. But I can’t remember what it was called, only that the title seemed to have nothing to do with the amazing, bizarre, beautiful, disturbing play that it was supposed to represent. 

11. What is your writing-related goal for this year? For twenty years from now?
My goal for 2012 is to finish the first draft of a novel. My goal for 20 years from now is to have cultivated a successful, consistently rewarding and challenging career as a playwright and novelist. Should I have the good fortune of working in television and film as well, that would also be delightful, but the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I want to do plays and books first and foremost. 

Now, for fun…
Do you ever write naked?
 Naked? No. But I also rarely write in attire that would be suitable to be seen in by the outside world. Are you jealous of other writers? Yes. Often I am very jealous. Have you ever been in trouble with the police? No. Does your wife love you? I haven’t got a wife. But if I had one, I could foresee no circumstance under which she would not love me. I’m incredibly lovable. If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it? As afraid as I am of it, it would have to involve dipping the body in acid so that it just disintegrated into nothing. Gross. Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript? I haven’t got a dog. But my cats have legit chewed my shit up. What’s the loveliest thing you have ever seen? Probably Notre Dame. Or the astronomical clock in Prague. Why do you never write about sex? I do write about it. A lot. But it often gets edited down considerable. Though not in Harlowe wherein we had the opportunity to coin the phrase: Frosty Blowj. What are books for? Stories and secrets, mostly. Fancy hardcovers make nice decorations. Do you really go around in a corset, high heels and a whip, subjugating men? Not since Sarah Lawrence.

2011 Year in Review

Perhaps if I were a more consistent blogger, I wouldn’t feel the need to write up one of these long-winded reflections about the preceding year as it draws to a close, but I am not a more consistent blogger and I have to say that of all the years of my life, 2011 deserves one good, long look. This has been, without question, the most challenging year so far — the best, the busiest, the most emotionally exhausting. And I saw it coming, too, somehow. I knew 2011 wasn’t going to pull any punches. I expected a motherfucking rollercoaster, and I was not disappointed.

I turned 27 shortly after the new year, and soon thereafter, I began what became the most frustrating and disappointing employment experience ever. Some good things did come out of it, but it was by and large an infuriating few months. However, simultaneously, I went into rehearsals for HARLOWE, my Columbia University thesis play, and continued to work with Sarah Ruhl, one of my favorite playwrights ever. Not to mention the best director and cast I could have ever asked for. The entire process of working on that play was the most rewarding artistic experience of my life so far, and it represented what I think is my best work to date. I have never been as wholly satisfied as I was with my final performance of that play, when all of the technical elements finally came together, and I was so heartened to see packed houses for every show. This is not enough, these words, to talk about how much I loved every moment of work on that piece, nor how proud I was of the final result. The play still needs work, to be sure, and I am still looking for a home for it in order to do that work, but it was just good. Really good. And the director and cast made it even better than what I wrote and being a part of it will forever be one of my favorite things that I have done.

I graduated from Columbia with boatloads of student loan debtin May. I don’t regret it — I knew what I was getting myself into when I enrolled. I was fortunate enough to have received fellowships for the first 2 years of the program that cut my tuition in half, but I will still be struggling to pay this off for many, many years to come. But to me, it was worth it. It was pouring rain on my graduation day, but my mom and my dear friend Selena came to see me get my fakey diploma and I got to hear Tony Kushner give a rapid-fire speech. It was bittersweet, as I could have happily remained a student indefinitely, but I loved my classmates and it all went just about as well as I could have hoped. Is it douchey of me to have framed my degree? Maybe. But I’m fuckin’ proud of that shit, yo. I worked my ass off, maintained a job throughout and paid for it all myself. Even if I hated living in Harlem, I wouldn’t’ve changed a thing.

I finally — FINALLY — went to Europe. Christine (a.k.a. BMF) and I did the responsible thing and used the remainder of our student loans to spend a month in 4 different European countries. It ruled so hard, like seriously. So hard. I could spend hours writing about that trip and what it did to me. I had wanted to go to Prague for as long as I can remember, and finally being there changed something in me. Like when you dream of something for over a decade and then you make it happen for yourself… there is power in that. Maybe this all sounds lame but it seriously made me realize that I am the arbiter of my own happiness and with a little planning and a little saving, I can see everything I’ve ever dreamed of seeing.

The joy of world travel was quickly usurped by a royal Fucking Over care of two friends of mine concerning living arrangements. Without going into the details, I was quickly in a tail spin about where I would go when my lease was up, and panic led me to acquire My First All-Mine One-Bedroom Apartment, instead of moving to Chicago. After I moved in, I thought, ok, this will work out just fine and the anxiety began to abate, and I started to really dig being back in Astoria and having my own space.

This all wore off rather quickly when I got laid off in August. Not fired, thank God, but laid off. And I knew it was coming. My hours had been scaled back the week previous, so that Monday morning, I got all dolled up and decided that I would look good if I were going to be jobless. They were all very nice about it, but I had been there for 3 years and the work load had been steadily deteriorating. But let me tell you this: Being unemployed messed with me way more than I ever could have anticipated. I was jobless and totally dependent on my Navy-boyfriend for months. My sense of self-worth was depleted considerably and I fell into a very deep depression that was only exacerbated by the fact that I was no longer seeing the therapist I had been seeing for the last 2 years because my school insurance had run out. Then it got even worse when I got a sinus infection and put off going to a walk-in clinic because I couldn’t actually afford to go to a walk-in clinic and didn’t want to beg my parents for the cash to do it. But I remained sick for weeks on end, and finally I caved, my mother called me silly for not asking sooner, and I went, dropping nearly $200 on care and medicine. I would say that being sick, unemployed, broke and alone was probably the low point of the year.

Oh, wait. No. That isn’t true. The low-point of the year was an intensely personal fight that I got into with my parents. I don’t really want to go into it in a public forum, but it was, without question, the hardest conversations I have ever had with anyone in my life, ever. It was just awful. I wanted to disappear completely.

Over the course of all this stuff, I lost 35 pounds, and then gained 15 pounds. I started running, got up to a 25 minute nonstop run, then stopped running when I got sick. I have been all over the map with my health and fitness. From February to May, I was a machine, running 5 days a week and sticking to my Nutrisystem diet. I dropped 4 sizes and felt amazing. Then when the depression hit, all of my good habits went out the window and I started to gain. It’s pretty depressing. I am hoping to get back to my good habits early in the new year. Yeah. Me and everyone else in America. At least I’m still 20 lbs healthier than last year.

Oh, and also? This was the first year that I lived away from my boyfriend of 7 years, as he joined the Navy in 2010 and moved for training in Great Lakes, IL. That was extremely difficult in and of itself, but I think it was even worse this year, when I really needed his presence and support. He missed my thesis, through no fault of his own, and part of me will always be sad that he hasn’t really seen what I can do.

Things started to look up when Selena took me to Hershey Park and I got a phone call saying that I had been accepted into the 2012 TerraNova Groundbreakers Playwriting Group. That was such a fun day. I had started to actually relax a little and it was like, when I stopped constantly obsessing over my future, things started to happen for me.

Pressure was building in all directions, because I needed a job if I intended to stay in the city for the duration of the writing group. During the months of September and October, I sent out at least 20 resumes a day, five days a week, all the while finishing a new play called The Burning Brand, a new play called The Descant and beginning work on a new solo piece. The low point of the job hunt was when I went to interview at a restaurant for a gig waiting tables, a thing I promised myself I wouldn’t go back to doing because I had hated it so much. But I was disappointed when I didn’t even get that job, and thought I might be forced to pack it all in and move back in with my parents. Fortunately, I was keeping myself involved in the theater world throughout this process as well. I began volunteering at the Astoria Performing Arts Center as their Literary Manager, and it’s been really fun to be a part of such a great organization with such a lovely group of people. I set out with high hopes of being able to be a phenomenal literary manager who reads everything cover-to-cover in a very timely fashion and who does not give priority to people she knows or recommendations from people she knows. And I have disappointed myself. I continue to try to be a fair and balanced evaluator, but I am one person reading nearly 200 scripts and I’m failing to be as quick and fair as I had set out to be. Though something I find interesting is that I am way more likely to read a script by someone I follow on twitter than I am to read anyone else’s, regardless of whether or not I know them. So. Take that for what it’s worth.

So anyway, I went on 20 different interviews, not including several second-interviews, for various jobs. And then in November, at the height of my sinus infection, I was finally offered a job and I am now the Administrative Director for the League of Professional Theatre Women. It’s super awesome, too, because the job is in the same building as where the writing group meets, and it’s a half-hour commute on one train. Not bad, not bad.

Some smaller things happened, too. Like I saw Book of Mormon and went to the beach for the first time in NY and got to eat at Ninja and got to know the work of some amazing new writers and started a silly webcomic and went to Chicago a couple of times and killed Deathwing in World of Warcraft and got an XBox and started really liking wine and saw Arcadia for the first time after having read it a million times and saw Angels in America after having read it a million times. Seeing Ben Folds finally play live. Oh I had my first agent meetings this year, too. Though I am sad to say that nothing has yet come of them. For the first time I had a haircut that I hated so much I cried about it (yep, it was that bad) and I got really sick (like for nearly a month) twice this year. I got to hear Neil Gaiman speak and I dressed up as the 11th Dr. Who for Halloween. I got so sick that I had to miss a weekend visit to see my boyfriend and that was sad, but I got to go home to Michigan a few times and both of my parents came to visit me in NY to see my new apartment. I got the prettiest new blue coat for Christmas and I’m fairly certain my travel curse has lifted.

The last, and most recent, really big thing that happened this year is that I got engaged, on December 26th, in the loveliest way I could have imagined, and my fiance (that’s the first time I’ve used that word… kinda weird…) and I are spending the remainder of 2011 relaxing at home with our cats, seeing friends, drinking wine (well, mostly I drink the wine. He drinks beer.) and playing video games and watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

The above writing doesn’t really do justice to the year, but it’s nice to spend some time with it, as Mike plays Star Wars: The Old Republic in the background. This was an insane year, so jam-packed with stuff that I don’t even know how 2012 can compete. But I have confidence that she’ll figure something out.

And now: all this again, in Meme form!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?  

Got an MFA, went to Europe, got engaged.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t recall ever making one, but I lost weight this year so I will go ahead and say yes!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my aunt Linda.

5. What countries did you visit?

England, France, The Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Health insurance (though I only lacked that for half of 2011) and some money in my savings account.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why:

April 15, 16 and 19th - Harlowe. May 18th - Columbia University School of the Arts Graduation. December 26th - engagement.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Definitely the master’s degree.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being unemployed for weeks and weeks and gaining back 15 pounds of the weight I’d lost. Like a boss.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I definitely spent 2 months of this year sick, which is way more than usual. But nothing too terribly serious, so in that sense, I’m lucky.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Definitely my Xbox (though Mike got that for me) as it has allowed me to watch tv and movies and play games!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Casey, Selena and Christine. They have been there for me in a big, big way during a very tumultuous time. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I’m going to plead the fifth on this one.

14. Where did most of your money go?

To Columbia, to travel, and to more basic things like food and bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

Angels in America with Trystan; every time I visited Mike or he came to visit me; getting into TerraNova; Going to Europe.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

'This Year ' - The Mountain Goats - I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. Happier or sadder? 

 Happier, definitely.

ii. Thinner or fatter?

 Thinner.

iii. Richer or poorer?

 Much, much poorer. Monetarily speaking.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exercise.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Not exercise.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

In Michigan, with my family.

21. How will you spend New Years Eve?

In Astoria, going to two parties.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?

I did one better — I stayed in love.

23. How many one-night stands? 

None.

24. What was your favorite TV program? 

Friday Night Lights!

25. What was your favorite website/ internet phenomenon?

Evernote (does that count?) I started using it this year and it’s fantastic.

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Nope. No one new got added to that exceptionally short list.

27. What was the best book you read?

The Solitude of Prime Numbers.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

No Children by The Mountain Goats — one of those songs that got me through some tough times by putting a smile on my face. Also Mumford and Sons. Their entire album.

29. What did you want and get?

I was fortunate enough to get a lot of things that I wanted this year.

30. What did you want and not get?

Ya know what? I think all told, this year was a win in the want-and-get category. I’m not inclined to complain.

31. What was your favorite film of this year?

Midnight in Paris.

32. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27 and I went to dinner with some friends at Benihana. Which I will probably do again this year.

33. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Getting my job in August instead of November.

34. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? 

My Dad Says I Wear Too Much Black So I’m Trying Not To Wear So Much Black.

35. What kept you sane?

Actually? Video games. This year when I got too overloaded, it was such a joy to just plug in and zone out for a while. 

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Michael really pulled a Fassbender on me this year.

37. What political issue stirred you the most? 

Gay marriage passing in New York, in a good way. The continual threat of defunding Planned Parenthood, in a bad way.

38. Who did you miss?

Mike. I don’t think you guys realize how difficult it’s been to have him so far away.

39. Who were the best new people you met?

The APAC crew and the TerraNova crew, most definitely. 

40. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

Sometimes, the only way to make a decision is to take everyone else out of the equation but yourself so that you might actually figure out your own value system and what is important to you. Despite all of the conflict, I have actually managed to live according to what it is that I want, even though a lot of people have tried to influence me one way or another. It’s been extremely hard, but it’s worth it, in the end.

41. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Finishing the hat.

How you have to finish the hat.

How you watch the rest of the world from a window

while you finish the hat.

Mapping out a sky.

What you feel like, planning a sky.

What you feel when voices that come through the window go

until they distance and die.

Until there’s nothing but sky. 

42. What are your plans for 2012?

Work, and work hard. See my friends more often and let people know more regularly that I care about them, love them, and/or want to get to know them better. Maybe get married. We’ll see.