Inside Brooklyn Boy

I haven’t been blogging much.  The habit of writing feels awkward, two months into my shared life–church half-time, something else the other half.   There’s a play I’m working on, oh so slowly, and I finally finished up grading the material from my class.  Lots has happened the past couple of months.   Amy did her showcases in New York and LA, Daniel is home for a week before heading off to an opera workshop across the sea, and I’m growing a beard.  In July, I’ll open in Man of La Mancha at Taproot playing the guy who has to sing “The Impossible Dream.”  Lots to do.

Taproot Theatre’s production of Brooklyn Boy was fun, but more draining than I’d anticipated, at least on the emotional side.   My character, Eric Weiss, has a rough couple of days in Donald Marguiles’ play about returning home after huge success as a writer.   Eric’s wife divorces him, his father dies (having never given Eric the affirmation he so craves), and his movie deal goes into the tank.   He can’t score with the young girl in the hotel, and his childhood friend has a way better life than he does, a fact that annoys Eric to no end.    As I took the journey each night, I always landed in the same spot, having to confront feelings about my father, my career, and what it means to go home.

My father died in 1988, a decade before I wrote Leaving Ruin.  I realize now that I was probably a bit of a disappointment to him, though I think he’d feel fine about what I’m up to now.  But in 1988, I was still hunting around, trying to find what I was going to do with my life.  This was after the MFA.   I didn’t really have a career, and I think he wondered what in the world I was doing.  I’d come out of the only job I ever had that I performed really poorly in–it was an independent thing that I was just too depressed to pursue with much verve–and though I think he was proud of my spiritual life (or at least thankful I had some kind of faith), I imagine he felt a little like Eric’s father did in the play.

So when we came to the end of the play, and my “father” told me night after night that I wrote a good book, I couldn’t help but think what it would have been like to hear my own father say that to me.  I’ve already blogged about hearing those words as if God said something like to me in reference to my life, but to hear Dad say that would have been priceless.   I suspect there are many of us out here in the big bad world trying to win the approval of a parent or two, and if you’re one of them…well, I hope you find what you’re looking for.   Maybe what we’re looking for isn’t to be found on this side, but still…wouldn’t it be grand?

Maybe an impossible dream?

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