Friday, October 30, 2009

Where the Hell have I been??

Hello Dear Reader(s) --

I flatter myself by adding the (s) after "reader"...So, October is coming to an end, where, pray tell, have I been??

Well to be honest, October has been what can charitably be described as a "dogshit" month...there was some good stuff, but mainly it has been a month worth forgetting the sooner the better...

I did get to spend the first part of the month visiting the school I plan on attending for my PhD. That was fun, and I got to go to San Antonio TX (where I spent a good part of my childhood) for the first time since 1989, which was wife had a birthday, also cool. (It is especially cool since she is approximately 7 weeks older than me and for those 7 weeks, pretty much annually, I am merciless in my "older woman" jokes with her. It is the comedy gift that keeps on giving!)

Beyond that, the month sucked...On October 15, one of my best friends passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer, which breaks my heart and simultaneously makes all of my subsequent bitching seem petty and self involved...after all, I am still alive...(I think)...

I had short listed for a directing gig which I ultimately didn't get...for the first time in my professional career, I have no idea when and if I am going to direct a play anytime soon. (I am currently substitute teaching at a school that had a Halloween costume contest today, I dressed as an unemployed director, which meant that I just wore regular clothes. Further side note, I was sitting with the art teacher at this school at lunch earlier this week and she was talking about a "Day of the Dead" project she had her students working on. We spent a few minutes trying to remember who had died in 2009 BESIDES Michael Jackson and at one point, I said "My career.") My life is dangerously beginning to resemble Steve Coogan's in Hamlet 2, without the cool "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" finale.

I have emotionally and mentally checked out of the city I am living in, I kind of feel like a prisoner waiting for my parole date, which can't come soon enough. The city is hosting a major event in just under a year and there are stupid countdown signs for it all over the place, so literally everyday, those signs mock me...It is approximately 330 days away, so I have subtracted about 60 days from it (give or take) to start my own I got roughly 270 days left in purgatory...

So enough bitching, I plan on getting back on track in November. I still owe you a reading of Mother Courage (if anyone cares) and I will try to get to it this weekend. I literally haven't been in the mood to read plays this month. So I have read some other stuff:

1. Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer...I first came across Krakauer when I read his book Into Thin Air, about a disastrous ascent of Mount Everest that claimed the lives of a number of climbers. He is an astonishingly humane writer, reading his stuff, you feel like you are having a conversation with him. Where Men Win Glory is the heartbreaking story of Pat Tillman, the NFL safety who walked away from a multimillion $ contract in the NFL to join the Army Rangers following 9/11 and was subsequently killed by a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in 2004. To say Tillman is a kind of Greek tragic hero is an understatement. He certainly comes off larger than life but at the same time, there is a tragic flaw (an overdeveloped sense of duty/honor that leads him to join the military and prevents him from getting out early when offered, even as he recognizes the blatant illegality of the Iraq invasion...) His death has a rippling effect through his family, including his wife, his parents and his brothers, one of whom joined him and was present in Afghanistan when he was killed. It is a terrific read, alternating between Tillman's life story and the development of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and I recommend it heart breaks all over for his family...

2. The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons...My buddy Scotty turned me on to Bill Simmons back when he was the "Boston Sports Guy" and he has become one of my favorite writers for his ability to mix sports with pop culture, two of my favorite things. His new book, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, is his attempt to explain why certain teams and players matter more than others. My first ever "hero", when I was 7 years old, was an NBA basketball player named George Gervin of my beloved San Antonio Spurs. I love basketball and have been enjoying my foray into Simmons's book...It's long, like 700 pages long (they were actually trying to shoot bullets through the book on an ESPN show earlier this week and it stopped a 9 mm bullet!) but it is fun to read. Another favorite writer of mine, the BRILLIANT Malcolm Gladwell, wrote the Forward...If you like the NBA, pop culture and great humor, it is worth checking out.

So here I sit on October 30, 2009...contemplating what the hell is going on with my life and how the hell I am going to get anything out of what is rapidly becoming a wasted year for me...I am enjoying substitute teaching, it is like being a guest star on a different sitcom every day, but I am really missing the buzz of being in rehearsal and having a creative project to work on. Plus my son Chicken Butt has decided in the last two weeks to become Damien from The Omen movies. Suddenly, at the ripe old age of 4 1/2, he has decided the following things:

1. He doesn't like school.
2. He doesn't like his teachers.
3. He doesn't like following rules.
4. His brain tells him to be bad.

I am sincerely hoping this is a phase that will be short lived and not the beginning of a path that will lead him to become Jeffrey Dahmer II: Electric Boogaloo...but just to be on the safe side, I have already started looking for military schools for Kindergartners...

So to sum up, my life sucks...I hate the town I am in, I am spending all my time with Bill Simmons and Jon Krakauer and my son may or may not be on the road to the serial killer hall of fame...My lovely wife and I were talking about him the other night, you know how whenever they show the serial killer Behind the Murders documentary, there is ALWAYS the section where some relative or neighbor says, "We never would have believed that (insert horrific murderers name here) could have done these things...he was always so quiet and well mannered, we were just shocked." When they do the special on Chicken Butt in 2027, my wife and I will be like, "YES! The little bastard! We totally saw it coming, it started when he was 4 1/2 and frankly we are surprised everyone made it out of his Pre K 2 class alive!"

Anyhoo...that's enough bitching and self-wallowing for now. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Peace and Love
Rick St. Peter
October 30, 2009

PS...Go see Michael Jackson's THIS IS IT to see glimpses of a consummate professional in rehearsals. It should be required viewing for anyone aspiring to a career in the performing arts, no matter what your discipline. He was a genius and the world is a lesser place without him in it...


  1. I used to have a costume similar to your unemployed director. It was Disgruntled Screenwriter and came right out of my very own closet. The frown and snarl I also supplied myself.

  2. Hey Rick,
    Just so you know - 4.5 year-olds tend to have a tough time in school. We went through something similar last year, BUT I really think it had a lot to do with the school and the lack of class management. He went from a daycare where classes were small and they really focused on social skills and kindness, to a public charter school with over 20 in his class, and lots of kids who had never been told "no" or "don't hit other people". This made him question why it was ok for other people to hit when he wasn't allowed to (good question), and then he would tell the teachers and they wouldn't do anything about it, so he just started hitting back. My gentle, sweet baby boy was suddenly becoming a violent kid! And we really had to work hard with him on it. But he's in a better school this year, where the teachers deal with issues right away - and again teach non-violent resolutions, and it's really made a huge difference. Also, he's now 5, and that's a whole different world. :) Anyway, I'm just saying, you might want to look into how the kids are being dealt with at his pre-k, before you call in the exorcists. ;-)

  3. Hey Rick,

    This was so satisfying to read - NOT because I enjoy the suffering of others for its own sake (although I do laugh when people trip and fall) - but because I've been there, at least in terms of denouncing an entire year. This is so honest and specific that it really resonates. And I'd like to think that in sharing disappointment and grief those things diminish, but eh, who knows.

    I will say that I don't think anyone gets to have any wasted years. I've noticed more and more that my past experiences serve me in the present in really surprising ways. I'm a fan of you and look forward to seeing Rick St. Peter II: This Time It's Personal, or whatever the sequel is. Some philistines think sequels are automatically inferior to originals but to them I say, Empire Strikes Back, b*tches!

  4. Welcome back, and stop all that 'not writing' malarkey -- chit always gets better once you talk about it! Otherwise, we would not have drama and theatre from which to be absent, would we? Your talent is missed, I am positive, and you will eventually bounce back, this is just a seventh inning stretch of sorts. Evry Valley, and all that...

    Peace be with you and yours.

  5. Hey Rick,
    I sympathize with the uneasy stroll you are taking along the path these days. Jack leaving simply sucks and the professional stalemate sounds frustrating as hell. I empathize with your situation with the 4.5 year old. I would say having a 9 year old boy is twice as bad but it's the kind of crazy-making that doesn't work mathematically. I won't try to diminish anything by saying something trite like "this too shall pass" but will. In the meantime, I'm wishing you the best from ole Virginnie (once again ruled by a degenerate throw-back to unrepentant conservative idiocy...) Take care, Dave