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 great...my 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 countdown...so 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 highly...my 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...