Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Essay in Boulevard

I am delighted and still a bit amazed to say that the current and 25th anniversary issue of the now-legendary journal Boulevard includes my essay "Mere Esthetics," which argues for beauty as a matter of necessity rather than luxury and discusses what happens when we disregard that need.

This issue also includes far, far better-known contributors such as Albert Goldbarth, Billy Collins, David Kirby, Carl Phillips, David Lehman, Alice Hoffman, Stephen Dixon, Floyd Skloot,
Madison Smartt Bell and Marvin Bell.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank editor Richard Burgin and his colleagues for their interest in my work and for including me among such distinguished company.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dig: The Fundraiser

We are getting closer and closer to putting on a show.

On Thursday, March 4, CurvingRoad (a registered nonprofit in both the United States and the United Kingdom) held its fundraiser for the theatrical event entitled "The Next Curve: Two One-Act Plays" which will run from Tuesday, June 8 until Saturday, June 25 at The Old Red Lion Theatre in London (that London, yes). My play "Dig" and I will have the privilege of sharing the bill with Scottish playwright Michael Hart's "No More, Salvator."

According to CurvingRoad co-director Sue Guiney, the well-attended fundraiser was "fantastic," with drinks and nibbles. There were new supporters and, in her words, "People stayed late and there was a theatrical buzz."

And funds were indeed raised, as the reception brought in about £3,000. So far, so good.

But as Sue explains here, there is a long way to go. The total expenses of the production are estimated at some £20,000, which in U.S. dollars is, well, a lot.

With this in mind, I would urge the financially able to make a tax-deductible donation to CurvingRoad here by way of PayPal or credit card. To quote Sue again, "You’d be amazed at how those $25 gifts add up."

I would be willing to be amazed.

If I haven't yet persuaded you, I will leave you with my message of gratitude to those in attendance at the 1901 Arts Club, which was read on my behalf by playwright and actor Leo Richardson:

I want to begin by saying that I truly and deeply regret not being able to join you this evening. My reasons are in part purely selfish. As this event is taking place, I am at my day job in Washington, DC, editing texts of uncertain quality and interest. I also trust that your food, drink and entertainment will be far superior to anything that I experience in the course of a day’s work.

More importantly, I regret not being to thank you in person for your support. Altruism, especially in the form of generosity to a stranger, represents one of the happier mysteries of existence, and those of us who are beneficiaries of such generosity can virtually never expect or demand it, let alone feel entitled to it. This is particularly true in the arts, where so many individuals, projects and programs ask for support. I am therefore amazed as well as grateful that you are willing to offer your support and join us in this adventure, with all its risks as well as its rewards.

Working with the directors and affiliates of CurvingRoad, I hope to honor your gifts of time and resources by doing everything in my power to ensure that the development of my play “Dig” culminates in a high-quality production that will contribute to a memorable evening of theater. I should also note that my experience with CurvingRoad has given me the confidence to revisit other projects that I have left aside for far too long.

At this point I do not wish to take much more of your time. You have already been generous in a variety of ways. I hope you are having a lovely time, and with luck I will meet some of you in June at the Old Red Lion.

Again, thank you.