Issue # 116 (FINAL) // The Ylog

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13 June 2009

After all of what's below...and pounds of paper, weeks of rehearsal, it's not going to happen. In writing the play and, yes, in not doing the play, I made some discoveries (think a hammer to the head) that I must deal with in some literary form but not as a one-person play. To be honest about it and because *veritas* is always nearby if elusive, I'm really pissed and sad. Pissed and sad—I insist on *sharing* because I live in southern California and it's required, says so on the driver license. But I will recover. I'm in recovery—also required here.) Thanks for listening..

6 March 2009

I’ve been rehearsing my play for one month now with time off for the perfect cold (think “Perfect Storm”) and a bit of re-writing. I don’t have a date for the first performance. My guess is that it will be in April, but I make no promises.

I might sound a bit down about it all, but I’m not. (If I go all touchy-feely on you now as if my web page had become one of those loathsome personal feelings b**gs please make your way to my home and kill me.) It could be my cold, a very depressing cold I thought would never end. (I live in Sherman Oaks, California. Are you nearby?) But it’s also the matter of the old fool putting his ass on stage again after many years and trying to act, trying to remember the words that the old fool himself wrote, and it’s tough. (Take the 101 to the Van Nuys exit, go south on Van Nuys to Dickens Street.) There are poems in my play, but I’ve had to cut one—my favorite. Was it Faulkner who spoke of “killing your babies”— those bits of writing that you love but find just don’t work for your piece?

And it really made me sad. (Turn left on Dickens.) A poem I’ve worked on for years. All that effort, and I had to cut it. (There's a beautiful tree in front of the building.) But I will do the play. I will remember the words that I wrote, in their proper order. I will walk about the stage and flail my arms and even sing. I will. I didn’t come this far… (I live in an apartment building, my neighbors are nearby; so use either a pistol with a silencer or a garrotte.)


30 January 2009

I start rehearsing
my play on Monday, 2 February 2009.


5 December 2008

See the entry from 7 November, immediately below? Please take a moment and read it. That entry holds true for today, 5 December 2008. The play will be done; some things take time. I'm using all the modern equipment: An iMac G5, a MacBook and an iPod touch. I have a wireless network in my home. But the making of this play is not the activity of any technology. It's out of my head, like Athene from the head of Zeus. (You think that's bad? First, I wrote, "Like Venus from the head of Zeus.") This play is making me even more vibrational than I am normally, if I can use that word. But it will be done.

7 November 2008

I've just had a significant meeting and will start rehearsals soon. Please light a candle, burn some incense and pray for peace. Thank you.

17 October 2008

I’m having another meeting soon; this weekend, in fact. Meetings are very important in Hollywood—to get a part, sell a script—and the monetary success of my first go-round in Hollywood could be measured by an absence of significant meetings.

But now I’m having meetings. Went away: came back. Wrote a play for myself. Having meetings.

I promise that I’ll make another entry here when I’ve started rehearsal and have a firm date for my first preview performance. And if you don’t read detailed entries here about the play’s progress before that time, please understand that it’s because I just don’t have time. I’m in a meeting.

6 October 2008

The "stranger" will be my director; I feel sure of it. And with her permission, I'll provide her name. We just had our second meeting. I'm jazzed beyond belief. An old guy, jazzed. Something to see.

30 September 2008

Yesterday I had my meeting and gave a copy of my play to a stranger. An accomplished theatre professional but still a stranger. And I’m sitting here today with a bit of nerves. I am slightly vibrational. What will she say? Will she like it? Oh, no! What if she doesn't? Oh, no!

Catherine has read it, and a dear friend (and theatre professional) has read it. Both have liked it, but now it’s with a stranger. A stranger!

I’m sitting here all vibrational. Like a little girly-man. Isn’t that idiotic? It’s as if I don’t expect strangers to see my play: the audience.

[I've just received a good response from this "stranger." I feel good. Like a manly-man again.—B.L, 1 October 2008]


12 & 19 September 2008

I have a meeting at the end of this month. I'm trying to be patient. An important meeting, in the category of doing things right, not rushing it.

So that's where I am.

5 September 2008

It’s not a pretty sight, but we have a treadmill in our living room and I mount it every other day for a thirty-minute session. No distractions. I don’t turn on the TV; I don’t turn on any music. Yes, I have an iPod; but its white earbuds are not in my ears, bud. I look at the wall while exercising, and I concentrate on not falling. This thing, this belt, is moving beneath me; and I must keep up. A very strange arrangement. Walking outside would be better, but it’s hot in the San Fernando Valley these days.

When it’s over I get off the treadmill and do some exercises with weights, an even more disturbing sight.

I’m making all these absurd, repetitive moves to lose some weight and get in shape for performing my play—an emotional and physical activity.


30 August 2008

Yesterday I had a great lunch meeting with a dear friend at The Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City, California. There was showbiz all around; the cashier recognized me as an actor, said that he was also a casting director. Nothing strange about that in the land of showbiz. “Yeah, that commercial you just did…,” he said. “The M&M commercial.” “Oh, yes,” I lied. “Oh, yes.”

I haven’t done a commercial in twenty-five years; but, hell, showbiz was all around and the people of showbiz lie—even an old actor guy who’s meeting a dear friend for lunch to talk about his serious play, only marginally showbiz.

A great meeting with my talented, devoted friend Julie Cobb. And when I say devoted... Oh, boy. Many years, many circumstances. And yesterday, in a new circumstance, she gave me very helpful notes on the text of my play. Her friendship is very important to me.


22 August 2008

In a dream last night I was in a large waiting room, my dentist’s waiting room, except that I was there for a problem with my hands. I was told that I could go in and when I went through the door I was in another room, even larger, with many people, all waiting. I became very angry and started shouting. Some of the people were smiling at my rage but covering their mouths, trying to be polite.

I think that my dream was about my play. I’m waiting. I've placed calls, haven't heard back. I'm trying to be patient. I don’t want to rush things; I want it to be right. My play deserves my patience. I have a working script; I’m ready to start rehearsal. But I don’t have a producer or a director or a theatre or a rehearsal space. Yes, I’ve decided that I want a director. So re-order that sequence.

Earlier this week I had a telephone consultation with a woman who has done her own one-person plays. She’s a writer, actress, director. I talked with her for almost an hour. She gave me practical information, invaluable, and, most importantly I think, told me that I must be patient

In my dentist's waiting room I was a patient who wasn’t patient.


16 August 2008

I have my final draft. I would say that I have my final version but that won't happen until the play is in performance.

But here's some exciting news: I bought three very nice binders from Staples and a ream of three-hole punch. And, even better, I'm in touch with a good person who can help me with the next step(s). She has produced, directed and written one-person plays. Good. Because I haven't.

I have a working title, but it's only that. So there's no use in giving it here.


8 August 2008

"YLOG," YOU KNOW, like that beautiful word, “blog.” Which stands for “Web Log.” Some adolescent gave us that beauty. Thus “Ylog” from “Play Log,”certainly as beautiful as “blog,”and I give that word to us, and it’s what I’ll be doing here, while I’m mounting my play.

So in this space, from time to time, probably on Friday, I’ll make an entry in my play log, tell you how I'm doing, how my brain is. (And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please read this, and then come back.) I have a title for my play, but I’m not going to talk about it until I polish the text. Or revise the text. Or until I get my working copy of the text, the one I’ll use when I stand up and begin to act on the rehearsal stage—shouting weeping, laughing—all that.

I’m thinking that I’ll stage the play myself and then ask a knowledgeable person, like a director, to look at it, give me some notes, after I get up to speed—have the words in my head and have the emotional shape of what I want to do. But I’ve lived with this piece for years now and know what I want so I’m not looking for a director to work with me from the start.

I don’t know where that rehearsal stage will be, and I don’t know where I’ll perform it and I’m not announcing its name yet. And as I said I don’t have a working, walking around copy of the text yet. So I’m in early stages, very tentative. As in, “Am I really going to do this? I haven’t been on stage in years. There are twenty-seven pages of words. Can I do it?” Yes, I have some questions and little to report about progress, in this first installment of my ylog.


But I will tell you about my dream, which came to me, I think out of not doing any creative work this last week. I wanted a clear break between writing Veritas: Any Day Now and working on my play, a little vacation. So I took a week off and said, “I’m not thinking creatively at all this week.” What a strange thing to say because I did of course. Couldn’t sleep, an idea about staging would come to me; and I’d make a note on a little pad that I keep on my bedside table.

And toward the end of the week—yesterday, in fact—out of not working creatively (formally at least) I became very bored, and out of that boredom had just a touch of wine more than I usually have. To be specific, I usually have 8 oz. and last night I probably had 12 oz. And with just that extra wine I had a dream about Yosemite Sam, from the Bugs Bunny cartoon, Yosemite Sam. Except that Yosemite Sam was at an AA meeting and called himself The Commander.

Okay, yes, I was at an AA meeting in my dream (that extra wine, feeling guilty about it), and was wondering why the person who was leading the meeting called himself The Commander and had all this hair all over his face along with several elaborate moustaches (plural) and strangely placed eyes, sort of below one of his three moustaches. But there he was, commanding an AA meeting and more importantly, there I was.

And in the dream there was a woman weeping; then she was wrapped in a shroud, carried by another woman down a flight of steps while some men just stood around, and I was in bed at the foot of the stairs, still wondering about Yosemite Sam,The Commander, and thinking, Why in hell are they putting this drunk in bed with me?—the woman in the shroud.

I think all of this came about because of the extra wine (of course) and because I wasn’t working creatively this last week, formally, at least. My dreams get kind of florid when I’m not writing.

Now, you’re probably working on Yosemite Sam, trying to dope why he showed up in my dream. Trying for some kind of Freudian overlay (overlay! overlay!). Well, think again. Or at least add the following to your considerations.

I think that Sam came into my consciousness (sub-? un-?) out of Bryan A. Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day, an email newsletter I get. This is from yesterday, 7 August 2008.



"Jehoshaphat," the name of a king of Judah mentioned in the Old Testament, is often misspelled "Jehosophat" ...The name is properly pronounced /ji-HAHSH-uh-fat/. The mispronunciation /ji-HOH-suh-fat/, popularized in Yosemite Sam’s habitual interjection ("Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!") in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, is based on an erroneous reading of the word (ignoring the "-sh-"), coupled perhaps with the influence of Jehovah (/ji-HOH-vuh/). (Yosemite Sam seems never to hit the books.) But the phrase became so ubiquitous that the interjection would call undue attention to itself if pronounced in any way other than Yosemite's. Not many people today use the phrase. (Copyright, Bryan A. Garner, from Garner's Modern American Usage.)


So that’s it. My ylog’s first entry: Something about the play’s progress, something about wine, something about Yosemite Sam and Bryan A. Garner. What more could you ask for?


—Britt Leach




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