The Long Haul



I thought I’d offer another example of the true value of tenacity in this hardscrabble business. I offer it because, personally speaking, I always find it immensely encouraging when I hear writers share their tales of overcoming the odds or snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Several years ago I had an idea for a short play that I thought was rather novel and could prove to be quite popular at short play festivals if done right. After all, it could be played by any age, ethnicity or gender, and in any combination thereof. It also would require no props and no set. A cash-strapped producer’s dream, not to mention the casting director.

After I’d finished it I sent it off to any opportunity that it seemed like a good fit for…which was pretty much most of them that I saw at that time. Again and again I’d submit it, feeling confident that its debut production – the first of many – was imminent. Wrong. Again and again the play was rejected. However, I resolutely continued to send it out, though after a while more from a feeling of obstinance than confidence. Still nothing. That play couldn’t get arrested. Eventually I resigned myself to the fact that something about the play just didn’t connect with people, and I accepted that this was one play that just wasn’t ever going to be brought to life.

A few of years later, after rereading it and deciding that I, at least, still believed in it, I began sending it out again. Lo and behold, a short time afterwards I had four productions of it lined up in different parts of the country, all within a few weeks of each other, and it received a great review in a newspaper of note. Not only that, it was accepted for publication, and now I’m even generating a little income in royalties from it (and can’t stress the word “little” enough here).

So there you have it: an object lesson in believing in your work when it seems as though no one else does. Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s luck, and sometimes it’s simply a matter of who’s hands your play falls into. You can never second guess any of this, so, in the words of Curtis Mayfield, you just have to keep on keeping on.

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