Project Book update…Painful Progress

I don’t know if I ever intended monthly project book updates but here we go….

Well I’ll be honest this isn’t so much of a ‘project book’ update as it will be a general moan about life. But this blog is designed to both document the book-writing process as much as it is to share the research. And the reality is, this kind of stuff is part of the process.

So, life update. Or at least job update. Or indeed lack of job update. I spent Christmas working in a bookshop. Which was hard work but fairly enjoyable all told. And before it ended I found out I had a temporary admin job lined up. Happy days, I can have a routine, and work on my research around the work.

As it happened the job wasn’t what I’d hoped. For reasons I may get to talk about in more detail another time. But added to that, this week they decided to let me go. And I’ll be honest I’ve taken it hard. From the financial worry once again, to the crippling feelings of ‘failure’ at still not having a ‘real’ job. And, well nobody likes to be told they aren’t good enough do they?

Alongside that the ever-present panic that I’m going to mess up this opportunity to write the book (and the play, there’s a play that’s due around the same time).

Add to that a feeling of deflation around other things. I’ve been trying to jump on the Angels Broadway bandwagon and pitch articles to different outlets, throw myself at the publicity as ‘Dr Angels’ and see if anything bites. But nothing is. I know it’s par for the course in that world to get rejections. But knock back after knock back there is putting me back in the ‘not good enough’ frame of mind or the ‘losing out to people who just shout louder.’

And on the latter point there is a frustration. With this play, that I know I’m one of the experts on, and that there aren’t many of us (I’m never, in case anyone thinks so, conceited enough to say I’m the best or only one. There’s some excellent fellow Angelologists out there every bit as deserving to share their thoughts as I am. But also I’m one of them, I want my voice in that mix). But instead I’m feeling like a third rate academic, that nobody wants to hear from.

Finally, this week. I did a thing I find hard to do and asked someone for help and advice with the career, with writing- after they’d offered. I got shot down. I got told I wasn’t deserving to be paid for writing as I hadn’t ‘paid my dues’. I got told I clearly didn’t ‘want it’ enough as I’m not living in London, being a starving artist and sacrificing it all for my work.

An objective me can sit back from this week. Take in the knocks that are par for the course. Brush off the ones that are just bad luck or bad people. But that’s hard too. And right now I feel defeated, and deflated. And as if all this fighting, all the scarping and scarping I did last year was for nothing.

And where does that leave Project Book?

I’ll be honest, I’ve not done a lot lately. The combination of work, and the frustrations around it being back again but out of reach have blurred my focus. But I’m slowly switching that around to inspiration again. Channeling all that into wanting to make it the best I can make it. Because I fought this far, I’m not letting myself down.

And right now I feel like I’ve let myself down. I’ve lost another job. I’ve not made any progress, not capitalised enough on opportunities I had. And that maybe I’m just not good enough.

It is a kind of painful progress I guess. And my ‘dreaming ahead’ in this moment is putting a kind of blind faith that prioritizing finishing the book is the right thing to do. But that’s scary, because what if, what if it all goes wrong. It’s all for nothing and another year is wasted. What then? But I guess also, what if you don’t. What then have you wasted?

But ultimately in times like this, all I can do is write. Sit down and write the best book I know how to write. And even if it’s not good enough, at least I’ll know I tried.

And so to ‘spinning forward’ where am I with the actual writing (Stop moaning about life Em an actually talk about the book…) My projects for this month are as follows:

  • Edit Introduction chapters and work on original productions
  • Source any missing material around these
  • Collate information on 2017 production (reviews etc)
  • Create a detailed plan for 2017 analysis

The book has shape in my head now. And many spin offs and avenues that may or may not get explored here (maybe they won’t fit, maybe it’s a 2-parter, as a true child of Kushner should be right?)

It’s there, it’s alive. It’s waving papers in the air an shouting at Mormons.

Published by Emily Garside

Academic, journalist and playwright. My PhD was on theatrical responses to the AIDS epidemic, and I continue to write on Queer theatrical history. Professional nerd of all things theatre.

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