Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Gun Show - The Next Part of the Story

I mostly write about professional events, productions, and upcoming projects in this blog.  But occasionally I use this space to write about things that happen at the intersection of the professional and the personal.  I've written several posts about my play "The Gun Show" -- which more than anything else I've written, falls into that category.


I've been thinking about writing a companion piece to "The Gun Show."  The idea has been in my head for a while... percolating in my subconscious, alongside several other play ideas.  I think there's something to it.  But the other day, as I chatted with my director friend Kevin Fox about possible projects we might work on during an upcoming writing retreat, I decided against working on "Gun Show, Part 2..." and felt a sudden and overwhelming sense of relief.  I didn't want to go to the sad place again.  Not right now, anyway.

I want to be happy.

It feels pretty amazing to write that silly little sentence.  But it's a testament to the profound effect that writing "The Gun Show" has had on my life that I *can* write it.  Because for the last twelve years, since my husband died -- since my husband killed himself -- I have understood that I don't deserve to be happy.

It isn't that I've been sad all this time.  Not exactly.  And I've been reasonably productive.  I'm a hard worker.  But any time something good happened -- a production or an award or a trip to some place pretty -- my inner voice would warn me against enjoying it too much.  My husband was dead.  I wasn't allowed.

It's been half a life, and I got tired of it.  I got tired of myself.

So I wrote "The Gun Show."  Which is a theater piece about guns and gun control in America, but one that had a role in helping me come to terms with my husband's death.  It was time for me to open up that box, and deal with what was inside it.  The play has had four productions in the last year and a half, and has three more in the works.  And as I come out the other side of the writing and performance of this play that is more than a play, I am beginning to realize how much I'd like to ditch my inner voice.  I'd like to stop checking myself every time something good happens.  I'd like to not be alone anymore.

I want to be happy.

And I guess that I'm maybe, finally, ready.

Now... to see if I can figure out how.