Jefe's House

Still’s Still Moving to Me

by on Mar.16, 2015, under The Truth Is In Here

Day 3
The Ides of March

It was many, many years ago that I began my career as a Dramatic Author; and a hard and bitter-fought beginning I can well remember that it was. I was inexperienced, shy, and foolish; without money, without influence. I knew not a single soul connected even in the most distant way with the theatrical world. I knew no one to advise me or give me a hint. For years I danced in impotent frenzy around the high strong walls that guard the city of Dramatic Art. I ran my head against the stones, I tore myself against the spiky gates, I soused myself in the dirty moat, I screamed and cursed, and blubbed. At last, I climbed over and got in… I enumerate the difficulties that beset me only to show to the struggling young besiegers of today how, with the aid of pig-headed obstinacy, sublime conceit, thick skin, and a genius for nagging and boring and worrying human people’s lives out of them, it is possible to force even so strongly guarded a portal as the stage door of the present century.
- Jerome K. Jerome, British satirical playwright, 1888

20150315_11141220150315_111743Today’s a traveling day.  I got up early and wrote for awhile, then spent the remainder of this brisk, sunny morning running 10 miles along Chicago‘s Lake Shore Drive and beautiful Lake Michigan before heading to Union Station and hopping the main draw of my trip, the California Zephyr. We rolled out at 2pm.




Illinois somewhere west of Naperville.

A couple of hours later we crossed the Mississippi River from Illinois into Iowa. They alerted us to keep an eye out on the Iowa side of the river for bald eagles nesting in the treetops and sure enough I saw one but was unable to get a decent pic of it.

I’ve been mostly holed up in my room writing, reading, watching the farmlands and freight trains roll by.  Once we passed a train with a whopping 110 tank cars — only tank cars — carrying some kind of fuel oil.  Later we passed a train pulling 130 hopper cars all full of coal.  There’s a whole helluva lot of stuff moving back and forth on these tracks 24 hours a day that we Americans ravenously consume.  Despite Arlo Guthrie’s musical prophecy I don’t think railroads are dying away anytime soon.

Small world. At dinner I was seated with a father-son pair of fellow Philadelphians traveling to San Francisco (the same as me ultimately) to check out colleges, and with a Russian woman who lives in Brooklyn and also had lived in Philly for 5 years, on her way to go skiing in Colorado.  I told her she must come to Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum and check out Boneyards the next time I perform it there. Many thanks to our waiter, Mr. B., for taking such good care of us.

20150315_212724We’ve just crossed into Nebraska and Mountain Time which means I’ve gained an hour.  I hop off tomorrow afternoon at Glenwood Springs, CO.

Nighty night.






Each year, thousands of tired businessmen and work-weary housewives find sublimation for their restlessness and frustration in playwriting.  Next to watching professional baseball it’s America’s greatest pastime, indoors or out.  And please don’t get me wrong.  I have no intention of making any belittling remarks or sounds of derision.  It’s a healthy sign, I think, and every so often it actually turns up someone who, by all the rules and regulations, should know nothing at all about the snide intricacies of the theatre.
- a Broadway producer in an article offering advice to playwrights, 1940s,
as quoted in the classic playwriting book The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri


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