Sunday, January 9, 2011

a hundred shoes a day

there is a scene in the the play i've been stage managing (today is closing and strike!) where ted kooser (poet, citizen of smalltown nebraska) goes to the hardware store and gets in a conversation about pitching horseshoes. the hardware guy helping him says, 'i had an uncle that was tri-state horseshoe champion three years running. i asked him one time how i could get as good at it as he was, and he said "son, you gotta pitch a hundred shoes a day."'
and ted kooser universalizes it by saying, 'anyone, who wants get good at anything at all, oughta be ready to pitch a hundred shoes a day.'

everyone who has been working on this play for the past few months has been pitching at least a hundred shoes a day for it, and dammit if we havent all gotten really good at what we are doing. last night, at the cast and company party (the board was invited too cuz they have been intimately instrumental in the shows success) i gave each person in the room a horseshoe with #101 written on it.

virginia, the director, said that the above line in the show always got her cuz she felt so bad about all the things she hasnt made time to pitch horseshoes for. i take the opposite view. i feel, if you arent willing to pitch them for something, its not the thing you should be doing. paul, the lead and the impetus behind this show even happening, was talking to me about writing last night before the show and he said, if the work you are setting out to do doesnt feel like going out into the backyard and climbing up to spend the afternoon in a treehouse, its gonna be hard to get yourself to do it.

i feel like if pitching a hundred horseshoes doesnt feel like spending an afternoon in a treehouse, you arent pitching horseshoes for the right thing. and thats why i, all along, have been so grateful to be a part of this project. cuz everyday ive worked on this play has felt like an afternoon in a treehouse.

and it got me thinking about the things in my life that im willing to pitch horseshoes for (this is not an exhaustive list, just what comes to mind right now):
1) theatre projects that my friends are doing. (thats a gimme)
2) making/maintaining relationships with friends and family all over the country.
3) creating/maintaining community however i can.
and of course,
4) becoming a writer.

ive wanted to be good at writing for so f*cking long, and ive been saying im willing to do what it takes for about as long, but it wasnt till i started pitching horseshoes for it in november that i realized i wanted it bad enough to work at it every single day, cuz thats the only way ill actually get good. and have any kind of actual (completed) writing to call my own.
and lo and behold, the new year started and a story came to me that i can sink my teeth into. and for once i can actually see where it might be headed and why. i think its a young adult novel, but im not sure yet. and its set in a really awesome house (yes, its a two-flat). and it deals with identity and reality and memory and loss and im pretty damned excited about it.
sorry harry potter, you might have to take a back burner for a bit. ive got some work ahead of me--some muscles to build up, some ringers to aim for. i got a shit- ton of shoe pitching to do.

1 comment:

calamele said...

I feel as though I am at the front of a parade waving a flag with a huge smile on my face.
I <3 you so hard...your words speak so hard core to my heart.