I know, I haven’t written in over a week. It’s not as if I’ve been doing nothing. Oh, wait, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Never mind.

Well, actually, I have been doing a little. We had the Barnes & Noble thing, of course, and that got me thinking/worrying about exactly where William Blake’s Inn is. Of course, the short answer is nowhere. No one in our fair city is in the least bit interested in being the chair of the WBOC.

Just to make sure, though, I personally contacted one of the best candidates for said chairmanship, who very promptly turned me down (not without praising the work and me without stint.) That’s it, folks. William Blake’s Inn will not have its premiere in Newnan.

I will report on this fact to the Arts Commission on Wednesday, and then I will drop in the mail proposals to various performing organizations around this country.

That’s what I’ve been working on this weekend: cover letters, synopses, printouts of vocal scores, etc., all aimed at specific groups for whom the Inn would be a good fit. After I get a CD label designed and printed, and the CDs burned, everything’s ready to go in the mail.

It is very scary how easy this is. I was done with the Atlanta Symphony and the Center for Puppetry Arts long before lunch yesterday morning. Lookingglass Theater in Chicago took a little longer this morning, because they have very specific things they’re looking for and don’t want a copy of the piece itself, just a synopsis.

But I could really have everything in the mail by tomorrow afternoon. Whoosh, as my email program would say.

And that’s scary. I don’t know why, because it’s not as if I’m using these groups to validate the piece. I know it’s good, and I know it would be a good fit for any of them. If they reject it, as is almost certain, it’s not going to crush my spirits.

I guess it’s because I know by putting the Inn out there, I allow myself to hope that it might find a home. Looking back over the Lacuna workshop blogposts, I was struck by how hopeful we sounded. We were certain that people were working to pull together to form the WBOC. This was going to be a wonderful opportunity for all of us. This time, it would be totally different than the way the arts in Newnan have been dealt with in the past.

Only, of course, it wasn’t. Everyone applauded politely then turned away. Everyone loved the music, everyone thought our staging was cool, no one wanted to work with us. It was that simple, and we should have seen it coming. Well, I should have seen it coming. That’s all I ever saw in the 25+ years I was involved in active arts production in this city: oohs and aahs and brief spurts of interest, can we even count the number of “arts councils” that have been formed here?, but no sustained, organized support. Why I thought it would be different this time, I have no idea.

So dropping William Blake’s Inn into the mail to find its fortune elsewheres is very scary, because I have to commit to hope again. Not to do so would be even more exhausting.

25 thoughts on “Anxiety

  1. I know we’re recent transplants, and therefore we don’t have all the connections you’d like to see in a chairman, but have you considered asking Dr. Barbara Bishop? Flattery will take you far. And now that she’s completed her dissertation, she needs another big project. No, I have not discussed this with her. No, I will not ask her for you. No, she does not read this blog. But she loves this project. And she’s used to dressing fancy, making presentations to bigwigs, shaking people down for money and support, etc. etc. For your consideration.

  2. One reason I haven’t volunteered myself is that I have a job. Barbara has a job and children. My gut feeling is that whoever heads this needs to be retired or independent, because it’s going to consume them for the next 12 months. Have you seen the organizational chart?

  3. But certainly, if the Commission goes insane on Wednesday and takes the project on, Dr. Bishop is going to be on their list of people to contact.

  4. This reminds me of our reprise of ” A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” where we performed for a total of about 15 people in our intial performances. We were then persuaded that if ifwe put on an ‘encore’ performance the theatre would be full because the show was so great. And guess what? The same 15 people (or fewer showed up). We laughed at the time, and still do, but that was quality theatre, as Blake’s Inn would be,which was was misssed by most poeple in Newnan even given a second chance. Maybe we should have learned a lesson then, but we must do what we must do. Never stop creating Dale: most artists where never fully appreciated in their time as you know. I fit the criteria of being retired/indpendent and had considered offering my services just because the subject matter is so damn good. But am not a Newnan insider and my health issues would really limit my time and ability, although maybe the sympathy issue card could have been played.

  5. Your work will have its premiere in Europe, of course. It will take place take place at a music festival with an international array of participating artists. I’m thinking Amsterdam. You will particularly remember the food and the nice family you stay with. You’ll send back lots of photos and will relate many amusing anecdotes revolving around the turbulent relationship between the conductor and the director of the Belgian performance group which is actually staging the piece.

    What will you be asking for on Wednesday? Someone to assemble and head up a producing organization, one that will come together solely for this one event? You are asking for a producer, I think: Someone who will assemble the collaborating artists (you, “lacuna,” designer, orchestra and conductor, etc.) and the dedicated production staff, work out remunerative deals, coax forth budgets, obtain the funding, etc. (whether through grants, donations, promotions, advertising, sponsorships, or investments). Are you going to see if the Arts Council wants to be this “producing organization?” In name, at least. And then, are they willing to enlist the person to actually take on the producer chores? I’m just trying to help articulate a language they will grasp, constellating around the statement: “We need a producer.”

  6. Thank you for the vision. Any timeline on that?

    I’m not asking for anything on Wednesday. I’m going to tell them that there’s no premiere for Newnan. They are the very persons who have passed on the opportunity to commit to this project after I explained to them exactly what you have said.

  7. I appreciate that, gentlemen, and no doubt you are right, but whether Newnan deserves me or not, you yourselves did. I never did any of this for Newnan. I did it for people like you. What did Marc and I call it years ago? “Mutual usery.”

  8. I’m still waiting for Marc’s final comment. Don’t keep me in suspense. Cthulhu looks hungry.

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