In Real Life – when s#!t hits the fan, but you keep on running (and blogging)

Apologies for the missed post last Saturday! As you know, the blog is run by a human – and your human was Out of Order last weekend. But we are back, more determined than ever.

There are plenty of inspirational quotes about taking life by the proverbial balls (I say proverbial because, temperamental as she is, I am pretty sure life is a woman), but no sign of a brief statement that can encapsulate what you can do when shit hits the fan and you find yourself sitting alone on a Thursday night, on the curb, crying while munching on a bacon sandwich (true story).

The problem with making it in the world of arts is that, before you become JK Rowling, you gotta do the whole writing-in-a-cafe-with-10p-a-day first or, more realistically, carry on with your life. A full time job, a big city, the freaking weather, hormones, bills, everything. And eventually, you will crumble. And then, you raise again.

My friends were all at the pub and I had left them for twenty minutes to grab a quick dinner. Then, in the very decadent light coming from the windows of RADA studios – and a street lamp – I cried on my sandwich. I cried because March had swallowed February, I cried because I still did not have a director, I cried because I felt alone in my big fight, I cried because I thought it was time for me to admit yet another defeat, I cried because I did not know what to write today for this blog, I cried because all was lost. I had one job to do, and I had failed.

I cried for a long time, with my knees in my mouth. Uncertain if I should go home and accept the sorrow, but with a lingering feeling of having to stay, and get back to my friends. An intuition. Despite my puffy eyes.

And then it downed on me. I looked at the scene from the outside, from above. It was cold and dark, and a little girl in a baggy coat was crying with a bacon sandwich in her hands, alone. Did I want to be that person?

I didn’t.

And it stopped. I remembered, as I always do in dark times, of a conversation I had with Colin Teevan years ago, when he told me – at a moment in which I thought I was never going to write again – that writing was like breathing, and I was never that concerned with breathing, was I? This is all very First World Problems, but this is my life and what I deal with. And the thing is, it doesn’t matter how bad it gets, I don’t have a choice. It is not only about staying here and not going back to Italy, or keeping my job – from which I however resigned this week and I am to terminate late May – to keep the flat with the teapot lamp and the black cat, it is about not knowing what else to do aside from telling stories via the medium of theatre. And I may never make it, but I will never think, never in my life, of “that time when I should have done so and so, and instead I stayed home”.

A concerned friend (it’s not easy to be my friend) suggested this blog was getting too personal. I somewhat agree, to the extent that this is, first of all, meant to be a tool for others to understand what are the steps to take, and how is the path shaped. But it is very likely that, whoever starts on a journey like this, will find themselves on the curb – or any other inappropriate, cold place – crying over an incumbent defeat.

So, here it is. We talked about the writing process, the budgeting, the design, we will talk about finding a theatre, putting a team together, marketing your show and so on.

Today we talked about hitting rock bottom and making the decision of whether giving up or carry on. And finding out, in the process, that the only option is to keep up the good fight, get back to your friends, have lots of wine and – circumstantially – verbally signing up your lead actor.

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