a little something extra

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Who wouldn't believe Dixie Carter?

I'm filling a time gap between the end of the putative working day and the preview performance of Dumb Show. It is not, in fact, a dumb show; I sort of admire the playwright's gutsiness in giving critics such an obvious handle to grab. I'll watch the preview tonight, share my thoughts with the director in the morning, and that will pretty much be my last swipe at influence over this production, which opens officially on Friday night.

As I've continued to chew over Ben's writing assigment about "home," I've been thinking about a line in a play I read last year. The character, a Southern lady of a certain age, delivers herself of the opinion that "Everybody winds up living where they're loved the most."

To which I say, "Yeah, nice work if you can get it."

There are never really two kinds of people in the world, but for purposes of this posting, there are two kinds of people in the world: people who live where they want or need to live and get work there, or people who go where the work they want to do, happens to be located. I have a history of being exclusively that second kind of person. This has meant I've lived in some odd, but surprisingly hip, places.

Austin TX is the sort of town that people (other than me) fall in love with immediately when they arrive, and immediately start complaining about when it changes, as towns inevitably do. The old slogan "Keep Austin Weird," which was an unrepentant call for stopping change, has recently been coopted as a marketing slogan. **sigh**

I started working on leaving Austin for two, well really three, reasons.

1. It is too hot to breathe in Austin for eight months out of the year. Really. The climate is ridiculous and not suited to human life. Another of those "there are two kinds of people in the world" moments -- it seems like everyone is born with a preference about whether to be too cold or too hot, if you have to be uncomfortable in one way or the other. I'm in the "too cold, please, every time" camp.

2. I couldn't make my living in Austin doing what I do, and I didn't have anywhere near enough wisdom, age or grace to start teaching yet.

3. Grad school, which had originally brought me to Austin, was a bloodbath. I loved the company I worked with once I had wrested my degree from the clutches of Sauron, but the school scars ran very very very deep.

So. Away from Austin, to Minneapolis MN, where I was sure to get plenty of "too cold." I had the Job of my Dreams, so I didn't care that the weather outside was frightful. I did, however, develop a habit of calling my mother each winter on the first day that the temperature reached 40 below. Somehow, that just seemed like a milestone worth acknowledging, complaining about, marveling at. But the producing world came calling, so I went...

Down to Atlanta, which proved to be a much foodier town than I had known the first time around. I had some great meals here (site of my introduction to red Zinfandel), and here (where I convinced many a guest artist that Atlanta could actually be hip). But most of all here, which upon my first visit became my top choice for special occasions.

I was lucky enough to find at least some people in each of those locations, with whom I could build loving friendships. And then my brother Joe moved to Atlanta, bringing a premade loving relationship that we could just keep building. Still, I'm not sure that any of them qualify as the place where I'm loved the most, because most of my large nuclear family base themselves elsewhere.

So, according to that line from that play, there is no such thing as "home" in my life. And even though that idea that "Everybody winds up living where they're loved the most" is very attractive, and most convincing in the steel magnolia voice of Dixie Carter who played the role in the reading in NYC last winter... I remain unconvinced.


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