I use my attic for notating music. Through Finale, the music goes from my synthesizer into my old desktop computer, where it appears on the screen.
Recently I found an old short story of mine called “Juliet” on the attic floor near my desk. It was typed on a manual Smith Corona that I’d bought in high school. I’d written the short story in law school. I showed it to a friend of mine, who thought some parts farfetched.
Just a few years out of a law school, I had a particularly bad year. I’d broken off from a group of people. Friendships ended. I moved to a separate office. The one consolation I had was in writing one-act plays.
The last day before New Year’s, I finished a short play called JULIET, this time on a computer. It was a sharpened version of the tale I had told in the short story. I presented the play at a workshop a few months later, then set it aside and forgot about it.
Years later my mother reminded me of this play. I took it out and typed it into a newer computer. I made it a little tighter. Not long after I presented it at another workshop, it was accepted by the Equity Library Theater of New York, formerly the Piney Fork Press Theater.
I’m in a far different place now than I was when I wrote this play. But the realities behind it still pain me, and those who have read this play so far have liked it. It happens on two levels. The first is the everyday world in which people struggle to cut costs or keep their jobs. The second level is about the people many of us actually are. It’s about aspiration and loneliness. It explores potential friendships that will or will not be realized. And at its center are the frustrations involved in being an artist. It is profoundly true: only persistence will make an artist successful in his or her art.
JULIET will be presented, 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, March 21, 2015, in the George Bruce Auditorium, part of the New York Public Library, at 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. I encourage all to see it.