Endings.

“There are no happy endings.

Endings are the saddest part,

So just give me a happy middle

And a very happy start.”

-Shel Silverstein

On Monday, I grieved. I didn’t know what else to do. I told myself I should get to work on my very long, very ambitious to-do list with the heading “Post Fringe,” but in truth, my heart wasn’t in it. Instead, I hid from the sweltering Southern California heat inside the walls of my one bedroom apartment, and I moped.

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June was a fun month. To be honest, it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Months of hard work and preparation culminated in the production of my play, War Stories, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Over the course of three and a half weeks, we put up six performances, and my friends – many of whom I hadn’t seen in months – came to see them. And in between the performances (which garnered better-than-I-could-have-hoped-for reviews from both critics and audiences alike), there were parties and mixers and seemingly infinite amounts of theater to see. I saw thirteen shows in June, everything from cabaret to burlesque to improv to musicals to solo performance. Fringe was three and a half weeks jammed full of inspiration and artistic creation and community in the heart of Hollywood, and it was wonderful.

But now it’s over. And if June was all about celebration, then July is all about work. Because not only do I have to get back into the laboratory and continue to shape the next, two-act draft of War Stories for an upcoming production this winter, I also have a whole list of other important things to tackle that I put off while I was out fringe-ing. Boring, tedious, life things. Such as figuring out how I’m going to pay my bills now that I’ve decided to enter the brave new world of freelancing.

I suppose it’s not surprising then that on Monday, I felt like I was in a ravine, looking up at the next, larger mountain needing to be scaled, thinking, “Oh, hell no. Not today.”

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But then Tuesday arrived, which also happened to be my late father’s birthday. I never know quite how to approach these emotionally-loaded anniversaries, but I usually try to do something nice for myself, so I went up to one of my favorite places in Los Angeles: The Getty Center. I typically rush through museums, but on Tuesday, I turned off my cell phone and I took it all in: the replica caves of Dunhuang with their intricately painted walls and ceilings and Buddhist icons, Rousseau’s landscapes, the Greek and Roman sculpture, the Medieval tapestries. And somewhere among the decorative arts in the South Pavilion, a perfectly paneled Parisian drawing room transported me to 17th Century France, and I felt better.

Leave it to my Dad, the biggest kicker of ass and taker of names I ever knew, to inspire me to shake off my self-pity and resolve to get back to work. And maybe I also needed to spend an afternoon immersed in the work of other artists to remind me that there are still many, many stories inside of me waiting to be told. Yes, writing is hard work. It requires time and dedication and solitude and sometimes even a little blood. (That may sound dramatic, but if anything I’ve ever written has made you cry, I promise it’s because I cried while writing it.)

Writing is hard. Doing the work is hard. But I also love it. Most of the time, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. And since I’ve decided that – one way or another – it’s how I’m going to make my living, it’s time to get back to it.

Well, almost. With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, I’m not quite ready to go back to reality just yet. Moping done, I cashed in some airline miles and booked a plane ticket out of L.A. Because in order to fully recover my equilibrium, I need to spend a few days in a beautiful place with people I love. I’ll make sure to bring my journal.

Until next time, friends.

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19 thoughts on “Endings.

  1. I desire everything is getting well between you and your responsibilities. Just enjoy each day and have courage to face everything that appears to be a burden to you. There will constantly be an end, tiring, cynical, and sad days, but you’ll surely get out of what makes you unhappy.

  2. Well said. I’m so glad you could spend your dad’s bday at the Getty. It was a long month. Time to rest and recovery. Reload for the next adventure.

  3. You write so well Sarah! I know I have stated that before’ but its true’ Yes Sarah’ I too’ cherish the vivid blossoms’ the hues’ of pink’ lavender’ and fragrant’ thank you for sharing’ I do hope the morning summer sun warms upon your face’. and the hues of summer bring your heart comfort and peace both.

  4. You are a really good and evocative writer, and a most excellent photographer or picture picker. Most of your photos are entirely barren of human presence, though, which speaks to a certain kind of withdrawal from society, which may be part of your unhappiness. I would like to see more pictures like the one of your mother in Wales and holding you as a child. Those were stunning. Also since you write about yourself, use some recent head-on pictures of you and maybe with some of those around you, even if they are theater people. I don’t use many pictures of myself in my blog, so I guess I’m a little withdrawn also. I don’t usually write about myself, though, so I’ve got a half-baked excuse. – Mike

    • Mike,

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them and I appreciate you reading my blog. I try to keep people out of my photos on purpose, though I selectively bring myself and people I know into certain photos when I feel it’s appropriate. You bring up an interesting point: why do I share things that are so personal and yet don’t like to share photos of myself in those same posts? I don’t know if I have an answer for that, but you’ve certainly given me food for thought. Thank you for your insightful commentary – you’ve given me much to mull over. Cheers to you and Happy Fourth!
      Sarah

  5. I can totally relate to the moping, only I haven’t got over it yet. I’m suffering with a serious case of writer’s block. Music seemed to help a little earlier, but I’m still dragging my feet. I feel like I need someone to smack me out of it or at least inspire me, wake me up…

    • Exercise is always helpful for me when I’m feeling blocked. Get out of the house and go for a walk. In terms of something to smack you out of it, try the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. But nothing will substitute for forcing yourself to sit down in front of your computer or with a pen and paper, and refusing to move. Set a timer for a half an hour, put your phone on silent, and don’t do anything else but write. Staring at the blank page will drive you crazy enough to write something, even if it’s just “I don’t know what to write.” Do that every day, and I guarantee you’ll start writing more. Writing is a practice. The more you commit to do it, the more you will. Good luck!

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