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HOLIDAYS DON’T COUNT!

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Susan RubinWell that’s a striking and somewhat annoying title, right? Of course holidays count. People need to spend time with family and friends, changing their daily activity from work to leisure time. Or do they?

I find myself in a category I can only call Work Freaks. I love my friends and my husband, the cats of course too! But the cats don’t drink – leisure time with them is relegated to tossing around their catnip toys and watching them paw-punch each other in the head happily once they are loaded.

But for me, it is an empty day, week or month if I don’t write. Write something creative, and emails don’t count. In my last blog I said that I envy actors, who after a performance can go out and drink, shaking out the shadows from their psyche and getting away from the character they are playing. But actors – unlike writers – can only work when the set is alive and the other actors are there. I can write any time. And more and more that’s what I do.

The writing is better than a holiday present because the thrill lasts longer: case in point, I got myself a new handbag for a holiday gift. I watched every day to see when it would arrive. I stared at the picture of it on the order confirmation – I yearned for it. Then it arrived. I put my stuff in it, and in a matter of hours it was just – my new bag.

On the other hand, I spent most of my holidays doing re-writes on my play. I re-read them every day, and every time I did, I would potchky around with the words (“potchky” to fiddle around with – from the Yiddish – to potchky!) and I would find a nuance or a different word to put in that thrilled me. Gave me goose bumps. Sometimes I found whole aspects of a character that gave them a dimension I hadn’t known was there.

I look over at “my bag” and I still like it, but it is not an accomplishment. People will not look at my bag and have a new insight into the loneliness of teenage girls. Those who see my play, if all goes right, will get some message from my interior world about something that will connect with their interior worlds. This is really a gift, for the audience (hopefully) and for me definitely.

I am not making a case for not seeking material goods. And I am certainly not making a case for not drinking and carousing with friends and family.

I am just saying that for me, the deep value in life is from telling stories and communicating from my soul. I don’t wait to drink or party for holidays, I do it whenever I want to. I think the balance in my life is about working almost every day, partying as much as I like, or as often as I have somebody around to share the bottle with, and knowing that this is a Great Life.

My husband and I decided after a ten-day stretch of working at home – a stretch that covered Christmas and New Year’s – that we really had to do something recreational. So we went to Malibu to our favorite outdoor seafood place. It was freezing cold (meaning 60 degrees!) and so foggy I lost sight of my husband when he got in line for our fish. Malibu looked dry from the LA drought and even the gorgeous ride through Topanga Canyon was grayish and not the usual lush ride through a lush landscape that it almost always has been for me.

I looked down at my bag on the floor of the car. It was still nice. I had a lobster for lunch and felt that it was staring at me the whole time I was gutting it. We were so cold we had to sit inside instead of our usual perch on the patio where we often go to gaze at the ocean. All in all, it was a fizzle. BUT… when I got home, I read the new monologues in my play, and they were warm, and sunny, deep and upsetting. Just like I like my writing to be.

Moral of this blog: live it every day folks. Work, party, work, enjoy, work  some more. Those of us who love our work have a 365 day a year gift – the kind that comes from inside and cannot be taken away, or get tiresome.

Happy Holidays everybody!!!

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About Susan Rubin

I am primarily a playwright. My work’s been performed in Cuba, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and New York. The World Premiere of my newest play, “eve2” opens at LA’s Bootleg Theatre in July, 2013. It’s a surreal take on Eve and Adam, only this time, Eve gets a second bite at the apple! I write documentaries on subjects from women's reproductive rights, to the rise of the radical right wing, to violence against women. The documentaries tell brutal truths; they are balanced for me by my plays that are comedic, magical, musical and surreal. Telling stories with a different voice. I write for Ms Blog - part of Ms Magazine, founded by Gloria Steinem, and currently the longest existing feminist magazine in the US. Blogs let me talk to a large audience about difficult issues with irony and humor. Six of my Ms blogs are now a web series, “Vagina Dialogues” on Funny or Die.