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#22 Three Little Birds Pitch By My Doorstep

One of my big commitments this summer is taking my solo show, That’s Not How It Happened, on the road. In January, I applied to 4 Fringe Festivals and, much to my surprise, got accepted into all of them.

Now, I’m managing myself through 4 different festivals in 2 countries and not being very organized about it.*

Well, I intended to be organized. I really did. Back in February I created a google spreadsheet with tabs for each festival and a punch list. I named it FRINGE 2019 ORGANIZATION.

Three months later I opened it and wondered why the magical faeries I was counting on hadn’t populated it and starting checking things off that list while I was off doing other things?

I guess that’s the trouble with faeries. Unreliable.

Those faeries are fucking fired.

Over the last three months I’ve been treating my life like an emergency room, mostly responding to emails like: URGENT: YOUR TECH FORM IS OVERDUE, LAST CALL FOR PROGRAM COPY, and TRAUMA ONE BLUE!

Thank god someone likes all CAPS or I wouldn’t have any tech or program copy for any festival this summer.

I finally had a free afternoon yesterday to really sit down and get stuff done. I opened up my laptop and started making my way through each of the 4 festival performer’s guides.

And I froze.

Actually, that’s not true. According to my friend, Barbara, I was twitching, gasping, sighing, scrubbing my face, pulling my hair, and low-key muttering. On repeat

Somewhere in the third cycle of this, she interrupted me: “Everything OK over there?”

Luckily, this was the “pattern interrupt” I needed. A simple redirect.

I was OK. But I had almost fooled myself into believing I wasn’t.

There’s a book I love called Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. It’s all the things Ms Lamott knows about writing (and life as it relates to writing). I read it every other year or so and it’s given me so many lessons. The title comes from a story she recounts about the time her brother, then a homework-averse middle schooler, had waited until the last possible day to begin his report about birds. At the dinner table, the night before it was due, the kid lamented “How am I ever gonna get this done?”

His dad said simply, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

So, I got up from the table, took a few deep breaths, poured a glass of rose and grabbed a fresh new notebook.

(Side note: There are few things I love more than a new notebook, rose chief among them, and I had just purchased this one on Monday. Pro tip: Home Goods is the best for inexpensive notebooks or journals. I’ve even found my absolute favorite German notebooks there on the cheap.)

I liked the message on this one, plus it lays flat.

While peeling the price tag off, I noticed the sticker on the back of the notebook: FRINGE.

Energy renewed, I started making a list of the stuff I needed to do.

And then I made a list of the stuff I’d already done. This is an amazing technique, because, if you’re anything like me, you might lose sight of all the things you HAVE done while ruminating on the stuff you haven’t.

My assistant, Delilah. Helpful as always.

That list was pretty significant. In the last few months, I’ve:

  1. Fielded requests for program copy, photos, tech requirements, and travel dates from 4 festivals.

  2. Hired and started working with a director to reshape my show

  3. Re-written and blocked the first half of the show

  4. Hired a tech person for July shows

  5. Booked my hotel rooms for July

  6. Secured lodging for San Francisco

  7. Updated the “shows” page on my website

  8. Updated my calendar (hey, the little things count!)

  9. Had new pictures taken

Photo Credit: Danny Martinez

Now, the fact that numbers 4-9 actually all happened not “in the last few months” but “yesterday” is irrelevant.

They’re still done.

And every little thing’s gonna be all right.

Now, on to the next bird.

See below for Fringe Festival Links! Hope to see you out there!

What do you do when you’ve got a lot on your plate? Make lists? Hire task rabbit? Netflix and chill? I want to hear it!


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