Annual Navel Gaze 2018

As I say every year, I don’t do New Years resolutions. Instead, I take a look back at the past year and take stock of the things that happened, the things I accomplished, and then look a head to the new year and see what I want to accomplish.

Here’s a look back at things I accomplished in the past year.

  • I launched a podcast for introverts with my friend Jess McAuley. After attending a friend’s birthday and feeling awkward and foolish at not knowing how to interact with people, I spoke to fellow my introvert, Jess and together we launched “The Introvert’s Guide To…” in which we try and tackle a new issue each week and figure out how to navigate what seems like an introverts world.
  • I performed The Commandment at the Fundy and Halifax Fringe Festivals, received rave reviews, and was named Outstanding Solo Show at the Fundy Fringe.
  • My Theatre podcast Stageworthy crossed the 150 episode threshold.
  • I think I finally figured out how to finish the Christmas solo play (as yet untitled) that I’ve been working on for about three years.
  • I moved again (which I wasn’t happy about, but it worked out). My landlord sold the building, and I got one of those notices that says the new owner is moving into my apartment, so out I went. Apartment hunting in Toronto is a terrible experience, full of scammers and people over charging for closets. I hope I don’t have to do it again for a very long time. But I do have a bigger apartment, in a nicer neighbourhood, so I guess that’s a win.

On the other hand, while I’m super happy about this stuff, I have to admit that there’s some other stuff I’m not so happy about.

  • While I’m generally pretty content being an introvert, and staying home, I do feel like I’ve been isolating myself a bit. It’s all well and good to be a homebody, but not at the expense of close friendships.
  • I’ve also come to the realization that I have not been kind to myself this year. I have avoided a number of social engagements because “no one really likes me”, which is something I chalked up to introversion, but I have come to realize instead is a self-esteem thing (and I haven’t thought about self-esteem being an issue for me in a long time). So, I need to find ways to combat what my brain tells me, so that I isolate myself a little less.
  • I’m also not good at forgiving myself. An important step in recovering from a fuck up, is to be able to forgive yourself for making it. Which I have not been particularly awesome at.

So that’s the year that was. Now let’s talk the year ahead.

  • As I said last year, I want to find more performance opportunities for The Commandment. I did that this year, let’s see what can be done this year.
  • Finish the (as yet untitled) Christmas play (which I describe as a Christmas play for grownups that like a little horror in their holiday), and perform it. Which means I’m in the market for performance space. Ultimately, my ideal situation I would love to be able to perform The Commandment in the summer, and this new piece in Nov/Dec.
  • Write more. I have this new apartment where I’ve created this working space. I should use it. I always said I wanted a work space and that if I had one, I’d be able to write more. So now, it’s time to prove that true.
  • Keep Stageworthy growing. The podcast turns three years old at the beginning of January, and so I want to expand its reach. Interview some bigger names more regularly, get a little more out of the Toronto theatre bubble and talk to more people in other places, and generally grow the audience.
  • Get more traction with The Introvert’s Guide To…. We had a good start, but then needed to take a bit of a hiatus. The goal is to continue consistent podcast production, and to engage with the community a bit more to try and find out what they want, and what questions they want us to tackle. So far, Jess and I have been able to come up with some good topics, but there are times we struggle, so hopefully, by connecting with other introverts, we’re able to get a larger pool of topics than we’re able to come up with on our own.
  • Be kinder to myself:
    • Recognize that my tendency to believe that people don’t actually like me is not a part of being an introvert, and is just a story I tell myself, which means it’s something I can unlearn.
    • Say yes to more social engagements, and don’t talk myself out of actually going.
    • Do more things with friends. Yes, being a homebody is nice, but you have to go out sometimes. It’s better to connect with people in person, than digital.

How was this year for you? What are you most proud of? What are you looking forward to next year?

The Annual Navel Gaze 2016

As I say every year, I don’t do New Years resolutions. Instead, I take a look back at the past year and take stock of the things I accomplished, and then look a head to the new year and see what I want to accomplish.

There’s quite a few things to list for the highlights of the past year.

  1. I launched my weekly theatre podcast, Stageworthy. The show has been picking up momentum, and listenership has grown over the year.
  2. I premiered my solo play The Commandment at the Hamilton Fringe, and was named a Critic’s Pick by the Hamilton weekly.
  3. I had a pretty prolific writing year. The priority was getting The Commandment into performance shape – that and the rehearsal and production of that play took up the first half of the year, but after that I wrote a new play at the Red Sandcastle’s annual “100 Monkeys 24 Hour Playwriting Festival”, worked on revising an old draft, wrote a scary Christmas poem, and have begun work on something I’d like to perform next year at Christmas.
  4. Travel: Sarah and I went to New Orleans last year in January, explored the French Quarter, saw our first ever Mardi Gras parades and had a great time. We also spent a lovely long weekend in Prince Edward County at a lovely little boutique hotel, and took a weekend away to Port Hope to write and relax. With work, I spent some time in San Diego, Boston, and Dallas.
  5. I hosted my second Spring playwrights retreat on Toronto Island at Artscape Gibraltar Point. Again it was great to spend some time writing with another group of writers, and get away from the usual routine to focus for a few days.

For next year:

  • I want to find more opportunities to perform The Commandment, as well as try to perform some other new works. I know at least one piece I want to do in November or December, but there’s another piece I’m working on as well that I’d love to perform sooner than that. Of course, that means I’ll have to do some fundraising, but if I can swing it, both of these pieces are things I’d love to present.
  • I’ll be hosting a third Spring playwrights retreat on Toronto Island. Details on that will be coming in the new year.
  • I’ll be spending a few days in New York with Sarah in March, where we’ll get to see Hamilton on Broadway, and do a bit of exploring in NYC.
  • Heading to New Brunswick to see some dear friends get married, and then spending a week in a cabin with Sarah writing and relaxing.
  • Continuing the Stageworthy podcast into its second year.
  • More writing, more creating.

The Annual Navel Gaze 2015

As I say every year, I don’t do Resolutions, but as the year draws to a close, I do like to look back at the year I’ve had and pick out some highlights. Sometimes I even post about things I’m looking forward to in the coming year. So let’s get to the year in review.

  1. Sarah and I took some wonderful trips, both road trips across Ontario (Penetanguishene in the Summer to see the amazing Sarah Strange bring the house down in a panto at the Kings Warf Theatre; and Minden for a fall getaway), as well as a powerhouse writing vacation in Montreal.
  2. I travelled a bunch. My awesome job gives me the chance to travel, and if I get some free time, I do some sightseeing. Highlights for me were Boston, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
  3. I hosted a long weekend playwrights retreat on Toronto Island at Artscape Gibraltar Point, which was a great experience. I enjoyed both taking the time to hunker down and write, as well as having the chance to get to know a few other playwrights.
  4. I decided that it was time to get off my butt and finally do something with the solo show I’ve been working on for almost ten years. So, I focused on it for a while and worked it into a condition that I’m pretty happy with, and then I submitted it to the Toronto Fringe lottery and promptly did not get in. So, I submitted it to the Hamilton Fringe Lottery, and also didn’t get in. Except that I did. The day that Sarah and I were heading out for our Christmas break, I got an email from them saying that I’d been on the waiting list and a slot had opened up for me.
  5. I wrote a lot. Not as much as I’d like to But probably more than I have before.
  6. Evenings and weekends just staying home with Sarah. Its not a huge thing, but its a nice thing. Just being at home, relaxing with the one you love.

And as for next year:

  • Launching my weekly theatre podcast.
  • Performing my solo play, The Commandment.
  • Hosting another playwrights retreat at Gibraltar Point.
  • More awesome times with Sarah.

The Annual Navel Gaze 2014

As I say every year: I don’t do new year’s resolutions. Instead I take a look back at the year and see what I accomplished. Then I look ahead to the new year and see what I might want to accomplish in the year ahead.

Quite a bit happened for me in 2014. So, let’s go over the highlights:

  1. I found a full time job at an awesome company. After two years of working part time jobs, I finally found a full time job at EventMobi, doing tech support, and I love it there.
  2. Keystone Theatre presented The Last Man on Earth at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto, which allowed me to have this moment with a poster of me as Gormless Joe in the lobby.
  3. My play The Parliamentarians was performed at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. It was a huge thrill to work on this play with my very talented cast: Richard Beaune, Scott Clarkson, Rebecca Rodley, Siobhan Richardson and Adrianna Prosser, and I’m very grateful to both them and to Rosemary Doyle at the Red Sandcastle. Also, big thanks to my stage manager: Christopher Douglas. Its really interesting to see how the cast helped me improve the show. It was really gratifying to work with actors who were able to give some great feedback that helped me improve the play.
  4. Keystone Theatre presented its latest show, Gold Fever at the Toronto Fringe Festival to rave reviews. It was great to rework this play and find new depth. It was in the end, very different from the play that we presented at the Festival of Clowns in 2013.
  5. Sarah and I spent Canada Day weekend in Niagara on the Lake, which was an exciting surprise getaway.
  6. We also went to a cabin in the woods, on the other side of Ottawa. It was a little place with no running water and no electricity. Its the most rustic I have ever been. The purpose of the trip was to do some writing, and we did. I was working on a new play, and Sarah was working on an awesome new project. We’d wake up in the morning, and make some coffee on the Coleman stove, and then sit out on the porch overlooking the a ravine as the mist rose.
  7. In November I took a shot at NaNoWriMo and tried to write a novel in a month. I didn’t make it to the 50,000 word goal, but I learned a lot about writing, so I count it as a win.
  8. In addition to NaNo, I’ve been writing quite a bit.
  9. Sarah and I also took a big nine day trip to New York City, and it was awesome. We’d been planning the trip for a year and a half, and it was just as awesome as we had hoped.

Next year, is about creating.

  • Reviewing the drafts of plays I’ve written this year, and starting the work on revising them.
  • In May, I’ve organized a weekend Playwrights’ Retreat, with Artscape Gibraltar Point.
  • Planning to submit one of my plays for the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival. The only question is, which one?

That was my year, and a look ahead to next. How was your year?