The Recruiter is finished!!! At least--this latest draft is. I finished it three days earlier than the deadline, which surprised me. And then this thing opened up--time. I have time. I'm not on deadline anymore. I can talk on the phone. I can saunter and amble and loaf. I can think about getting a job--a real job.
I went and got it copied, ten copies, for this weekend. Bought a birthday present for a friend. Made lasagna for C--from a recipe even! Accompanied him when he took Trixie to the vet for her follow-up shots. (Poor thing, she hated every single minute she spent in the car and let us know with piteous wails. You never heard anything so pathetic.)
I hope all this work was not for naught. Rebecca asked me the other week if I could take satisfaction just in having done it, to the best of my abilities. You know, intrinsic value rather than extrinsic reward and all that. I knew what she was aiming at, I saw her point and it was a good one.
But I had to answer her honestly: I want this thing to be produced. If it doesn't get produced somewhere somehow I will feel disappointed. I won't stop writing. I won't jump off a bridge. But you know--I put in the time and the work--and I would like to see it go all the way.
OI've written other things that never saw the light of day, of course. A novel that is, even as we speak, collecting dust in the basement. And a good thing, too. It simply wasn't good enough. I'm glad it's not out in the world with my name on it, even though there were pages and whole chapters that I thought were pretty good.
Many writers have unpublished novels, screenplays, playscripts sitting in drawers somewhere. And poems. god, only a fraction of the poems I write ever go anywhere. Lots and lots of them are composted. I've learned to live with it. nature is wasteful. Think of the figs smashed on the sidewalk in front of our house, leaving dark stains. Think of the trees that fall in the forest and no one ever hears them. it's all right you know. It's all right for life just to happen without a big parade and brass band announcing it.
Still, I would like this play to have a production. A good one. And more than one. If I'm honest I have to say that I'd like this thing to fly, all over the place. I'd like it to take on a life of its own.
Two kids just came to the door selling newspaper subscriptions to get into college. Mexican-Americans. The older one did all the talking. His parents were deported so he lives with his two younger brothers in an orphanage in Tracy. The little ones are five and six. The parents had come to this country as babies, but were picked up by INS and sent back, six months ago. This kid talked a mile a minute, very intelligent, very well-spoken. determined. He wants to get his own apartment when he's eighteen and raise his younger brothers by himself. He wants to get them out of the orphanage.
His friend was younger and more shy.
Christopher chatted with both of them, offering encouragement and listening. He bought a newspaper subscription.
After we closed the door behind them we just looked at each other. What must it have been like for those parents to have to leave three young children behind when they went back to Mexico? Why couldn't they take them with him? Is there more to the story than what he told us? I didn't even know about orphanages inside this country. Could we...?
We have the phone number of the orphanage.