Forest Retreat

Forest for the trees time, boys and girls. It’s been a while since I pulled back from the minutia of every day life to study the bigger picture. Gotta do that every once in a while. Good for the perspective. Especially when I start feeling a little root bound. For me, right now, minutia means a myopic focus on interviewing community leaders for an ongoing project and what I can only think of as damage control.

The recent brouhaha over whether or not Las Cruces “needs” honest critical reviewers has finally begun to die down, but it was a tumultuous week. Which is interesting, considering the very troupe to which my most recent review was directed appeared to take it in the spirit in which it was intended. Not as an indictment against their very existence, as some would have it, but rather as a very forthright appraisal of their debut effort. Therein lies the problem.

Having endorsed my review, some members of that troupe have come under fire by the very people who so often accuse me of trying to splinter and deconstruct the local theater scene. Irony, it seems, is completely lost on these shortsighted individuals. They are not happy with the endorsement and would like to see me denounced. It will be interesting to see if any of their threats, veiled and otherwise, are actually pursued or simply become another volley of ineffectual protests against inevitable progress.

The author respectfully suggests you direct further commentary here.
The author respectfully suggests you direct further commentary here.

I haven’t yet made up my mind about whether or not I will continue to do critical reviews for the local theater scene. I moved here seven years ago to simplify my life, not to complicate it. Despite having lived within theater circles for over four decades, I very studiously avoided doing so when I moved here. That was a hard transition to make, but I am reminded of why I chose that avenue.

The reason is simple: Drama and the not good kind. I had my fill of it in Phoenix and I decided it simply wasn’t worth the torment. This foray into “honest reviews” was an experiment, prompted in part by some of the very people who are now vilifying me for my honesty. As experiments go, this one hasn’t proven very successful, though it has engendered some very interesting results.

For example, I am very happy to discover that I do have a large cadre of mostly silent supporters. This does help, but as I am no longer in a position to create income with my reviews, the question arises, is it really worth my time and effort? Some have argued that the larger issue of raising the bar and thus improving community standards outstrips simple economics. This may be true, but the headache that goes along with it is a side effect more easily dealt with by a much younger man. My days of protest and rabble rousing are long behind me. These days, I’d really much rather kick back with a good book, or do that which I enjoy most: write.

Pretty much says it all...
Pretty much says it all…

I’ll continue pondering for a while and see where that leads me. Some people I respect very much are urging me to take up the banner. As some of those supporters are the very thespians who have come under fire for endorsing me, I do realize that to desert them now would be tantamount to leaving them twisting in the wind. Sticking one’s neck out in the name of a cause is never easy, but removing the reason for doing so tends to leave supporters vulnerable. It’s a sticky wicket, to be sure.

To be honest, I’m just looking forward to a time when that damned review isn’t the first topic of discussion amongst friends and clients. It will be nice when some other “scandal” arises to divert the gossip caused by the petty and narrow-minded. It will also be much easier to think about when I’m not being bombarded by messages from well-meaning friends directing me to what “so-and-so said about you on so-and-so’s Facebook page.” Ugh.

All that said, I really do need to step even further back. It’s a deep forest, after all. Some of the trees are huge, but they aren’t a representation of the whole. No, there are other very interesting things taking place right now that have somehow managed to be eclipsed by all the manure motes wheeling through the air. I need to concentrate more fully on some of those.

For instance, I just spent the second weekend in a row editing a short film with my friend Autumn. It’s been time consuming and far more involved than either of us anticipated, but I am enjoying the exercise immensely. She shot the footage for this film four years ago and it had been in editorial limbo ever since. This has done nothing to dull the anticipation for a completed version.

Two years ago I told her that if she was ever able to recover the footage from her wayward editor, I would be happy to look at it. Three weeks ago she informed me that the recovery had been successful. True to my word, we sat down and looked at it and I loved what I saw. We are now about one third of the way through Nunja: Vampire Hunter. With luck, we will have a rough cut by the end of the month. That, my friends, is an accomplishment.

Holy heartburn! It's actually happening!
Holy heartburn! It’s actually happening!

Another project I am busily working on is the establishment of a film distribution company here in Las Cruces. After a near disastrous first attempt earlier in the year – which fell apart due to personal agendas and an unchecked power trip by one certifiably insane “partner” – those of us who survived the fallout regrouped and are now nearing completion of a newer, stronger prospect.

It has been a struggle and the pressure is on, but we have somehow been able to recreate in two months what took us six months initially. One more month and we’ll be right back where we were before, launching Borderlands Media as an alternative go-to for independent film distribution. That, too, is an accomplishment.

Yet another is the sudden resurgence of interest in my erotic writing career, due in large part to the release of the excellent anthology The Big Book Of Orgasms, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, a little over a year ago. My ebook, Dimensions Of Desire has been picking up sales again, after a two-year lull and I just completed an online interview for one of the many writing blogs out there, detailing my work within the field.

Prompted by all this interest, I finally did what I’ve been meaning to do for over ten years. I now have an author’s website up where I have pulled together what I could from the far reaches of the internet and am now using as a platform for marketing past and future works. Soon I will have my first e-novel posted exclusively to Amazon. These I consider to be large accomplishments.

Finally, I am currently deep in a project for the Doña Ana Arts Council, which involves writing, editing and organizing the program for the Rio Grand Theatre’s 10th Anniversary celebration of its renovation and reopening. Considering I was manager of that venerable institution for three and a half of those ten years, I am honored to have been asked to spearhead this effort.

The allure of the theater, it just keeps drawing me back.
The allure of the theater, it just keeps drawing me back.

I’m going to be honest, though, of all the projects I’m working on, this one is the most frustrating. I won’t go into details, but I will say the only reason I am able to sit and do this mind dump, with less than two weeks left to complete the project, is because I am in a holding pattern, waiting for people to return my calls, so I can interview them. I’ve never been very good at twiddling my thumbs.

There are plenty of other diversions taking up space in my cozy little forest, but time and attention spans limit my ability to enlighten further. Good friends, good times, surprisingly good meals and much-needed laughter help to balance out my factotum existence. All work and no play, after all, does make Dave a very dull boy.

At least that’s one thing I still have going for me. Climbing aboard this log ride, you can be assured you will never be bored. And that, above all else, makes the occasional walk through the dense and crowded forest not only enlightening, but crucial for continued peace of mind. Especially when the drama dust is at its thickest.

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