TABLES OF CONTENT
WRITING TABLE: Poems and rants or songs I’ve never sung, poems I never wrote, and things I lost along the way
(Down stage L Harriet sits in a pool of light at a writing table with a lamp on it along with various notebooks, pens, paper, tablets, and pencils. She speaks sometimes as she writes and, sometimes, she reads out loud what she has just written.)
I used to be a little girl. I used to have lots of fun. I had a dog named Peggy.
When I laid in the grass on my stomach, I looked for four-leaf clovers. When I laid on my back, I watched for animal faces in the clouds and dreamt great dreams of adventure, fame, and fortune.
My goals have become a bit more modest. Now, I just want to not have to deal with assholes.
I remember when I discovered Ish Kabibble was the name of the band manager and comedian for the Kay Kyser Band from 1931 to 1951 and not a word we made up to describe dinner when it turned out to be liver and onions or we recited as we danced to death the worms we had put in a plastic bag.
It was a magic word like goulash, succotash, or Episcopalian. In school the teacher told us murmuring was a special word because it sounded like what it meant. But we all knew it came nowhere near to Ish Kabibble.
It might have been Carol Woolf who introduced the word into our vocabulary. She already had special status because her last name was Woolf. She also had special status because she had seven brothers and sisters, and everyone said she was catholic, whatever that was, but if you were catholic you had to go to church school on Saturday morning plus your mom swelled up every year and had to go to the hospital.
I remember the joy of being a teen-age girl and writing my name over and over, trying out my handwriting and my personality. I remember this girl who brushed her teeth with peroxide. She said it made her teeth white. Who was this girl? I don't remember her name. I don't even remember what she looked like except she had short black hair and very white teeth. Whatever happened to this girl who brushed her teeth with hydrogen peroxide? Did she become a dentist?
The phone rang this morning. I picked up the receiver and pleasant voice said:
I'm calling to remind you your appointment is at 12:30 tomorrow.
Your appointment with Dr. Rubin is at 12:30 tomorrow.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Your appointment with Dr. Rubin.
Is this the Healthcare medical clinic?
No, your appointment with Dr. Rubin.
I don't remember any appointment. Is this a dentist?
A psychiatrist. You must have the wrong number.
I hung up the phone and thought, shit, she doesn't believe me. I felt paranoid all day.
The Love Poem I never sent to him:
I think the only thing of significance
I will have done in my life is love you.
I once thought I might write a play
or sing a great song,
paint a great picture,
dance a beautiful dance
but I think it will be to have loved you.
I love my husband. I hate my mother-in-law. I love my mother. My father is dead. I wish my husband's ex-wife were. My stepchildren are tedious, but I love my cat and dog. That about sums up my social relationships.
In every love relationship there is a certain pain quota which, when passed, makes it so things no longer have the power to hurt. I don't cry anymore.
Life is not fair and the realization that it is as arbitrary as it is, is terrifying. Things do not turn out for the better. Love does not conquer all. Not only is it hard to change this belief but when the evidence to the contrary starts creeping in, the terror is unbelievable.
I have the feeling that life/fate/God isn't too much concerned with getting people together who love each other.
I asked myself/my unconscious will I ever succeed? Will I get what I want? Will I ever be a success? My dream answer told me: the failure rate is 99%. I am running out of reasons to stay alive.
This was a very bad day. Somehow, I managed to get back into the Universe after having been dismissed twice. Either I am going crazy or I've been crazy all my life and now have suddenly become sane.
I ask myself: why should I keep on living?
I don't know what the answer is.
I think it may be resignation.
I guess the only reason to keep living
is to see how it all turns out.
Maria was a filmmaker in a previous life, but since retiring and moving to Bainbridge Island three years ago, she has embraced playwriting with passion. Now, because of the pandemic she has had to reluctantly get back into film production as she waits for live theatre to reemerge.
About The BARN Writing for Stage and Screen group completed their Park Bench Plays project, which was presented online and sponsored by Island Theatre, among others. Their current project is “Tables of Content” in which each of their short plays takes place at a table on an empty stage. The last issue of Context published Coexisting with Cougars, Maria's first “Table Play.” Since then, Maria has written five more “Tables of Content” plays, one of which is Writing Table. Other members of the group have been writing away. The group is making plans to film the “Tables of Content” series while they wait for live theater to begin again.