It was another week of sloughing through my rewrite of BROKEN WING. This has become a major rewrite, in fact, I’ve never rewritten a piece of prose this much or this substantially. Poetry, yes, over and over, again and again, but not this much with a piece of prose. But! I’m going to finish the rewrite this week. What I thought would take a week, is going to take six weeks.

Hampshire College and I this past week locked down the date for their production of a staged reading of excerpts from THINGY WORLD! or HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE, a play I was commissioned to write in 1989 by then Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources, Jonathan Lash, who this past summer became President of Hampshire College. The date is March 13th. If you’re in the Amherst, MA, area, come by. The reading is free and begins at 7:30 p.m.

Through archly satirical send-ups of Television Network News, advertising and a Game Show, THINGY WORLD! or HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE exposes America’s self-centered, all consuming materialistic way of life and how it has created a culture of waste and destruction which in turn has helped create climate change and global warming. The play also exposes the ways in which racism and the inequitable distribution of wealth are integral parts of “the environmental crisis.”

The play takes place in 1991–immediately after our great victory in Iropistan–on a TV Newsroom set with Tina Newsworthy and all the O.W.O.W. TV News Fantasy 90 reporters and staff, including weatherman–Barometer Bob, Periodicals Reporter–Luigi Magazini, and Fine Arts and High Culture Reporter–Nigel Fitchingfield. They give us the news, special reports from The All American Toy Fair, two exclusive interviews with The President as he discusses the great victory in Iropistan and what it means for the Free Market Economy, an exclusive interview with Mimi Mebaby, Editor-in-Chief of Self Now magazine and so on. The play then moves to the set of THINGY WORLD, everybody’s favorite Game Show–where “you get what you want if you want it bad enough and where we always say ‘The one with the most toys at the end, wins!'”–and starring game show host, Stan “The Man” Fanofferly–with Lily White, Big Guy, Martha Greed and The THINGY WORLD! singers and dancers. The play then returns to OWOW-TV for The Noontime News: What’s New in the News Behind the News at Noon. There are numerous commercials, of course, for, for example, the Elegante Magnifico–“a Luxmobile for you”–McKing Burger, Coaxie, the Operation Iropistan Commemorative Knife and Rifle Barrel, etc. plus a public service announcement.

Finally, I hate to say it, but HAPPY LIFE fell off the poetry.org best-seller list this week. I guess 25 weeks in a row isn’t too bad, especially for somebody who almost never goes out to hustle the book. And–who knows?–maybe I’ll climb back on sometime in the future.

Until next week, I remain,
Sincerely yours, David Budbill

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It was Robert Burns in his poem To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough who said,

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Translated it reads:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Which is a long way around to tell you that this past week I too was a victim of my best laid plans going askew, although I was not left with ” grief and pain.” I figured this week would be a week of getting back to serious work on the rewrite of BROKEN WING, but instead, I spent most of the week working on THINGY WORLD!, a play I wrote originally in 1989. But I am not complaining.

In 1989, the then Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources, Jonathan Lash, commissioned me to write a play about trash. After thinking about it for awhile, it seemed to me that trash was the symptom and not the disease and I decided I’d rather write a play about the disease itself, which I thought then and–these 23 years later–still think is American materialism and greed. I wrote a play called, THINGY WORLD! HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE.

Through archly satirical send-ups of Television Network News, advertising and a Game Show, THINGY WORLD! HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE exposes America’s self-centered, all consuming materialistic way of life and how it has created a culture of waste and destruction which in turn has helped create climate change and global warming. The play also exposes the ways in which racism and the inequitable distribution of wealth are integral parts of “the environmental crisis.”

After a couple of decades working in Washington, D.C., this past summer Jonathan Lash was appointed president of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. In April 2012 he will be inaugurated and there will be a series of events to celebrate his inauguration, one of which will be a keynote speech by president Lash’s friend Al Gore, another will be a staged reading of THINGY WORLD!

All this is by way of explaining why I have yet to get back to work on the rewrite of BROKEN WING. I’ll write more about THINGY WORLD! later. For now, it’s back to work on BROKEN WING.

Until next week, I remain,
Sincerely Yours, David Budbill

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Happy New Year, and I hope it is too. 2011 was bummer enough.

Who knows what this New Year will bring? I most earnestly hope it will not bring one of those wacko Republican candidates into the White House. I am still a staunch Obama supporter. I hope the Republicans continue to shoot each other and themselves in the feet, but what irritates me more than the Wacko Repugs are the so called left wing liberals who think Obama has betrayed them, and this includes all those black people who voted for the first time last time and who say they won’t vote again. Obama has had an extremely hard row to hoe these past three years and besides he’s his own person and nowhere near as liberal as liberals want him to be. I hope everyone who reads this will vote–hold your nose if you must, but vote.

In the meantime, I’m back to work on BROKEN WING. One of the ways I survive the holidays is by trying to do a little work every day. It helps.

I’m slogging through this very difficult rewrite, trying to change the verb tense to the present tense, where it’s appropriate, and cut back and simplify the sentence structure. I’m known as a plain and simple writer, blunt. When I first wrote BROKEN WING I was delighted that I was making extremely long and complex sentences, because it is something I never do. Now going back over BROKEN WING, I know why I never wrote long and complex sentences. I’m returning to what I do best. I’m listening to that great advice someone gave once: Simplify! Simplify!

Until next week, I remain,
Fondly, David Budbill

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