Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yin v. Yang: Dawn of Just Us

Mr. Cherney, I've got some good news and I've got some bad news.

Of course you do. That's how you people operate.

You people?


Skip it. What's the good news?


Well, the good news is that for the third year in a row, your plays are being produced in various parts of the country.


That is good news. I'm afraid to ask. What's the bad news?

You know that place you've been living for the past ten years? You're going to have to vacate in 90 days. Your landlords are kicking you to the curb.


Lovely. Just lovely. Looks like I've got the makings of a new melodrama.


Such is the year 2016 for your humble narrator, a shit storm with patches of intermittent sunbursts. This recent life development has made us just another goddamn casualty of the housing market feeding frenzy that's tearing up the greater Portland metro area and rest of the formerly free world. Our landlords ambushed us with the news that they have decided to put our home sweet home on the market this summer. A Seller's Market in this economy should be a good thing, but not for the flotsam and jetsam in this society that we suddenly find ourselves to be. One shouldn't really begrudge them this golden opportunity after the housing crisis, but this has created another housing crisis as a result: OURS. So I'm summoning up some old Hungarian black magic and putting a curse of this joint when we walk out the door for the last time, probably involving bleeding walls.On second thought, I'll wait until we got they return our deposit.

We're not alone in our currently miserable situation. Truth to tell, we could have gotten 30 days notice instead of 90 as so many have, but rent prices have skyrocketed and the rules of the game have been rigged against us...and apparently everyone else trying to find a place to live. In most scenarios, rental applicants must have income three times the rental price of even the dumpiest of dumps. The long slog of searching for the new Casa de Cherney continues on for forty days and forty nights with parking and burning bush available for an additional fee. But hey, everyone wants to show you their lovely clubhouse and fitness center, neither one you allowed to move into even though they make the actual living space a spider hole in comparison. Then there's the fluctuating rents that are up, down, flying around like the stock market so that what was quoted today will be another story entirely tomorrow even if it is a day away.

The initial anger over the whole situation hasn't diminished much, even with the brave face I am using to mask my true feelings. Soon panic will set in and that's never a good thing. The rug has pulled pulled out from under my wife and I, uncovering an open trap door on a Wile E. Coyote cliff over The Dreaded Depths of Despair. It won't be long before we start standing at freeway exits with cardboard signs that read: WILL WORK FOR RENTAL APPLICATION FEES

It's all so overwhelming and all encompassing, not to mention the fact that it is occurring at an extremely inopportune moment in time. (I don't know, kid. When exactly would be a  more convenient time to get tossed out in the snow on your ass by Mr. and Mrs. Snidely Whiplash?)  This prolific period of creativity I find myself in (aka The Final Push) is getting side-lined by this mess and the pause button is working overtime, adding to my frustration, stress levels and ever looming depression. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let this become another lame excuse for procrastination. The iron's hot and so am I. Not just under the collar either.

What's really keeping me afloat, besides the love of my life who is in the same rapidly sinking ship with me and the support of my family, is my continuing good fortune with my plays. No sooner did the StageCoach Theatre Company production of DEAD TUESDAY end that the Brazos Theatre Group in Waco, Texas agreed to produce SONG OF THE LONE PRAIRIE over Memorial Day weekend. That will be the last time the show will go under that title for in July, Theatre Suburbia in Houston, Texas (a Lone Star two-fer!) had agreed to stage the same show under that thar other title, SONG OF THE CANYON KID as their summer mellerdrammer (their word, not mine.) This will be the name of that particular script going forward and I begin a re-branding process I should have started a year ago.

On top of all that, I am relaunching the novelization of SONG OF THE CANYON KID at Northwest Local, the Beaverton City Library's local author fair on May 21. I'll be doing a reading, selling my wares and try not to think about what freeway underpass I may be sleeping under soon. Gotta keep my pecker up for that. (No, not that one.) Stiff upper lip and all that rot. It ain't easy. My mouth is cramping.

In the midst of this chaos, it's tough to gain perspective, but I think I have a handle on it, though my grip is slippery thanks to my sweaty palms.

I reckon I've been on the carousel for too long. It's a pleasant enough ride traveling in circles, not without its ups and downs if you decide to hop on a pony.But if you choose to sit in the swan, you can sit back and allow the passing world lull you into submission. And there lies the problem. The merry-go-round can lull you into a false sense of security, dulling your senses and ultimately making you the one thing you can't afford to be in today's world: vulnerable. And when you're yanked off the carousel and thrust into the driver's seat of a bumper car and discover the steering wheel is missing, forcing you to get out and hitchhike. Wait until you get on the roller coaster. Some of the tracks are missing.

You know what? I'm sick of this goddamn carnival. The rides suck, the games are rigged and the hot dog on a stick has splinters. It's time to shake it off, regain our footing and quit acting like victims. We ain't down and out, but we have been knocked for a loop by a sucker punch out of nowhere. But we're gonna keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out. They can't lick us. We'll go on forever 'cuz we're the people!

Oh boy. I've turned into Ma Joad. But I'm okay with that. I can go all Howard Beale too. That's a righteous combination in my book. More importantly, I gotta be me. I'm dead serious when I say that this is Cherney's Last Stand and I'll be damned if I'm going let this get in my way . There's no way in Heaven, Hell or Hillsboro that this thing is over yet.

It's yin and yang, yang and yin. If it ain't yin, it's yang, vice versa and simultaneously. They seem to be on equal footing at the moment, which at least allows me some semblance of balance in this mine field. Then again, this could all very well be a knockdown, drag-out fight for the ownership of my soul. But I'm not going to stand on the sidelines while it all goes down. I'm throwing down the gauntlet myself and declaring this triple threat match because I'm stepping back into the ring.

In the words of Yogi Berra, Lenny Kravitz and the fat lady getting ready to sing at the opera, it ain't over 'til it's over.