Received the following email yesterday:
Hi Maya! A couple of years back you were writing a story on outdoor dramas. You saw our show in Harrodsburg Ky. “The Legend of Daniel Boone”. You stayed for the party afterwards. I never got to read your story/article. Was hoping you could tell me where to find a copy? Hope you had fun while you were here. Come see us again soon.
How can I explain that no, I never wrote that article, but my desire to write about it has landed me in previously unimaginable circumstances?
In the summer of 2001, I spent three months driving around the US, documenting forms of American theater not usually written about by our current cultural apparatus*: passion plays, outdoor dramas, community pageants, Native American “ceremonials” held as tourist entertainments. I was going to write an article about my travels for Theater Magazine –even used their letterhead to get me free tickets to the plays. Unfortunately, I both underestimated the amount of material I would gather (I ended up with 67 HOURS of production and interview footage), and overestimated my abilities to process said material (24 plays over 10 weeks, having talked to hundreds of people) into a thoughtful and concise 30 pages within a month after finishing the trip.
The only reason I applied to graduate school was because I thought it might be a good place to support me while writing about my trip. Jury’s still out on that one, but way more on that later.
But tomorrow, I promise: Daniel Boone: The Man and the Legend
*By which I mean the academy and The New York Times theater section.