— From EF —

We’re about to launch, and things are jazzy around here. We leave at dawn on Thursday, and 40 days and 7500 miles are no small challenge. Let’s just slide right around the idea of doing Lear twenty times in eleven locations, with each new location involving an eight-hour day at top speed. Right now it’s avoiding fighting about the format of the packing list and making sure that when we haul ass it’s all good.

We have our own personal edition of Cyberspace, and there’s something sitting in there that has an exquisitely sensitive meter on our neediness. As soon as it looks like a deadline is critical, it kicks into gear and gives us interesting problems. Never fails.

Last week, our email program went west. We depend on this for all our communications while on tour, and I suddenly had to shift to this problem for most of a day. Thanks, guys.

The proofs for our first between-covers novel Realists fell into a black hole at our press, and it took nearly three days to resolve that issue.

We count on being able to play stuff from our iPods through the Prius’ audio while we drive through the broadcasting wastelands, and suddenly the Prius wouldn’t let us select AUX. Damn, the idea of depending on the airwaves through the Heartland. . .

We need to have video files for the academic workshops we’re doing en route. Significant among these is our iconic Macbeth. We have a DVD, but it’s awkward to play from that in a workshop context. I tried two different forms of conversion, but neither would work in the editing program.

The common issue with all these problems is that they involve Cyberspace, one way or another. Makes you think. Our email application is a champ for our needs, but the world has deemed it obsolete, so it was hard to get the info I needed to fix it. Did it anyway.

Hours (literally) on hold with our press revealed that they’d used the wrong file to print the proof. Corrected at no extra cost, other than the loss of five days. OK, we drop-ship a box of Realists to Denver.

Google revealed a chorus of Prius owners lamenting the demise of their AUX. I gleaned enough to do the right move and fire it up again.

We took Macbeth back to the basics, and are currently dubbing the DVD to a miniDv camcorder version, which we can keep forever.

But oh, my friends, I am well and truly fried. The healing happens tomorrow.


I have my raised bed ready on time, for once, and tomorrow I will poke 60 fat cloves of organic garlic into clever little holes, close the fragrant dirt over them, and cover the whole thing with a thick layer of mulch.

I will get my hands dirty. I will kneel down. I will smell the fragrance of the pine/redwood mulch. And I will trust the wisdom of the green kingdom to take it from there.

— From the Fool —

When I was little, some old aunt named Aunt Sophie took me to a restaurant. Mexican, she said. I was old enough to read and when I saw mole poblano on the menu I wondered how you could eat a mole. Aunt Sophie told me it was chicken with chocolate on it but I wouldn’t like it, so I had something else I didn’t like.

But I forgot the chicken part and kept thinking about a chocolate mole. Once I went out in the back yard and dug around hoping I’d come across a Hershey’s mole or a Snickers gopher. It never happened.

The brain plays tricks on you even when you don’t have much of a one. Aunt Sophie told me lots of cultural stuff because she wanted me to be smart although my mom would yell at me, “Don’t be so smart!” So once Aunt Sophie told me about all the Greek gods like Zeus and Apollo, or at least the clean parts, and another time she told me a bunch of Spanish words including pollo for chicken. There always seemed to be this chicken question.

But then I had a dream about Pollo the Greek god of chickens who had a chicken head and long chicken legs but was very smart. I never mentioned it to Mom or she would have given me Ex-Lax.

Same problem for a number of years with Round John Virgin. All the pictures of Baby Jesus and Bethlehem I looked for the little fat guy they were singing about. Maybe he had to go take a leak just before the picture was snapped.

The problem with the brain: it always comes up with more questions than answers. That’s why a lotta guys, I guess, shove their brain up their butt and squeeze hard.

— From CB —

The final days before a major tour, like production week of a new show, are an existence in suspended animation. Highly animated suspension, to be sure. There’s the worklist, of course, and one works through it, hoping that new items won’t outrace the items you cross off. At the last minute you discover that a puppet’s neck needs repair, that the velcro strip needs replacing, that you neglected to send the tech rider to one of the hosts, that the Fool has come down with a cough, that the packing list needs revision: all that’s business as usual.

What’s harder is the suppression of life functions. We manage to go to the gym, eat some good food, do some writing, make some love, but the air we breathe is implacably telling us, “Get back to work!” Normal life is an avoidance mechanism. Even rehearsing the play — the heart of the whole enterprise — starts feeling like self-indulgence. Just make sure you put each rehearsal on the worklist so you can have the momentary bowel relief of crossing it off.

And yet we continue to do this. Maybe it’s the psychology of the career soldier going into combat, but with less danger, less consequence. I couldn’t say, as my sole military service was in high school ROTC, unless you count my last fistfight in 4th grade. In any case, I count off the hours till our dawn departure on Thursday, in hopes of intense engagement with our audiences over the next six weeks and eventual return to normal life, whatever that is.


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© Bishop & Fuller 2015

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