Drunk at the Base of the Bodhi Tree at Fringe of the Woods festival

I am feeling grateful. This photo by Beth Moon of an ancient tree against an even more ancient sky inspired the nighttime world of my play, Drunk at the Base of the Bodhi Tree which we’re putting on this weekend at #milehightheater in the mountains north of LA. I got more inspiration from a poem by #Jacquelinesuskin called The Spirit of Trees that I commissioned from her at a party at the home of Ellen Gavin and Melinda White. It takes so long and so many people to put together a play — I say “put together” rather than write, because that’s what it is — a strange, sweet, unfolding collage over time and people and places. I first had the idea (and the title) of the play at a writing retreat with Deena Metzger in Pine Mountain Club years ago. I came up with a first draft in a silent retreat with Erik Ehn in Bolinas. A year later I went to a residency at Ucross Staff in Wyoming and rewrote it. Then we did a workshop at #BostonCourtTheater with the wonderful Jessica Kubzansky directing. After that to New Dramatists in NY for a reading directed by the equally wonderful Marya Mazor. Great actors in both of those instances helped to evolve the story and the characters. Earlier this summer my old buddy Paul Codiga called and asked if I had a play — they were doing a festival up near Pine Mountain Club where the play started. Amazing. In the last few weeks the phenomenal Laurel Ollstein has been directing this current production and bringing her own humor and light to it, along with another group of out-of-this-world actors: O-Lan Jones, Diana Burbano, Lauren Campedelli, and Vincent Cusimano. Everyone has worked for free all along the way. The generosity and spirit of artists is incredible to me. Being an artist is a beautiful way to walk the earth. I am indebted to so many for giving so openly to this play, but even more I am indebted to all of you for giving me joy in the process, joy in life.

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