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BWW Blog: Goodbye (...For Now)

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Something urged me to write. I don’t know what that urge was but it made me follow through on it

BWW Blog: Goodbye (...For Now)To think this will be my last BroadwayWorld blog post is truly heartbreaking for me although I knew it was inevitable. I would love to write more, but as I begin my senior year of college with a dark cloud of stress about my future, I find myself unable to write from the heart anymore. I must summon the almost empty canister of creative energy for my graduate playwriting class, advance seminar for screenwriting and prepping my capstone for composition.

The ad I saw on Facebook-mind you I never click on any ads-for BroadwayWorld calling for student bloggers for the summer during the start of my quarantine period was met with skepticism. Why would they want a perspective of a writer? I use to be a performer, but do they want to hear from a guy who was rejected by the community he loves? Something urged me to write. I don't know what that urge was but it made me follow through on it by asking Taylor Brethauer, BroadwayWorld's social media manager, if "theatre writers can join in on the fun." She gladly said "yes" and gave me a due date for my first draft.

I wanted to share my experiences with the world through my writing process because I saw it changing right in front of me when the COVID pandemic happened. At first, I wanted to talk about how quarantine and being kicked out of my university with less than a week's notice have impacted me, but those raised up questions on why I think certain ways and that caused me to write another article answering that question and it became a cycle that I chronologically arranged in my 3 part series "A Portrait of an Artist As A Young Man," which was my rip off of James Joyce's "A Portrait of an Artist As A Young Man." I never read his novel.

What came out of my confusion, stress and uncertainty were blogs that reevaluated how I viewed myself as an artist. I feel foolish calling myself an artist or even as a musician because of how other people treated me. Honestly, as I write this in my college dorm, I'm kind of ashamed to call myself a musician at my university so much to the point I decreed to the music department to "never use my name in any advertisement or promotion, because today is the day I break ties and relations. If you don't acknowledge this present and future, then you will have consequences..."

I usually have some regret when I decree things with such vigor, but the next day, I had this sense of pride that I finally took a stance and stood up for myself. I am proud of it. They took away my passion for playing saxophone, although you can debate if it was even there in the first place, but they will not take away my passion for music as a whole (and trust me they tried).

Before quarantine, I was awaiting responses for my internship applications that I spent four months painstakingly applying for despite disapproval from my music advisor, who said he didn't care about my future outside of academia, all while trying to maintain my sanity with a 17 credit course load. Some were for The Broadway League, The Sesame Street Workshop, FOX, NBC and a few local non-profits just to name a few. I applied to that many because in my mind if I applied for a large amount maybe one of them will say yes. Law of Large Numbers-Statistically, the odds were in my favor.

Never in my life, I thought I would be in a position where I would receive multiple rejection letters/suspension of program announcements in a span of a week. I got so use to seeing rejection that I developed a system where if the first word was "unfortunately," I just threw the email in the trash to protect myself from the onslaught of disappointment. I watched John Oliver's coverage of the coronavirus thinking it would never get to that "code red" point, but once Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency on March 7, it got real. Were those nights staying up until 3 am to finish writing cover letters and fixing my resume to match the job descriptions worth it? All the time that I invested, seemed to be a waste. When I finally got all my stuff back into my house, which has never been unpacked, I felt defeated.

This solitary confinement writing for BroadwayWorld really taught me a lot about myself and it came at a really significant time in my life. I reflected on the ways I was treated unfairly at my university whether that be on basis of race, sexuality or disability and decided to address them. I learned about my self-worth as I helped one of my professors create a virtual recording by editing remote sound files from musicians using my ProTools knowledge and getting paid for my work. I'm helping one of my friends create a play about young love and I'm writing music with two of my favorite people for a company that is going through rebranding. If this pandemic didn't happen, I wonder how long would it have taken me to make this same realization.

I love writing, but I never thought blogging would be such an emotional and enlightening experience for me. I sometimes write in a journal to get all the fodder in my brain on paper but having the risk of it potentially being seen is somewhat intoxicating. When Michael R. Jackson, composer/lyricist/book writer of A Strange Loop shared my article The Fear of Seeing Yourself or Why I Regret Not Listening to A Strange Loop Sooner on his Facebook, I was truly amazed at how my words can impact people. Trust me, there was some hate in the comments telling me "[I] need help" and "[I] need a therapist," but that didn't even phase me when there were comments applauding my bravery in crafting such a post and in all honesty those hate comments are right. That article has been my most popular article to date and I made a connection with Mr. Jackson to which I responded to him "I can't wait to talk to you about theatre!" and he said "me too!"

The theatre community has actively rejected me since middle school, but being a part of this community of writers made me feel like I was a part of something really magical. I wished I got to meet other writers through Zoom meetings or through social media but for the first time I felt like I was a part of something, and I was not apologizing for taking up space.

Thank you BroadwayWorld for allowing me, a writer, composer, and ex-performer, to write and express himself in prose. This experience has profoundly changed me, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds as I go into my senior year. Until again...

Michael Bailey

BWW Blog: Goodbye (...For Now)


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