top of page
  • ginnabeans

DOORS. Books 22, 23, and 24

It’s August of 2002, the summer before my third and final year of grad school. I am doing a play –my play, a play I wrote– in a small theatre in New York’s Lower East Side as part of the New York Fringe Festival.

I was nervous about it, sure, but the city’s doors were open to me. The world was open to me. I’d had an absolutely magical summer in which a play of mine was produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville apprentice troupe. Then I went to perform in Proof in Charlottesville, VA with a cast and director that I am still in touch with and love dearly. Also, of course the world was open to me:  I was under the assumption that the ⅔ of grad school education I’d absorbed made me elite.


Ha ha ha. Hahahahahahahahaha!


But ignorance can be so helpful! When we left off, dear reader, I blogged at you about shrinking. How over the years I became an expert at making myself smaller. But in 2002, I was kind of enormous. The venue of my 2002 play was tiny, but I absolutely inhabited it. And the role. And the Lower east side, where I audaciously assumed I’d do many many subsequent plays. I even got reviewed! And it was good!

Surely, this was the first step to my success and fame…


Ha ha ha. Hahahahahahahahaha!


There was success and fame resulting from the 2002 Fringe Festival, but not for me. That was the year that the Fringe’s Hit Show was a little play called “Matt and Ben,” a play in which two women played the characters Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The play was by Brenda Withers and Mindy Kaling . . . I wonder if Mindy felt enormous during the 2002 Fringe?

Here’s what I was musing about at the time:

8/21/02 I am looking forward to returning to New York. How will it all fall into place? Will I get an agent? An apartment? Some income? Will I write something new? Will I meet someone amazing? Who will I hang out with? What part of town will I live in? Will I teach aerobics? Or yoga? Or both? Will I keep my car? Will I have roommates? Will I move in 2003? Or sooner? Or later?

Oh, so many questions, Young Ginna. 

- - -

I returned to grad school and trudged through a tedious final year. I was pretty pissed off most of the time. It was Penn State in 2002. It’s not like sexual harassment was not a problem.

3-4-03  I’m tired. I’m tired of professors treating me like a lesser actress in class and then flirting shamelessly with me in the halls. It’s one or the other; receiving both is just unfair … I get the harassment and I get kicked in the crotch in class. 

Me in 2002


Just smile

I think

I’ve heard

It’s best to do


and inside


“you’re wrong mother fucker;

I can.”

And all they see is a smile

a small


to maintain


But … dear reader… (!!!)  Guess what? In that same third and final tedious year of school, I also fell in love! I’m not joking. I know the exclamation points make it seem less authentic (!!!), but you’re just going to have to overcome that. So much of what I have discovered in my notebooks leading up to journal 24 was about loneliness. Heartbreak. A desire to share the huge love I was carrying around. So, yeah: Yay Love!!!!

I was in love, leaving the institution, and I was enormous. (Outside of the institution anyway.) All open doors ahead.

- - -

In recent years, I have had to work very hard to see open doors. In fact, New York came to represent to me mostly closed doors. I banged on them, of course, but they rarely opened. And over time, I shrunk.

Just as I finished writing the last blog entry, I was invited to play a role in a new play at Theater for The New City, a longstanding downtown theatre on New York’s Lower East Side. It had been 22 years since I did my own play just mere blocks from TNC. And not a single play in between in that neighborhood.

2002 production of my solo play pierced! (left) the distance between my 2002 venue and the 2024 venue (center), Falling Sideways Off the Edge of the Earth by Pamela Enz at Theatre for the New City in association with Invulnerable Nothings; Photo by Christian Frederick Stevens (right)

Here I was, walking the same avenues with expectations that had 22 years to evolve. In 2024, I wanted nothing more out of the experience than the expense of energy, creativity, and effort it would require of me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could give it my all and remain detached from any outcomes, any arbitrary measures of success.

It was a victory.

(I mean, no one is asking me to be on The Office or something called The Ginna Project, but a victory nonetheless.)

And I have some answers for Young Ginna:

I am looking forward to returning to New York. How will it all fall into place? slowly

Will I get an agent? even more slowly

An apartment? yes!

Some income? yes!

Will I write something new? yes! yes! yes!

Will I meet someone amazing? yes!

Who will I hang out with? Jen, Rob, Tony, Sara, Sara, Uma… and like 100 incredible people you don’t know yet.

What part of town will I live in? Washington Heights, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Sunnyside, Upper West Side, Astoria

Will I teach aerobics? yes!

Or yoga? yes!

Or both? yes!

Will I keep my car? yes!

Will I have roommates? only for about six months, and then he will invite you to his wedding and thereby he will be the reason that the sixth question above is a “yes!”

Will I move in 2003? yes!

Or sooner? Or later? no and no

And, Younger Ginna, you didn’t ask, but there’s something else you should know. This city has nothing to do with your smallness or bigness. The doors you imagine to be open or closed to you are not real doors. Imaginary New York City Doors are your made-up convention. So if you are going to play make-believe, you might as well make them to be open. And then believe.

Be Big.

83 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All

2 comentários

Kelley McKinnon
Kelley McKinnon
18 de fev.

“you’re wrong mother fucker;" They most certainly were. Dumbasses

18 de fev.
Respondendo a

Having you on my side, McKinnon, is all the confidence I need.

bottom of page