I have decided to write a play. A one-act play, in time to submit to the Pittsburgh New Works festival contest – deadline, early April. I have decided to write a play, a one-act play, in time to submit to the Pittsburgh New Works festival contest, deadline, early April and I am putting my commitment out here on my blog for personal and public accountability.
I’ve been a little lost in terms of my writing ever since I wrote the first draft of my novel, realized it was the very definition of first novel and probably not worth working on any longer and boxed it, along with all of the writing from my twenties, and moved it to the third floor of the house. The physicality of this act was extremely satisfying, enough so that I didn’t do anything digitally like store the writing on a jump drive and then pack the jump drive away…no, my digital files remain in the same limbo they always have, organized into folders that I don’t look at anymore. It’s a pretty decent system.
I just haven’t known what to tackle next. It’s not for lack of inspiration – I constantly play around with ideas – a mystery novel! An essay! That book on marriage I always talk about! Convincing myself to commit to a project, though, has been much more difficult…probably because I know how much work will be involved once I begin.
But this I know – I have to be writing something. Even if I never make a career of writing (well, creative writing – I do write for a living – you know what I mean) , which I am actually more okay with than I ever thought I would be, I have an artistic streak that needs to be nurtured. It’s the element of my character that has me considering things like pottery classes and taking up impressionist painting or maybe taking a hip hop jazz class – I care about my job and I love my family like crazy but I’ve always needed something else.
Hmm, I feel this post quickly turning into thoughts on whether one can be an artist and work in a non-artistic environment, and if so how, and etcetera…let’s agree I will post on that subject within the month so I can move forward and discuss my decision to write a play…
I decided to write a play because it combines two of the things I am most passionate about – theater and writing – without forcing the kind of nighttime away-from-home commitment acting used to require. What’s more, for a long time now I’ve been complaining to anyone who will listen that I’m sick of hearing, reading, and God forbid, seeing the same plays over and over and over again. If I never see “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream” , “Agamemnon”, “Steel Magnolias,” “Annie,” or “Nunsense” again I will be okay.
What’s even more appealing is the fact that there is an actual deadline I must adhere to, with an actual, tanglibe reward…none of this completing a novel and possibly submitting but also contemplating a host of other options like self-publishing or only publishing for e-readers or moving to a beta group first…instead, I write a play, bring in some actor friends to read through it, revise, read through, revise and submit. I also am really enjoying how already the process is bringing me back to my second love (the theater will always be my second love, I guess, because I started writing before I began acting, although I certainly approached acting with a lot more intensity and determination than I did writing, for a while) – I’m reading plays and thinking about seeing certain productions and remembering what it was like, once, to so totally immerse oneself in a world.
Do you ever write a post and realize that really you are writing at least three posts in one, if not more? I first began veering off with my struggle trying to balance creativity with the rest of my life and suddenly I want to write about my history with acting and theater, which I don’t believe I’ve fully detailed here before. So, hazaah…two more blog ideas (not that what I need is more blogging ideas…what I need is more time to blog).
As for the play itself, I’m walking around with the glimmer of an idea, the same way I walk around with ideas for essays and novels and short stories. Right now it’s shimmery – just out reach – but I’m letting it dance around out there while I do eminently enjoyable things like read Sam Shephard. I have no idea how this is going to work out, but it’s the something I needed to round out my days, and how I spend them.