Sunday, April 27, 2008

writing through

After the incredible frustration of the last post, I have broken through some of it.

I was doing character research and realized that I was trying to force the play and the characters to be something they aren't. I am thinking this play is going to turn out to be something else entirely, which is fine and good. sometimes i forget who is REALLY in charge of my writing.

I came up with a new character who I saw in one instant, complete, walking around, and a huge chunk from the play that was missing. It was so strange, but it was good, and I knew it was right, because I felt that knot of anxiety, frustration and upsettedness just disappear the second he walked through the door in the play. And the funny part? All he did was enter, look around the room, hook his thumbs onto his belt and stand there, working a toothpick in his mouth. It was like he was just waiting in the wings for his time on stage, and came on and waited for me to direct him. Or, rather, he waited until I was ready so I could hear what he had to say and see what he had to do. I had so much of a giant storm of frustration and anxiety about this play that I couldn't see I had a fully formed character just waiting for the right moment.

What else is funny about Abe is that that is a huge part of his character: he's just enough off-kilter to make everyone think he's the strangest guy ever, but he's cool with it, he is who is he, and he isn't made to feel like he made a mistake by just being himself. And he's a patient man. VERY patient man. I mean, he waited weeks for me to notice him, he's got the patience of a saint!

So I kept at it. I just kept reading and writing and crossing out and getting frustrated and wanting to throw the play out and go be an accountant, but instead of just indulging in what would make me supposedly feel better, I just kept writing. I know intellectually that that is a hard thing to do. I don't think emotionally it's registered yet with me that I wrote through.

It was like when I was dating Tad, and I had to write the play I had submitted a proposal for prior to spring break for a reading in the next school year. I had written a scant few scenes, but really hadn't finished the play, and i thought that might be bad luck. And despite the fact that it caused fights and friction between Tad and I for other reasons, I was on the plane back home and i realized that I had written an entire play in a week. And I smiled to myself as I realized it and I smiled for weeks afterwards. But it didn't dawn on me when I did it, it was only after when I was doing something else.

I trusted my mind and it took me there. Thanks, Buddha!

Also, I was watching 'Step it up and Dance' on Bravo yesterday morning. At one point before Tovah got eliminated, one of the judges told her something along the lines of the following: 'You're a beautiful girl, completely gorgeous, but when I see you dance, I don't see someone who has to dance or die.' Tovah was a good dancer, but it did seem she had no heart to it. She felt blocked, like she had something to write, or in her case, dance through, before she really saw what it would do for her (she's only 21 I think so she has plenty of time).

And that's what it is. Regardless of your art you do, dance, painting, writing, singing, whatever, it's do it or die. If you can go without doing it and you don't die inside, then do something else. The only reason to do this is because your every heartbeat and breath depend on you doing it.

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