…even when I try.
I haven’t posted a thing about writing, theatrical or otherwise, in months, for several reasons. The biggest, of course, is that I’m currently in southern China, teaching English. Having never been to Asia, or taught anyone under university age, those took priority, by default.
My internal jury about whether this was the best thing for me to do is still out. I am glad, however, I shook up my life, because I needed to dwell on something other than writing/theatre/drama at all for a while. Any regular followers of mine may have noticed I said basically nothing about doing my long-gestating show It Started With an Allergy at the Edmonton Fringe last summer. And I’m flummoxed to say I’m still not ready to write about it. You always hope that any show you work on will provide great experiences, memories, and fodder for further work…for now, in short, that show provided me none of that.
Over the last year or so, I had (I thought) accepted that theatre would never be my bread-and-butter, and to take a new approach. I genuinely felt ready, at last, to dive back into academia and do a PhD in drama. Imagine my dismay when, after two years of trying, I wasn’t accepted to any of the programs I wanted. Rejection is not something I’m willing to take right now, so all of my well-meaning well-wishers, offering me other possible literary programs to apply for, didn’t hear back from me.
So I spent a miserable few weeks this past fall wondering, at 41 years old, where the heck my life is going next. And bugger if the answer didn’t, I swear, just ARRIVE.
I was asleep. And woke up at 3 am thinking “Oh…that’s, that’s an idea, I have one two three complete scenes in my head, that’s a whole story beginning to end, it can wait till I get up. And have to eat breakfast. And then teach all day.” Nope. I had my laptop beside me, and, without putting my glasses on, banged out one page of the most utter nonsense one could see. It made just enough sense that in the morning, I could retype it as an outline, in actual sentences. And the following weekend, I wrote the whole play out, except for the last scene, all in one go.
It’s good. It’s REALLY good, I don’t say this often. It’s so good, I felt so good writing it, that I’m still twitchy. The last time I remotely felt this way was on finishing Take a Bite. I polished up this new play, formatted it, and I’ve made a list of places to send it.
That’s what happens to me. Whenever the doubt surfaces — am I actually a writer anyway? — it eventually appears again. I know I’m a writer because even when I try to stop, it won’t go away.