This week has been a very interesting, almost provocative combination of two types of behavior/moods/feelings for me. Not that I want this platform to turn into… wait, I don’t really know what I want this platform to become and I’m afraid if I start to try to plan or explain, I will lose whatever good is in what I’m doing now.
The first component of my mood, my current state, is the excitement and wonder that comes when I am about to be completely consumed with writing. I never really thought I’d write. It’s not as if it was completely impossible or utterly ridiculous, just not really something I anticipated. But when I started to have ideas that kept me up at night, stories that grew beyond a passing thought, I dove into training. I started with a course on screenwriting as well as absorbing as much “how to” literature I could find from the masters of the art form. Then a story began to grow and it was a play, clearly, not a film. So I read all I could and found playwriting mentors. I wanted to try, as best I could, to step into the writing genre armed with somewhat adequate tools. How I do hate making a fool of myself.
I didn’t expect an idea to come so quickly on the heels of my FringeNYC experience, but it did. There’s a new play in the works. And the characters are definitely talking now. I’m not sure if that’s the official way to describe what happens but for me, once a story starts to solidify and the plot points flesh out, the characters begin to talk. I try to grab my notebook and jot down what they are saying but sometimes I find myself giving voice to the lines. And I’d better do something about that because I’m sure I look crazy. Maybe I should just leave my headphones in or get one of those Bluetooth headsets I hate so that I can pretend to be having a conversation. But I’m usually spouting both parts of the dialogue so that might not work.
This activity is amazing and magical and truly does take me by surprise. And there are times of day and the places that seem to inspire the most active developments. Usually they are very inappropriate- a crowded subway car when I’m standing or (my most trustworthy place) the shower. Yep, for some reason if I am stuck on a scene I know that my nightly shower will provide some illumination. I hope I didn’t just jinx myself by writing that…
So that’s the good side, the great side of this week. I have more free time and I am starting to begin working on a play that is actively helping me with its writing. And I’m inspired and thrilled and horrifying and blessed by these characters that are forming. I cannot wait to see what it will become.
Now to the darker counterpoint. This week of a calmer schedule and less certain creative endeavors has also seemed to make me rather intolerant, almost irrationally frustrated by the littlest things. Not necessarily mad or angry, just irritated for no good reason. Quicker to be outraged or brought to tears. More easily hurt or stressed out. Fragile. Ick, I know, that’s an awful thing to call myself. But to be honest with you, it’s true. And I really don’t like it. I’m annoyed by being annoyed. Upset by being upset.
I know that I work better when I’m busy. I have been told it’s an almost universal truth and I definitely recognize it in myself. Something about the constant undercurrent of activity or events seems to inspire more of the same. I suppose it could be in the same vein as how it’s easier to start running if it morphs from a walk rather than from a place of rest, something about the momentum making it a smoother transition. Or a creative version of Newton’s First Law, an object in motion tends to stay in motion and an object at rest tends to stay at rest.
It’s easier to work if you’re working. That might be why I am so quick to snap back or feel defeated, I don’t have the certainty of jumping right into another project. A big project. Now to be fair and honest, I do have things to do, a web series guest star/supporting role and a few readings but it is a change from my last year and a half of constant work, namely plays that occurred one right after the other. And I get antsy, and judgy. The usual disappointments that come with this career are less easily absorbed; I stew over them and have a harder time letting them do. My resiliency sucks.
And I could have told you this would happen. I know myself. And I’m not proud of it. But maybe I can find the positive in it. Rather than beat myself up about being frustrated or hurt by the projects that aren’t coming or the long shots that have passed me by, I can see this as an affirmation of my desire to be in this business and as the gift of more free time. Because, let’s face it, I really had forgotten what it was like to eat dinner at home or to take a nap on a Saturday afternoon. These are good things. And before I know it, I will be (happily) bemoaning my lack of free time and my stressed out existence. I can’t wait.
So here’s hoping that you are more at peace that I am this week. And maybe you can find it in your heart to send a little patience my way. I’m pretty rotten when it comes to taking a moment to sit and breath. But I’m going to need it. I have a play to write. And I always tell other people, if you didn’t get it (the part, the job, the winning lottery ticket, etc) then it just means something else is supposed to come along. And it always does. Why do I forget that? And maybe the calm time is what is supposed to come along. So sit down Louise, chill on the sofa, play with the kitten and wait. It’s okay. The voices will start talking and you’ll know what to do… okay, that sounded bad. It sounded like the development of demonic possession or something. But you know what I mean.
It’s a uniquely warm day here in the New York so I’m going to spend so time outside. I hope life is fine in your corner of the world.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Things I’m Digging This Week: The Vitamin String Quartet & My friend’s grandfather who referred to H1N1 as hini (he-knee) because he thought the ones were “i”s… he said he might have the hini, priceless….
Dream Role: Delores Price in Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone (it’s a book so I’m cheating but still, have you read it? do, it’s jaw-droppingly amazing)
And the benefit performance of BIG LOVE for Maieutic Theatre Works, called 4 Variations of Mee, went very well. My site has some pictures if you are interested….