and…exhale

I gave (mental) birth to a play today. It seemed as though it didn’t want to come out, but it really didn’t have a choice since we had our first rehearsal tonight. I don’t want to waste the actors’ time almost as much as I don’t want to waste the audience’s time. I couldn’t print out some half-baked bullshit and present it as a complete script. So I squeezed that bitch out. And now, post first rehearsal, I’m having some wine to nurse my mental stretch marks. Feels good.

You know that feeling you get right before you, uh, have the shits? That’s kind of the way my brain has felt for the past few days. I knew that something was coming, but I wasn’t sure when or how fast it would arrive. James and I went to a friend’s place near Navasota this weekend. He went to play disc golf and go fishing. I went for a break from life and because I pictured myself sitting on the deck out in the middle of nowhere, getting a lot of writing done. James reached his goal; I did not. I think I wrote two, maybe three, lines of dialogue the entire weekend. And that was with no internet to distract me, which I thought might be the key to the whole thing. Nope.

So that brings us to today, the first day of rehearsal. Planning ahead, I’d already taken the day off. I got on my computer this morning after a good breakfast and copious coffee. I wrote pretty much from 10AM until 5:30PM, at which point I had to email the script to Dennis so he could print it up for tonight’s rehearsal.

Rehearsal tonight went extremely well. We read through Abby’s play, which is very funny and touches me in a personal way, and then we read through mine. It’s always a good sign when the actors are laughing while reading, and that happened numerous times tonight. We also happen to have an A-team cast for this show, which was a stroke of luck and good timing.

We’ll have the dates/times very soon – the Houston Fringe Festival runs May 19-23rd in Houston at various locations throughout the city. Mark it on your calendar. I’ll post more details as I have them.

I haven’t finished a play since 2008, so this is a nice feeling. Why don’t I do this more often? It’s not like it takes a lot of time. Just a lot of stomach acid and angst. I’ve got both in spades.

[side note: I’m reading a book by Theresa Rebeck – Free Fire Zone – wherein she talks about “technique” writing versus “inspirational” writing. She talks about preferring to write “from a deeper, more unconscious source” but acknowledges that the nights she spent “slugging it out with uncooperative plays” – in other words, writing when she wasn’t necessarily inspired or touched by the muse – have taught her that “if your technique is good enough, the difference between faking it and writing brilliantly from utter inspiration is very slim.”

Which leads me to this – if we all sit around waiting for divine inspiration before we write a play, sing a song, craft a story, paint a picture, cook a meal, we’re not going to get much done. Sometimes it’s the act of making the thing happen, even when you don’t feel like it or aren’t spiritually moved to do so, that makes the magic come.]

Man, I’m full of shit. Good night.