Writing Process as Hangover: Berate Yourself, Hydrate, and then Push Through It
My latest blog posts have felt so solipsistic, particularly in light of the fucking chaos and violence in the world that has always existed but seems, thanks to irresponsible and inconsistent mass media coverage, as if it's escalating inordinately of late -- but I'm keeping up with them as a record of my writing process, which is useful in hindsight but feels something like a giant, unrelenting hangover right now.
|Sometimes Twitter provides catharsis.|
Part of this headache-like pressure is very much due to the upcoming script development lab. I told A. earlier in the week that I was thinking of emailing the program and asking them if I could switch from the script development lab to a writer's residency, and he was of the opinion I should just stick with the original plan. He can probably sense that I'm a gigantic coward and that I don't want other people -- particularly people who know what they're doing when it comes to drama -- to read and critique my early work, or work that feels early even if I've been writing it piecemeal for the better part of a decade. He can also probably sense that it's better for me to face my fears instead of just slumping into despondency. It's not even the tough, nasty critique that I'm afraid of -- it's the noncommittal, polite critique that happens when people don't really have any strong reaction to your work at all in either direction: that is truly horrific.
A.P.'s suggestion for writing a treatment of the play -- a la screenwriting and adapted to the process of writing for the stage -- was a fucking good one and it's helped tremendously. It took a few days to get my head out of my ass, but I managed to sit down for a few hours and think through the plot and character development of this play. Something finally clicked. For the first time I began to see a clear development beyond the first act -- I've been stuck in the first act for years -- I've been rewriting the first act for years -- and I suspect this may have been the most significant progress so far.
The result, however, is that I need to drastically reconfigure my first act (major cutting, adding a through line, re-imagining entire scenes to reflect that through line, etc. ) just to get to the second act and also -- if I'm going to truly commit to this script development lab -- so that I have a workable script for the actors and dramaturg who'll be giving my play their time and effort.
I have six days before the beginning of this conference, and six scenes outlined for the first act that need to be developed. Basically, one scene per day over a holiday weekend with only one day of babysitting (today) which is also filled with meetings BECAUSE OH MY GOD PEOPLE ARE SCHEDULING MEETINGS RIGHT UP UNTIL THE VERY LAST DAY WE ARE CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED TO BE AVAILABLE.
So . . . the odds are in my favor, yes?
I think I'm going to rename the subtitle for this blog something like "rants and tantrums about writing and academia" because that's what it's turning into.
I'm a gem, I really am.
P.S. OH, and because I ignored my blog for so long, I forgot to post the following as a record that I've actually accomplished something during the past few months: