Oh Yeah, That's Why I'm Doing This...

This week the writing has really been clicking into place, which is very exciting. I'm not sure whether I've made some change in my way of thinking about things that has caused the improvement, or if I am simply settling in to this rhythm of things, or what, but I'm not one to look a gift mental state too closely in the mouth. Actually, that's completely untrue--there are few things I enjoy more than ramming my head so far down the throat of a given mental state that I could deliver a detailed chemical description of its digestive processes, if you'll excuse the somewhat graphic metaphor.

In any event, I have been moving forward with my NaNoWriMo novel, and I am at that always fascinating point when your characters are beginning to accumulate enough life to take over the story and start surprising you--initiating actions, conversations, and entire plotlines that you did not anticipate until the moment they began to occur. So, that's interesting.

And today I attended a conference at school on the process of theatremaking, whose participants included students, professors, a designer, an actor/producer, and a whole collection of working playwrights. The discussion was entitled, "Why Am I Doing This?", and conversation ranged from lamentations about the lack of federal funding of the arts in America, to brainstorming ways to expand the theatre's audiences and the very definition of the form, to advice from the established theatremakers to the neophytes about how to break into the business, to a rather epic extension of the deceptively simple metaphor "preaching to the choir." All very fascinating and inspiring stuff, which reawakened the passion for theatre that has gone a bit dormant in me recently in my solitude--understandably, I think, given the collaborative, interactive nature integral to the process of making theatre.

And afterwards, I had the opportunity to speak with several of the theatremakers who are, as they say, "out there doing it," whatever "it" happens to entail in their particular experience, and saw some particularly exciting opportunities arise out of one particular conversation with a local playwright and literary manager who is quite passionately devoted to getting local work developed and produced. It started with a query about the monthly staged readings he oversees to determine whether one of my own scripts currently in development might be appropriate for submission, moved on to an offer to read some of the plays other people have submitted and write responses recommending whether the play be considered, transitioned into a discussion of a festival of short plays performed by Japanese students for which I may have a suitable one-act written, and eventually culminated in an invitation to participate in a 48-hour theatremaking festival coming up in May, in which 12 playwrights, 12 directors, and 40 actors are placed randomly into teams and given a theme and 24 hours to produce a 10-minute play that addresses it. An incredible opportunity, about which I am inexpressibly excited! Many special thanks to the professors who kept breaking briefly into the conversation to reiterate to him how highly they recommended my work--immensely generous and impactful, even if one of them did at one point attempt to compare me to a bulldog. No, but seriously, in context it was actually very kind and complimentary.

So anyway, that's all very exciting, although if anything this weekend has only added to my list of "Oh, yeah, that's something else cool I could do with my life," which isn't making the process of figuring out what I'm going to do when I'm done with this year of writing any easier. But it will all come together as time requires, I firmly believe. Life, they say, is what is happening while you're closing your eyes planning for the future, and I for one am hoping to spend most of my life with my eyes open. With crabapples in my cheeks. Or something.


Anonymous Jason said...

I'm intrigued by your mention of one-acts for Japanese students, having mingled with Japanese college students and taught Japanese middle schoolers in the past.

If you would like to catch coffee sometime and catch up, that would be lovely. I'm on Capitol Hill, these days.

7:50 PM  

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