I haven’t written a new play in over a month. What is wrong with me?
What I’ve been doing, though, is working on the plays and stories I’ve already written; trimming them, tweaking them, re-reading and finding little things like typos or anachronisms (no, they didn’t have smartphones in 1996) and just hanging out with the people in them. Sometimes I have better friends inside the plays and novels I write than in real life.
Years ago on this very blog I did a series called “Writing on Writing” where I rather self-indulgently explored the background of my works and what got them on paper or on the stage. I think I’ve grown out of that stage, so to speak, because now that I’ve written over fifty plays of various lengths and topics, I hope they do the speaking for me. I’ve written about my family, my friends, my growing up and going to school, and lots of other people and places in between. As I’ve said here and other places, writing is cheaper than therapy and doesn’t damage my liver.
I’ve also met a lot of good people along the way, some even in person, and learned from them. That’s one of the reasons I will spend a week in the beautiful wilderness of Alaska or the plains of Kansas: to be with like-minded souls who only want to share their insight to themselves and life. There’s something affirming by being with so many friends of every way, shape, and thought who are not only willing to share their innermost thoughts and vulnerabilities, but listen to you and learn together. And it’s all accomplished by putting simple black marks on paper or screen and having the courage to share it.
A simple thought conveyed from one person to another means more than all the money in the world, and the written word has changed the world time and again with such simple phrases as “In the beginning” or “We the people.” That’s all I ever wanted to do: share that simple idea and maybe, just maybe, inspire someone. And if it was just one, well, then, that’s one more than yesterday, and I’ll reach one more tomorrow.
That’s from a play of mine called “A Good Year.” It’s still in progress, but that pretty much says what I’ve been doing and will keep on doing for as long as I can.