This weekend Ground UP Productions did a generous and beautiful workshop weekend where they brought me and a group of actors to my favorite house/new play development grounds on the planet to read the four full lengths I have developed in the last year and a half/2 years. It was a weekend where we got to read my work and I got to both look at the individual plays themselves and what's working and what isn't, but also look at my recent body of work and see what is working on a larger scale, where I need to grow, and what I'm writing about.
What I found was that a) I love writing plays b) I am proud of my work c) I got to track growth in the development of my voice as a writer d) I was reminded that challenges/areas of growth are exciting as opposed to a drag/annoyance e) getting out of the city is amazing for the soul. e) DONT DRIVE A CAR OUT OF GAS INTO A DITCH f) people from Vermont are reeeeal nice.
I can't wait to keep writing. I can't wait to finish this draft of We Pray to Elephants. I can't wait to see where some of these plays go. I can't wait to ask for help in the places I need it.
I love what I do (I know I already said that). I'm really grateful.
The thing that I am always reminded of is something my dear mentor always says; that after food and shelter we need stories so we know we're not alone.
HERE ARE PHOTOS:
Tonight, I sat in a living room in North Carolina and listened to some local friends here read my play about some kids on a porch in Durham, North Carolina.
Featured in the photo to this blurb's left: actors and people listening.
It's amazing what substantial time away from a play can change how I hear it.
Six months ago, my mentor went to a reading and told me it was missing 20 pages, plus more sex and violence. I said "PSHAH" (which is a thing I never say, you guys) and also "Uhh there's a lot of sex and violence."
But tonight I was like "Oooh. Yeah. It's, for sure, missing 20 pages. And some sex."
Jury's out on the violence, Thurber.
But, as usual, you're probably right.
Mr. T read stage directions. Not my friend Jon Haas, featured here.
Mr. T did.
Sometimes, you just gotta get in your car and drive south.
Sometimes, you gotta take one last trip in your Nissan before you sell it and go to your happy place.
Sometimes you gotta sit on the side of a mountain in your firefighter friend's house and do nothing.
Sometimes you have to go back to the town you went to college with and see old friends and new friends who put on gold lame (luh-may) visors and eat power tools with their teeth because they can and because things are more possible in North Carolina.
I napped yesterday for three hours. It felt like a deeper and greater accomplishment than a lot of things I've done this year, you guys. Three hours.
Leaving New York sometimes is the best. Because there's a lot of noise. And everyone is so close to each other. And, because of sheer proximity and also many other things, possibility just gets deflated. And you wonder what you're doing.
And then you look at a mountain for a couple of days and drive a car and listen to that Robyn Thicke song people have feelings about and you remember that you deeply love your life.
And uncertainty can be a blessing.
I am an optimist.