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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Writer's Block or Paperback Writer.

It's really easy for me to get down on myself as an artist.  Not in the funky dance way, but in the demeaning way.

I like writing.  I've always liked it.  It was the first thing that I did as a child that my parents (especially my mom) encouraged me to do.  Whether or not it has been worthwhile is something else, but the act of creating has always produced immense satisfaction.  It's why any of us do it.  But in thinking about what I have written, I can chalk it up to a one-act play that was produced in high school, two full-lengths that were written in college (one became a staged-reading at a festival; more on that later) and two ten-minute plays that are on sale at  Seems like I should have more than that.  But I don't.

When I first started writing this, I had a couple of entries planned out and had a solid idea as to what I wanted to write about.  I was planning on making it an "about every week" thing as a kind of meditation among other things.  This past Sunday, I sat down and was going to write a blog about how I was finding it difficult to finish things (plays, screenplays, etc) when I couldn't finish that.  It's as if I can't begin to write something without being stopped about halfway through or near the end because I don't know how to end the story.

And, naturally, that begs the question, why did I start to tell the story to begin with?

The play that went to festival was called "How I Met You", which either came around the same time or immediately before "How I Met Your Mother".  It was a play about how I met my now ex-wife.  It was meant to be very honest and frank.  It was graphic in it's conversation and had plenty of embarrassment for me and for her along the way.  I was proud of it.  I was also very pleased that it was considered for production through the Essential Theatre's Playwrighting Competition in 2006 and that it got a reading at the Youth Playwright's Festival hosted by the Horizon Theatre (both companies in Atlanta).

However, especially with the divorce, it's hard to read the play even to critique it;  It's not just because the marriage didn't work out but also because I can't help but think it's bad.  Just... bad.  No through line, no structure, just a bunch of random ideas that I Scotch-taped together.

Maybe the problem is that I'm going back and I'm analyzing the thing like I'm reading Macbeth or Long Days Journey Into Night.  And it's not supposed to be like that.  None of them are supposed to be.  I certainly should give myself a little more slack than that.

Well, I'd call that a kind of breakthrough (obvious though it may be).

Nowadays, among other ventures, I'm considering Graduate School as an option.  I want to teach; I like it and working at AWOL has certainly reminded me of that.  It's kept me hungry for it.  Right now, I'm working on a portfolio for grad school applications and, hopefully, that will turn it something that I've been doing for a long time. Only in this case, someone will have the generosity to pay me for it.

In as far as writer's block is concerned, one of the things that have helped me are deadlines.  I noticed I got a lot done in school because I had due dates and requirements.  I've flourished in an institution setting.  Also, having a blog like this has helped a good deal already.

So, I will make this declaration here on this blog and those who read it will hold me accountable.  By the 1st of April, I will finish the first draft of the Odyssey Musical (the one set to the music of Journey)!


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