Sunday, November 19, 2006

I hurt, I hurt, I hurt...

Today was the third day of this "playwriting boot camp" at Playwright's Foundation that I signed myself up for. The idea was to write a play in four days. Every day we bring in work and workshop it for four hours. Then I've taught; Saturday morning, and tonight, Sunday night. More workshops. My back and butt are now shaped exactly like the chairs I have been sitting in for hours on end. Coffee is bubbling through my veins instead of blood. Don't ask me what my play is about; I have no idea.

the good thing about having to write a play under these intense conditions (and we were given some things to include in the play, like a haunted house, a grove of dynamic trees, a camera, and a few other things I won't mention, plus we're supposed to be borrowing themes from hamlet and from our own autobiographies...) But anyway, the good thing about this intense schedule is that it forces a deep dive. I can definitely feel myself skirting the edges and even venuring into some bloody psychic territory.

The bad thing is what it does to your body.

I feel like a vampire, because I haven't been in or seen the sun in days. My back huirts, my ass hurts, my head hurts, my teeth hurt. I want to swim for miles and miles, I want to soak in a hot bubble bath and use the peppermint-chamomile scrub I got in New England, I want to walk around the lake, I want to bring my laundry up from the basement and fold it and put it away, and water the plants and pay bills.

Tuesday, I keep telling myself. Tuesday it will be all over. Meanwhile I have these 23 new pages of playscript that may or may not turn out to be good, but are definitely different than what I would have written if left to my own devices.

And I've had the experience of being a student again, which I was craving, and I got to be scared about approaching a big writing challenge, and do it anyway. The first day when we had to show up with ten pages, I really felt nervous. I hadn't known if I could do it, and I didn't know if what I'd written was any good, and I was about to expose myself to a bunch of strangers.

That's what my writing students go through when they sign up for a class through The Writing Salon. That's why I needed to experience that again, to be pushed out of my comfort zone into a learning place.

I like the teacher, Dominic Orlando. He's rumpled and intense and sincere. He seems to know what he's talking about. I like the other students. They're smart and brave and willing to be weird. The first day or two I noticed my judging mind come up a lot. I didn't like the other students so much then. As I've gotten more comfortable and we've all seen each others' work, I'm liking them more and more...funny how much more likeable people become when I feel secure.

Tonight I was so tired after teaching at The Writing Salon, that my car drove itself home from San Francisco. There was one nano-second when I felt my eyelids closing and the wheels beginning to drift...I caught myself and forced myself into wakefulness for the rest of the way home.

"Playwriting boot camp." Sheesh.

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