Thursday, August 20, 2009

I sit with the half-finished, half-revised plays. I read something Annie Dillard wrote, about working on her book; that she'd sit with it, as you would a very sick person whom you could not cure. Every once in a while you might adjust a pillow, or get a glass of water, but basically it was a lot of just being there.

That's what it feels like, especially the opening pages. I just sit and adjust little things, tweak and change lines. There are obvious edits to make, things to cut out, and then a lot of stuff that I just don't know yet. More layers to the characters.

Poor Christopher: I've been frustrated as hell with my progress, or lack thereof. Yesterday he suggested helpfully that I scale down a little. He's got a point. I seem to be concept-driven: I had the idea, years ago, that it would be cool to do a whole play in and around a hot tub, and despite the obvious difficulties in staging that that would present, I just went ahead with it, because the idea excited me so much.

With Glitter and Spew the form is so weird--three linked one-acts, the way some post-modern novels are told in linked short stories--that some theatre companies are rejecting it out-of-hand: "We don't do one-acts." But it's basically a full-length play! Just a strangely-shaped one, I'll admit.

This morning I was moping and kvetching again--always very attractive and a real day-brightener for my partner--and he suggested I go back to writing poetry, since it's so hard to get a play produced. Also a good idea, but no poems want to come out right this minute. I don't know how much choice I have in this whole thing.

I always want my process to be as quick as thought, which is very fast and effortless. It's so easy to imagine a project to do. I can sit here and dream up a dozen ideas without half-trying. but to execute them, to go from conception through labor to birth, is much slower and messier.

We did get out of town, very briefly, because we got a nice gift certificate to Sam's Chowder House in Half-Moon Bay. It was good to leave the house, which is such a creative bee-hive for both of us, and get onto the toad. Gray skies, wild jagged cliffs and green-gray-indigo water. Farmstands selling fresh strawberries and peas and artichokes and honey.

We stayed at a sweet lodge very close to the water, and went out to a great dinner and walked along the pier afterwards. I'd been feeling nostalgic for my youth, for the days and weeks spent on the road, for spontaneity and freedom and simplicity. And of course, just for being younger, for having a thinner body whose heels and insteps did not hurt, a body that could sleep on the front seat of a Ford and waken refreshed, a face without wrinkles.

Christopher has a new camera with a great sharp lens and he took some photos of me. They are sweet, and/but I was shocked at the gray hair and the...well, you know. I'm not a girl on the open road anymore. I had a very very long run of being a girl, about as long as anyone could possibly stretch it out, and it's over. So.

Now I'm a very lucky woman, with a house and a life and a life-work that's constantly in transition, constantly being revised, edited, worked-on...and that's okay. That's what is. And I have a cup of strong black tea and milk and some dark-chocolate-covered Trader Joe's pretzels at hand and slowly, slowly I begin to know the characters in this play, one of whom may be the Devil himself.


Anonymous said...

I have no words, but, oh, you describe this all so well. I'm speechless.

Thanks for taking the time here.

Anonymous said...