Clear, bright mornings; dazzling sun, bright blue skies, unseasonable warmth.
For the last week I have been drawn up to the hills again and again, walking the same trail I have walked a million times before. I meet dogs, lots of them, some with a muddy tennis ball in mouth, others just wagging ecstatically to be free. If a dog is outdoors, unconfined, bounding over hills, he or she is happy. It's that simple for them
I try to be present: oak and redwood and laurel and bay trees, bending for the light. the light! The hills unfolding all the way down to the bay. It never stops being magical, and yet I am capable of walking through it without seeing it if I don't stop and make myself notice and breathe.
I am almost almost done with this (I hope) final revision to the play. I have been uncharacteristically neurotic about it--I pride myself on a workwomanlike attitude about writing, "Just do it," a la Nike commercials, without drama or fuss or whinging about writer's block. That's how I like to see myself. But in truth, this play has brought up all my writing demons, including the ones I like to pretend I don't have: the dare-I-say-this? the who-am-I-to-write-about-this, the is-it-any-good, and is-it-even-worth-it demons.
Inside myself I am vowing not to do another big project like this. One-act plays from now on. Poems, the shorter the better. Essays. But not something book-length, not a full two-act play, not something where you have plenty of rope to hang yourself with in terms of structure, character development, etc. No, no, no. What are you, crazy?
At the same time I am making a big effing deal about how much I am suffering over this play another part of my mind knows that it is actually fine, that I'm just trying my best to be faithful to these particular characters, getting to know them better, neither demonizing nor glamorizing military service (hopefully), but presenting real human beings caught up in something bigger and more terrible than they had bargained for. And what they do with that. And I also am caught up now in having bitten off more than I could chew, emotionally or spiritually, and now I am having to chew it. Slowly and thoroughly. or at least try to. I owe myself that much--I owe these characters whom Ihave been working with for four years that much.
At the end of the day it's just work, I tell myself. Finish the thing and move on.