Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
I still think it was important for me to split my daily to-do list into “Writing” and “Other” categories, but now I’m mired in trying to figure out what happened to my ability to tackle that first list.
I feel like it’s a cop-out to say that I’ve been writing Neo-Futurist work–work based on unmasked truth and personal biography–for so long that my fiction muscles have atrophied. Even if a case could be made for it, I feel like it’s a cop-out. Fiction was the majority of my output for the twenty-seven years before I became a Neo-Futurist, surely I couldn’t have forgotten how to spin a false yarn in just four years.
And I haven’t, because the to-do list is almost all fiction, living as plots in notes and in the crevasses of my brain. The problem is that it’s only living as plot. It’s not living as play. I either don’t write script or I write script that I later declare trite and worthless. I write lines I couldn’t imagine anybody speaking aloud, I manufacture moments that nobody could believe if the director decided to interpret the script as surrealist fantasia.
The last three plays I’ve successfully completed outside of the aegis of Too Much Light have been, in order, Vox Pandora, The Man Who Was Thursday, and Contraption. In all three cases the ingredient present which I seem to be missing from the other work is Voice.
For Contraption, I secured a cast before I wrote the play. I had Kurt, Joe, Dana, and Dina’s voices to echo in my head as I gave them dialogue to then revise and rethink during rehearsals.
For Thursday I have Chesterton’s writing style, his wit and dry Victorian phraseology. Even without a sense of who I would have play any of these characters in my perfect world, I could at least remain true to the work I was adapting.
For Vox I had Alex, whose demeanor and character as a human being finally made me understand the voice that I wanted to give the anthropomorphic Hope, and later I had her rapport with Dana to make me determine the relationship between Hope and Eleanor.
So part of my work now is a preliminary casting session of sorts, is me sitting down and thinking about who I would love to see in this role or who I would like to see explore this idea. People I know and have worked with and people whose work I have only seen and admired from afar. People who have ten minutes onstage and own them so completely that I get mad curious what they can do with ninety. I am assembling miles of celluloid screen tests in my long-term memory and trying to build new forms around them.
It’s not quite working, though.
Because you can’t write for people that you don’t maintain consistent contact with. At least, I can’t. I can’t right now. I’m not actually talented enough to do that.
Dana is in Michigan this weekend; I am home with the dogs, the show, the rehearsals, and the quandary of my to-do lists. I spent most of today hiding from the steady rain outside, memorizing lines, taking steps towards future employment, and watching episodes of The Boondocks on YouTube, the latter of which I find hilarious but which has also had me anxious all day that I would let fly with the n-word as casually as the show’s protagonists do every episode.
I am isolating myself physically and then posting on my journal more frequently as a means of not isolating myself totally.
My fiction is trapped in my inability to determine my truth. Somebody built a labyrinth around it, large and winding, and although it is smart enough to know that the way out of any maze is to follow one wall, it’s also smart enough to know that’s going to take more time than it would prefer.