Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
The virtual folder on the computer’s desktop is named Scribblings. Inside this folder I have stored every work of creative writing I’ve done that wasn’t lost in a hard drive crash at some point, and not including anything I’ve written for the Neo-Futurists (those all reside in a separate folder labeled TMLMTBGB, even though it contains scripts and otherwise not specifically written for that show).
Within the Scribblings folder there is a subfolder labeled Plays. Within that folder there are seven other subfolders.
Cast Lists are my own personal record of the original casts for every play I’ve ever had produced.
Excerpts contains summaries and samples of plays that I submit to theaters and contests.
Cuts is packed with documents that contain at most five pages apiece, and which include sections of plays that I cut but didn’t delete outright in case I wanted to scavenge the contents later.
Playwright contains business-related documents such as my resume and a production contract or two.
Skits contains a handful of comedic episodes that I wrote for the sketch comedy group I was in during college.
And then, of course, there are the Finished and Unfinished folders.
The Unfinished folder currently contains 58 objects. Of these, if I’m being optimistic but not idealistic, 10 will be finished at some point in my lifetime. The other 48 are plays from past phases of my writing development; plots that I no longer care about populated with characters unready for more life, endless revisions of ideas that lacked a concrete foundation upon which to build. A number of them are clever titles that I mistakenly believed could inspire clever plays to accompany them. Two are attempts to adapt short fiction I’d written.
These are not being completed, and in several cases have already been scoured for spare parts that worked better in one of the 32 plays that inhabit the Finished folder.
Earlier this morning there were 59 plays in the Unfinished folder and 31 in the Finished folder. And I tell you that there is nothing quite like the satisfaction you feel when you get to move a document from one of those folders to the other. Even knowing that this is just a draft, that there will still be cuts and edits made before, during, and after production, is just a part of the rapture that is telling a story from beginning to end.
J.R.R. Tolkien once commented that the most beautiful phrase in the English language is “cellar door.” And I don’t disagree with Tolkien, but there are some days that the phrase “End of Play” is goddamn Helen of Troy.