Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If you write a play and nobody does it, are you still a playwright?

My head cold has now become my head-and-chest cold; my sleep bursts are briefer than microprocessor functions, my dreams all have fever logic and dwell on me being trapped in my day job, and the proposed five-part novel has a pretty complete first part done. So naturally I'm thinking about starting something else, and getting frantic about dumping the novel to write a play that I can send out to all the year-end reading/competition/workshop places because, y'know, it ain't February unless I get a dozen rejection letters in the space of five days. And it ain't March, April, May or June unless I'm in a total funk because of February's rejection letters.

What I'll probably end up doing is sending out Monkey's Uncle to about half a dozen things in the next week or two. But only if I can do it and not care what happens. Y'know, like investing in the stock market. If I'm going to be checking the mail every day like an investor checking a stock price, and freaking out every time it goes down a penny, then forget it. I have to send the play out like it's found money.

This has been a weird year for me. I have not written a single play this year, which hasn't happened in a long time. I've made notes for the one I was working on last year this time, but the spark's not there (or maybe the deadline's not there--I work so much better with a deadline). And what's taken the spark's place is a mix of frustration, desperation, and a hefty chip on my shoulder. Stuff I need to clean out of my system because it usually makes me say things like "Oh yeah? I'll give you something to reject!" and then do something really stupid and self-destructive. And do I know self-destructive.

So I took the year off. Have I cleaned myself out? Yes and no. The "I'll show you!" voice is still there, but I'm not listening to it as much. The "you'll never get another play produced ever" voice is there too, and getting louder. But there's a new voice which keeps saying "You're stuck in a rut and you need to change some things," and that's the one I'm trying to talk with more and more. If I can just shut up those other guys. And not do something stupid.

I am thinking of writing a Christmas play, though. The only hitch is, I have to do it while I'm working on the next seven chapters of Three Dead Slaves.

Oh yeah. And not do something stupid.

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