Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Irish unicorn

This is a photo from one of my favorite trips. Five years ago this coming May, I spent three weeks in Dublin visiting my artist friend (please check out her gallery). We did the largest women's athletic event in the world: an annual 10K. She ran, I walked. It was my first and only so far. I made it it 1:59 hrs. She ran it in 1:01. She was aiming for under an hour, which she had done before. And probably has done since several times, especially since she had joint replacement since then. After our training week, then the run/walk, we toured around Dublin sight-seeing, and ventured out to County Wicklow for nice walks and taking of photos. That's when I found this Irish unicorn. She must have lost her horn in the grass somewhere, or perhaps hid it in the nearby pot o'gold, waiting for us to pass. I've done lots of writing IN Ireland, no writing about Ireland. Have you?

Chime: A new play is born

It has been head down, butt in the chair for the past couple of weeks as I wrapped up the first draft of my first full length play of the new year: "The Stars Are Our Ancestors." Along the way, I also lost one of my best friends. RIP Ginny Foster. She died Saturday night February 4th. She and I were writing buddies for more than 20 years. I am now her literary executor, a great honor. Her works will be archived with the International Centre for Women Playwrights Collection at Ohio State University (as will mine, some are already there). So, there was Ginny's memorial to attend to, and I learned another friend of mine had also died 10 months ago without my having heard, and then two days later another friend died suddenly, shocking many of us. Rough week. In times like these I am especially grateful to be a writer.
"The Stars..." is a satisfying first draft. It did everything I wanted it to do for me, it surprised me, it came together when it should and as it should. I'm feeling pleased with it right now. I know I need to have a reading soon so I can hear all the places it needs rewriting (they always do need rewriting), and at the same time, I'd like to just be in love with it for a few weeks. This is my science play. Not terribly heavy on the science at the moment. I'll leave that for the rewrites. It has a simple set, only four characters, all women, one young, one old, two in their 40s. There is a love story, mother/daughter stories, it addresses adoption, different ethnicities, but it is never an issue play. It is a character-driven play about love and how we are all one, how we are all the stuff of stars. I listened to all kinds of music while I wrote this play: classical, rap, country, rock, blues, jazz, and opera.
I wrote when I didn't feel like writing. I would stop and think, well that's it for today. Then I'd look at the page number. And I'd say to myself, no you have to write ten more pages. Ten more pages? It's already 5 o'clock. Or whatever time it was. And then I'd kick my butt and keep writing. One day I did something I've never done before. I snacked while I wrote. I ate crackers while I was writing! It was past dinner time, I was hungry, and I was unwilling to stop writing. So. Crackers. And water. No dinner until I got those pages finished. What a task master! And guess what? It worked.
Do you ever write this way? And if so, are you pleased with the results? Surprised? Please tell me.