Friday, November 26, 2010


One of my favourite moments in writing (usually in writing plays) is when I've felt so frustrated and blocked about something and I finally say "Oh, I wish the character just *do this one thing that would solve all problems and allow me to move forward*."

And then I stop and think Well, why can't they? And suddenly everything I've been struggling with falls neatly into place, like I'd thought of it that way all along, but I'd just been waiting for myself to realize it.

Not that moments like that happen every day. But that sudden thrill of realizing I know the answer, I've known this answer all along is amazing.

I was reading a blog written a singing teacher. I like to discover new blogs and go on blog-binges. Just read all the old posts all at once. Which, come to think of it, is a bit sad that a voracious blog reader like myself is so lax in posting. Oops! But I digress. I was looking up discussions of head voice vs. chest voice, and trying to unconfuse myself, when I came across these posts talking about how singing (and all art), is about honesty. And courage. About claiming your voice, your instrument, and being willing to work with it honestly. How acting is about doing, not feeling.

And whoosh,suddenly there was that feeling again, of isn't that funny, I already had this answered and was just letting myself forget. Because creative art, whatever your medium, is about honesty. To me, anyway. That's what draws me to it, that's what keeps me going in the face of criticism or being overlooked, or whatever. And that's something I needed to consciously think about right now. Ultimately, it isn't about who's getting the most work, or what Artistic Director X thinks about my play, or why no one is hiring me. It's about finding the courage to be honest, to own my work, to make an offer without worrying about acceptance.

D-day for the play is coming next week-- I have no idea how much I'll have actually written. In other news, I have some indie film auditions coming up, and I was asked to film something for a sketch comedy troupe, which I'm doing this weekend. And I'm thrilled they asked me.

Going to try and move forward with the play, thinking about honesty and just showing up and owning my work.

That, and trying to get all my Christmas shopping done in one weekend.

Cheers, y'all!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Oh, you guys. I'm so stressed right now. I'm in non-writing guilt overload, which should make tomorrow PRIME WRITING TIME. Of course, there's also a lot of pressure to make tomorrow PRIME WRITING TIME.

I guess I could probably just say "Oh, when you said no pressure to have a complete draft, I assumed that there was no pressure to complete anything."

Award silence.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you guys were cool. So. Uh. Yeah."

More awkward silence, followed by the sound of me tiptoeing out of the room.

No. I will have something decent to show them. I hope. Anything to cover up the fact that I have no idea what I am doing.

Between seeing a bunch of shows and working every day and worrying about the thing I am and am not writing, I cannot wait until sometime in December when the writing session is over and I can relax a little.

I submitted for a fringe slot, so we'll see if my fringe-lottery-luck continues its dismal trajectory. I figure if I get in, I have until May to withdraw without suffering a financial penalty. I can think of an idea by May, right?

Singing is going well-- I am even thinking ahead to doing some auditions in the spring.

It's hard not to feel beaten down, I have to say. I don't know if it's partially the weather (cold and dark, ick) or just the constant stress of trying to do everything at once, or what. I have been feeling rather mopey as of late. I know I can make stuff happen for myself, but sometimes it would be nice to be a participant, rather than an organizer. Maybe that's not my path, and I'm sure that I will feel better actually producing something over which I have complete artistic control,but still... it's difficult to feel left out, sometimes.

However. Back to some thinking and ruminating in readiness for writing tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How To Write A Play

Here it is, all you aspiring playwrights! A quick and easy, step-by-step guide of how to write a play. Got your pen and paper ready?

1. Get an idea. This is one of the easiest parts. You can get ideas from tv commercials (ShamWow Vince: The Rock Opera), or movies (how about What About Bob? meets Armageddon? ONSTAGE!), or theatre, both good and bad (and it's easy to find some of both, wherever you are), or your personal life (Hairdon't: A Memoir).

2. So when you got your idea, did you write your first draft right away? Like, immediately right away? Oh. Because if you didn't, and I don't want to alarm you, your brain has had a chance to catch up with you. Your brain may have turned your idea into big, capital-letter WRITING A PLAY. In fact, your play idea has probably been mentally re-branded as YOUR PLAY IDEA, emphasizing the importance of not ruining it by actually writing it. In fact, the most important piece of advice I can give you about writing a play is DON'T RUIN IT. Because, and admittedly this is only a theory, if you ruin a play idea, you might not ever get another one. That's what I've heard, anyway.

3. Think about your play for a while. Look up things related to your play on the internet. But don't start writing (remember, writing=ruining. In fact, put this phrase on a sticky somewhere near your computer so you won't forget). This is an important phase called "research". If you are writing something based on historical events, you will discover a bonanza of research opportunities, so much so that you may never have to write your play at all. Consider yourself fortunate.

4. While you are procrastinating researching, you will likely start to feel guilty about not writing. Thus begins nature's delicate battle: the part of you that fears play-ruining will argue that there is still much research to do;some other part of you will retort that writers write, and you're not actually writing anything. A last burst of research will ensue. Once your guilt over not writing is even more unbearable than your fear of actually writing (and thus, ruining), it's time to write!

5. Force yourself to write. Start with the title page. Center your title, and put contact information in the bottom right-hand corner. This counts as one page of writing. You may need to take a break to rest your muse after this. Come back to it tomorrow, if you feel too spent to continue. Remember, the character descriptions, title page, and any dedications you wish to include all count as writing!

6. Sit in front of the page every day, disappointed that you didn't black out and complete your first draft the day before. Berate yourself for your failure. When you are fed up with your self-loathing, you will eventually get over yourself and write a partial draft.

7. Get another idea. Research that one for a while.

8. Come back to your play. Decide it's not so bad. Live in fear that you will ruin the existing portion of the play by completing the script.

9. Get over yourself.

10. Ruin your idea (or not). Finish the play. Allow trusted friends/colleagues to read it, then interpret all their actions for the next six months as tacit feedback on the quality of your writing.

11. Realize you need rewrites. Consider going back to the idea you had in step 7.

12. Return to step 1. Repeat.

Ta-Da! And that's how a play is written!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Catching Up

Sometimes it seems like my life is a constant cycle of falling behind and catching up. I don't know if everyone feels like that, or if it's a particular quirk of my personality that I view life as a series of to-do lists and achievements. Shamefully, I admit that some secret part of me works under the assumption that I'm going to be graded at some point.

I'm trying to work on my new play, and realizing that I have absolutely no idea of what I'm doing. Normally I would come up with an idea and sit on it for at least a few months before writing, thinking, ruminating, considering. I don't have the luxury of time for this one, since we're doing an intensive draft-reading week in early December. Yikes.

I'm also, inexplicably, doing NanoWriMo. I signed up to be moral support for a couple of people, who seemingly have given up. I've done Nano twice, won both times, and while I'm capable of churning out the requisite amount of words over a month, I'm beginning to feel a time crunch. And, I really don't care that much about it (I was using it to generate some ideas/content for a web series I'd like to produce). And while I say I don't care about it, I have a hard time stopping. I don't like to give up. I don't like quitting, even for ridiculous projects that NO ONE ELSE CARES ABOUT.

In other news, singing breakthroughs! Knitting! Lipstick buying! Yes, I bought a neutral lipstick all by my lonesome, because I haven't been able to get to the expensive store with actual consultants yet. And, much to my surprise, it looks good! And I feel a little more "done" than I would without.

So in the meantime, I'll be reading about doppelgangers and assorted weirdness, and trying to figure out what I should get people for Christmas.

What's new with everyone else?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ever Think You Should Have Just Stayed In Bed?

Today has been trying so far. Actually, an extension of yesterday in that way.
I never thought I'd say it, but Value Village, you have failed me. It started with the "short bob wig" I bought. The first "short bob wig". While the coloured wigs seem to be of better quality, the brown and black wigs... are literally nothing like what is pictured on the packaging. Like, seriously. It looked like I had some sort of diseased woodchuck on my head. Of course, I found this out at 5pm on Halloween while getting ready for a party. So back to VV I went, to purchase the same exact wig in a different colour. I'm not sure why I expected different results (isn't that the definition of insanity), I guess I thought it might have been a factory defect or something.

Yes, another woodchuck head. So I resigned myself to using my own stupid hair, then spent 40 minutes trying to create some fake bangs, gave up doing that, then went to apply my Value Village false eyelashes. Self-adhesive eyelashes. No glue required... right?

Wrong! After much digging, I found some rather old eyelash glue. No significant eye mutations have occurred as of this writing, so I think I may be in the clear. Then, all dolled up, I grabbed a quick bite of good old KD, promptly spilling it down my (white) costume shirt front.

It's all the little things. Like my printer breaking this morning as I was trying to print off a grant application. Printing it off at work to find I made a huge mistake in budgeting (at least I caught it in time!)and having to reprint it. Opening my little cheese that I brought as a snack to find that it was badly packaged by the manufacturer (curse you, Babybel!), and it was moldy.

I just want to go home and hide under my Snuggie. After racing to get an envelope and standing in line at the post office to get this grant postmarked today, that is.

Tonight might be a good night to bake those cupcakes I've been promising myself.

ETA: I just realized that this is my 300th post! And I spent it complaining. Oh well! Celebrate good times... come on!