Archive for the ‘Jonah of the Sea’ Category

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October 22nd, 2007 No comments


October 16th, 2007 No comments

I have decided to get serious about this blog. Uh oh… I don’t know exactly what led me to this conclusion. I was sitting around Saturday night and found myself suddenly in blogger land. I was reading articles about how to configure my WordPress blog so that the category showed up and not the obscure ?=58 number thing; and how to modify the metatags in the page; how to use Feedburner to boost your hits and track who’s looking at your site; and then “top ten” or “top twenty” things to do to make your blog work–one of them being: stay focused on what your interest is, don’t be all over the place. Well, my interest in playwriting and playwrights. So, by God, that’s what I’m really going to start focusing this thing on. Not that I’ve strayed, but I have been emphasizing reviews and that sort of thing more lately than just thoughts on playwriting itself.

There are two things that have brought me “back” to my point of origin…well, maybe three. 1) Jonah Knight’s ridiculously cool offer to allow other playwrights to take up the mic and do a show on his podcast Theatrically Speaking; 2) hitting Technorati after my marathon blogger night and finding some cool playwright sites that I now feel compelled to read and connect with; and 3) again, my desire to actually create a successful blog that deals with something I feel very passionate about.

I scoped out a few playwright blogs and was pretty interested in the whole “Authority” ranking that Technorati uses; but I found out pretty quickly that the “authority” is not related in any way to the content. It clearly is more of a time and endurance rating and friend rating, as the “authority” one seems to have is directly related to when the blog was started. One that had a high authority for a ‘playwright’ and ‘poet’ wrote two paragraph long entries about tv shows, ddt, juvenile gossip bordering on slander, and long articles about his own plays (in third person). Another seemed more interested in his kids than anything else. All of which is fine, but it demonstrates the point that blogs whose subject matter becomes watered-down and slides off the point will quickly lose their power–but not authority, clearly.

One blog that I did find through Technorati that I have found very enjoyable so far is Intermission. The first entry I read was entitled Pocket Notes, and had some good moments, including the one where the in-laws stare at you as if your an idiot while you try to recover from the invitation to morning Mass and also try to hold a play idea in your head all at the same time. Who hasn’t been there? (Jews, Protestants, and Atheists pipe down.) But the point is the same and depressingly comic. I found the evaluation of the various notepads enlightening and am now deeply covetous of the Miguelrius, which I shall have to purchase. When I was carrying notepads I stuck with the cheapo .25c Memo pads with the plastic spirals at the top. They fit nicely my back pocket and were insanely cheap. Of course, they fell apart after a beer or two was spilled on them.

Then there was the opera clip from Britain Has Talent, or whatever that show is. My wife showed me this clip and I was as thunderstruck as I think anyone in that audience was. Truly amazing. So, now I’m beginning to bond (mentally) with this person. Then the links come, which include Theatrically Speaking, so we’re on the same page now. And then this whole playwriting process thing opens up:

“And so, I am writing the new play, amazed by its ferocity in spewing forth onto the page. There are elements which my Editor’s Mind balks at, trying to dictate other ideas or directions. I know my muse well enough by now, to go with where the story and the characters take me. They are usually right. My Editor’s Mind is usually wrong, wanting to go someplace familiar and safe…I always do that when I’m writing. Shove the Editor’s Mind aside, and choose the path that’s scary. You know scary, don’t you? It’s the thing in your stomach that churns when you are not in control.” ¹

And all I can help think is how beautifully put that is. There are several things that strike me about this. First, I’m dumbfounded as I just finished doing a podcast for Theatricallly Speaking and I talk about the necessity of uninhibited writing, of letting the words flow onto the page and the mad rush of it; I also speak of what is referred to above as the “Editor’s Mind” that is, the internal critic or the “internal censor,” but the description above is a bit more precise and I know exactly what is being referred to. This is the problem of my most recent play, loosely titled A Howl in the Woods–the one that’s getting the reading at CPT in Little Box. Two times after extensive re-writing I have hung an ending on the play. The first time I knew it and asked aloud, when do you stop writing and start directing something toward a goal? And when are you pushing something too much and need to stop? I had no real answer, and this time the director called me on it. He was like, “I really like the play, there was so much that was unexpected and there were new ideas coming out at every turn, and the transformations of the characters (they go through many) were great, etc., and then there’s the ending…” I said “Sorry to disappoint you.” And he shrugged and then admitted, “you did, a little bit.” And why did that happen? Because I stopped listening to my unconscious mind and caved to my conscious mind, my “Editor’s Mind” the one that said to my inner voice “I know where this is going better than you do, so step aside.” Well, it doesn’t know better. And I need to learn the valuable lesson described in the Intermission blog entry: to listen to my muse; to go where I don’t feel safe and smug; to “choose the path that’s scary.”

Thanks for the good advice.

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