I just emailed out ‘Fly Loft’ to my college friends, and my Knox College professor, who offered to critique it for me. This is my 8th-20th-40th-something draft, 2 virtual read throughs later. I have a binder of drafts, back story, 30 pages of a short story on these characters, 30 pages of handwritten notes and diagrams. I feel as if I’m near the end of what I can pull. I feel like Anderson and all his maps when he was tracking Sherlock in ‘The Empty Hearse.’
I met a woman named Katherine, who sat next to me at the Sneak Peek at the Unicorn last week. I wanted to wait to write about her, because she was encouraging, especially during this part of the process. She had asked me what I liked about theatre, and I told her “everything”, but I was working on writing a play. I told her that I’d been sending it to my friends for feedback, and we’d been doing Google hangouts to read it together and get their opinions on it for re-writes. I told her I wanted to submit it for review for a contest, but I was nervous, and felt ill every time I thought about sending it in. Here is what she told me, and I held on to every word. I even typed it short hand into my phone. I felt what she said was something I needed to listen to:
“You shouldn’t be afraid to submit your play to a contest. You’ve already opened yourself up to criticism. That is the hardest part, if you can’t take criticism, you can’t move forward. You shouldn’t be fearing anything else. You’re already over the hard part”
The heavens opened up, angels sang, a choir was clapping behind me.
We continued to sit there and chat, and I listened to every third word, but I kept rolling that around in my head. “You’ve already opened yourself up to criticism. That is the hardest part.”
I think it helps that my first critics were my very lovely friends from my college, and it was like a big family reunion to read this crazy play together. I also think every bit of feedback, whether it stung or not, was good to hear. I listened and tried my best to not justify anything, because there is only the text. I still want people to think my work is good, at least good enough to finish, so I am I am doing my best to be better, and I am enjoying having something creative to do.
I am listening to podcasts about playwriting, reading books on playwriting, and talking about playwriting to anyone who will listen every second I am not doing something else. It’s exciting to have my brain on something I really enjoy again. I may be writing crap, I may be delusional about how bad I am, but at least I am having a good time. But, I still want to be good, and have someone I respect tell me they want to run my play. I want that more than anything right now, but I keep telling myself that the odds of being chosen to have my first play be put up by a local theatre are slim to none.
But I am still terrified. Cause I want to do it. But I know I will probably get a rejection letter. But I know I will tack it on my wall like Stephen King, and start over, and maybe come back later, and keep going. Because it’s too much fun to stop.
Apparently, according to this lovely woman Katherine, who I just happened to sit next to the last time I was at a theatre production, I am over the hardest part. I shouldn’t be afraid. I should submit my play to the contest.
I love going to the theatre.
But I still feel ill every time I think about sending that damn email.