16. Just Bricks

What does it mean to be an organic writer? It is a claim I make of myself, so I should know what it means--at least I should know what it means to me. I say on my "about me" page on my website that plays are wrought, not written. I too say it is my job to serve the play. My focus needs to be on what the play needs, not what it wants. I need to make the play accessible for an audience, though I don't directly serve the wants of the audience. I also don't serve my own wants. Each and every play I write must become who or what that play is and it is my job to see that that happens.

It is easy to believe in your play early on. The difficult part comes when the rejections roll in. I'm a firm believer in continually sending work out. It is part of the process and it can be helpful to have my work rejected--yes, I said helpful! It gives me distance from the play. When a play has endured enough rejections, I'll reevaluate it. I will look at my play with a more critical eye, though I never forget the very real possibility that the rejections might be wrong, not the play.

At times it feels as if my plays and my career are being held back by a brick-wall. There is an energy in the things you write. An organic writer responds to and with this energy. As with all relationships this is interactive and its success or failure is based upon trust. There too can be an energy around a piece of writing. From my experience, this energy will often have a positive or a negative feel to it.

It can be difficult at times to read or interpret the energy around a piece I've written. Sometimes it isn't as strong and other times it isn't distinctly one thing or another. Sometimes this energy will come from an un-organic source, which can be more difficult to pinpoint. An example of an un-organic source is my own ego. Ego driven energy is often cognitive. However, ego driven energy can also come from other people, theatres or even organizations. No matter what the source I have to deal with the energy, if I'm going to remain organic and if I'm going to continue to grow as a writer.

It is important to understand the difference between organic energy and energy that is un-organic. Organic energy occurs naturally, like a breeze blowing in a field. Un-organic energy often comes from a particular source and appears to be as solid as a brick-wall. When an energy doesn't change over time, it likely isn’t organic, which brings up the question of how to deal with an un-organic energy, if you find it gathered around one of your plays or your career? If I'm comfortable the play is where it needs to be, I continue to send the play out. Brick-walls are man-made. As an organic writer my job isn't to break through the wall. My job is to remain organic, to be who I am and to serve my plays. I know every time someone reads a play or a sample of a play, there is the possibility I might loosen a brick. If I can loosen a brick or two, the wall might become vulnerable. If I can remove a brick or two from the wall and allow some organic energy to flow through it, the wall at some point will crumble.

originally posted February 2013
reposted March 2018

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