34. Crash and Burn

When I defined myself as an energy person (see #25), I also said I couldn't explain what that meant. Yet, I seem to be following an energy thread these days. When I write these essays it's because these thoughts and ideas are things I'd like to better understand and writing my way through them is a good way for me to do this. In thinking about how #31 came about, a phrase popped into my head; a phrase I'd associated with playwriting but not my essays: crash and burn.

To have something crash and burn is to have something I've been working on and put some time, energy and thought in to, melt away. The work felt solid and clear; the direction I thought things were going and the research were stimulating; however, in a few moments the thread I pulled on made the fabric unravel into a pile of disconnected threads that couldn't hold a paperclip.

The first time a play crashed and burned was devastating. I'd been working on it for some time. My research was intriguing and provoking. The play moved much at the beginning, but it had been feeling solid and steady--though I'd yet to write a word. Then it happened; like trying to hold on to sand in running water; my hands were empty and all of that work was for naught. A couple of days later a new thought occurred and within a few moments a new, richer and more refined play emerged--and did I feel lucky! About the fourth time that (as of yet unwritten) play crashed and burned I was so excited because I couldn't wait to see what would emerge from the ashes this time.

originally posted August 2014
reposted March 2018

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