39. Playing Around

I reworked one of my plays last summer (my third of three older plays). It has been an unusually long process to find these three plays. This is the final remaining connection to the writer I once was. I removed over 20 pages and it felt good, it felt purging. However, as there weren't any structural changes, it was more of a reduced and tighter version of the previous draft, not a new draft.

Rewriting is an art in itself. I doubt you can be a successful writer, if you can't successfully rewrite your own work. My first draft will always need some cleaning up, some clearing out, some rethinking, some reorganizing and some reconnecting. An older piece is more difficult because you've changed and grown as a writer and the original piece may no longer hold as much meaning for you as it once did. In this case it is more of a challenge as the original idea was not a full story, but simply an image. I'd had another play in mind, but my graduate school adviser advised against it. I don't know if he was correct, but I'm glad he advised against it, as the original idea wouldn't satisfy me today.

As this was my first attempt at an original full-length play, I was over my head beginning from so little. I wouldn't do it again, but I'm glad I did it this once--the folly of inexperience. It is difficult to write and rewrite a play when you don't know what the play is about. I'm still learning about this play. It took me years to find the direction and focus of this play--if indeed I have found it. I suspect I may finally know what the play is about, but I'm not surprised it's still changing, still moving and still presenting possibilities. I've spent much time in my essays writing about following the energy. This play exists because I've learned how to listen, how to seek and how to follow the elusive energy stored within it. There is a comfort you must have as a writer. There is the need to know you don't know. There is the need to know it is okay to not know. There is an understanding between you and the play: this play can not and will not exist without you and you can not and will not be who you are without it.

originally posted January 2015
reposted March 2018

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