The Artist and Truth
I’ve had an idea for a new play bouncing around my head since January. I’ve started it at least ten times, and each time it fizzles out. I put it on the back burner when “My Sister’s Baby” really started gelling in February. But, since I’m at a place with “My Sister’s Baby” that I need to hear it out loud, there’s not a lot of writing for me to do on my own. This other play, we’ll call it “Play X” for now, kept popping up. I took a few more cracks at it… Nothing.
And then, I was on a plane on Wednesday and my kids were self contained in their movies, and my mind had time to wander. I started writing and thinking about the play and before I knew it, I had an outline. At this point, I felt great. I felt I had finally tapped into the story I’d been looking for, and I thought that it would finally work.
I started writing. For the first time for me the outlined transferred to a play with total ease. It felt great. And then about half way through I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s a familiar feeling. When I was writing “The Fantasy Club” I was convinced people would think I was some sort of sex addict and try and take my children away. It wasn’t until my husband read it, and didn’t demand a divorce that I felt at ease. I think that “Play X” is worse. I think it’s much much worse.
It has truth to it that I’m not sure if I want to share with the world. I don’t know if I want my husband to read it and… I don’t know… React in any way. Most of the plays I write have quite a lot of terrible truth to them. Things that I find hard to admit out loud. I dwell on these things (God knows why) and through that plays are developed in my mind. I don’t know how to write a play that doesn’t have all the shameful things in it. And oddly, I’m not sure I want to. I think if I have anything going for me as a playwright it’s the honesty I share. But that takes us back to “Play X.” As an artist is it my place to ignore all the voices screaming no in my head and just put it out there and hope no one connects the dots? I feel like it is. Damn.
Hopefully this is all an over reaction to nothing. I almost always over react. I guess only time will tell.