beginnings

I’ve got an idea for a play.

Over the last four months I’ve met a number of playwrights and I’ve read some of their work. I’ve listened to them discuss the subject of writing for the theatre, and the various forms it can talk. I’ve found it inspiring and it’s reminded me of work I did a long time ago.

Now, with an idea germinating in my mind, and its hair-like roots probing outwards and pushing up through the dark soil of my imagination I am intimidated by my lack of knowledge of the area.

This is nothing new: whenever I consider tackling a new subject I am often daunted by the vastness and complexity of its territory and my awkwardness and lack of a navigational tool.

Yet, I know it will pass. Any subject, no matter how intimidating, can be broken down, assimilated, and understood with the right application of time, effort and a desire to learn.

I may not write this play immediately, but a number of major details, and how it could be staged, have already taken form in my mind. One of my issues is that I’m unsure how to start. I know what I would do if this was a screenplay, but that approach does not feel right for a play.

I’m afraid to write anything down yet. My sense is that if I commit it to paper too soon, or use the wrong method, the material will not flourish. Like a temperamental plant it requires particular care and growing conditions.

I will discover the right way, but I have to be patient–not my strongest talent. I suspect that this play will unfurl quickly once I know how to begin.

But not just yet.

Soon, as part of my online course, I will start outlining a new screenplay. I wonder how many projects I can work on at the same time? Would a play and a screenplay co-exist and evolve together? Is there enough room in my brain to grow a screenplay and a short story? Can you continue to stretch yourself so that your capacity to imagine increases proportionally? Is it a case that as long as you don’t work simultaneously within the same forms that you can produce a number of creative works?

If there were limitations of that nature then how could an artist work on a number of different canvases at the same time? I know that this is possible, and indeed, normal.

Perhaps it’s a case of realising that the only limitations on the imagination are the ones I impose.

I need to discover the best way to express it, and then let it out. After all, writing can be refined afterwards.

But, there is something special about the first way you capture an emotion or mood and put it on paper. No matter how many times you rework it the ghost of the original haunts the work thereafter.

My suspicion–after working through these musings on paper–is that with a play (or perhaps, just this play) the first expression of the idea is vital. That first breath stirs life and sets it upon its course.

I want the course of this work to be true.

It may not be a tremendous piece of work, and it may only ever be read by me, but I want it to be the best I can create.

So, I’ll wait until I can figure the right way to begin. Hopefully, I’ll also learn the correct way to complete it too.

(And the cynical part of me says: just write, bitch!)