Sunday, October 14, 2012

Those who can, can't help themselves.

Maybe it's the changing of the light - the coming of winter.  Maybe it's Obama - maybe it's my hunger for his extinguished fire.

Maybe it's because Sheila Shanley has been dead for ten years - and my mother has been dead for almost twenty.

Whatever the reason, during this past week, I've been miserable. 

No.  Not miserable.  The word miserable is too strong.

During this past week, I've been creatively challenged.

What we don't know CAN hurt us. 

Of course - like most funky times - I suffered in ignorance.  I had no idea what was troubling me -  perhaps something material, mechanical or maniacal.  

I thought I could fix it by raking leaves.  Mopping the kitchen floor.  Throwing on four loads of laundry.  Reading a good book.

I began to think the root of the funk was financial.  I thought I should get a part time job - pull down some cash.

I did all that.  The funk hung fast. 

Until today.  Today, I went back to work.  I'm working on my new play, GROWING UP GOODRICH.

Like magic, the fog lifted.  The sunniness of my disposition returned.  Coffee tasted better.  My bank account no longer freaked me.

To hell with sex, drugs, rock'n'roll. 

Writing is my Kick-a-Poo Joy Juice.


Taking my own good advice.  


 I once taught a class at THE LOFT LITERARY CENTER entitled, "Monday Morning Blues Buster."
(The title, I believe, became the inspiration for the name of the Northfield coffee shop - one of my legacies to Rice County!) 
The course was designed to jump-start stymied, stuck, bored and burned-out writers into a new frame of mind.  I taught it because I'm the only writer I know who is never, ever "blocked."  I always, always have something to write, something to say.

Only a portion of it is worthy of consumption, of course - but nonetheless, I'm a frickin' font of wisdom.

I remember my dismay - my surprise - my genuine shock - at how many writers complained about the pain of writing.

"I hate to start," one person said, "because I hate to re-write.  And everything is so terrible, I know I'll have to re-write."

"What if I fail?" asked another.  "What if I'm no good at it?"

"I experience physical pain," one compained, "in my soul, my heart.  And of course - my back! Writing gives me SUCH a back ache!"

After six hours of this, I cracked.

"Look," I said.  "No one is holding a gun to your head.  No one is forcing you to write.  If you hate it, stop.  If it makes you suffer, don't write.  Give it up.  Try water colors." 

Needless to say - I offered the course only once.   I had so little to offer. 

 Rockin' on with my bad self.  


My play GOD GIRL is ready for the next step.
GOD GIRL is ready for the next step at The History Theatre - where it was selected for RAW STAGES production, January 7, 2013.

PAPER DADDY, while  dormant, is tighter, leaner, better than when it premiered in Northfield. 

SWEET TRUTH awaits my revising review - The Berlin Theatre expects a rewrite in February.

But right now, GROWING UP GOODRICH has my undivided attention.

 The story of the 1957 Midwest printers' strike; the hardship imposed on Minnesota families - the violence, the anger, the fear and the dread that visited my optimistic Swede parents - is a story that will resonate with Baby Boomers and the children who struggle to understand our idealism.

Write to bring to the light. 


Of course - that's not why I'm writing it.

This play, like all the others, has a life of its own.  The characters scream for release - push and strain for freedom.  The plot shapes as my mind swims in detail.

Damn, I love this life!

A pen, a great pad of paper, a clear mind and the time to write -
There is no angst in my wonderland. 

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