Happy New Year, dear reader. I am writing this blog post on Monday, January 5, 2015. Tomorrow it will be colder, it will be snowing—hopefully only lightly. My literary/theatrical event, “Nomads,” is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village. Oh, the sound of that is truly exciting, I have to say.
It is my first collaboration with actors. We even had a rehearsal, a relief from the solitude of preparing a manuscript for publication. And I learned so much. Most importantly: what reads well may not work at all when it is spoken.
I have always wanted to write a play. How hard it is! I took a dramatic writing class at Gotham Writers Workshop a few terms ago and confess that all my efforts failed. Well, it was my first try and I was trying something new. I was a student again and that, in itself, was a pleasure.
I had written a couple of screen treatments with my screenwriter husband, not exactly the same. A treatment is written in the present tense and it is narrative prose; my husband did all the scene visualization. And so I went into the Gotham class as a complete beginner. I was enthusiastic, I was curious, I was daunted.
Oh, how I disappointed myself at first. I had forgotten what I always tell my students about imperfection, struggle, and acceptance of our flawed efforts. I turned to Virginia Woolf’s diaries, always a comfort. “It is bound to be very imperfect. But I think it possible that I have got my statues against the sky,” she wrote in her diary.
Soon after, I relaxed. The teacher was outstanding, the students inspiring, we read plays and discussed them. I came up with five possible scenarios and came away with an even deeper appreciation of dramatic writing.
And, obviously, something stuck. “Nomads” has a theatrical feel; twelve pieces will be “performed.”