This week has been an amazing blessing from God. I am so thankful for the gift of writing He has bestowed in me since childhood, that has been able to grow more than thirty years later. As I have mentioned in past blog posts, I wrote a play for my creative writing class in 2015 when I was in my first year of online college at Southern New Hampshire University. I had never written a play before. It was really a screenplay at first. I had to write something and had absolutely zero ideas of what to write. I didn’t want to write something overdone, regurgitated too often, and for me, that meant a love relationship or some dire storyline. But I couldn’t pull anything from my gray matter. It sat there, lounging, out to lunch, not wanting to be present for this assignment. So, I decided there was nothing else to do but to just start writing whatever came to my mind, no matter how stupid or incoherent. Hey, it’s best to just get a gaggle of words down on the paper and worry about order and lucidity later. In this process, I wrote ten pages of a play about nothing. I named it “Falling Up Stairs” — the topic of the discussion in the play. Ninety-eight percent of this play was written from a stream of consciousness, which tells you a lot about my brain’s functioning power to come up with ten pages of nothing. The other two percent was making sure it made sense. And lo and behold, it did. What a relief!
I turned it in the week it was due, and shared it on the discussion forum the week after and got positive feedback from both my fellow students and professor. They found my story funny and enjoyable. This was good to know, not only grade wise, but that I was able to pull off a play that made some people laugh. What a joy that is!
Fast forward to this past December when the director of artistic programming after several emails with me, set up a night for actors from the local theater in which she worked to read my two plays, “Falling Up Stairs” and “The Tricker’s Treat.” Both plays came to life through these readings, and were enhanced by these actors’ brilliant jobs of reading with such animation and emotion. I do hope that “The Tricker’s Treat” will come to the stage next fall. God willing…!
And from that point, I signed up for the theater’s Open Mic night that was scheduled for January 20, 2018. If you’ve ever seen the movie Noises Off with Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, John Ritter, and Christopher Reeve, you’ll understand me when I say I felt like Michael Caine’s character, Lloyd, the director of the play. Yes, my nerves were just about as bad as his, worrying how the play would go down in front of the live audience, and wondering if the actors had their lines completely down. I’m an anxious sort of person, so this wasn’t unusual or surprising.
Well, I fretted over nothing (which is usually the case). My play was performed by these three fantastic actors to a receptive audience last night (January 20, 2018). I couldn’t have been more proud of them and their great work, or more pleased. I am so grateful to them for having agreed to act out my play, and I thanked them both verbally and with a small gift for their effort. You can watch the performance on the video below.
On Thursday, January 18, I received an email from a publishing company who had ran a writing contest online back in November 2017. I was informed that my short story, “Summer Memories” had been chosen as one of the twelve finalist pieces that they will include in their anthology of short stories for this year. I can’t tell you how incredibly thrilled, but at the same time stunned, I was that my story had been chosen. This past November had been the first time I’d entered any of my stories in writing contests. I entered three of my short stories in three different contests, and one of them was selected. It’s nearly impossible to express the elation I have felt from this. My work has been recognized by editors at a publishing company. My work that I’d edited myself and submitted thinking I may have a chance, but if my work wasn’t chosen as a finalist or didn’t win, that was all right, too. It was a great learning experience and helped me to overcome my fear of putting my work out there for people to read and examine. The catalyst was turning my plays over to the director at the theater. This was the first time I’d let those in a professional field (in this case, play related) read over my work. It broke the huge wall of fear I’d constructed for the past two years. This fear paralyzed my ability to make headway in my writing until last October when I sent my plays to this director who was so supportive and encouraging. Things changed rather drastically after that. It was as if God had opened the doors and windows ahead of me as I walked this path of mine, the writing path, the path I’d been given the gift to trek.
I now wait to work with this publishing company through further correspondence on what comes next for my short story in their anthology. I look forward to it.
The video is under eight minutes. Please share your thoughts after watching my play on what you liked about it, and if it made you laugh.