Learning while Coaching, and not writing while encouraging others to write

There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method.
Herman Melville

Another quote taken from the cover of my playwrite handbook. On my previous post I had mentioned fears I have in regard to my upcoming workshops; fears that I will not be up to the task at hand or “good enough” or not qualified. Plus fears of coming up against my own demons which we often spend lifetimes ignoring. For this post I’d like to mention how hard the work in this workshop is, and mention my complete admiration for the kids that see the workshop all the way through to the production. Hell, I admire the kids that make it through the first day.

I was going over just day one in the handbook, and thinking about how this very process is exactly what I go through when writing a short story or my novel. I wish I had someone sitting next to me asking, “why do you leave the house? Because you are angry? Why? Remember a time when you were angry, how did that make you feel? What does it look like? Now put it down on paper.” I would want to beat my head against the wall sometimes when I had trouble or blocks finding the vocabulary to describe an event or an emotion. A writer paints with words. This is not an easy task for a stable comfortable adult, imagine a kid with abusive parents who ran away and is now living on the streets. “What does anger look like to you?”

The goals of the work shop are to:

  • Build a community based on respect and trust
  • begin to learn the basics of a play
  • thinking about dramatic conflict

While I was going through my second day of training, which was about taking all the work on the page, and pulling out the beginnings of the play, my brain began to think about how while I am coaching these kids I too am learning about the process of writing a play. I took playwriting classes and screenwriting classes, but this process is far more intensive than anything I paid hundreds of dollars for, and here I am coaching, and learning. That is pretty cool.

Next week I start my workshop with Write around Portland, New Avenues for youth, Outside In and Portland center stage, then the following week I start Playwrite. I will be doing this while still working at the gift store and attempting to do my own writing, which always seems to come last.

I haven’t touched my novel in about a month except to get it off google docs. I’m thinking of scraping the entire project. I have been working on it off on and for years, but my desire to actually finish it has died. Perhaps it was never actually meant to happen anyway. I know I put all the work into it, 300 pages to be exact, and I need to edit it now or do the re-writes, but I just can’t find a real reason to finish. It doesn’t seem worth the effort. Honestly, I don’t think it was a very good story to begin with, and sometimes you just have to throw stuff away no matter how much work you put into it. Its one of those things that you wish you had someone read it, and tell you the truth, you know, that it would be a waste of time, but I guess you just have to go through the motions in order to find that stuff out. Besides it isn’t a very original story just the same old re-hash.

I think I am just making excuses for why I’m not working on it. The truth is I just lost heart.


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