Saturday, October 27, 2012

Then From Out of the Blue and Without Any Guide...

I hate my ideas.

I'm so incredibly limited by my own brain. My stupid, unoriginal brain.

Whenever anyone else has an idea I think it is just the best thing ever and then I crap all over it with my stupid ideas about what could happen next. I love step two. If you come up with an idea, I will get really excited about it for you and tell you a million directions you could go with it. I just wish I had a single original idea myself.

I'm trying to let other people's ideas just be: keep my enthusiasm and be a supportive, silent friend who listens and asks instead of saying, 'LET'S SUBMIT IT FOR FRINGE! I LOVE THIS, I'LL BE THE SECRETARY!'. Maybe I just have genius friends. I really believe that people have to own their projects, that a dramaturge or feedback giver or whatever is there as a sounding board, instead of someone who has to 'fix' things. At least before the play gets up. At least when the play is struggling to just be what it is on its own terms, when it can't even walk yet. So I'm working on being excited in a quiet way. In a 'you be you' way.

It's difficult.

The other thing I'm learning about my own ideas is that when I have one, I want to give it to someone. I want someone to say, 'yes, this deserves to live'. But inevitably, they want to turn it into their own thing, or they don't get as excited about it as I am. I don't even know what I'm looking for when I tell someone an idea too early, I just feel a compulsion to do it. And it always ends up disappointing me. I just need too much encouragement, no one could ever give me enough. Plus, I'm so stubborn that the second someone says, 'Do you know what you should do?', I want to never do it ever, out of sheer obstinance. What a monster I am. Impossible to work with or even be around.

So I have an idea now that is so so so far removed from being anything. It's barely an idea. It's like half a thought. It's a 'thoug'. But it has a bit of a glimmer and a gleam to me so I'm trying to keep it to my damn self. See if I can bring something into being myself. Eventually it will need someone. Actually, I have one show that is now finished a second draft and so desperately needs someone, needs someone to come in and look at it and help me. But this idea isn't there yet. If I don't even know what it is, how can I ask someone to love it?

So sit on it, Jessica. Keep it to yourself. For just a minute. Incubate. Mother duck. Mother hen.

This need to share, this compulsion for validation is related, I think, to my original love of theatre, which was that it was how I met cool people. The theatre is the closest I have ever felt to having friends. I want other people to want to work with me and like my ideas. But I'm alone. I don't have a company, or partners. I work by myself. There are a million independent artists in Toronto, and they don't ask me to work with them. No one is interested in what I do. This is an endless sadness to me but is the way things are. And maybe the benefit to this is that I get to really form things myself and see what they are to me before I give them away. So I have to hold on to them for a bit.

It's difficult.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Someone tell the story, someone sing the song.

Read this.

Love it. Causing a lot of pain because I think that's what I'm trying to do in the play that I'm writing that I affectionately call 'the worst play ever written' (or, alternatively, 'the roadside baby', as in the baby that maybe should be left for the wolves), and it's very hard. Damn, it's hard. So easy to talk, to use language in a way to evoke and recreate and image, so hard to make language move and push and stab and run and have characters do the same.

This thing of 'action' that we apparently do all the time naturally and knowingly and unknowingly in life, why is that so hard to bottle and stage? Stop trying to bottle it, Jessica. Then how do you conjure it?

Garrrrrrr. Losing faith that I am, indeed, a writer. Having similar fear about acting, and prospects of ever acting again. Gar. Angst. Blergh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life's Lovely When You're a Woman Like Me

Have I returned to blog? I'm not sure. Maybe a bit.

I had some blog posts backlogged about my summer and theatre and stuff I saw and thought about but it all seems like very long ago and as if another person wrote it.

A number of things have kept me from blogging, the most prominent being my endless confusion over whether I should even continue doing theatre in the first place, and if I did, whether I should continue talking about it. I also broke and then lost my camera and as I'm sure I've mentioned already, blogs without pictures are like very bad books.

Right now I'm not acting in anything and am pretty convinced I'll never be acting in anything again. It's awful and worrisome and I don't know what to do about it.

'A ha!', you say, 'You can write!' You are wise, reader. Except I can't. I try, and I'm not that good. I've been writing a lot lately, some creative stuff and some 'please give me money stuff', but I'm struggling.

I'm trying to write a play about friendship and about memory (I AM THE MOST ORIGINAL PLAYWRIGHT ALIVE), and for whatever reason, the characters I've created have come out being girls. Initially they weren't, but I recently wrote something that there is no part for me in, and I honestly can't see myself ever producing it. I need to feel there's at least a chance I can be in the damn thing if and when I write it. Is that awful? Also, I want to write for girls. So that we have something to do onstage.

A while ago I was talking to a girl I really thought I could work with and I said that I wanted to write something for us where we played girls in school uniforms with psychotic tendencies. She immediately said, 'No, why can't we just be girls who are nice and normal and not insane?'

I was really bummed out by that. First of all, I don't think that having psychotic tendencies precludes you from being nice, normal, not insane. Second of all, because no one wants to see the play about four girls who really respect each other and have uneventful interactions full of positivity, and I sure as hell don't want to write it (also, not being a normal positive respectful person, I don't think I'm qualified to write it). And third of all, this idealization of females, this thing that if women aren't paragons of virtue they're bitches, that is just an incredible wad of bullshit. Boys want to play (get to play) Hamlet, Macbeth, Iago: FLAWS APLENTY. The great roles aren't always people you want to be....just people you want to play.

But I'm writing this thing about/for/ with girls now, and it's hard to walk that line with characters that are flawed, and characters that are just heinous bitches. How to write girls that talk back and are insecure, but don't immediately fall into tropes of sarcastic know-it-alls, or secret anorexics, or evil frenemies. I'm trying to write something to give five girls a chance to act (in my head, it would be an all-female team, backstage too), but I might be creating something that's so anti-feminist I would want to die.

I'm having an enormous amount of anxiety about this, second only to the anxiety I'm having that the play is a piece of shit. What is that about??? If I can't write likeable interesting female characters, who else is going to?