Ahh, the pains of labor… is there no better comparison for the birthing of a new play? Late nights, indigestion, dark half-moons hugging your eyes, and a strong, unflinching desire to just get it OUT?!
For what else is writing if not it’s own sort of miracle of creation?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as a single woman who is at that delightful age when all around her is BABIES, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll get to nurse something along that talks back, spits up, and laughs at me on occasion… In the meanwhile, I get to wrestle with invisible creatures with their own amazing power of will… and it never ceases to amaze me how they do it!
What do you mean you’re a puppet? I don’t know anything about puppets! I didn’t imagine you a puppet when I sat down to write this thing… Are puppets expensive?
Did you just hit her? Your own mother? In the jaw? What were you thinking? What does this do to my play?
If you can see your own memories floating around you… I mean, like really see them… physically… then you just raised the price of go-to capital needed to produce this thing. You need to get a job to start paying for yourself, you imaginative magical trollop!
But it always works out, because it’s this stubborn wonder that gets me going the most. I really think that it’s these moments of “WHAT the F***” that let me know I’m on to something good… maybe even great. It’s the muse’s way of saying “Oh, I think we can do better than that.”
And you know what? No matter the pain, no matter the exasperation, that crafty muse of mine is usually right.
So even when the result is “I was in labor with that play for NINE whole MONTHS, and look at it! It’s still all over lumps and bruises!” (sigh) At least I’ve got a good story to tell… holding the “scrapbook” in hand, proud “parent” to some crazy new world… getting ready to send it out for all to judge.
I think David Lindsay-Abaire said it best in his forward for Wonder of the World.
Your child might swear too much, or have a funny birthmark, or an odd way of obsessing about the weather, but still he must be sent out into the world, warts and all, to fend for himself. And you hope he’ll find friends who will love him for who he is. I hope, dear reader, you become one of those friends to this, my hyperactive, potty-mouthed but loveable child.
Ahh, yes, labor pains, growing pains, so many pains… Indeed!