Have you ever started writing a piece only to find out you could not finish it until you lived something out in your life?
While writing “The Day of Small Things”, taken from Zechariah 4:10:
“For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel [with] those seven; they [are] the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”
I realized that I had to personally know what “not despising the day of small things” meant in my life. I had to live the answer – I had to know that to me it means pushing past all the little obstacles that are in my way as I journey to my goals. The constant bombardment of stuff in the way and the unending task of trying to stay afloat can make one want to get past the “dumb stuff” and just jump ahead to the meat of the matter. Then there are the “little victories” that seem to delay the big victories and one might want to forgo them as well for the main event – but one should celebrate them because a victory is a victory is a victory… It’s the getting through all the “dumb stuff” and the “little victories” put together that result in the character needed to eventually reach the goals I’ve set for myself. It’s the journey… I could have never written that play without them – the “dumb stuff” and the “little victories”… After feeling like I had had triplets with no epidural, I started the play. The main character was Robert Raikes, Jr. called “Bobby Wild Goose” by his adversaries – his real nickname. Imagine all of the wonderful nuggets in that name – enough to spark the way into the story which happened to be about the start of Sunday school and Bobby Wild Goose’s journey to accomplish that feat. A journey – the essence of which – I knew myself.
In “Dream Catcher“, I knew that one of my beloved characters had to die. I was unable to write any portion of the play that lead up to and encompassed the death of this character until I lost my father. His passing is when I knew why I had to wait to write it. I had put the play down for a year after my father’s death and the day I picked it up again, with urgency it seemed, I was able to collaborate more with my inner self and bring some of the new moments I had experienced to the scenes. In some ways, it has kept those fleeting moments alive. I had to deal with the “I don’t want you to leave moments” I had with my father the last time I saw him; we all have them whether we are conscious of it or not. I had to deal with the dream I had of him the morning he died when he came to see me “we went to lunch” and then the phone call from my sister came, confirming what I knew but didn’t really want to know. I had to deal with the tribute poem I wrote to the sound of his voice in my head and the secret it – the poem – revealed. When I returned to “Dream Catcher“, I allowed my “self” to have her say in the telling of the character’s death and she – my self – was a wonderful collaborator – separate, yet fully part of me…
One never knows where the stories will come from, all one can do is listen and be active in the retelling of it.
As a rule, when I sit down to write, I am conscious of being open to hearing from my inner self. Most times it is the deep reaction to something or someone else that ends up on the page but sometimes it is a piece or part of all the things in my life floating through the lines of story…sometimes it is my self having her say…