Going With the Flow…

 In my everyday life, I must remind myself to go with the flow and to not talk myself out of the adventure.  It is quite difficult to do 52 percent of the time.  I always feel as though I am wandering around in dimly lit forests without markers or roads, finding it hard to trust “the flow” of the thing.  The trees are so tall and closely set that I can hardly see the sun.  And, if I can’t see the sun, I can’t see my way out of the dark.  When I do trust the flow; it is always an amazing journey.  One would think that I would learn by now but I’m human and I like to have plans that work – most of the time – as opposed to having so many “go with the flow” moments. 

In my writing, there is no other way but going with the flow – regardless of the trees or the dark – the voices of the characters do not speak when tampered with and they have their own rhythm…  I have to be open when I write or I’d never be able to write.  Personally, I cannot do the “not writing” thing – must be writing, always writing…  And, I have come to rely on being open to the processes I use for writing my plays and have spent the last decade plus honing that sensitivity. 

With poetry, I have let it come in when and where it can find a space between plays and work mostly for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, and deaths.  For the last few years, I have been working on a book of poems for my mother – gut wrenching stuff to write but she says it’s like I’m her memory.  I did intend for it to be personal to my mother but did not expect it to take so long and be so emptying.  I literally have to take breaks after every few poems.  Because of that, I had started to think that putting a book together unlike just collecting poems was virtually impossible for me.  I have been planning to submit to a certain poetry contest for a few years but every year, the play submission deadlines overlap with the poetry manuscript submission deadline and in the time before and after submission periods, I was always writing another play.  This year, by some miracle, the deadline was extended two weeks.  So, I figured I would go with the flow by trying to submit something.  I started going through my stash of poems looking for a theme that jumped out at me – a daunting process to say the least as some of my best poems were off limits for this project.  I had to find an “in” so I wrote a poem about whatever it wanted to be about, was completely honest – no secret codes.  It went boldly to the scary dark place and said, “Now what?  You game?”  Suddenly, I knew what the theme was and how to pull poems I had already written into the pile, one being “Before the Red” and I knew I was going to have to keep going back to those scary places to write the manuscript right.  But even knowing that, time was running out.  I was going to have to write and rewrite a total of at least 50 poems in less than two weeks now.  It was new to me; I was completely terrified…scared…”afeared”.  I was traveling into scary dark places at a pace I didn’t think I could keep up…  I was writing through the night, writing through my lunch, writing while trying to get dressed for work…just writing and editing like a crazy woman…  Every time I would get overwhelmed and say, “Lord, I can’t do it.  I can’t finish in time.”  He would say to me, “But, what if you can?”  After a while, I found myself echoing, “What if I can?”  It was the million dollar question that I needed to have an answer to.  So, I continued to push hard; not making it when all I need to do is push hard a little bit longer is the worst kind of not making it.  I told myself I would push till the last available minute and just see what happens – just see if I can.  I could and I did.  I uploaded my finished manuscript with fifteen minutes to spare…New York time.

I had gone to the THERE space to the scary dark place and I had written it scared…but I had written it.  The flow of that thing was like being caught in the swell of a wave that refused to break.  I told a friend that I felt as though, I had become myself….nothing broken…nothing lacking…

Now…I am planning to start a new play to submit before March.  I have two weeks off from my day job and I ain’t scared to go wherever…because  I know I can go to the scary dark places…and still go with the flow…

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