I’m a southern California girl. I know earthquakes and brush fires. I don’t know hurricanes.
But I was up in Maine for two blissful weeks of vacation – nothing but reading, eating, swimming in a lake, sitting, and writing. I’m working on rewriting act two of a play that’s been haunting me for ten years. More on that later in the week. But we were supposed to drive back south to DC on Saturday. That didn’t happen, thanks to Irene.
Friday was an absolutely perfect day! Warm temperatures, blue skies, you could smell the pine trees. The sun glistened on the lake. Hard to imagine the storm coming. By Saturday, you had this feeling you should be DOING something. Preparing somehow. So I drove into town to buy a battery for the flashlight and a power converter to run my laptop from the car’s cigarette lighter. (A true writer: can’t live without her laptop!) I made soup and chocolate pudding – to nourish the soul. We put away the plastic lawn furniture and took down the hanging plants and wind chimes. And we waited. And waited.
Finally, Irene arrived Sunday morning, first with rain, then with wind, then with wind and rain, and finally, just a bit more wind. Inland Maine got hit hard. We spent the day with friends, eating pasta and playing Crazy Eights.
It’s a nice metaphor for playwriting: that big idea that grows and grows, both scaring you to death and exciting something deep inside you. It takes its dear, sweet time developing, moving slowly towards you. You spend your time preparing – research, note cards, writing in longhand, making notes to yourself on the Iphone, freewriting – doing SOMETHING until it arrives. And then it does – you’re in the midst of the writing, full of excitement and terror. That new play makes you feel ALIVE! And then, all too soon, it’s over. It gets produced or a reading and your emotional brain is already preparing for the next creative storm.
Perhaps the National Hurricane Center can help me with titles when I sit down to write my next “hurricane.”