by Robin Byrd
When you talk about Wicked, two names come up Winnie Holzman, the book writer and Stephen Schwartz, the composer/lyricist. Winnie spoke at yesterday’s LA FPI Gathering held at Samuel French here in Los Angeles. She spoke about what inspires us or what shuts us down as writers and how to navigate those waters. In order to do so, we must know what inspires us and work toward it and we must know what shuts us down and steer away from it. “Positive Denial” is a process she uses – in positive denial, one does not look at the whole picture. You have to have the blinders on like a runner who is in denial that anyone is there because they are running their race… We have to learn to be our own parent – a parent’s job is to encourage their children to develop their gifts and stay away from things that get them off track.
We also have to know what’s normal for a writer – the amnesia that happens when we begin a new piece, the feelings of being less than adequate for the task at hand, and the failures (projects that don’t seem to get picked or get picked but don’t go anywhere) between the home runs. Writers go through basically the same things regardless of their notoriety.
She talked about her play, Assisted Living, which she wrote with her husband Paul Dooley which looks at the ways in which people change each other without meaning to or knowing that they do. Assisted Living will be playing in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the George Street Playhouse, January 28 – February 23, 2014.
We all found Winnie to be such a lovely, down-to-earth, and powerfully fierce woman.
For more on writing Wicked with Winnie Holzman & Stephen Schwartz go to the Dramatists Guild Panel at http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/STAGE-TUBE-Dramatists-Guild-Panel-Stephen-Schwartz-and-Winnie-Holzman-Talk-Writing-WICKED-20130824