The Play a Month Club
Sometimes it feels like no matter how wonderful the time away was, it can never be quite worth the stack of work waiting when you return. Yesterday wasn’t quite that dire, but I suddenly felt a good deal behind on a great deal many things. So, in classic me-style, I elected to address this problem by taking on another impossible project.
9/3/13, Day 13, 636: The Play a Month Club
This day is so named for a gamble that my fellow playwright and dear friend Adam Szymkowicz and I have made (perhaps not so much a gamble as a blood pact). Through the power of peer pressure and social shaming, we shall each endeavor to write a new full-length play (or the novel/screenplay equivalent) every month,
This is not the first time I’ve committed to such an absurd gesture. Years ago, I emailed some close friends with the promise that they would receive from me a new play every month, and I didn’t make it past the first two months (and one of those months was a bit of a cheat). Adam and I also flirted with this idea on a retreat with fellow word-gushers Johnna Adams and Crystal Skillman, who were also enthusiastic about the idea before coming to our mutual senses.
So what’s different this time? Well, I’ve lately become more disciplined about writing every day. Flux doesn’t have a full production until next year, and TCG’s Fall Forum is usually more manageable in terms of time drain then the Conference. This will become much more tricky in 2014, but this is my best chance to get a running start.
Also, even failure could be success in such a gamble. Let’s say I’m only 50% successful–that still means I’ll have completed twice the full-length projects of the last twelve months. And it’s not like I don’t have a long list of ideas for projects, not to mention plays that I’m 5 to 30 pages in and just never completed because something shinier came along. I can do this, right? Right???
Anyway, that process began yesterday and this morning with a new play called Lightning Walks. The play will be three interlocking monologues connected to a mystical environmental catastrophe inspired by my recent visit to New Orleans. Here’s how it starts:
Now, I believe in science, I teach chemistry and I believe in its truth. But I also believe in the revealed truth of the Lord’s word. I place those truths side by side on the table and let them to talk to each other. I treat them both equally. They don’t agree on everything, and some folks, they can’t take that, they say, “well, if geology says the earth is this old and the Good Word disagrees, one of them’s got to be right, and I’ll hedge my bets on the Word.” But that’s not how I see it, not at all.
This is what I tell my kids; a lot of them, they’ve been raised so deep in the Word they don’t want to hear the Numbers, but here’s what I say: you can pick up the Word like a pair of glasses and look through them. They’re going to bring certain things into focus, right, but other things, other things get cloudy. So now pick up science and look through that. See how those cloudy things turn clear? And that’s all it is, knowing when to look through the Word, and when to see through the Numbers. And that helps a lot of kids, that helps me, knowing what to look through, how to see.
And for a long time, those pairs of spectacles were all I needed. But then came the lightning, and I remembered there were older ways of seeing.
So, here we go! You can help us achieve this absurd and unnecessary accomplishment though positive reinforcement when we follow through, and through merciless public shaming when we don’t.
What small things did I do this past week to build the Honeycomb?
- I signed another petition asking Congress to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.
- I worked on Flux’s upcoming events (save the dates of 9/19 and 11/21) and made good headway on building the Flux Creative Partner Master Info sheet, where all of our values, vision, mission and programming info will live in a single place.
- I shared and retweeted Environment America’s graphic that helps make the case for rejecting the Keystone pipeline.
- I ate vegetarian, including veggies from our local, organic CSA.
- I asked Congress to oppose HR 2637 – the “Academic Freedom Through Regulatory Relief Act” – which would shut down the Department of Education’s effort to rein in some of the worst abuses in the for-profit college industry,
- I composted, and created no additional direct food waste from plastic bags, plastic bottles, or any other wasteful packaging.
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 11 out of the last 14 days
Yoga: 8 out of the last 14 days
Spanish: 12 out of the last 14 days