9/10/14, Day 14,008 (Mercena Day 26): KD and The Band, First Draft Done
To my great surprise and happiness, last night around 12:15 in the morning I finished a first draft of KD and The Band. Oh, it’s all sorts of messy, but it’s done, and in surprisingly short time: I began the play on 8/18/14, and only worked on it in daily 60-90 minute increments when Mercena was sleeping.
It is definitely a response to having read The Violent Bear It Away, wrestling with the legacy of religious fervor and a very personal relationship to God. It was instigated by Catherine Field’s poem “Mythic Beaver,” which begins with the irresistible lines:
“Yes, I’ll haul your ashes
back to Oklahoma
the Lord G-d of Abraham
There’s some early Sam Shepard in there (a touch of True West and Tooth of Crime), and some Rattlers rhythms from Johnna Adams. Weirdly, one of the two lead characters sounds a little like Jesse Plemons, the actor who was so memorable as Landry in Friday Night Lights and again as Todd in Breaking Bad. The play is also indelibly stamped by the birth of Mercena, and the sleep-deprived nights we’ve had since then.
In relation to my own work, its closest ancestor seems to be Other Bodies, though the lack of direct address makes it more claustrophobic. I’ve used again the broken verse style that I learned from christopher oscar peña and Kimber Lee that I found so helpful in writing Faust. It’s definitely the most musical of any play I’ve written, and its narrative logic belongs as much in the world of songwriting as playwriting.
I have a hunch the play will wind up as a B side for me, but you never with these things. I’ll take some time away from it before returning to more thoroughly integrate the music and the band, though if I’m able to get to Flux Sundays, I hope to tinker with scenes on their feet.
And this is a great start for the Play a Month Club, though I am approaching my second year of that absurd venture with even greater humility.
Mercena had a good day yesterday, as she’s been concentrating the heat of her most flammable fussiness during the later afternoon. In the morning, she was chill enough that she made it through a YMCA stroller exercise class that Heather took ( we love exploring our FoHi neighborhood).
While most of my mental energy these days is directed inward to my family and immediate community, I am thinking of those most deeply affected by this anniversary; and am sending love to all families trying to live in peace, whether in Ferguson or Iraq or anywhere in this difficult world, and I think again of Stanley Kunitz’s words given more life by Tony Kushner:
“In a murderous time
the heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.”
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 140 out of 177 days (KD and The Band complete)
Spanish: 129 out of 177 days
Music: 45 out of 82 days
What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)
- Ate and cooked local, organic, vegetarian food, and used cloth diapers for Mercena;
- Asked FERC to conduct a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Cove Point Gas Export facility;
- Signed Dan Maffei’s petition in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act;
- Asked the FWS to conduct a more thorough and open assessment of the Red Wolf Recovery Program;
- Signed Color of Change’s petition in support of Net Neutrality;
- Asked my Senators to stop the House bill that would prevent the EPA from closing loopholes in the Clean Water Act;
- Asked Congress to close to the tax loophole that has empowered the recent inversions.