Recalibration

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a leap-out-of-bed-with-a-head-full-of-story kind of guy. I need to know why I’m writing what I’m writing in order to do it.

Of late, I’ve been a little unsure as to my “why”. My grandfather died recently and I thought I could find my way through grief by leaning into my play for the Bush Theatre which is based on a fictionalised version of my grandparents. However, I’ve just hit a wall and find it impossible to even begin to fictionalise someone whose removal from my reality I’ve not quite dealt with yet. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing next to nothing. I’d come very close to thinking that I might not care about writing anymore.

Then last night, I went to meet my friend Martin and he asked me what I was up to. I talked through some projects and then I hit that Bush play and I felt an urgency to explain everything I wanted to do in it. The thoughts rushed out of me and I realised I had been speaking, with some great deal of enthusiasm, about the form and content for about an hour. I walked home wanting to dig myself into those rewrites again.

Maybe this is a solution to the ennui when it hits you? It’s bad to talk about projects early on, but perhaps when you’re stuck in the doldrums it’s best to reduce our work to the simplest terms of what it is: Telling a story to a friend.

And Just Like That She Was Lightning

Sorry for my lack of writing writing of late. I was busy with an article and the usual life style adjustments that don’t pan out. Had my first run since Thumbaggedon yesterday, and while I was definitely off the pace, it didn’t kill me which is a blessing. More of that same, every other day.

In other news, having finished How Will You Measure Your Life, I’ve started a fiction book*. That’s right an actual prose motherfudger, not some skanky playtext. Writing the articles for Wry Republic have been great for me, but it’s also  highlighted how I’ve shorn the imagery and range of vocabulary from my work. Partly this was a reaction to reading a lot of George Orwell (who was a big fan of keeping it simple), partly it’s intellectual laziness, but mostly it’s the homogeneity of influences and the inflexible methodology that I’ve applied to my work that’s done this. Hopefully  getting back into proper fiction will help rectify that, since my former eloquence was my favourite part of my writing.

I know one’s writing style evolves n’dat but I’d like to stop using the words “good” and “great” so much. A woman cut my hair for me today and my answer to every question she had was one of those two words. I’ve also resolved to stop answering the question “how you been?” with “pretty busy”. It might be true, it might legitamise a certain lifestyle, but it also makes you sound like a complete prick.

The other day an idea for a play came to me, almost fully formed, which is always nice. I was reminiscing and I realised I’d almost completely scrubbed from my brain my relationship with the Evangelical Christian Union at Exeter. It’s strange that I’d not thought of it for a long time, since there’s a lot in that which I’d like to consider again through the lens of a few years. Some of the best and some of the worst people I met at uni were part of the ECU, and I ended up spending a huge amount of time around them. My time at Exeter coincided with a big shift in mood towards the ECU. Hell, they were just called the Christian Union til a referendum ended up enforcing the change. In response, the president ended up suing the entire student body, via the Guild. Messy.

On a personal level, one of my best friends in the first couple of years went through the process of converting to Christianity, which complicated our relationship a little. There was a night where a joke morphed into a four hour debate that ended with her, in tears, telling me “I do think you’re going to Hell…but I pray that you don’t.” That was an absolute sucker punch, delivered at a time when everything was a bit up in the air for me. My grandma had just died, my moods were all over the place, I’d seriously screwed up one relationship and sauntered right into another one (with a slightly naughty overlap). So yeah – I think for my next big project I’m going to dramatise all of that, if not just for the sake of catharsis. Won’t be a self indulgent piece though, will sufficiently distance it – just something about writing a tale of two complex people with a great friendship, formed through cynicism, who struggle to remain buddies when a positive yet disruptive force arises really appeals to me. I had considered something similar for a play about a doorstepping Jehovah’s Witness, but think this will resonate with me better for a full lengther. Had intended to meet Rachel for a chat about faith anyway, so now when I do catch up with her next week, I’ll have some specific questions.

Tomorrow: Photography stuff for the last two Capture Collective briefs (I know the weather’s shit, but what can you do?) and maybe some applications. Rewrite of Bump starts in earnest on Thursday, with another reading with Mark and Simon taking place on Monday the 9th. It’s all very bu…hectic around here.

* If you’re interested, the book is Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman.