Happy & Sane

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(Picture in the dining room– Tlacolula, Oaxaca.) 

I didn’t work on my thesis play today—and this has made me a happier/ saner person—at least for today.

As of late, I’ve been stuck in the writing of my thesis play—specifically one scene, which for some reason I’m stressing over like crazy. If you don’t finish this scene you can’t keep going! Well, this weekend I spent time working on this scene, re-writing it and re-writing it like mad. Then at one point, Saturday night to be exact, I thought—COFFEE! COFFEE WILL MAKE IT BETTER… Not the case. I got a gnarly headache, threw myself on the floor and whined to my dogs. 

 

NOTE TO SELF—NO MORE COFFEE

 

But it wasn’t all downhill—I ended up making pizza (from scratch, yo!—Madhuri’s last post inspired me) while blasting music in the kitchen. I rolled that mother-flipping dough like it deserved it. Then I enjoyed said pizza while watching Trainspotting with my baby bro and his girl because I love being the third wheel.

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Sunday continued said struggle—the fucking scene just didn’t suffice. Finally, I was like: Just write the scene, Zury. Let it be shitty. Shitty as shitty can be.

And guess what—it is.

 

I decided that for today I would work on something else. So I’m here, in the dining room, taking a small break from having spent a good part of the day working on another piece I wrote last year/second semester. It’s nice to be working on this older piece—It’s nice to actually feel like I know what I’m doing and that I’m being productive. Of course, last year/ second semester this was not the case. I needed a break from the piece. So, I’m hoping that giving myself this small day break from my thesis play will allow me to go back to it tomorrow and feel good about it (doesn’t have to be great, just good).

 

Jorge is now telling me about his day and his new shoes. The only ones listening are the dogs. It’s hard to multitask, so I’m going to stop being disrespectful and listen to what he has to say. 

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The Leaning Tower of Pizza

Rewriting is hard.

Is the first draft more difficult to write, or the multiple revised drafts that follow? That’s a dumb question (that I just posed). Every single step of writing and developing a play is ridiculously hard and makes my brain crave sugar and naps.

(Never trust a skinny writer.)

A Nice Indian Boy has been a real challenge for me to rewrite. The reason why will make me sound very full of myself, but it’s kinda true- the first draft is actually pretty good. The first draft, of this play, surprisingly, turned out pretty well. I don’t know how it happened. It’s intricately plotted and well structured, and has multiple motifs and running jokes that all intertwine and pay off at the end. It’s pretty good.

Unfortunately, it also has one huge, glaring, impossible-to-overlook problem- the protagonist is the most boring character in the story. Whoops.

So in the quest to actually make his story interesting, dramatic and meaningful, my rewrite has resulted in my beautiful structure crumbling to pieces. And in my laziness, I clung to my old draft, defended it, convinced myself that my baby is perfect as it is- which it really isn’t. The problem is in the foundation. The problem is in the very premise of the play.

In short, my first draft is like the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Delicious, but fundamentally flawed.

Mmmm.

And so if I want my play to stand upright, function structurally, and be beautiful at the same time, I need to tear this thing down and rebuild it brick by brick. Layer by layer. Topping by…

Anyway. The good news is that once I got over myself and let go of my first draft, the writing has actually gotten easier. Retooling the premise has given me room to make the story more about the characters, and not so much about the cleverness of the jokes. I’m actually enjoying the writing instead of dreading it.

Today I am, anyway. 🙂

And now, time for lunch. Guess what I’m having.