Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I've tried writing plays before but to no avail.  My first two attempts were entirely silly.  I think I wanted to write them so that I wouldn't continue thinking that they were good ideas.  My second two attempts were serious.  By "serious" I mean that I tried hard--they certainly weren't serious plays.  Each play, however, suffered from two vital errors: not having a clear vision of what I was trying to do, and not having a whole lot of experience with the art of writing plays.

In some ways the first error is a result of the second error.  Not in all ways, of course, because a better and more artistic mind than mine could write better plays in the first few tries than I did.  For me, however, as someone who tries not to do or say anything without first thinking of how it fits into my vision, a lack of experience equals a lack of vision.  Obviously talent plays a major role, too, and I came to find that my play-writing skills are not nearly what I had hoped them to be. 

On one hand I want to tell my readers that sometimes it's best to face facts, no matter how depressing it may be, and admit that you are not as good at what you hope to be good at.  Living your life in the light of truth allows you to move on to projects, hobbies, and vocations that suit you better.  Or, living in the light of truth allows you to approach your tasks more creatively, since you will then know that methods a, b, c, and d are out of the question for you.  For instance, I love to paint.  Painting is a means for me to fuel up my creative juices without actually working hard or using my mind.  Still, I'd like to paint canvasses that I can be somewhat proud of despite being absolutely devoid of painting skill and a visual mind.  To produce a painting that I can somewhat enjoy, then, I must steer clear of any form of visual representation no matter how often I think a picture in my mind would make a fun painting.  By experimenting I have ruled out certain methods of painting and can now more creatively attack the canvass with modes of painting that I can actually do something with. 

On the other hand, I don't want my readers to give up.  If you have a dream my prayer is that you will fill yourself with hope and work at that dream.  Unfortunately some of us must tailor our dreams to poverty-stricken realities, but even then dreams are no less worthwhile.  Developing new habits of creativity is one means of not giving up, sure, but we must be careful not to do and think the following: Oh, I'm not good at method a, let's move on to method b; Oh, I'm not good at method b, let's move on to method c; and so on ad infinitum, without ever really working at any one of the methods.  While I subscribe to the saying, "Practice does not make perfect.  Only perfect practice makes perfect," I readily admit, too, that some amount of practice always makes better.  If we don't give ourselves the time and opportunities to improve then we are either dumb, silly, really dumb, or just plain hopeless.  The dual option of facing facts or evolving a new creative approach should only be considered after practice and time have entered the equation.  If after practice and time you still can't balance the equation, then you can move on.

Despite all my egotistical and over-confident bravado, I acknowledge that I, too, need practice and time.  My first four plays all were terrible.  They'll only garner worth if I one day become famous and some deranged fan thinks, "Hey, I want to hoard all the early work of John H.D. Lucy that was such awful crap!"  Now, however, after a long time of stewing and pondering, some conversation with people who know a thing or two about plays, I find that my practice has paid off.  A little, anyway.  I'm now writing a meta-play that is slightly autobiographical that, while not any good at the moment, could be good... when my girlfriend's 6-month old cat decides to get off my paper and pen, or when I finish and return to edit.  Now the cat is sitting on my wrist chewing on my fingers as I try to type.  Even if the play ends in disaster, I have put in the practice and time necessary to improve.  I have improved.  Whether or not I continue to improve may make all the difference.

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