Saturday, November 26, 2011

Making bargains with myself.


I am away writing. Don’t let that fool you though, I’m not actually writing. Apart from blogs, which I am as yet undecided about in terms of their actual validity re “writing”. She says, writing her blog. 

I am away, down the coast, enjoying some time alone, just me and my computer. The idea is that I will write some more of Fury – my next play. This means that I write all manner of other stuff. The best way to write a group of other unrelated things is to have one big thing that you need to finish. It’s also a great way to get the housework done, the bills paid, the budget planned etc etc. That is, of course, the reason why I went away – so that I couldn’t do things like housework and child rearing. Doesn’t stop me from writing other things though.

I have managed to work a double blind on myself though. I actually wanted to write some more of Evie – the novel that I’ve been working on, and in an effort to avoid Fury I have written another chapter of Evie... see how that works! Shazam! I fooled myself! Woooo!

This is the delicate tightrope I work with myself, the filigree golden thread that connects me to my artistic world. It is, in actuality, a series of bargains.  

“If I write one page of Evie, I can have a piece of honeycomb”
“If I read Fury and correct the grammar then I can have a cup of tea”
“If I do yoga I can pour myself a huge bath and read my book in it” (something I have done twice in the last two days)

I read once that Douglas Adams loved baths, and that he frequently climbed into them to avoid writers block. I can see why. I am way more disciplined than Douglas Adams, I make my bargains and then get into the bath.

Recently I was listening to a podcast where a writer talked about the way in which good writing, the best writing, seems to come effortlessly. I know that feeling, what a wonderful feeling that is, it’s as if for a moment your mind reaches up and joins that continuous powerful stream of stories that already exist. The words flow right out of you, hours pass incredibly quickly and when you stop you feel energised, excited and thrilled. That sensation is the one that keeps me believing in the concept of a shared universe. A universe that we all belong to and can reach out to and which can nurture us.

I wish that I could feel that a bit more. As I’m not a full time writer I don’t have to force myself to write shit that I’m not interested in, but there are plenty of other writers that do have to. I don’t think that they get to reach up into that incandescent flow of inspiration very often. But that’s work for you.

I have one more day before I go home. One more day to fool myself into writing Fury – the idea is that tomorrow I will make myself work on Evie, and of course, my mind will immediately want to start writing Fury.

Just a word on cockatoos, they really are very funny birds. There is a swarm of them that hang around on my balcony – fluffing themselves up and squawking and walking back and forth in their silly pigeon toed way. I have a favourite of course, his name is Phil, short for Philthy – he has a big dirty patch on his chest and he is the most bossy and pushy of all the birds. He annoys the others, pecks at them, fluffs himself up constantly and annoys me for biscuits. Today Phil sat stoically, some might say, doggedly, on the railing outside the apartment, as the driving rain fell on him. There is nothing sadder then a wet cockatoo, his beak was buried in his chest and he was sunk low on his feet. But there he sat. For hours. I gave him a biscuit – I felt sorry for him, and besides I had just managed to finish editing another writer’s play and had promised myself a coffee and a biscuit for Phil. See, everyone wins with my bargains: Me, the theatrical world and Phil.  

Phil in happier (warmer, less sodden) times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still Harping on Monologues

It's hard to talk about writing when you haven't done any. At all. Virtually none. I mean I may have browsed through a lot of other people's writing in the past month or two, but I have only written one thing. And that was for a deadline. My own deadline. For a season that my company is putting on. But you see, I pay attention to my own deadlines too.

Regarding the various personal projects that I'm working on - I will be developing Rhonda a bit further. Looks like there might be an interesting opportunity to work on it more before the performance next year.

Fury: I met with an amazing woman who told me first hand what it's like when your child takes their life. It was powerful and sad and energising and helped me to see why I am interested in this project idea.

I had a new idea called The White Box. I am simmering it, until it is delicious and thickened. I write a food blog too in case you didn't know..

HEY! That's right I have been writing, it's just that I've been writing about food. And of course 1000 emails to various people about all sorts of shit. And Facebook posts. And lists. I have been writing heaps and heaps of things.

But not Twitter. Honestly people I am not a 140 chars girl. Sometimes it's best to face these things.

I wrote a monologue too. It will be going on for the Madwomen Monologues - which will celebrated in all their PR glory very shortly on a glossy website with pictures and things that move. I am assured.

My monologue looks at the disturbing rise of street kids through the eyes of a fish living in the Yarra. No it doesn't. But that's quite good.

It is a piece of fluffery which takes a poke at romance novels, and I will, ahem, perform, it. Yes.. Moi. More soon.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Monologues, one person, one story. Word count optional.

Ok, so I am going to chat about monologues. For no reason except that I love monologues*, when they are done well they are extraordinary! Funny, insightful, clever - they can lead us on flights of fancy and dazzle us with actor skillz. There is nothing quite like seeing one performer hold the room in the palm of their hand.

*that's a lie, there's a reason, see further down. I'm a stinking liar.

I like writing monologues, I've written a few over the years, many of them have been performed, either by me, my "team" or various things I've entered them into. I've written good one's, ok one's and shit one's. The shit one's were sent to sleep with the fishes, so they won't be back to make me look bad.

The lipstick lady a monologue that I have performed a bunch of times. An old favourite, with a deep Southern accent.

Sometimes I have started writing a mono and then realised that I have lost my way, but I've hung onto the mono because something good may still come out of it. I have a couple them. I have short plays like that too. There are some short plays I've kept because only one line is good.

Boom Boom: A monologue for a guy, a comedian talks about his relationship ending. 

I don't believe that there is any "right" way to create a monologue, much as I don't believe that there is any right way to create a play. This is art that we are talking about and art should arrive in the way it needs to. Sometimes as a fucking mess. Ideas, really subtle and nuanced ideas, are often buried beneath a lot of  dross, and it is that sublime ability to edit, or to have the help of a great editor that really makes the difference. But I digress.

I define a monologue as one actor being the predominant focus of a piece. This means that there might be others on stage, but the action at that moment is all about just one character. That character doesn't need to say very much, but they are the focus.

Not Nothing, Something: One of my personal favourites, done beautifully by Chris Costigan for Beaten Hearts in 2009. 

*this is where my ulterior motive kicks in hard: Baggage Productions is currently calling for monologues. We want women to write an original monologue for us and then submit it, and then we will put it on, in November. We will nurture it, give it to an actor who is worthy of it and direct is beautifully. 

We want lots of monologues to choose from - so we need you to be BRAVE! Please, female writers, seize your confidence by the nipples and give it a rousing tweak! Submit and live! Submit and learn!
Submit
Submit
Submit! 

And now for a lie down.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grammatical Pedantry

As a writer I think about words a lot, Stands to reason right? I love language, I love long words and short words and archaic words and silly words. I love all of them.

(Man, I wish that the next door neighbours children would just go ahead and actually kill each other, that racket of them screaming is driving me nuts).

I love words in all sorts of crazy order and I have a fine appreciation for words used with subtlety, used abstractly and with surreality. I like words. You understand. Yes, I know you do.So when I see blatantly weird bits of grammar or strange little word decisions made with seem to be oddly useless, I think about it.

Recently I flew Virgin to Sydney, not on a virgin, as I would have to find one firstly and secondly I would definitely have trouble getting them to take off. I went to the loo and saw this little notice on the wall.