Lately I've been getting into short projects. A 500 word essay for a magazine, an audio poem written for a compilation album, a 10-minute play for a summer festival, a series of micro play ideas, a poetic-narrative-memoir for a new zine...
These small things fill the void where daily/weekly assignments used to be. I start new pieces and finish them, works that will receive audiences shortly after I let them go. This is bringing back the joy of making, showing me the full creative cycle in bite-sized portions.
These tiny projects are helping me see what I'm interested in now, too, what I'm collecting and cultivating through the lens of a wide variety of genres, themes and associations. This is helping motivate me to see farther and deeper into the next big project, whatever that may be, as I wait for that to emerge.
Another thing that's helping is getting back into mailed correspondence. Writing notes to people, a letter or two, communication that reaches out over distance in slow time. These forms aren't efficient. They don't fit well with urgent news.
I don't sit down with an agenda of what to write. The words come from a desire to get down tangible connection. Letters help me remember that big purpose of art for me. Connection is everything to me. And communication is hard for me. That's why I have to work so hard at it. I often have to write in order to know what I think and what I want to say.
Another thing that's been helpful in this cultivation process is getting back into activities the don't seem like active creation, but that help me create. Gardening. Walking. Learning the ukulele. Reading what speaks to me. Learning to follow that flow, I can dig creating like this, in a slow way, discovering over time what my next project wants to be.
In the meantime, these short projects are helping me reflect on what I'm thinking. About the awful Orlando tragedy. About the cringing mass desire to hold onto a right (?) to possess automatic weapons. On my aunt going into hospice, exactly two years after my dad went into hospice. What joy means in the theater. And love. And what grief means. What it means to stand for the oppressed, to speak to the silent, in ways that foster love and creativity. How to see like a child. How to notice like a kitten. How to reflect like I operate with a widening relationship to time, rather than getting as fragmented as the information age wants me to be. And what love really means. Really.
There is always more to work on. As I make a few revisions on my play How to Hide Your Monster and get ready to send that off to development companies, it's good to collect new things. As I'm writing, forming what I'm trying to say overall with my body of work, I can think more specifically about the kinds of things I want to address. About gender. About diversity. About difference, how that gets eradicated. I think about people who've been silenced.
And I keep writing.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with weekly posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.