Watch the blackness.Posted: January 20, 2014
Last week I was at my friend Orlando’s house for homemade Northeastern Thai food. (He knows what he’s doing. I am a very fortunate woman.) He knew I was working on the ending of my next play, Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo, going up at Manbites Dog in May. He asked me what my creative process is like—whether I hear my characters’ voices in my head. And I do. I write good dialogue between interesting characters because, in life, I have good conversations with interesting people.
But sometimes I have to get all Montessori. Like, as in the picture above, when I had to use my blocks to figure out a scene about polyamorous pairings.
Sometimes it’s like balancing and rebalancing a chemical equation. Add this at the end? OK, I have to go back and set it up at the beginning. Which creates metabolic intermediates I have to deal with in the middle. Et cetera.
Sometimes what I’ve written is too boring and so I go looking for an unusual ingredient, like the one weird spice that perfects the soup. I look through my Moleskine and review all my fragments. That genetic misfire of a dog. How do we view God? Sideways, crabwise. A man in a holiday turtleneck, wielding a sword.
And sometimes, when I know I just have to do the work of imagining something ex nihilo, there’s nothing else to do but sit at my desk, bow my head, press the heels of my hands into my eyes, and watch the blackness. I fill the blackness or the blackness fills itself. And then I write down what I see.