Writing Wednesdays #3

I don’t want to jinx it but I wrote last night, for about an hour, probably. I knew I wanted to write, but I approached it like a baby deer; slowly, with good intentions. The main story I’m working on is a fantasy novel about a girl, a prophecy, and her best friend, a unicorn. I’m at the part where she finally faces down the villain, and it’s great. The last time I worked on it, four days ago, it was going well. But now that I’m nearing the end of that story, which marks the need for editing and revision, I’ve slowed down on the writing.

I started writing a story I started a long time ago about a detective who has to clear a man who didn’t kill his first two wives. I started working on this one probably about a week-and-a-half ago, partly because I felt the depression coming on, which reminded me of this mute character I had. Depression steals voices, so I knew that I could relate to Anne (the detective) better than Janie (the prophecy girl) because Janie is ready to fight and Anne has no voice.

Anyway, last night, I took a shower, meditating on Anne and the characters in that story, hoping I’d have that moment in which a scene is revealed and just needs to be written down. And it did! And it was fun to write. This is the story I mentioned a few days ago, in which I was high and re-read what I wrote and realized that it was kind of not good writing. I don’t care if it’s not good writing. I love the story and I love the characters and I love that it’s so different from the other story I’m writing.

I’m home early from work because we did a teambuilding thing today at work that started in the morning. I’m tired but I hope that I can trick myself into writing again. The teambuilding was pretty cool. I was late because I couldn’t remember if it started at 9:30 or 10 so I found the original invitation which said “10” so I got there at 10, and it had been changed to 9:30. So that was a bad way to start but then we did improv, which should have made it worse, but it was actually fun.

Then we went bowling. I would like to state for posterity that I got higher scores than both Barb and Dave (by like two points) so that I can look back at this in 10 years and wonder why it mattered. I don’t actually know, today, why, just that it seemed important at the time. It was interesting to watch how differently people reacted to doing well or not. Some people were able to shrug it off, some stopped having fun, but most didn’t really care about the scores that much. I bowled a lot of gutters and hit one spare. So when I say I scored better than Barb and Dave, I’m not saying I did well. But I had fun.

The best ad-lib of the day, and there were a few, was when Barb and Dave were up at the same time and somebody said something like, “You’re going to come together.” Barb turned around and said, “That hasn’t happened in years,” which was met with typical junior high “oohs”. Then she punctuated her statement by bowling a spare, to loud cheering. Dave didn’t say anything, he just bowled his only strike of the day to thunderous applause. Honestly, I never want to know anything about my boss’ sex lives, but that was pretty great timing.

I probably learned a lot about myself that will help with writing (that is the only reason I do anything), but I haven’t had a chance to process it all yet. But my favorite of the improv exercises was the one in which we each had to tell a story. I assigned Nick a unicorn that found out that he wasn’t the last unicorn and went on a journey to find the only other unicorn in the world. Nick assigned me a bearded lady with the circus who was actually a millionaire.

Nick’s story was set in modern times. He was in Spain and he heard there was another unicorn somewhere in Canada. He turned his noses up at regular horses and described himself as “colorful”. And then, because of his loneliness, he ended up addicted to heroin. That was the last part, and I was cracking up as Gillian called time.

For my turn, I had some pretty good details in my story, but my favorite part was when my entire family died and left me rich, but I was under contract with the ringmaster, and I said, “And you can’t just buy out a contract, right?” which made Nick laugh. So that was fun. I actually might just try that one with Robin, or just by myself. See how many ridiculous details I can get out in one minute. I came up with one writing doodle, so that’s another one I can do.

I think the biggest thing that I got out of today was during one of the first games, which was a story round — everyone says one word in the story. Dave was trying to work in the word, “lawnmower” and got frustrated when he got “the” twice in a row. (At some point, we ended up entering a banker.) Anyway, Gillian said playing the game with an agenda; trying to get to a specific word or trying to steer a story, even knowing you only get one in ten words to participate, is about control.

My inclination was the exact opposite. I only wanted “the” or “it” or “had” or “a”. I didn’t want to steer the story in any direction, which is odd because I’m all about stories. But that game is more about how we show up in the world. I wanted to be the least noticeable part of the story. I remember that inclination from the last time I played that game during the comedy intensive three years ago. I was thinking about that before I even got to work, how little responsibility I’ve ever actually signed up for.

Anyway, I’m constantly evolving. I’ve been trying to find a way out of this promotion ever since they gave it to me, but I’ve learned and grown a lot over the past year, so who knows? I hate the accountability that comes from doing things, but if I’m honest, I want to do things, so I think I have to get accustomed to that discomfort.

Oh, and Auditions were particularly good today. Like, the best I can remember seeing.

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