Break Horizons: Draft 1
Oh snap! This morning we’re reading Break in class and it will be the first time I hear her! 😝😝😝
For me, the point of a first draft is to just exist, it’s a skeleton. Right now some bones are broken, a lot of the joints don’t function, most don’t have the range of motion they need to. Some bones are cracked, porous, dislocated and many without marrow.
But that’s a first draft.
My job now, is to listen deeply, with courage and the mantra statement in my head to diagnose assemble, fix, and nourish the skeleton.
This story is massive, so I think on this pass, I’m going to isolate my listening to - do we have all the bones we need, are they in the most compelling places and if I can hold it in my head, diagnose the sequence of what needs the most urgent care and attention to result in the most effective articulation.
I’m also going to meditate on the joy and accomplishment and not let broken areas become the whole story. I find a lot of writers, while they’re in process, tend to qualify and justify, instead of focusing on the vital transformational work at hand.
We know there is work, don’t waste time explaining, “oh I was gonna do that.” Or “just remember this is gonna change...”, Don’t let ego stop you from making changes quickly because of fear and self shame.
Remember it’s is a skeleton, barely most times. We know it’s broken, we know it’s being assembled, fixed, evolved, and if you don’t think there’s going to be ideas, characters, transitions, lines and scenes in there that are not functioning effectively - aka it’s bad - I recommend you stop writing and go do some work on embodying humility to detach yourself from the work.
We need to critically be able to look at our own writing and truthfully assess the situation without positioning director, dramaturg and actors to use presciously fabricated language to overly-protect writers and ungrounded writing.
Being a writer, an compelling one, working in theatre where timelines are quick, we have got to be able to say, “this scene is not effective”, “this character lacks agency”, “this sequence is clunky as fuck”, “I’m missing strong relationships in this moment and it needs to drastically shift.”
Workshopping is having the ability to be brave enough to detach this story enough from your spirit and deliberately look at it, the good the bad and the fucking ugly. If you can’t, you’re making a lot of work for the people around you and I trouble the notion your a storyteller and not just an idea generator.
I love, love, love looking at the ugly parts. That’s really all I’m looking for today. Everything I missed, every joint I failed to make function, the hollow marrowless bones I just couldn’t fill on the first draft. Because in the failures, are opportunities and I fucking love the opportunity to make something more compelling, dramatic, funny and engaging.
Here’s to all the writers respectfully positioning the other collaborators to be able to give attention to the areas of opportunity and not getting butt hurt about it.
Here’s to all the readers and collaborators lovingly making offers for a more compelling story and the rigour you put in to be heard, when so often we don’t train writers to know how to deeply listen to critical and detailed feedback.
The road to making Break a fully functioning skeleton will happen around draft 3. She’ll then be ready to add marrow, put juice in the joints, do another rake and start to add tendons, ligaments and muscles and then I’ll going in for a detailed exploration to get some definition, cuts and full the body.
This is a process and I offer to anyone writing, if you can’t hear your writing needs improvement with ease, this prolly ain’t the career for you.
You have to know deep inside your spirit that there is the heart of a story asking to be told, built and illuminated and it’s going to take a humble approach, with detailed deep listening and a ferociousness to reveal and nourish that story.
Be brave and rigorous and joyful in this process, especially to everyone supporting you, like the 8 people gifting me their time this morning to which I’m so grateful for, to let the hearts of stories be heard.
Too often, I see plays with the heart still asking to be listened to and revealed.
With deep love and with great excitement,
p.s we got some exciting news to share. Break will be a part of the Citadels Collider Festival. We will have a reading with a guitarist on Saturday March 28th @ 10am. Yes it's early for a reading but I guarantee you will laugh and rock out and who doesn't want to start a weekend that way?!
I'm also honoured to be a part of the inaugural Banff Indigenous Playwrights Circle. I will be spending a week up there in April to write, dance and participate in some deep land work and ceremony.
I'm also going to be up in Banff to participate in the Knowledge Sharing Symposium, "AD HOC Assembly is convening a gathering of 30 critical arts leaders engaged in advancing equity through creation, facilitation and advocacy. The Knowledge Sharing Symposium is a national forum that aims to fuel critical thinking, contrast approaches to intervention, map the field and think together. Four days of exchange with practicing artists and leaders of change."
Very honoured for these opportunities and I look forward to sharing what I learn with all y'all!