Higher Education: I Used To Sleep

Like Barbara Jwanouskos, I too remember sleep…

Ah… I remember sleep. It used to make me feel so much better about life, humanity, pretty much the world. It’s been a while. I might be cracking up, but the result? LOTS of new plays!

This week marks the mid-semester. I’m not the only one drifting around campus like a zombie. Everyone’s a little frazzled, dreamy, and anxious. It’s that point where you cry over sentimental commercials. Where you yell at someone for touching your shoulder on the bus. Everyone’s a little stressed.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve rewritten my thesis, completed the script for a short radio play, drafted two new ten-minute plays, a one-act, and a treatment for my full-length screenplay. I’ve then re-written the one act and edited my bio, resume, artist’s statement, and the like. I’ve submitted two full-length plays to playwriting development opportunities on a whim. And this doesn’t even factor in the reading, the teaching, the meetings…

I think I’m a little out of juice. And the pillow on my bed is starting to look very enticing. Oh, but there’s so much more to do!

I’ll also say that in the midst of all this academic chaos, I feel like I’ve risen to new challenges as a writer. I’ve had some extremely positive workshop sessions with the folks in my program and I gotta give a shout out to the Dramatic Writers at CMU (and our professors) because they sure know how to give the words that take a good script to an even better script.

I’m working on this one-act, for instance, and the readings have been going extremely well. It is a play that writing original lyrics and takes a love triangle to some extremely awkward moments that make for some really good laughs. It’s the first time I’ve written a one-act in a long time, and I gotta say, it’s a form we all should explore more often. It was so much for to have a short, well-contained story with tremendous stakes and spectacle. I was certainly surprised at what I could do in this particular form.

Surviving the last two weeks has been like getting lost on a road trip and finding something amazing. There were all these stopping points where I picked up something quite incredible. Like the one-act play. Or the stunning realization that I wasn’t as worried about “what I should be writing” as much as I thought I was. I’ve been feeling rather anxious lately and a lot of it is wrapped up in ideas of “what happens after I graduate?” And “how the heck do I playwrite??”

What’s interesting about pushing yourself to the outer most edges of your writing capacity is that you find that you could maybe even do a little more. I gotta be honest and say that most days lately I’ve been pushing myself to at least 90% of my capacity. I like to have a little more wiggle room. And, you know, sleep… But! I am finding that there’s a tremendous satisfaction with having completed even a first shitty draft of multiple different writing projects.

So, sleep no more (haha theater pun…)! Maybe it’s exactly what I need to level up creatively speaking.

Zzzzzzz…

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