A year or so ago, Vicky and I sat in an OCPA meeting just after the reading of my (then) new play, Meaning. and listened to the feedback from the small audience that was there. One person groused, “You can’t write plays about the meaning of life. You just can’t do it!” Thought this probably should have worried me, I felt the edge of my mouth raise up just a touch… I liked that.
I’ve been so busy writing this year; it’s really been the year of “Ken La Salle: Playwright”. I’ve finished:
Sometimes We Find Our Way
Murder, Zombies, The Devil… and stuff
Diamonds To Go
The Death of Ethics, The Demise of Morality, and the day we all dropped dead
And those are just the full-length, 90 minutes or so, plays. A list with all the shorts would be much longer. I think I’ve been writing my ass off, mostly, as justification in a way. After all, being out of work, it’s nice to say I’ve actually done something with my time. I could say I’ve been applying for jobs but with so few out there that still leaves many hours in the day.
Now, I’m ready to start my sixth play of the year, which I’m calling Happily After Ever, and my friend Stephanie gives me familiar “You can’t do that”. And I smile a bit. I think I’m most pleased (one is tempted to use the word “happiest” but this is me we’re talking about) when I’m doing something people tell me can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. Without going into details, she’s right, of course. The idea for the new play is fraught with complications and things that might kill an ordinary audience… but if I have faith in myself and in my writing, that shouldn’t be a concern.
And I find that equally amusing as I sit here late at night typing this out: me having faith in my writing. With nearly 20 novels and over a dozen plays but not a single sale to my credit, you’d think that’s the last thing I’d have. But then, I think of the staged readings I’ve had and the times when people have heard my plays at a table read and the generous feedback from those who have read my books… I’m not so stupid that I can’t tell rotten luck from rotten writing.
And I guess that as long as I’m told I can’t do something or I shouldn’t do it, as long as the very idea of what I want to write gets a reaction, it’s a far, far better thing than putting people to sleep.
As long as I can prove them wrong, at least…