Huckleberry Hostel Commission: Day 50 (Quitting while you’re ahead)

Dead End by Bruce Berrien (flickr)

Writing yourself into a dead end is all part of job. We interviewed our artistic director today about our final show of the season, a dance-theater piece called The Tosca Project that she has been creating with a local choreographer off-and-on for the last three years; and she told us about the number of “alleys that went nowhere” they had to go-down-and-then-back-out-of to get to where they’ve gotten. Those detours are invaluable. No doubt. I would say much of the first draft I sent OnSite was a necessary detour . . . or I guess it my case it was a pretour . . . it was taking the car out for a spin to make sure all the wheels turned at the same speed (which, I guess, they didn’t) before heading across country. And because of that first draft, this second draft is that much easier to write. That first draft was a struggle. It was a battle for every interaction, which confused me. Usually the writing is the easy part; it is the initial thinking, researching, and processing that takes time. But the second draft is flowing like it should: the characters dancing around, leaving me presents to pick up as I follow them around . . . or it is like I am the anal host at a rowdy party, cleaning up after my guests. And while there is a value in hitting that wall—writing until you can’t write anymore—I would argue that there is a value in stopping before you hit that wall. Leaving for tomorrow an entrance you know is going to lead to good things. I could probably write the next little scene tonight. I know I could: they’re still dancing. But I’m not confident I could write the scene after that. Saving that first scene for tomorrow evening, when I am ready and refreshed (when THEY are ready and refreshed) that first scene has a better shot of catapulting me right on into the next.

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