Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Thoughts about writing on Saturday night

I was going to post all sorts of things on this blog tonight, but wound up writing 10 pages of my new play tonight instead.

Late last year, I started going to the gym regularly. Mostly to deal with chronic pain I’ve been experiencing since a car accident (not my fault) two-and-a-half years ago. It’s not something I talk about too much, and it’s not something I believe I’ve written about here before. At first, I started going to the gym just to loosen up, and to sit in the jacuzzi as often and for as long as I could. But then, sometime in February, something started to happen: I started to feel like I needed to go to the gym. Like I had things to work out. And now I’ve further turned that corner: Now I’m someone who looks forward to going to the gym.

For years, I posted on this blog every day. Every single day. Lately, it’s been more sporadic. I’ve wondered why that is, especially since I write every day. It’s not always playwriting (or, clearly, blog writing), but every single day I’m writing something, some of it for a fair amount of pay, some of it for some small amount of pay at some point (those tend to be plays), and some of it, I’m sure, for no pay whatsoever (those would be poems and short stories, which I haven’t even bothered to send out for years now). The itch I now get when I don’t go to the gym or get some other physical activity — the sense of feeling “rammy,” as the adults used to say about the overly rambunctious son of my father’s friend — is akin to the itch I get when I’m not writing.

But here’s what I think spurred an unexpected 10-page writing session on my play tonight: the miracle of seeing four compelling, enjoyable, thought-provoking plays recently, which were like finding water after being in the Mojave of bad theatre for the past two years, and the resumption of my playwriting workshop today. My workshop is stuffed with good writers writing good plays. When you’re in the room with that, you’d have to work not to be inspired by it.

The play I’m writing is a memory play. That’s not what I normally do, or, more appropriately, it isn’t what I’ve mostly done. (Or done at all?) But that’s what this play is. Tomorrow, we’re removing the seats from Moving Arts, the seats that we installed in 1993 or 1994, the seats donated to us that came from a silent movie house in the Bay Area where they were installed in 1916. We’re doing that because we’re putting in new seats. Parting ways with these seats that we’ve had for 20 years, and which have seen almost 100 years of audience derriere, will certainly spark more feelings fit for a memory play. But I’m excited to be part of taking them out for two reasons: because a number of them are going to a good new home where they’ll be cherished; and because while it’s good to appreciate the past, the future always beckons. And we’re already there, all the time.

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