Blackout: End of play

When the resolution goes astray

It’s the second of January, and already I’ve broken my rhythm.

That’s not to say I’ve broken any resolutions. Not yet, anyway.

But I’ve gone off the beaten path with my writing goals already today.

I have this plan, you see. I have a plan to write a full-length script before the month of January is out. With luck, the momentum will carry forward through the rest of 2023 and I’ll get a few more full-lengths under my belt.

At the moment, the number of full-length (90-minute+) scripts on my New Play Exchange page is, well, zero. While I’ve written more than 50 plays, and even gotten a few produced, none are longer than 45 minutes or so. A few years ago I wrote a rough draft of a two-act play, but it’s been dormant since then. 2023, I decided, would be the year I revive and revise it, getting it to the point where I can show it to other people. Today was to be the day I finished the new outline so scene rewrites can start tomorrow.

And then #NationalScienceFictionDay happened.

I wish I could say that I’m enough of a science fiction fan to know that today, Jan. 2, is the birthday of Isaac Asimov. But I’m not.I found out because my friend Monica Cross, a playwright and science-fiction expert, posted on a group chat that not only is today #NationalScienceFictionDay but that she wrote a short play in honor of the day.

Challenge accepted.

Instead of outlining the play I WANT to write (and finish by the end of the month), I spent my writing time today cranking out a 10-minute play about an alien, their best friend and the end of the world. It’s called “Hard Deadline” and, if you’re interested, available to read on my NPX page. (If you want to produce it or stage a reading, please reach out. We can talk.)

Monica’s play, called “Errata,” is on her NPX page, and it is fantastic. Here’s what I wrote in my recommendation:

On the one hand, I feel good having written something. On the other, the full-length project still nags at me, begging to be finished.

I think fear underlies a good many New Year’s resolutions. We are afraid we won’t accomplish x — whether x means to lose weight, get rich or just stop wasting time — so we make resolutions, as if they hold a magic more powerful than whatever our abilities were pre-Jan. 1. We make them to stave off our fear of not getting what we want, but then we live in fear of breaking those resolutions.

The mentally healthy among us, of course, don’t make resolutions or they just don’t care when they break them. How nice.

I fear letting this play molder in a desk drawer, never to be finished. But it was worth it, for a day, to put off that fear, for the purpose of creating something else. I’ll go back to confronting my fear of never finishing the full-length tomorrow.

I already checked. Jan. 3 is National Drinking Straw Day.

No chance I’ll be tempted to write about that.

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