On Holiday From Writing

I'm taking a holiday from writing...except for the occaisional e-mail and this site, from time to time.

I'm taking a time-out from blogging, and writing Dr Who fan fiction, plays and essays. This latest bout of "bad stuff" that I'd had happen to me, has left me unable to function very well---just the simple things, like getting up in the morning, eating, tidying the house, going out to work--they are a real struggle. And then I have to pretend to the outside world that nothing is wrong--which I do pretty well, actually. The only part of college acting class that's ever paid off--I can hide my pain, most of the time. But, I've lost interest in most of the things I usually enjoy. Doctor Who--which I love dearly, and has help me though the worst of times..suddenly, the light's gone out of it for me. Same with my usual blogs and writing. Oh, I still can write, but not really into it. I'm finding myself dyslexic--where I never was before, and my vision is more blurred than usual...and gosh, I'm tired, emotionally...too tired of living right now, to feel terribly creative. I am a bit astounded, quite frankly, that I'm even writing anything tonight. Nervousness, I expect. I have to face something really awful tomorrow--alone. And I am writing tonight to escape a little, I suppose. If I go to bed, it means that I have to wake up in the morning--and I really, really don't want to wake up tomorrow morning...tho' I guess I'll have to go to bed, sometime tonight.

 I wrote my "last" play on Friday, 9th March. It's the only semi-serious creative piece I've ever done. And it's really bad. I mean...bad. I like writing little plays--mostly light stuff, comedies and such. But, I've been going through a bad time the past year or so. And finally, the last couple of months, things settled in my life enough, that I could start working my way through them.

I don't do therapy. State-run mental health outpatient services here in my home state--which, ironically has a reputation nationally of being good with such things---is really, really bad. I won't go into all my experiences--but I did have a therapist fall asleep during a session--twice. Not good. They are overworked and harassed and...well, nice enough, but not really into it. There's nothing quite like opening up your personal Pandora's box to someone who has boredom written all over her face. Not a good feeling.

So, blogging and writing has slowly---very slowly---been taking the place of therapy. Works rather well, too, I think.

And I wrote this gawd-awful play to get out some of my angsts--while giving my bored self (I can't afford TV or going out on the town--or new books to read--so, writing and watching Dr Who re-runs on DVD are my main forms of entertainment).

 I had a lot--okay, tons--of negative emotions and experiences that I needed to let go of--and I did it in a 10-minute play format. Those things that I may not have been feeling any longer--or had, at the very least, suppressed, I got out in the play.

But..it's bad. Very bad. The best thing the one person (so far) who's read it could say about it, was that it was "nicely framed." Okay. No clue what that means. I think it's just a polite way of saying, this is rubbish--but I don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you that." Not that she would have. I knew it was rubbish when I wrote it. And I don't care. Well, I sort of care. I wish it wasn't rubbish. But it is, and that's that. Only God is perfect. I'm only an average writer, with average writing abilities--for an American. I f I were British, I'd probably be--well, positively is more like it---well below average. But, hey...nothing wrong with being average--or even a bit below, ey?

So, here' a small bit of the 10-minute play--not the whole thing...wouldn't want some high school student to plagarize me, yeah?

And it's okay if you hate it...I didn't write it to be performed or anything...I just wrote it for one audience--me. But, figure it'll give you a sense of what's happened to me, in the past year, inside me, I mean.

Crying Out Loud (first draft)

 

A ten-minute play

 

The action takes place on a wooden boardwalk, overlooking the sea at dusk, it is misty. Just slightly to the center of upstage is a park bench. In the background are boarded up arcades and shops.

 

CHARACTERS:

 

LIZ, age 40, somewhat dumpy looking--someone most people wouldn’t look at twice, she’s carrying an umbrella.

 

 MAN, a little younger than Liz, wearing a non-descript gray raincoat, he speaks with a slight foreign accent

 

AT RISE:

 

Lights up on LIZ, as she enters and slowly, with downcast eyes, walks Down Left, along the apron of the stage about six paces, and stops.

 

 

LIZ:

 

It’s so empty here, now that the tourists have all gone. (Looking out to the imaginary horizon) It all looks all the same to me, here in the mist….just endless shades of gray, merging together, pearl drops and silver streaks and dollops of whip cream. Sea and sky fusing together, the horizon lost in limbo…sort of like me. Each day just as empty and meaningless as the one that came before.  (She stops, holding her arms about her.) This is my life now. (She gives a little derisive laugh) What life? Everything is gone, now. Home, family, friends…nobody wants me, no one needs me…I’m just like the ocean out there…just a series of waves, beating uselessly against life’s rocky shores. I’ve become everything I never wanted to be. My family’s gone, There’s no one here that I know, I’m stuck in a dead-end low wage job,  plowed under with debt…I can’t even afford the bus fare to leave this lousy resort town for just one day. What is there for me? What sort or future do I have…all I see is an empty flat space--like the sea out there, stretching to the horizon, forever going no where…a prison without walls, one of my own making.  I’m trapped, and there’s no way out.

 

 (She sets her umbrella down and sticks  her hands in her pockets to warm them, she continues very slowly walking towards Down Left. Unnoticed by her, the MAN quietly emerges from Stage Left, and stands just onstage, silently observing LIZ. LIZ stops again, and looks behind her, turning in such a way, so as not to see the man.)

 

It’s seems strange, to think, that just a week ago, this place was filled with happy families, people on vacation, not a care in the world. I’m glad they’re gone.  If it seems lonely now, it was even lonelier then. (Facing the “ocean” again, she sighs deeply) No one knows. No one knows what it’s like, to be alone, surrounded by teaming crowds of happy people and knowing in your heart, that all of that joy, that togetherness, is lost to you. That you can never have that again. No one knows. How could they?

 

MAN:

I do.

 

(LIZ gasps and whirls about, looking shocked and, a moment later, embarrassed.)

 

LIZ:

 

 I…uh…I…didn’t know anyone was there. I…was just… thinking out loud. (Gives an embarrassed laugh) I hope you don’t think that I was hearing voices or anything like that…I wasn’t…really. (She starts to hurry offstage.) I…I’d better go. Sorry to have bothered you.

 

MAN:

 

 Wait! (Showing concern, he moves towards her.) Please? Don’t go because of me. I did not mean to disturb you. Please! Don’t go.

 

LIZ:

 

 (Stops. Half-turns, uncertain, ashamed.) I..I really should be going. It’s getting late. And it looks like it’s going to rain some more, soon. I really should be getting back. (She stops. Remembers that she’s going to an empty flat.)

 

MAN:

 

 (Approaches LIZ, stops several feet away.) You look so sad. It’s not so nice, going to an empty home, is it?

 

LIZ:

 

 (Eyes widening in surprise.) How do you know that? How could you? (She looks at him suspiciously) You’re not with Homeland Security, are you? Just because I wrote that letter to the newspaper’s editorial page, saying that George Bush is an idiot…

 

 

MAN:

 

They would arrest you for writing the truth?

 

LIZ:

 

No. They wouldn’t…but, then again, the way things are nowadays…so, if you’re not with the government, who are you? And how do you know I live alone?

 

MAN:

 

Oh, I have been, as your people say, around the street, a few times myself.

 

LIZ:

 

Around the block, you mean.

 

MAN:

 

Yes! That is it. You see, that is why I say this, I know. I too, have been utterly alone. It is a hard, hard thing to have to bear.

 

LIZ:

 

 (Bitterly) Yeah. (Awkward pause. Then she forces a smile.) Well, I’m sorry you were alone, too. (Pause. Still uncomfortable, she turns to go.) I…I really must go. Nice meeting you. (She turns and starts to walk away.)

 

MAN:

 

 Please! I’m sorry. I did not mean to intrude. Please, forgive me.

 

LIZ:

 

 (Stops.)  It’s okay. You weren’t intruding, there’s nothing to forgive.

 

MAN:

 

Oh, but there is. You were here, thinking your own thoughts, and I just jumped right in like some buffoon. I had no right. I’m sorry. You stay. It is I who shall go. (He turns to leave.)

 

LIZ:

 

 Wait! No, don’t leave. It’s a big boardwalk.  I guess there’s room enough for two lonely souls here.

 

MAN:

 

You don’t mind?

 

LIZ:

 

 No, I…

 

MAN:

 

Are you sure? I did not mean to tread on your thoughts like that…it’s just that they seemed so very much like my own, not so very long ago. (He walks over to the park bench, takes off his raincoat and drapes it over the seat and back of the bench. He gestures to LIZ.) Won’t you sit with me? Please? I would consider it a great favor. I promise I will do nothing unseemly. I will be..how do you say? The perfect gentleman. Yes?

 

LIZ:

 

 Well I…oh, alright. I guess it wouldn’t hurt anything to just sit for a bit.

 

(They sit beside each other.)

 

MAN:

 

I am a bit disappointed.

 

LIZ:

 

 Oh?  (Thinking he means her, she moves uncomfortably. He quickly smiles to reassure her.)

 

MAN:

 

 The sunset, I mean. I’d always heard the sea around here is very lovely at sunset. Too bad it is so rainy this evening.

 

LIZ:

 

 The sunset over the sea is often like a living work of art, I think.  But you know, sometimes, I rather like the rain.

 

MAN:

 

 Oh yes?

 

LIZ:

 

 You’ll probably think this is silly…

 

MAN:

 

 Not at all…go on, I would like to hear what you have to say.

 

LIZ:

 

 Well, sometimes I love the rain--the sound it makes. You know, I believe that every drop of rain makes its own distinct sound--it’s like a symphony, sort of, each rain drop is a unique instrument--depending on what it falls on, I mean--a leaf, a metal roof, a puddle of water…

 

MAN:

 

 Interesting…I’d never thought of it that way. Rain as music. Yes, I can see what you mean. What a nice thought. Ah.  Now I will have something to listen to when I’m caught out in a downpour. (They both laugh a little.) You know what I like about the rain?

 

LIZ:

 

What?

 

MAN:

 

 When you get all soaked in a cold rain--but then you come home, change into some comfortable dry clothing, settle down in your favorite chair, pour yourself a nice cup of tea or a little glass of wine, and listen to some music or read a good book, watch a little television or some such…it is nice, yes?…And you can look out the window at the cold pouring rain and suddenly, you feel all warm inside yourself. I like that feeling.

 

LIZ:

 

Yes! So do I! (They smile at each other…then both turn away, a bit shyly).

 

MAN:

 

What is it?

 

LIZ:

 

What do you mean?

 

MAN:

 

What is it, that has made you so sad? You look like someone who should always be happy--it pains me to see a nice lady such as yourself so very down…if you don’t mind my asking--I do not want you to think me too forward…I thought, maybe, if you talked about it to someone who has…how do they say it? Someone who has…been there? I thought maybe it might make you feel better.

 

LIZ:

 

Oh. (Pause as she thinks it over.) I’m Liz, by the way.

 

MAN:

 

 So tell me, Liz, are you afraid to speak of your troubles? If you are, I will not pry any further. We can talk about whatever you wish. The weather, perhaps…? (He looks up and laughs lightly--she joins him after a bit.)

 

LIZ:

 

 Oh, I don’t know…my life just seems so…empty and…a dead end.

 

MAN:

 

 ((Almost mystically, he leans down, puts a hand on her shoulder and looks deeply, searchingly, into her face.) How do you mean? Has you life gone adrift? Have you lost all sense of purpose? (Gently) What is it, Liz?

 

 LIZ:

(Surprised, she suddenly lets her guard down.) There is no peace in this life     for me. No more. No hope. Tomorrow is a hell I must continually endure, and today is oftimes like Purgatory, to me. A prison without walls, or bars, or a key. It's just there--like the air all around me. And there's no escape, not now, not ever. 

MAN:

I see….hmmm. Yes, but is there no outlet for you? Nothing?

LIZ:

I am alone. Nobody wants to spend time with someone like me. No one visits, no one invites me out. It’s the end of the month, and you know how many times my phone has rung? Three times. Every time the phone rings, the cat runs and hides because he’s not used to the noise.

MAN:

But your phone has rung--friends, I hope?

LIZ:

Two wrong numbers and a bill collector. No, I’ve come to grips with reality. I will always be alone--until the day I breathe no more. I'm trapped  between not wanting to be alive--and not wanting to die. And I can't tell anyone I know about it, or they’ll put me away somewhere. And I couldn’t stand that. The only thing I fear worse than death, is being homeless-and the only thing I fear worse than homelessness, it being locked away somewhere in some institution. I hate to say this--can’t believe I’m saying this--especially to a complete stranger…but sometimes to me, being alive seems so much harder than dying.

MAN:

Yes…yes, it can seem like that, sometimes, I suppose. Especially when one is completely alone, as you say.   (Pause.) It is a terrible thing. When one wakes one morning, to find oneself completely alone. To know that if you were to die in your sleep, in might be days--weeks, before anyone knows it. More sobering, I think, when you know that also, few will even take note of your passing, let alone care--or remember. (An awkward pause. He leans back, and looks at her thoughtfully.) But what of your life, Liz?  Surely you have much to look back on, and much to look forward to.

LIZ:

Huh. I guess you haven’t been listening.

MAN:

You think not, ey? Well, let me tell you something. Your life is a book. A wonderful and mysterious book sometimes, and sometimes not so wonderful. It is a story, nonetheless,  with a beginning and an ending---each day is a new page. Hopefully, if we are fortunate, every page is worth the turning. But sometimes, we don’t like the story that life has put on our page, yes? Sometimes the story becomes very sad, or horrible or so unpleasant, we think it is no longer worth continuing to the next chapter. So we stop reading, we don’t want to know or see what happens next. That is what’s happened to you, maybe, yes?

LIZ:

 I guess…

MAN:

Liz, our lives are like the foundations of a great house…

LIZ:

I thought life was like a book?

MAN:

 Don’t change the subject…

LIZ:

 I didn’t. You did. You just told me life was like a book…now you say it’s like the foundations of a house…

MAN:

Well, it can be both, can’t it?

LIZ:

How should I know?

MAN:

As I was saying, your life is like the foundations of a great house.

LIZ:

Well, as long as it’s not a mobile home…

MAN:

A what?

LIZ:

Moblie home? Oh…I guess you might call it a caravan?

MAN:

Oh. And why is this…mobile home…bad?

LIZ:

They blow away in the first strong wind.

MAN:

Oh…(Thinks about it, and laughs.) Oh yes! Very good.

LIZ:

It is? Okay. I suppose. I guess….

MAN:

As I was saying, you know, a great house--unlike your caravan--

LIZ:

 Mobile home.

MAN:

 Whatever…are you going to listen to me, or would you rather we go back to discussing the weather?

LIZ:

Oh. Sorry. Go ahead. I’m listening.

MAN:

Well, as I was saying, a great house needs a strong foundation. And so does a great life. Each word we speak, each thing we do, every single day of our lives--from the time that we are born--builds up the foundation of that is our life--stone, mortar and brick. And whether your house is weak or strong, depends on every conversation you have, every book you read,  television show that you watch, each individual piece of music you listen to, everything you see, hear, feel and do…even your dreams at night--they are what you have been, what you are, and what you can become.

LIZ:

 So, basically, right now, my life is a drafty one-room shack in life’s swamp, with crap for a foundation--a shack that’s about to fall down around my ears?

MAN:

Well no, you see, that’s not really what I meant…

LIZ:

 No disrespect, but that sounds a like a lot of sanctimonious flying horse pucky to me.

MAN:

 What? I’m sorry…what is this…flying… horse--

LIZ:

 Shoot! Never mind. I didn’t mean to get upset with you.

whovian whovian
46-50, F
Mar 16, 2007