By Adam Zurbruegg
I write. Well, I say that I write. I spend a lot of time thinking about writing. That counts for something, right? And I am pretty good at starting to write. It's the following through that gives me problems. So, actually, I guess I don't really write.
Things get busy at work, obligations fill the calendar, distractions pop up... you know, life. And staring at a laptop, laboring over a single sentence while a whole hour passes, is not exactly the best path to a healthy social life. Writing can feel downright lonely sometimes. Solitary.
Producing our New Plays Festival, I had the opportunity to read plays from all across the world, and to personally speak with six amazing playwrights. It turns out that somehow, despite the obligations, distractions, and day jobs, plays are being written. They're even being finished! And they're good. On stage last weekend, I saw brilliant premises and unexpected twists. I saw compelling characters with unique voices and exposed honesty. I sat in the audience and kicked myself for every play I abandoned after page one.
I spoke with our actors, who were challenged by these pieces and excited to be the first performer to tackle the role. They're part of that creative process, too, as are the directors and designers. I spoke with audience members who were so glad there was a place to see new work on Long Island. I thought about every story idea that drifted away because I never got around to putting it down on paper, never shared it with other artists.
I've been writing a lot since the festival. There's a ten-minute play and a full-length that I think might have some potential. Or not. Maybe they stink. That sort of doubt used to stop me in my tracks, but I think I'm going to push through it this time. Writing doesn't feel quite so lonely anymore. There's a whole community out there, staring at laptops. I've seen them respond in droves to our call for submissions. There's a competitive little voice in my head reminding me that they're all around me, writing, finding the time, putting in the work. If I want to call myself a writer, I'd better keep up with the writers. I've got to make up for some lost time.
Post-script: The entire Collective owes a sincere "thank-you" to everyone who submitted their work to the New Plays Festival. Putting yourself out there takes guts. Although we could only select six plays for our festival, there were hundreds of other plays that we found exciting, entertaining, dramatic, and inspiring.