Saturday, September 19, 2020

Process I

Now summertime has come to an end
So I've gotta get back to my studies again
And make a grade so I can pass
And go-o-o up to the head of my class
I washed the dishes and scrubbed the floor
And taught me to love what I'd began before
Now I'm so glad the summers past
And school is in at last

- Josie Cotton, “School Is In”
Our school district has committed to nine weeks, at least, of remote learning this fall. My children, a sophomore and a senior, are at their desks during the day for synchronous learning -- the girl at her desk less than the boy, as she is attending some in-person classes at the university downtown.

And I am also at school, taking three graduate school courses. So, in addition to my work Great Lakes (more on that in a moment) I am spending almost every waking moment either reading or writing. Mostly reading, though. And I feel more myself than I have in years. Or more like a person I remember wanting to be.

I was a mediocre student in high school, and a downright shameful one in college. I always enjoyed reading, but I resented assigned reading. I like to write, but writing assignments were a chore and a bore.

There was a little voice in my head, a child’s voice, saying, “No! I won’t do that! You can’t make me!” It was there far longer than it should have been. Now I spend my mornings, evenings and weekends, reading. Novels, short stories, and play scripts. And I am digging it.

My morning pages ritual remains, but the goal is the free-writing itself, not to produce a short play script. For the better part of a year I have been posting short plays at New Play Exchange, and I may actually take many (though not all) of them down. It was always an experiment in practice and motivation.

Attending weekly playwriting workshops, in addition to my theory and literature classes, I have not the time nor interest in extracurricular pursuits. The process is now focused on the craft of writing longer scripts.

I also have less time for ruminative blogging.

We have something very special in the works at my place of employment, though I suppose that is true pretty much everywhere. We are all and have been figuring out new and original ways to provide our services.

Since 2001, I have spent four September weeks in rehearsal for the school residency program. This year I am not. Instead, we have reimagined how to provide these lesson plans to area schools, and my colleagues and I have been dressing up as famous characters from Shakespeare, recording scenes in the park. 

Tonight is a cool Saturday in September. My son and I sat out by the firepit, and together we read.

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