The task in my writing today is nothing unusual; it is the mundane work of choosing the timing and pace by which the world I am creating in my play unfolds. When do the revelations come? What is the appropriate cost of the lies these people have told? What is the consequence of my major character’s refusal to face reality that even grace cannot erase or alter? When does the accuser speak? Where does the truth lie in these broken lives, and is any level of redemption possible that will not take at least three generations to realize?
Must someone die?
To complain about the difficulty of these choices is absurd. To revel in the possibilities such choices afford is a privilege. To honor the stakes these choices represent demands shouldering real-time responsibility. To remember that my choices may end up unwittingly weak and ineffective is to confront the reality of writing and making. There are no guarantees.
It’s surprising that we ever think life (and art) is going to be anything but ridiculously challenging to navigate. In its rich density of freedom, with all its weight and responsibility, what can life be but a near-impenetrable experience, potent as fresh arousal, dangerous as cliff edges, exhilarating as free fall?
This is life, and this is the action we engage in to penetrate that life: potent, dangerous, exhilarating. Let our work and our art be nothing less, springing from our courage and our determination to be honest, frank, and hungry. How easy it is to experience the finished product of someone else’s work, with all its rush of joy, and to proclaim that we, too, want to do that. Committing ourselves to serving the world like this, we vow to create powerful artistic experiences, not knowing that behind such art (and life) stands the shape of our unique suffering to come, be it the sacrifice of 10,000 hours, a critic’s brutal judgment, maddening schedule juggling in which children are involved, or some final, heart-breaking realization that we simply…can’t…do….it.
Let the vision of perhaps being used by God to enrich, inspire, or repair one life by means of a seed sown in the suspense of today’s writing compel us to realize not only that we can continue, but that we must.
Do right by the work…