Monday, March 16, 2015

Writing When you Can't Even Think

Saturday night I got a voice message from the artistic director at the theatre company where I work. He asked me to call him immediately, and when I did he had news that I couldn't have imagined for myself. A body had been found in the men's bathroom, and it turned out to be one of our cast members.

I had left the building less than three hours earlier. The cast member, whose name was Chris, had been there when I left. It's a few days later and we still don't know what happened--the police performed an autopsy and could not determine a cause of death. His family lives in Illinois, so friends in the area are taking over making arrangements for his service, but that's all we know so far.

My life has not gotten to this point without death. I've lost family members and friends of all ages, from sickness and car accidents and from old age. There was a week several years back where I ended up attending three funerals in a row. This, however, seems like a horse of a different color for some reason I can't put my finger on.

I don't know if it's because he was in my cast, or because the rest of the cast has spent the whole weekend posting to facebook about memorials and how we're going to get through rehearsal on Tuesday and honor Chris when the show finally does open. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that we were in the building together, possibly when he died. What it boils down to is that I did not get any writing or editing done Saturday after that call. I didn't get anything done yesterday, either.

Now it's Eight PM on Monday night and it's time for me to write. I was going to write a post this week about researching while editing, and balancing fact with fiction, but I can't bring myself to focus on much for very long. I'm having a bit of a hard time even writing this, but I know I've made a commitment and it's time to write. It feels incredibly selfish to think about myself in a time like this, but I also know that I matter as much as the rest of my cast--and I can't even begin to help them if I can't hold myself together.

So here's my advice for today: no matter what happens, keep writing. Maybe you need to change what you're writing about, how you're writing or the format in which it's being presented. However, you should never stop writing. If this is what you want to do, then do it. Sit down and keep putting words out there until your fingers fall off. We're halfway through March and I'm very proud of myself for sticking to the rigorous schedule that I set for myself. I've fallen asleep at my computer a few times this month and let me tell you--working til I fall asleep feels so much better than never working at all.

Anyhow I don't know how clear this post is, or how helpful it is, or what anyones thoughts are on it. I'm just going to go ahead and close out here.


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