Thursday, June 07, 2007

Past, present, future...

Leaving work today, nursing my numerous crises, reflecting on the crises of others, I found myself thinking about the script to Dinner and Drinks, in particular its final scene.

It's a scene that, at least at first, wasn't actually supposed to be there. As originally envisioned, Dinner and Drinks was going to be three scenes, involving three different couples, and when the three scenes were done, the play would be as well.

As I wrote it, though, I discovered that these three scenes that were going to make up the play were, while occasionally funny, essentially downer stories. The people were in bad relationships, or ditching bad relationships, or refusing the start bad relationships. Once you stripped the chuckles away, you were left with some pretty messed up, unhappy, dysfunctional people.

I decided I needed the play to end on a slightly more positive note, so for the fourth scene I decided to revisit the couple from the first scene -- whose story ended on probably the most downer note of the three -- and decided to give them some semblance of a happy ending.

I was inspired as well, I think, by a desperate need for a happy ending in my own life, not just in general, but for a specific circumstance I was going through at the time that I was writing that play. For the record, my own happy ending didn't come, but since then, I've become increasingly convinced that happy endings are a bit of a rarity even at the best of times.

I bring all this up because, while thinking about the script today, I realized that if I were writing that same play right now, I don't think I would have ended it quite the same way.

I still believe, to some degree, much of what is contained in the final scene. That sometimes you have to fight and take chances to try to get the things that mean the most to you. And that sometimes that most important thing is love. But I don't know if I believe it quite as passionately as I once did. Which got me to realizing that, on some levels, I'm not the same person now that I was when I wrote that script.

Which got me thinking about writing in general.

Writing, if you do it properly, can give the writer an amazing ability to look back at himself. It doesn't matter if you're writing a daily journal, writing a novel, writing a play, or writing a poem -- if you're putting part of yourself into it, then you're creating a permanent record of who you were at that point in your life. The things you believed in, the things you cared about, the things you were terrified of. And you can look back at those things years later and go, "Oh, so that's who I was."

Which is sort of cool.

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