Playwriting is as unrewarding as anything Sisyphus could possible have an application in for. Success in playwriting is getting your text into a theatre good enough that you’d care to see a show in it for a reading. It will be incubating, in the new play nursery, from when is will “experimentally” “emerge” for a “world premiere reading” or some bullshit. After which they will tear it apart and explain that in a few years you will be good enough for the black box downstairs (or offsite).
So don’t think I don’t know what the voices after your midnight bourbon and Fudge Stripe run say. I do. It sucks. Those voices are the single most destructive thing to anyone’s creative process. The no’s someone else tell you can be motivating. The no’s you mutter to yourself before an idea is voiced is the perfect destructive crime. No one can stop it and you’re accountable to no one for it.
So stop it.
The negativity and the creative abortions, not the midnight bourbon and Fudge Stripe runs those are still on.
Let me segue clumsily to a metaphor you care nothing about
That right there is the Green Monster.
It is a thirty seven foot (and 2 inch) wall that graces left field at Fenway Park in Boston and it is a sports icon. It’s enough of an icon that even some of you non-sports fans knew what it was.
Can you see the texture?
The Green Monster stippled with the imprint of thousands of batted balls. It gets resurfaced occasionally and recently was surfaced with hard plastic in lieu of the old school green-painted tin, but while that surface is hanging do you know how you can tell one dimple from another? You don’t. You can’t.
One divot is indistinguishable from another.
The wall faces every batter who steps up.
A very short 310 feet away it looms begging your attention, but it’s as unpredictable a target as you could imagine.
There a scoreboard on it. And a ladder. And there are dead spots in it that hamper bounces.
Balls that are sure home runs in other ballparks are singles with a true bounce while conversely (relatively) tiny men like Bucky Dent can chip a ball over it for devastating home runs.
But you have to play
You have to swing.
It won’t be a career (and life) defining moment every time out. It definitionally can’t be. Heck, in baseball tw0-thirds failure make you an all star… but you can’t let the unlikeliness of world beating success stop you from writing. We need your voice in this moment. We need everyone to suit up or we don’t have a culture. We can’t win this game, this recordation of our cultural moment, without the entire team. One hit at a time.
Not a single one of those wall dimples is “success” by the ultimate definition of success for the baseball hitter– the home run. Not one of them. But the mark they left is very real.