*This blog includes strong language*
“Don’t fuck with writers. We’ll describe you.”
Sort of. Writers will describe you but it’s not just you, we’ll describe ourselves as well. Writers, we use the treasure trove that is our unique history and perspective. And that can be deeply personal but also problematic.
I have a writer friend who wrote an autobiographical piece and, when it was rejected, it felt not just a rejection of their work but of them personally. It affected both their confidence and their writing. As such, writers have to be careful and self-protection is important. That is why Inua’s workshop was such a great salve; we mined our brains for the personal and then found ways to remove them from ourselves enough to keep us safe.
Fast forward to mid-April where I found myself a quaking wreck in Soho Theatre. Thanks to Inua’s workshop, I wasn’t suffering from fear of the personal. No, I was suffering from regular pant-crapping, pre-performance fear…
To build the pace of my monologue, I had removed all but a handful of punctuation so that the piece could really fly. My mentor, Annie Siddons (more on her later), was directing the piece. She knew why it looked like I would destroy all punctuation in a fire worthy of Daenerys Targaryen. The actor however would have only three hours with us, and the text, before performing that afternoon.
One of the things I had been looking forward to in Write To Play was working with actors. Graeae and their partners did not disappoint. They had fixed us up with an amazing actor and I had been gifted with the fearless, whip-smart Ann Akin. Oh. My. God it was an absolute delight to have her on board: she took the script and ran with it faster than Usain Bolt!
Somehow with writing, in the deeply personal and oddly specific, we can connect far and wide. Experiences of mood disorders can be intense and, at times, disorienting and soul-crushing. With my piece, I wanted to give an insight as to just how intensely loud and yet incredible lonely mental illness can feel.
And, from the audience feedback, it worked.
Watching ’27 Club’ go from script to stage, was a great experience. We were an awesome team and, for the very first time, I relinquished my grip on Imposter Syndrome. I am proud of what I had done. I write therefore I am … a writer.
And, as the adrenaline subsided, I had a chance to appreciate just how lucky I am to be on this journey. And this is just the beginning…