I did the thing. Under pressure of a deadline for a playwriting fellowship application, I finished my play. After four years of on-again-off-again writing and research, in the course of a week I watched a documentary, read several hundred pages of books about Ed Snowden, American surveillance, and constitutional law, and I wrote an additional forty pages of my script. My little play that I was once able to edit into a thirty-minute one-act became a full-length work. I dove in way over my head with my research and shut myself in my room for hours on end, writing and rewriting. (Check out a new excerpt, available here!)
Thanks to all the work I had put in over the last six months, I was able to generate a lot of material very quickly to meet the deadline I found out about at the last minute. And I figure, even if I don't get into the program, at least the deadline got me to finish the work. I finished editing one last scene and submitted the play on a sunny Sunday afternoon, my first day off in a couple weeks.
And then, I wasn't sure what to do. For my entire life since I graduated college, that play has crept around in the back of my mind, scratching at the back of my neck, reminding me it was unfinished and that I should stop rewatching Parks and Rec and get to writing. Most of that time my excuse was how much I was working, or other projects I was a part of, or more recently, the research I still needed to do in order to do the story justice. But now that the play was finished, I didn't have anything I needed to do. It's almost like not having homework for the first time, ever.
Of course I'm immediately throwing myself into other work - I'm in a show that's going up in early July, I'm working on assembling a team for a staged reading of the play, and a friend and I are hoping to collaborate on a new work about the Israel-Palestine conflict (because I'm a masochist who wants to be mired in complex research forever, apparently). Still, it's a bit of a strange feeling, now, to have my paper baby out there. The creation process was so long and involved that letting it go is challenging. I'm excited for the next steps, but sharing the work is also terrifying.
I have a good feeling about this year, though. I turned twenty-six a couple weeks ago, and it's almost as if since my birthday, things have just started falling into place. I finished the play, I got the acting gig, I have some cool auditions coming up, and I'm leaping into situations I might not be quite prepared for, just for the sake of adventure. I'm going to play guitar at an audition, folks, which I would never have imagined doing six months ago. If that audition works out, it could be the start of my career as a professional musician, which would be hilarious and amazing (and essentially what I want more than anything right now). I just want to have fun and be happy and make art that matters, and at the moment I feel like I'm on track to do all those things.
I have a summer ahead of me where, for the first time, I have time to actually enjoy the city. I may have finished the play, but I haven't left the arena. I'm still here. Still ready. Still fighting.