Many folks have spoken about writing as a lonely art, or as an art perpetrated by people who largely enjoy talking to the voices in their own head. But I constantly find myself aware that my work has no life aloud without other humans donating their talent and time to speak and consider it. And that I wouldn’t want it to. Ultimately, I write for others, not only for myself.
This week, I was fortunate enough to have two different casts bring two of my plays to life. Hearing their reflections and emotional reactions to the pieces made it all worth it–and by the former “it” I mean the anxiety of being a playwright. I walk away from these readings with a greater appreciation for the stories I’m trying to tell, and a greater determination to sculpt them closer to both the dream in my head and the dream role an actor would most love to play. Actors and directors brought me these gifts, and I am grateful for them.
What I am thinking about now is how to express that gratitude.
I have said “thank you” to many actors, directors, and dramaturgs, and each time meant it more than those tiny words could express. As I think about the sheer blooming weight of the gratitude I have for my fellow artists, I’m working on how to express it in meaningful ways. Facebook posts–though I love them–seem like they can easily become self-promotion even when the intention is truly gratitude. Emails have to be short to have a chance of being read. And in-person thank-yous following a reading are all caught up in audience members wanting to talk, actors checking in with each other about where they’re headed next, and just wanting to get home and sleep. And while I do all of these things, I can’t resist thinking that there is some better cosmic way to express just how thankful I am for actors, directors, and dramaturgs. For people.
For now, as I balance my constant-worry self with my joyful-creator self, I’ll settle for these small expressions and commit consciously to keeping this gratitude with me as the days and weeks go by. Thank you, fellow creators. You are beautiful.