I didn't want to leave my family this morning. My daughter was sick, which meant my husband would be stranded in the house with all three kids all day. But I had other commitments, as my life has gotten bigger and bigger. I needed to be at a Playwrighting Workshop at Girls Write Now in the morning, and at Writopia in the afternoon.
"We'll be fine," my husband said over my son wailing Led Zeppelin on his electric guitar.
"Can I watch TV?" My daughter was coughing and her eyes watering. It was just going to be that kind of day, and there was nothing I could do about it except to go and show up for the other parts of my life.
Down at Girls Write Now, Meg, my mentee, greeted me with a big hug at the refreshment table. At our monthly workshops, we always start off with a writing ice-breaker, so Meg and I spread bagels with gloppy natural peanut butter, sat down, rolled up our sleeves and started working, coming up with three characters and stage directions. I hadn't noticed the subtitle: One-woman show. (Cool! I had written and performed a one woman show fifteen years ago as my thesis for my MA in Drama Therapy called: Pandora's Hot Box.)
Writer, actress, mentor (and former classmate at Barnard) Julie Polk took us through a dynamic analysis of The Wizard of Oz, going through the six components of dramatic structure: 1) Status Quo and Exposition, 2) Inciting Incident, 3) Rising Action, 4) Turning Point, 5) Climax, 6) Resolution. It was a wonderful reminder to check my current manuscript for all of these elements; it would help me get organized.
Next up was Craft Talk with actor, teacher, writer Petronia Paley, who performed a piece from her own one-woman show, On The Way to Timbuktu. Her presence, rhythm and character changes were compelling. Then she talked about delving into your higher self to write, and lead us through a pranayama: a yogic breathing exercise. It reminded me that my best writing comes from a place where I am relaxed and open.
I wasn't able to stay for the in depth writing exercise after that, but I was happy to go back uptown and see my Writopian girls, who were ready, willing and eager to write. It's funny how much energy is supporting me to live a creative life: I find myself surrounded, even in the moments when I don't want it, when I just want to stay in bed and cuddle my sick daughter. That's what these commitments with other writers are good for. And now, next time I sit down to write and have that "block" I will do a yogic pranayama exercise, and think of Petronia Paley!