Don’t Speak, I Know Just What You’re–

I’m not going to apologize, I’m just going to say that this week has been really busy and if it makes you feel any better I didn’t have time to buy groceries either, so it’s not like I hate you guys more than I hate not eating.

Currently I have a spring cold and I’m sitting in my pajamas at 8:35pm, sniffling into the last tissue from a box of Kleenex, and trying to decide if I should write about the stuff I was thinking about last night as I watched the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s “Henry VIII.”

Pros for writing about it:

-It’s about feminism!

-Also theatre!

-And stealthy activism with impressionable youngsters!


Cons for writing about it:

-I might write about it here and then think to myself (unconsciously), ok, self, you talked about it, now let’s get back on track with never ever doing anything about it.

I was watching a play recently in which a novelist told an aspiring writer, “No, don’t tell me about it. Write it. Once you tell it, the fire to write it goes away.” I have found this to have some accuracy to it. Not that I think that blogging is slowly leeching my ideas away from me or anything (in fact, semi-weekly writing for an audience is a way to get me actually putting words on an electronic page, even if sometimes I neglect my self-imposed deadlines because of, you know, life), but that I’ve found that telling people about an idea or even just writing it down briefly sometimes exorcises it from your body, so that you no longer feel the itch to put it out in the world. This isn’t so much a problem when you’ve got free time and discipline–you can sit down for an hour or two a day and write, and you’ll be glad you had an idea because it saves you from the horror of the blank page–but when you’re swamped with other things, it can be just enough to give your brain the go-ahead to abandon something.

This also ties into my last post. There’s nothing like the excitement of a new idea, and when you’re a creative type, you need to get as much out of that excitement as you can before your project floats away into the Dimension of Might-Have-Been. If, when you have the time and the drive, you can lay a foundation, then it’s easier to keep going. If you just toss the idea out, get some approval from a friend (“Oh, that sounds cool,”), and then get distracted, likely it’s going to end up an odd half-check on your to-do list.

So I could talk about how passionate I got about the idea for an all-female Shakespeare group that performs the history plays and goes into schools to model female political and intellectual leaders for young, impressionable children unused to seeing these realms as female, let alone entirely composed of different kinds of complex women, but I don’t want to be let off the hook in case it’s an idea that actually might bear fruit someday. I have a million thoughts of why I like the idea and how it might start, but if I start laying them out now, with no real plan or availability–let’s face it–to get anything started, my brain is likely to say, “Well, you fought the good fight, let’s go watch ‘Hannibal.'”

I don’t really want that. Not for this idea. Not right now.

Sometimes you have to tell people about stuff, because they’re the ones who will help you gauge if it’s actually an okay idea, and their support or even just the knowledge that they’re watching will keep you to it. That’s how my No-Alcohol January was, for example, and the beginning of the “Ladies Say No Play” blog (which no one has been submitting to in awhile and so that makes me kind of sad but I don’t have time to campaign with it so oh well). But sometimes, if you don’t get those kinds of expectations and motivations, if the other people aren’t actually going to help you do it, it can just get in the way of your desire to accomplish your goal.

I’m going to be more conscious of what I want to play close to my chest to avoid this “off the hook” tendency.

And the phrase “close to my chest” makes me uncomfortable even though I know it’s meant to be about poker.


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