A Whole Lot of Love

Because this blog is supposed to be about the creative process and how it relates to my spiritual perspective on Art, I generally disdain from discussing personal issues in which impertinent emotions might be involved.   However, I have found that the emotional turmoil of the past three days is proving useful in getting me to discern certain elements of my Artistic goals more clearly.   I have concluded that is time to come up with a definite plan.

We are talking about three unproduced musicals.   The first of these, The Burden of Eden, is complete.  That is, we have a full piano-conductor score, and a full script.  The second, definitively entitled Eden in Babylon, consists of a complete score and an incomplete script.  The third, as yet untitled, consists of a complete score and an unwritten script.

I have no interest in beginning to write a script that I haven’t yet begun to write at this stage.  As my deadline approaches — that is to say, my death — the prospect is mind-boggling.  I’m looking for a librettist and have put out some feelers.  As for the first show, I wrote it between 2004 and 2008 when my head was in a much different place than it is now.  I basically think it sucks; I make no effort whatsoever to market it, but if anybody wants to produce it, you can go right ahead.   Just spell my name right and give me a decent cut of the royalties.

It is the second of the three shows that is my current concern.   Anybody reading my plot synopsis can tell instantly that the spiritual themes and social statements interwoven in the fabric of my story line are very near and dear to my heart.  Naturally, I would very much like to complete that script on my own, or at least collaborate with someone on it.  However, since the reason I have written practically nothing on that script for three years now (though the score is essentially complete), involves an enormous writer’s block associated with a personal issue, I need to somehow break that block in order to do so.  Also, the usual recommended methods for breaking writer’s blocks have not been working.  I cannot, for example, plow through the impasse and write anything that comes to mind.  No matter what I write, I find myself yelling and screaming obscenities while I do so.  I hit the keys too hard.  I risk destroying my computer keyboard.  I risk disturbing the neighbors.  My reactions even put my own health at risk.

So, please let me describe the nature of the block, and perhaps one or more of my readers might offer some sage counsel; or at the very least, be moved to pray for me.

It is not possible for me to dissociate myself from the awful feelings connected with this mysterious total put-down I received three years ago from a person whom I thought was my best friend, when I asked him to provide feedback on my script.  Every time I try to work on the script, my head becomes filled with garbage pertaining to how badly he treated me, condemning my work as “unproducible,” comparing my personality to that of a wildly deranged and sociopathic protagonist, and so forth.  Worse yet, he refused to address any of these issues, but after he assaulted me in this fashion, proceeded to ignore me completely for three years.  And yet we had gotten along perfectly well prior to my sending him the script.  It is almost as though something in the content of the script offended him personally; and he decided after reading my script never to contact me again.

This also has the nature of a progressive illness.  The more time goes by, the more difficult it is for me to work on the script without associating it in some way with this fellow who, ironically, does not even like it.  My indignation increases the longer he avoids me.  If I thought he owed me an explanation two years ago, that is nothing compared to the explanation he owed me one year ago.  By this time, I would venture to guess he owes me three or four, or perhaps five explanations.  If I was mildly disappointed in him three years ago, I was more than a bit miffed two years ago, markedly angry a year ago – and frankly enraged this last weekend.   But don’t get me wrong – in no way do I hold this man responsible for my rancor.  I only feel that if he were to offer me at least one of the many explanations I have come to feel that he owes me, everything would brighten up.  I also know which explanation he needs to provide for me.

He told me that my work  was “chock full of over-the-top political references that get in the way of the story.”  Again, I have no doubt that these references exist.  The problem is, I don’t know where they are.  He could have meant this here, or that there, or maybe the other thing — or none of the above.   Would it really be too much for this highly reputable and well-regarded professional theatre person to take a half-hour out of his busy schedule to point out two or three of these references for a fellow Artist who is suffering?  Does he not realize that the power to remove my block lies in his hands?   Or does he find my work so despicable that he does not actually even want me to complete it?   These questions will never be answered as long as he keeps ignoring me.   Yet, yet — they plague me.

As much as this single travesty has prevented me from finishing a work about which I am passionate, the amount of support I have thus far obtained from people on all sides of the spectrum has basically amounted to this:

“Take a valium.”

“F–k him.”

“Andy, get over it!”

The first of these is out of the question, as I determinedly stopped taking all such medications on May 10, 2004 and am proud of that choice.   The second is, to say the least, easier said than done.   The third borders on hostility.   None of these is particularly constructive, and none of these addresses the issue.   The issue is that I cannot finish this script as long as the block remains.

As I said, death approaches.  I do not know when it will come, nor am I unhealthy.  In fact, I am in excellent health, and fit, and vigorous.  Doctors tell me I should expect to live to be one hundred or more.  But it will take till I am 100 years old for me to finish this script at this rate!  It is becoming harder every year – and I am becoming “healthier” every year (if you get my meaning). 

I cannot close this post without bringing in the spiritual perspective.  What my naysayers are telling me, in so many choice words, is that I need to “let go.”  Now believe me, you do not know how many times I’ve tried.  This is a complex issue, and it cannot be solved by abandoning it.  In my perhaps not-s0-humble opinion, the solution to this problem is Love.  Love – good will in action – what in a former day, we used to call “Christian Love.” This is not the same thing as “letting go.”  It involves engagement.  It involves communication, respect, and participation between more than one person.  It involves sacrifice.  The amount of sacrifice I am requesting on this person’s part is very small.  And yet, I am sacrificing my life’s work here, because of his refusal to engage. 

My Love dwindles and wanes the longer there is no one willing to receive it.  For this dear old friend to take even a half-hour out of his time to give my work the little bit of attention I request, may seem like nothing.   To me, that would be a Whole Lot of Love.

2 thoughts on “A Whole Lot of Love

  1. Is there any way to have someone else just as qualified, if not more, to read it and give you feedback? Have you tried asking this professor straight out what upset him so much? I’m a bit shocked a professor wouldn’t pinpoint the exact things he means and mark your paper up in red to help you out. A true editor/critic, etc. would have torn it to pieces or hailed it with praise all over the pages.

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  2. This is exactly what has been so frustrating. It wasn’t so much the actual criticisms as the fact that he refused to explain them, and then proceeded to desert me completely. Of course I have tried to ask him up front what he meant. I have done so by email, phone, and postal mail. He simply refuses to reply. So what can I do? Get on a Greyhound to a distant state and pound on his door? He’d probably call the cops on me at this point.

    I do think, however, that as I work on it again, I can probably find somebody qualified to look at it. The choir director at my church has been a musical theater actress, and she just got back to me after reading my new version of Scene One. She had some useful comments. Also, an acquaintance of mine in journalism forwarded my Heart Song Monologue to some friends at the University theatre department, and one of them got back saying he was interested in talking with me about it. The more steady input, the more I can keep the flame alive, and hopefully finish a decent draft of this script very soon.

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