At the End of the Act

This will be very brief, since I have to be at Taize service at my church in 45 minutes, and I like to show up a half hour early to run through the music with the conductor. 

I didn’t write at all on Sunday, and in fact felt lethargic and innervated throughout the day.  Once errands and other life-related tasks were out of the way yesterday, I began writing with vigor, and stopped after finishing the first major confrontation between my protagonist and one of the two main male antagonists.


Today, I am almost at the End of Act One, having completed 83 pages of text, which will extend to a greater number of pages once I fill in some song lyrics to the big showstopper at the end of the Act. 

In a way, I wish I didn’t have to go to work for the next four hours.  But in another way, it might be the best thing for me.  The Taize service, followed by a church dinner, and finally Choir rehearsal, will “get me out of my head” and give some of the quick decisions I have made in the past few hours a chance to ruminate.  I was hoping to get it all done before church tonight.  It’s a good thing I didn’t, because it would have been sub-par.   But it’s a good thing I rushed to a self-imposed quasi-deadline, because I got a lot done, despite myself.

I believe I will be finished with Act One later on tonight.   Doubtless, I will not let myself rest until I am. 

The Kiss of the Muse

On Tuesday evening, I left the all-night restaurant alluded to in my most recent post, convinced that I’d somehow managed to hook up with a very talented batch of like-minded Writers.  I gave each of the six other participants a copy of my Scene One, and received from each of them a chapter of the novels they’re currently writing.

My main reservation is that I’m the only playwright in the bunch.  Also, since I’m a musical playwright, there are song lyrics as well as dialogue and stage directions strewn about my manuscript.   This differentiates me even further from the novelists in my midst.   Moreover, they all seem to be writing fantasy or science fiction–which of course is to be expected.  But my work is intended to deal with social issues such as classism, and to paint a picture not often seen of the Homeless Phenomenon in America

However, this doesn’t mean that their feedback will be of no value to me.  It only means that I’m afraid to receive it.   After all, our commonalities are greater than our differences.  I look forward to receiving input on plot, character development, clarity of content, and the like.  What I dread is that someone might object to some of my lyrics, without being aware of the type of music that accompanies them, since they won’t be hearing the music, but only reading the words.   This has happened before in the past, and it has put me in an awkward position.


Still, they’re all very intelligent, highly motivated people.   I’m sure that whatever happens at our next meeting, the fact that I’m finally convening with others of my ilk, and no longer hiding from the public world in stubborn isolation, is bound to reap more benefits than detriments in my creative life.

Otherwise, I’ve been busy with work and church (which in my case are very closely related, since I work at a church).   I’ve also been engrossed in some personal matters for the past few days.  So, while I did succeed in finishing Scene Four, as reported in this post, I’ve not yet begun to take a stab at Scene Five.   But I can feel it starting to simmer within me, somewhere down there. It’s a vague but very real sensation: an undeniable sense that I’m about to burst into another creative binge.   It feels as though something inside me is “percolating” — or, more accurately, incubating.  It’s almost as though I can feel the Muse approaching.  If I’m lucky, maybe she’ll kiss me, as she did the similarly exhausted Writer in the charming little picture up above.  Well — here’s hoping.


There are mornings when I awake without any sense of inspiration whatsoever. Nothing inspires me.  Nothing thrills me.  Nothing moves me — I find no sense of joy or purpose in my heart. Sometimes on such mornings I struggle for three or more hours with the notion that life is meaningless, that everything is vain and pointless — that there is no better end for me than to take each day’s evil as it comes, praying for the best but expecting the worst, and so trudge the tumultuous trail of trial after trial till the travesty of such tragic tribulation trickles into death.

How I thank the Lord above that this morning was not such a morning! As I woke, I registered that I had been dreaming song lyrics in my mind, to one of the tunes I’d written while I was still wandering wistfully about the dangerous streets of Berkeley— a tune I’d only barely begun to sequence in my new and much more palatable place of pleasure, poise, and purpose, the providential paradise I now am proud to call my home. Though the phone rang immediately, sidetracking me suddenly from the sweetness of my song, I was nonetheless thrilled to find my dearest daughter Echo on the other end of the line, equally inspired — though she, unlike her father, is forever inspired, even on her bad days. As her dad, needless to say, this makes me glad.

Although the Internet was down where I consumed my morning coffee, I thank God all the more so. For before I’d downed a single cup, five offline files were at once thrown open before my eyes, as though competing for the privilege of my sole creative fury — as if to see which one would lend the greatest inspiration to my heart. Lo and behold, there has emerged a victor:  

The Very Same World

Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Michael Pope
All Rights Reserved.

At last, the formerly unfinished lyrics flow so finely, I’ve no doubt in my mind I will have sung this song with my own voice, and added my own singing to that instrumental track – ere sundown, I would wager, if I were a gambling man – or my name’s not Andy Pope.

And yet, alas – I  seem to have forgotten that sunset is at 4:30 in this part of the world.  But even in this embarrassing peccadillo do I thank the Lord above.  Thank God I’m not a gambling man, for I have not lost the bet.