Friday, October 14, 2005

Beginnings and Endings

I started to write a really long post about August Wilson and what he means to me as a writer, and as an African-American. But I’ve read so many other accounts that I decided, I had nothing new to add to the conversation. Except to say that he changed my life when I discovered his work. I don’t feel bad that he’s gone. Death is something that will come to all of us. I’m happy for him. He set an ambitious goal, and he saw it through. 10 plays. An unheard of cycle. Some of the plays are better then others, but on a whole brilliant work. I hope when inevitability catches up with me, it will find me as accomplished and have contributed to the whole of humanity the way August did. Rest in peace.

All of that ties into this. I have finished the first draft of Julius X. Yay! For the next month, I’ll be doing some intense rewrites, readings, and more research to make the piece work better. But for a first draft, I’m really happy. David Mamet said something along the lines, that all acting really was, is being brave. Going out there, and just doing it. I don’t know how much I agree with that, but I do think it has a lot to do with it. So it is with writing. A lot of it is just having the courage to dream and put it on paper. A POETICAL is much harder to write then a straight play. So there are plenty of opportunities to wimp out. I feel like in the first draft of CHALK I wimped out a couple times. I was tired of trying to write engaging poems. So instead, I just did the easy thing and let drama carry it. Which for what I was trying to do is cheating.

With Julius however I kept my nose to the grind. I got it done a week past the deadline, but a week isn’t that far off. I think the piece is strong. But you know when your doing something new sometimes it’s hard to gage how people will take it.

There is a deep sense of satisfaction from finishing something I’d dreamed up a year ago spent months researching, and several months writing. This isn’t the end of the work. This is just the birth-day.

I never write the title page until I finish the first draft. It was an honor to add an additional page in between the title page and first page of the script. The page is mostly blank with two words, “For August”.

2 comments:

jaimie said...

Hello, familiar stranger ~

I know what you are saying about Mamet's concept of acting and Wilson's work. For a final senior project in high school I worked desperately hard on a dramatic scene from "Fences" with a Jax cat named Adonis Boyd. You probably know him. During rehearsals, we just kept missing the boat (I think we were too young at the time to know a certain brand of sorrow and anger.) When it came time for the performance, though, we abondoned ourselves to it and nailed it. We were desperate and brave and it left everyone shaking. A great moment. I can't think of a better tribute to Mr. Wilson ~ he shook our hearts.
On to the present. So, Al. I wonder if you remember me. My name is Jaimie Wilson and I used to cover arts and entertainment for the T.U. I did some feature covers on you and your group regarding poetry jams years ago. Big Al, right...? It's funny, I've thought about you often because I quit being a reporter and moved onto producing/programming music. It's always a struggle to find a quality lyricist and I've thought of you often. Then one day one of my production partners, Tony Roberts (a.k.a Krescendo) played something for me and there you were again, bold words all over the place. Most recently, I've met a woman named Ok Sun Burkes, who told me about this play, which led me to you. Funny the way the world moves. So, here I am. Here you are. I think something should be done about this. Hit me up, I think we should write and make music together. I'd love to throw some intelligent beats your way.
jaimiekeiko@hotmail.com.

Megan E. Allen said...

Al,

I feel the same way about August Wilson. He really struck a chord with me when I worked on Fences with Troupe De Kent. There's just something about the way his plays are relevant in my life and add so much depth to what I feel. I'm glad we were able to have you as the Griot for Majigeen. it wouldn't be the same without you. You are my griot, baby. Muah.