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”.