Writing & Not Feeling Qualified

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently. Possibly it’s because of NaNaWriMo, maybe because my coworkers have been asking how my novel has been coming along. They’re excited about it.  I’m too ashamed to tell them that I haven’t looked at it in 3 months, even though I think about the main character, Sydney, every time I listen to a punk song. So, I asked myself, “I love this character, why am I not writing her story?”

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More than that, there’s something about the process that has made writing difficult lately. The act of showing my thoughts to the world and what may come back to me isn’t that frightening. I don’t usually start out to open a dialogue between myself and the reader. I write just to get the words out of my head. At least once a day I compose an essay style piece in my brain around a topic that I’ve been mulling over. It’s one way I process things I’m currently obsessing over and if they have substance I want to share them. They very rarely, if ever, make it down on paper. Why?

I’ve determined it’s a mix of confidence and feeling like I shouldn’t have an opinion on certain topics (music & improv are the big ones). I still need to get the words out, but there’s actual fear holding me back from publishing it. After all, don’t you need experience to write about stuff? I read that on the internet somewhere. I mean, I’m only taking improv classes, what do I know? I’ve only listened to punk music for a couple years. Apparently two years ago today I talked about my first punk mixtape on this blog. Sure, when I find a band I like I try to jam 10+ years worth of being a fan into two months, but I still didn’t know them before. 

When I type this out it’s so silly sounding, but it’s exactly the way I think!

It’s not just essays. These feelings also exist in my fiction. Continue reading

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Teamwork and Harold the Space Gerbil.

I learned what teamwork was yesterday. I also learned that gerbils will be the only ones to survive when the aliens attack your spaceship.

The first part looks like the first line of an after school special*, doesn’t it? The second part looks like this:

Harold the Space Gerbil.

Harold the Space Gerbil. Survivor.

But I digress. I learned what teamwork was yesterday. I finally understand what people mean when they talk about sports teams and trust between players. I don’t enjoy sports and I still struggle to understand why others do. It took a theatre and a stage to understand teamwork and trust. That stage would house a scene that involved among many things, a space gerbil named Harold, played by me.

I’ve been taking public improv workshops at Rapid Fire Theatre since June this year (with August off). (I mentioned one of my improv classes in this post.) Most workshops offered end with a “workshop show” where all the classes perform in a showcase for their invited guests and each other. It’s kind of like a graduation. It’s a great, supportive atmosphere where lame jokes get big laughs and the applause and cheering is very enthusiastic. It’s a wonderful way to gently dip your toe into performing if you’ve never done it before. It’s also a prime spot to take risks with your improv and if you fail you don’t have very far to fall.

Last night was my third workshop show, and it was probably the most comfortable one so far.  Continue reading

Improv Induced Revelations: Women in Comedy

“Name ten famous women!”

I’ve just been challenged to name ten famous women. I’m in my level 2 improv class, my class partner and I are doing an exercise that demonstrates how seven is a magical number. After seven items, recalling lists from memory gets remarkably harder. At the same time my partner is demonstrating how cheering for your partner for something as simple as a listing things helps build confidence and trust. He’s just breezed through my suggestion of ten things found in the ocean.

“Uh. Tina Fey?” I offer, suddenly everything is male. Actors as far as the eye can see.

“That’s one!”

Continue reading