The last show of my play completes its curtain call. The audience claps. I think, thank god. I toast my cast and crew and declare, “It’s been a rocky road, but it’s been scenic.”
I gather my valuables from the stage. As the writer, I’m numb to the idea of a next step. This is only my second produced play. What’s next? I tell myself to finish what you have to do in the theater and go home to bed.
The next morning is different, but not any better. I decide there’ll be a next step. But the tricky part is, I have to decide what that next step is. Do I have to make the decision now? I take a cautious breath and collect myself. I need to sleep on it. But it’s eight in the morning and I’m at work.
“I’m not feeling well, I’m taking sick leave,” I tell my supervisor.
“I don’t blame you,” she replies.
What does she mean? Do I look that nerve wrecked? My god, I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. I grab my backpack, sign out and get through the exit doors.
I call my friend to tell him I took the day off. I really want someone to put this thing in prospective for me. I hope he can.
He does in one word, “decompression.”
I’m like a diver who went too far down too fast. Now I need decompression time. I need a good decompression chamber. I get home and go straight to bed. I crash instantly.
I wake two hours and several dreams later. I feel less crushed. But still feel overly indecisive.
It’s time for my next decompression cycle. I pick up the book I’ve been reading. It’s a book about writing. I start reading.
“Don’t forget you have an imagination,” hits me like a spot light. Have I forgotten my imagination? Where did I put it? It’s one of the things I love the most.
Sure style, process and grammar are important. But without imagination, my words are dead. A photograph is only the tool to express the image. The photographer needs the image first then he can put it on film and develop it onto paper.
I realize this doesn’t answer my question. What is my next step? Or is the question, what is my first step?
One of the greatest crosses for me as a writer is to focus my imagination enough to put it down on paper. Sometimes the ideas are too numerous. But I must choose to write something. Or I am not a writer.
I go to my next stress reliever. I start filling my bath with warm water. I sit in the tub feeling the water rise around me. I close my eyes and let my mind settle.
After a few minutes, I open my eyes to check the depth of the water. I proceeded to settle again in my relaxed state. I notice that a large chip of paint has peeled off my bathroom door frame.
Should I find a new bold color and paint the whole door frame and the walls? Or maybe I can just paint it over with the same color. But I have a better idea.
Why don’t I find a new color for the door frame to match the color of the walls around it.