After doing exercise 1st thing, I was feeling good. Then the plan was to go through the Proof of my book, sign it off, and then concentrate on my play text. I was going to read, the ‘Writers Journey, Mythic Structures for Writers’ and ‘Writing a Play’ a guide to creative success.
After reading the Proof of the book of poems, I realised that, in fact, it was great and it could work in performance as well as on the page, as I had planned. Perhaps didn’t need a stage adaptation. Ntazake Shange and Shakespeare both wrote for performance something that is equally compelling to read. Have I actually achieved the duality I was looking for? Looks like it.
Hmmm? I decided instead to look at another book instead. Lemn Sissay sprang to mind. I have got a book of plays called ‘Hidden Gems’ by Oberon Books. That has his play in it. I thought right, I will read Lemn Sissay’s play ‘Something Dark’, in this book, and see what I can learn from his craft. Then almost instantly, before I had even started reading it, I felt this anxiety, as I know how deep and poetic and powerful his work is.
Often times, poets can be political, try and save the world, speak of injustice. I as a black person, almost feel compelled to be political. For example, the words of Martin Luther King, the words of Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, changed the world. How will my book change the world?
Then I rememebered a story about my Father. From Zambia, he got a Rhodes scholarship to go to Oxford University. When he arrived at Oxford, they tried to make him study agriculture. They said people in Africa are dying of hunger, so you ought to study agriculture. He said, but I am a mathematician, and I came here to study mathematics, and do I not have the right to intellectual pursuits?
And I also thought of feminists, the 1st ones to go to university, who were at 1st considered selfish and unwomanly to devote hours to intellectual pursuits.
I came to the conclusion that, freedom of expression is what I am aiming for. I don’t have to be political, I do not have to change the world in that sense. Did Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet change the world? It did, in a human sense, in an emotional sense.
So my love story set in Amsterdam, is valid, because love and passion is part of the human condition, and technology is changing the way we express and experience it. I want to explore that. My piece is unique because most prominent performance poets, and female ones, in the UK, do not make poetry sexy, and it can be, to delight in passion and explore eros, for me, is empowering. We must not always speak of hardships, and oppression, but we can also delight in our own sexuality ,womanhood and humanness.
OK, panic over. I have decided to ask my dramaturg Lousie Wallwien have a look at the final book and get her opinion, and also, get the director to OK the manuscript or suggest changes. I will now read the aforementioned books, write notes, and compare with my own text, but from a place of confidence.
The day didn’t go to plan, but, I learned something important, to have the strength and conviction to be confident in ones work is an important part of success.