Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Author of the month in the Library of Dreams.

One of the greatest inventions Neil Gaiman had when he wrote the (brilliant, wonderful) “Sandman” comic book series was the Library of Dreams, overseen by the librarian Lucien, in which every book was a story that the author had never finished, except in dreams. You could find Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures on the Moon” in the Library of Dreams, as well innumerable Sherlock Holmes stories that Doyle never got around to, etcetera. I love the idea so much that I’ll be greatly disappointed if, after I die, I discover that such a thing never existed, and then I’ll have to petition to start one.

I think about this Library because as of late I have been starting a lot of plays and not finishing any of them as yet. And I look back over the Microsoft Word files I have in front of me, and some of them, I know, will never be finished, and some of them are filled with spare parts that I have added to other plays. Here’s a short list of the plays I never expect to finish anymore, which means that it’s entirely possible that I will finish any of them.

“Heads Will Roll!” – A Brit-styled farce about a royal family thrown into chaos when the King dies and appoints his high executioner as his heir.

“Flash” – A play about the aging athletic star who is still searching for the killer of his ex-wife. (Or, The Obvious OJ Play.)

“Cheshire Moon” – Not really a play anymore, so much as a dialogue sample, beginning when an adult daughter arrives at her father’s place with the cremated remains of her father’s cat.

“Emergency Exit” – A drama about a novelist whose guilt is eating away at him, because across the city right now, an innocent man is being executed for a crime his younger brother committed.

“Knicknack” – A short piece about the relationship between a middle-aged bookstore owner and the Irish dentist who quietly pines for her.

“Gallery” – A romantic comedy about an art critic and an art thief.

“Lucille & Lefty Meet Their Maker” – A dark comedy about a 1940s comic duo dying of malaria.

“Moving Day” – A concept piece, in which during the first act, the set would grow more furnished, and in which the second act, it would go from furnished to blank. I’m sure there were characters here too.

“Names With Faces” – A comedy about a telemarketing office, and what happens when one of the customers shows up, having fallen in love instantly with one of the telemarketers there.

“Next of Kin” – I have no idea what this was about anymore, although I seem to remember wanting to have three characters at a bus stop, and one of them was referred to as “The Villainous Reinhold.”

“Pratfall” – A piece about a pyromaniac clown and the playwright who created him.

“Slowly Orphaned” – A dark comedy about a man whose last living relatives have just died, ending a several-years trend in which his family members wouldn’t stop dying.

“Springs Eternal” – A short play about the Hope that was left in Pandora’s Box, and how she reacts when two of the evils return to the box, seeking sanctuary.

“stale green long yellow” – A three-character drama about siblings and the traffic lights they disobey.

“Subtitle” – More nowhere dialogue dealing with the love lives of three characters who I had in another, completed play.

“The Elevated Train” – Not so much a play as a cry for help, this was written while I examined my last year as a college student, and what it meant to be doing Something, as opposed to Nothing. And somewhere in all of it is a jumbled plot about a painter who mad-bombs elevated train platforms and a bum who used to be in the Witness Protection Program.

“The Hanging Musician” – Melodrama, that I still think I can salvage, about the three members of the Mallard family, who own a jazz bar in Chicago and deal with the alleged suicide of eldest sibling Cole’s best friend.

“The Heart Attack” – Strange comedy about two street watch-sellers who go in search of a heroic act to perform when one is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Not sure what I was thinking.

“The Hell is That” – A comedy about ambition, the SEC, and suburban youth soccer leagues.

“The Shift” – Ah, the crown jewel of my uncompleted work. Over a hundred pages of scrap script made that way because the premise I was working with, about roommates who go to war with each other, wrote itself into a natural corner which couldn’t be ended.

“The Sort of Element” – Another one whose concept I’ve lost, although I was adamant about starting the piece with the image of a man surrendering to police while Meryn Cadell’s one-minute masterpiece “Secret” played in the background. This later became its own piece, entitled “Interpretive Arrest Warrant,” which still has no reason to be performed. [1]

“Yes Question No Question” – I still haven’t given up on this one–and I’m using scrap from “Moving Day” within this piece–but I’m not sure yet how to continue approaching it. I like the setup a lot…three siblings hide in the basement from their parents’ 25th Anniversary party, in part because they can barely stand the hypocrisy, knowing as they do that their mother carried on a years-long affair with their father’s best friend.

I think I’d hoped that writing all this down would inspire me to start writing more right now. I should, because for the first time in weeks, I have almost nothing to do for work. But I don’t want to at the moment. Hrm.

[1] I wonder if there’s a Black Box Theater of Dreams, in which all the plays that were never performed go up.

Current music: The Cure, “Mixed Up”

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This entry was posted on June 27, 2002 by in Plays, Theatre, Writing.
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