Weekly Ramble #58

I’m sad but proud. After spending ten consecutive years performing for my community drama club I have hung up my ‘acting’ boots – they were a fine pair of acting boots, very comfortable in fact and the parts I have trod on that stage will stay with me for life. The truth is I thought I would be a lot more upset but I guess the pride and happiness of what has been achieved in those years is shining brighter than anything else. And the real truth is, I’m not leaving for good, I’m just leaving the stage…

Over the past couple of years the Iver Heath Drama Club has entrusted me to write their annual pantomime shows; a leap in its own right and possibly the greatest compliment my writing and myself has ever received. That’s what I am going to continue doing, writing stories which is the dream that was forged out of performing for that wonderful club. I vowed to that family to pledge my pages, my pen and my stories – a deal that I will honour for as long as I write.

As a performer I got the perfect ending on that stage, having adapted our own version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs I was then cast as the Magic Mirror which is apt because ten years ago it was my first role. Sometimes things go full circle. This time around I gave that role more meaning and along with everything I had gained on that stage it became the epitome of all of me. Even though it sounds like this was all about me, it wasn’t and this ending was about passing on the torch, or crown to those who deserve it.

While the high of the most successful IHDC show begins to wear away I shall recede back into writing stories and reading some truly wonderful stories on my TBR list. While one door closes many other will open not just for me but for those who let me belong to what is a fantastic community run club. I have already drafted next years script!

And just remember this;

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we read,

The greatest stories aren’t the ones we write,

The greatest stories are the ones that we live.

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Reflections of a writer director

I write this current blog entry after what has been a pretty damn disheartening week for me. Before I spend words moaning at life being hard and all I would like to say that this piece isn’t directed at anyone personally other than myself.
Although it would be easy to use social media as a vessel for sending subliminal messages I am very much an adult and won’t do such things. More over I would rather use this blog page as a way of just venting my current feelings and mood towards things.
First off let me just talk about my writing situation, this is a blog so nobody can interrupt, basically shut up and listen.

Since November I switched departments at work in order to chase better opportunities and more money.  Doing so meant that I no longer work Monday to Friday with weekends off. My work pattern is rather sporadic at best and gives no real stable routine. Something which my writing thrives under, or used to anyway. Gone are the days where I could come home and begin writing at six all the way through to half ten at night. Those times where I really learnt my craft and I look back on them as one great lesson in penning words.
Now my time is way more valuable, not only for me to write but to spend time with my nearest and dearest and of course to actually sleep. Saying that my writing in the past five months has reached a rather diabolically slow pace. If I am completely honest the current book I am trying to draft is a complete and utter shambles. Some of you are probably saying really is it that bad? My angle is that I don’t want to sell a shitty book, which is what it currently is.

Maybe I have just taken it a bridge too far especially after the last book I drafted literally flowed like water and in a matter of months it was done. Foolishly I thought maybe I could repeat that again by just going with a few loose plot points and deciding the take it from there. Perhaps an arrogant approach from me.

There seems to be a complete lack of inspiration for me right now which is holding my creativity down below the surface of rather stormy waters. Maybe in the books I have previously written I was just lucky to have the story already there, but with this project is just a brick wall. It’s frustrating as hell because I want this so damn much and there is some awesome points that this story could shine with.

Only if I can unlock the links between these few great moments is becoming an ever such a hard task.
More than once have I almost walked away from this project, but a very deep need to succeed and get it done is holding me onto it. Somewhere my inspiration lies, but where I still haven’t found out.  I don’t watch much tv these days which is one of my many vessels of inspiration for ideas, lets face it, UK Netflix sucks a big dong.

It’s been over a week since I even looked at the book I am trying to write and as that time increases it fills me with zero remorse for walking away. We’ll see.
To add to my already frustration and lack of writing inspiration for the new book, this week I was forced to make a decision which has caused my conscience to remain a little unsettled. Being a first time writer director of a play so far has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in life but saying that, this week I had to make a rather difficult decision. Maybe it has even cut a friendship from my life, I do hope that isn’t the case.

Things were pushed a little too far in my mind and action had to be taken, deep down I feel a little remorse but the in the long run if I want something to be successful sometimes a small sacrifice is worth the reward. I will do anything to ensure my writing isn’t put at jeopardy and the fantastic cast I have, my team which I cannot let down. Making this decision truly is best for business, but where do friends come in business. Only time will take its course for me to know that.

Until then I will try to throw myself back into writing a book which my heart really isn’t in. Maybe that’s a subliminal method approach seeing as it’s about vampires.

My writing heads to the stage

And so the dust begins to settle after a rip roaring successful run of pantomine shows for my dear Iver Heath drama club. The time has come to ask what happens next?

Well to answer that question would suggest that a new era for me and the club is on the horizon. I say new era because since I have had involvement with this growing community drama club the depth and wealth of talented and helpful people has grown immensely.

Some very loyal followers will know that a few years ago in between drafting books I took a little time out to pen a single act comedy play.

imageHotel dOOM was born! Inspired by the variety of talented personas I share the stage with my characters came to life on the page. Driven by quick to and fro gags with witty humour the play soon took shape. From what appears by name to be something along the lines of horror actually unfolded into a barrage of silliness. There’s mystery, intrigue, innuendo and screams a plenty. Something even the most humour detached will find something to at least smirk about (I hope).

But that’s the ultimate challenge with writing a play. Not only will I be watching the characters I have written face the third dimension, I will also be watching the audience and how they react. Maybe seeing how the audience do react when seeing my writing in action will answer the ultimate question for me.

Can I write?

A very personal question to me that can only be answered by the cast I put on stage to say those lines and be those characters. It is a very self centred question to be seeking an answer for but that isn’t the only thing I am looking for. In the nearly seventy year history of Iver Heath drama club it is believed no one has ever written their own material. Again a self centred feat or with the help of my friends a brilliant achievement for all of us.

Either way to see what I have created from just a simple idea to full on ensemble play in the living flesh is something I am incredibly excited about. To make someone laugh is to live and for me living is telling meaningful stories. That is all I have ever wanted to do. Just hearing the lines read out of the past few weeks has been exciting and the group I have in mind to play these parts are perfect.

Even with my show being directed by me there is also a youth offering for some very talented and awesome kids who some day will find their way into the highest billing for pantomine and summer shows.

Casting for hotel dOOM is this Wednesday and so my #YearOfWriting begins its next chapter. On the horizon of course is my first book Open Evening which arrives at the end of September.

My final note will be to thank my wonderful followers of this blog. Over the weekend my hall of information crossed over 60 followers. Thank you to all.

 

Battling the After Show Blues

Where do we go from here? For many of my dear friends this is the question they will be facing right now. Some will handle it better than others whilst some will find ways to distract themselves from after show blues.

From bright lights and audience gratification to a level of isolation. Now that is a culture shock to everyone who had involvement with Iver Heath Drama Club’s shows over these past two weekends (and for any other amateur dramatic). Whilst many including me are saying this may have been our best offering ever, that’s lovely but for us after that curtain has fallen for the final time so has the personas that made up such a good show. We say those lines for the last time and we do that dance once more.

Life for the amateur dramatic is of extreme highs on occasion followed by a somewhat even more extreme low. We can wallow and ponder about it for as long as we like but that isn’t the long term solution. Moving on is!

Many of my wonderful followers will know that over the past few months I have been planting many seeds that will hopefully grow over the course of this year, my #YearOfWriting.

The first book Open Evening arrives in just over half a year but before that my writing aptitude gets its greatest and hardest challenge yet. The next adult play for Iver Heath Drama Club has been written by me and will also be directed by yours truly. It’s a rather daunting task considering Hotel Doom, my play is a one act comedy and hopefully people will laugh. After all this time, my writing will be given another dimension by the wonderful performers of the drama club. It may be worth mentioning that according to the club’s 60 plus year history nobody has ever written and directed a play from scratch.

A lot is to happen from now and curtain up of Hotel doom. Much like more is to happen before my first book hits the shelves, but that’s the beauty and thrill of life to me. Not knowing what will happen is something we should all embrace as the unexpected is what we must cling onto so we can make our future what we want it to be. Without sounding too motivational speaker on you all I have found the unexpected to be the place where all my greatest success come from.

So where do we go from here? Into the unknown with every hope something wonderful could emerge at any moment. That is how I get myself out of that black hole of after show blues. We did it and it was awesome. Our memories of the stuff much of the audience don’t see will be what we share as memories. We did this as a team and through the fire we went and out to the other side.

I would like to take this opportunity now to thank everyone who has supported me with my writing and my book announcement last month.

And last but by no means least I would like to thank my drama club family IHDC for this wonderful journey we have been on together. It means the world to me even though sometimes I do moan. The depth and variety of wonderful personalities we have is something that should be celebrated and credited. The best thing we do it what we do together.

A special mention to my good friend Matt Streuli who works ever so hard in publicising the drama club and hopefully someday soon an OBE will be coming his way. In his words and after reading this ‘Get back to work!’ He also has a page on facebook that you should like. 

That’s it for this week. Hopefully my lacking of blog posts will stop from now and the cobwebs have been fully shaken off.