At the start of February, I was fortunate enough to have my play “Prima Donna” included in CATCO’s New Works Festival. I’ve previously written plays for CATCO’s season for families and young audiences, so audiences primarily knew me as a writer for younger audiences. During the talkback that followed the staged reading of “Prima Donna,” someone asked if this was my first play for general audiences. Instead of answering quickly with “No, I’ve written many others,” I thought about the progression of my plays and suddenly charted a connection from the plays I was writing in graduate school to “Cowgirls Don’t Ride Zebras” (my first play for families and young audiences) to “Prima Donna.”
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about my theatrical “voice.” I remember years ago, I was at a Dramatists Guild event, talking with a group of people between a session. There was a young writer who asked about “voice.” Specifically, she asked if writers had the goal of writing dialogue through the individual, specific voice of each character, how does “our voice” as author come through? I had never really articulated my thoughts on this, but I came up with an answer.
This past week, a couple of people at the day job and I were discussing coffee shops in Columbus that are good for writing. There are: Cup O Joe in Clintonville, Cup O Joe in Bexley, Cup O Joe at Easton, Bexley library (one of the quietest places in town), Luck Bros., Cafe Brioso, Stauf's. None of them are perfect for me. Some are too quiet, some are uncomfortable, some are too crowded, some have annoying parking situations. Some are better than others.
It started me thinking about "sacred spaces" again. When I mean sacred space, I mean a place where I can work, where my creativity is able to flow freely. It's like finding the right temperature for a shower. It's not like that at all, but a good metaphor is eluding me. I've found the right tools: a space pen (I got a new one for Christmas! One with an iPad stylus!), my moleskine reporter notebook. But a special, perfect, sacred space is not around. My desk at home is cluttered in trinkets and pictures and is wobbly. The lighting is too harsh with the overhead light, too dim with the lamp on my desk. Back to the terrible shower metaphor: it's too hot or too cold.
My wife and I have been talking about moving to a bigger house, which is becoming more and more of a necessity as our son grows and ages. He's going to be 16 months and will soon need a room of his own. His toys need to be out of the living room! My wife and I need separate offices. In thinking of moving, I've realized what my sacred space might be.
Until we are able to move, this dream will stay in the back of my mind. My sacred space. My ideal space. My space.