Step Right Up

I’m having a bit of an issue lately, and I’m hoping it doesn’t plague my weekend because I have big plans for it. It all ties back to my dabbling in the self-doubt arena.

There’s a playwriting organization that I’m trying to join. “Trying” because it entails an audition, of sorts. Read: I must submit completed plays. I have more than a few in progress, but right as I’m nearing the end of the first act or just when things are starting to proceed nicely in the second, I take a break.

Like, a months-long break.

It would be one thing to finish them and email them off for review, but that doesn’t do much to make me think I’d be putting my best foot forward. I find myself wondering far too much. Wondering whether they’re good, bad, whether they show a breadth of emotion, whether they’re too shallow, too surface, too typical, too young, too current, too common or maybe even too controversial.

I wonder if I keep the general storyline but overhaul the characters. Maybe I scrap them entirely. Maybe I should step back and look at everything to see if anything can be merged.

In all of this wondering, I wonder if I’ll end up writing for those people, or writing for me. I can only hope that the latter wins out, as I try my best to do exactly that whenever I put pen to paper…er, fingers to keyboard. If ever there was a time to do it, it seems like now is that time. It feels mandatory. After all, why audition if you’re not going to bother to be in character?

After submitting the plays, they’re reviewed by a panel of people who have formed this organization. They’re smart, they’re direct, they’re honest in their communication and I wish there were more people like them in other areas of my life — not just in this particular extracurricular endeavor, which I may or may not ultimately end up being a part of. Not being around these people would be a tragedy. For me. A personal, growth-stunting tragedy.

They’ve written, they’ve directed and they’ve acted in plays on both larger and smaller stages. They’ve taught, been praised in articles, been sought out for additional works and have been produced many times. They know what they’re doing.

I don’t.

Or maybe I do.

The thing about anything is that you don’t know what you can do until you take a step. Pick a direction, any direction — then take a step. I can practically hear the carnival barker in my head, hollering, “Step right up, folks, step right up. You, ma’am — you look like you need to come this way.”

Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’ll feel the ground give way a little differently than my last step; maybe it’s giving way as a means of encouraging me to keep going.

Or maybe if I pick another direction, I’ll emerge from a shadow I didn’t know I was in, suddenly finding part of my face instantly flushed and heated by sunlight.

Step over here — just a bit more this way — and I might see something off in the distance that’s now more in view than before. Its no longer the partial structure I thought it was, but it sprawls and has a welcoming, inviting feel. It, too, is hoping I’ll continue making my way toward it.

This weekend will be a weekend of direction-picking. I don’t know where I’ll end up come Sunday night, but this evening I’m thankful for the blank canvas before me, and nothing but time on my side.

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