MARCY ARLIN is a new-ish writer, and an old-ish director, Fulbrighter, theatre internationalist and Artistic Director of the OBIE-winning Immigrants’ Theatre Project. A member of Broad Universe, Brooklyn Spec Fiction Meetup and Theatre Without Borders, she has written flash fiction for Abandoned Tower and the Broad Universe Sampler, short stories, an sf play (Man.In.Fest theatre journal), and blogs about immigrant theatre artists for tcg.org. She recently returned from the amazing Center for the Study of Speculative Fiction in Kansas. She lives in Brooklyn with the husband and the cats.
I am convinced that there is a personality or part of the brain that makes it easier for a person to sit alone and create. Whatever it is, I don’t have it. Yet.
Even if absorbed by the piece, I only type for about thirty minutes, then look up. I ask the room: Whatdoyouthink? Silence. So I stop writing and wash dishes.
I am not lazy. But the bulk of my main work as a theatre director is done as a social event: casting, rehearsing, production meetings. Alone I may write grants, read a script numerous times, or do research. But my most creative time is spent in rehearsal. Craft and inspiration are reflected immediately in the actions of the actors. The show’s designers collaborate on the look and feel of the show. I thank the lonely work of the playwrights always!
At a recent writing workshop, the participants, often in the same room, wrote and revised intensively for two weeks. Social creative energy! Now back home, alone, I go to the well-customered café, but I can consume only so many cappuccinos before my head explodes.
How do you do it? How do you sit there for hours and not drive yourself crazy? Don’t you miss other people? Are you a hermit? Do you chain yourself to your desk? Do you hire assistants to stay in your room/office/nook and nod encouragingly?
Could you call me up every thirty minutes and say “well done”, and then hang up?