In October of 2012, a good three years into thinking about writing my play, I found sandiegowriters.org. I went to a few workshops and decided to join. I became a member just in time for the October Writers’ Conference; four days of classes, workshops, and just general get-togethers.
I enjoyed all the workshops that I attended. I found them informative and instructional, and they just seemed to fit into my plan. But it was what happened the first day, during a lunch break on my first workshop, that really struck a chord. I had just gotten a sandwich from a local grocery store and was sitting in my car eating my lunch when a news story came on the radio. There had been a charity triathlon in Florida, and a young cancer survivor was running the last leg — a one-mile run. During that last run, the boy’s prosthetic leg broke. A screw had come loose and the leg just broke in half. The boy sat there in the middle of the course, crying, when a U.S. Marine who was also running the triathlon just happened by. The Marine stopped and put the boy on his back and carried him to the finish line.
The boy had lost his leg to cancer when he was six, and his family had encouraged him to do just about everything he could. His dad told him before the race, “This is exactly where you need to be.” These were words of encouragement for the kid. Turns out it was. Exactly where he needed to be. And so was the Marine.
As for me? I took the story as a sign that I was supposed to be here at this writers’ conference. I was working on a play, and this conference did not specifically cover playwriting, only screenwriting and other genres. But later in the day, during a break in the courses, a lady walked into the venue just as I was speaking with the conference director. It turned out she was a representative for the Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. She was there to present fliers for the theater’s upcoming Playwrights in Process festival: four days, four plays, and a few assorted workshops and sessions for aspiring playwrights.
I am a writer, working on a play, with no knowledge of what a play really is, much less how to write one. I am learning. Up until this point, I had no idea of the things I needed to do. I did not know the “process.” The new playwrights workshop was exactly “where I needed to be.” Had I not come to this writers’ conference, I would not have received this flier. Since then, I have learned so much about plays and how to write them.
That brings me to this past weekend. I accompanied my wife on her San Diego Chorus retreat, this “recharge,” as they put it. I am here to support her in her new affiliation. I have never seen her so happy and full of life. She is singing her heart out. And it shows.
While my wife was singing with her group, I found the time to write. During one of those writing sessions, I stumbled across a video on YouTube. I was actually looking for some music on the San Diego Chorus. Instead, a video about schizophrenia popped up. My play is about schizophrenia. I don’t know if a keyword from a previous search had lingered or what other search led me from the San Diego Chorus to schizophrenia. But who knows how computer marketing works? At any rate, I found the information that I needed. The video on schizophrenia fit perfectly into my own play — a perfect tie-in to my storyline.
Now, I understand that I probably could have stumbled across this video on my own, in my home office. But I don’t know if I would have listened. Being in a hotel room, I was captive. I listened because I had the time. It brought me to a place I needed to be. So, these words have been written. I must now go and listen to the voices. I must write my play.
Post Title: Where I Need to Be | Post Date: September 15, 2013 | Blog: Pondering Dave
Author: Dave Normand | From: El Cajon | Blogging since: September 1997