I found a play I forgot I wrote. I noticed a subdirectory with an unfamiliar name in the “plays” folder on my computer. In it I discovered the script for a play I had completely forgotten. So I read it.
The play is awful. No, I’m serious. It is really, really awful.
The problem is the story. Nothing much happens until an incredibly tasteless and nonsensical twist. I am not above nonsense, but this is nonsense without whimsy. It is a blatant shock tactic. A deus ex what-the-fuck?!
I am so embarrassed. I have no idea what I was thinking.
The worst part is not that I wrote this piece of garbage. It is not the only bad play I’ve written. I’m not ashamed to say that. He or she who is a writer but claims to have never written anything bad may cast the first insulting comment below.
No, I’m not embarrassed that I wrote this horrible thing. What I’m embarrassed by is that I liked it. I’m embarrassed that I was proud of it.
How do I know I liked this play and was proud of it when I didn’t even remember it existed? Because in that play’s folder are not only the abhorrent script but also cover letters addressed to ten theatres. TEN! I sent this foul thing to ten different theatres. I have award-winning plays that I haven’t sent to ten theatres, yet somehow to me circa 2006-2007 this piece of crap merited a high-level of promotional effort.
Not surprisingly, the play was never produced.
So now the question is, what do I do with this repulsive script?
I could delete the folder and its contents. That seems prudent. However, I have had regrets about destroying other embarrassing evidence from my life. This play, unfortunately, is part of me. If I delete it, aren’t I erasing a bit of my history?
On the other hand, what if I become famous someday, then develop dementia, and a greedy caretaker decides to get this thing produced Go Set a Watchman style? People would ask, “How do we know she really wanted this produced? You may just be after the money!” My caretaker would answer, “Look! She sent it to ten theatres! She clearly loved this play and wanted it to be seen!”
Everyone has skeletons in their closets. I’m worried about the skeletons on my hard drive.
Perhaps I should label certain directories on my computer with the language that was devised for the waste isolation plant at Yucca Mountain:
This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here.
What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us.
Or perhaps I should just worry about writing something better.
One nice thing is that this play was written before I got married and changed my name. Even if someone with a great memory had the misfortune of reading this script back then; hopefully, my new name will not be connected to my past mistake. Phew!
- Am I the only writer who doesn’t love Bird by Bird?
- Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story
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