WE INVITE OUR DIE-HARD COLUMN READERS* TO SEND THEIR BURNING QUESTIONS TO RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHT PETER SINN NACHTRIEB. FOR SOME REASON, HE RESPONDS.
I’m a runner/playwright. The exercise gets me THINKING and then the stories just FLOW. This morning I ran 7 MILES WHAT UP. Super pumped to sharpen my pencil and get cracking on THE BIG ONE (not the actual title, just what I like to call the play I’m working on LOL). Sometimes I run to get the juices flowing, and boy are they FLOWING right now. Question for you is: how do you keep your energy UP and keep it up? Power snacks? Vitamin water? THANKS MAN.
Your run just gave me energy! YAS! BODY AND MIND! AMIRIGHT! BODY AND MOTHERFUCKING MIND!
Have you ever tried running and writing at the same time? Or writing while you’re on the elliptical glider at the gym? I have and it’s pretty great, except for that one time. Also, depending how VIGOROUS I’m going, it keeps the lines pretty short, which I’ve found most actors appreciate.
I’ve also enjoyed writing while doing yoga, kayaking, whale watching, walking around my apartment, reading, attending a pool party or orgy, pretending to listen, shopping, sitting at Z Space staff meetings and one time I wrote a great monologue in my head while watching someone cry. Essentially anything BUT sitting at my computer is what I like to do to keep my energy up. The more time you can spend away from actual writing, the more energy you’ll have to write!
Now lace up your pencils and jog your mind!
Writing you from El Quisco, Chile! I got a sick grant to write a play about the rich history and culture of this beautiful city. But here’s the thing: I’m totes gringo! Do you think I should tell anyone or just see if they catch on? No idea what they’re saying!!
As Anton Chekov once said, “Ignorance is Truth’s unappreciated ugly cousin.” I’m not entirely sure what that means but somehow I think it relates to your exciting opportunity. As a playwright, I often like to explore questions, mysteries, aspects of life that I don’t understand and am wrestling with. Big questions like “Where did truth go?” or “Where is empathy these days?” Those were hard questions to find the answers for (thank god I found them! #blessed).
It sounds like you’ve got a great question to begin your writing process: “What’s El Quisco?” Embrace your lack of knowledge. Savor the mystery. Celebrate your ignorance. Let it fuel a bold, imaginative, tone-deaf and oblivious work of theater. We are all as ignorant and curious as you are and this is your chance to answer “What’s El Quisco” for everybody. And that is a real privilege. A really white male one.
I guess I’m feeling pretty… down. The rejection letters… and rejection emails… they just keep on piling up... and it makes me feel like….it makes me feel like maybe nobody likes my work? And at some point...I have to ask myself… am I even good at this? So… yeah. I was hoping you could tell me that? Do you think I’m talented… or not? I know you don’t know my work, but if you could think of this as a kind of…. writing sample?…. Can you tell? Do you feel… moved?
I wish I knew how it felt to get all those rejection letters and emails. I can only imagine how disheartening it must feel to be rejected over and over again. It would probably make me want to give up too. #blessed
As far as your writing sample, I am really intrigued by your use of ellipses! I really feel something happening in those. Like, it feels like you’re getting a text message or a phone call or someone posted some clickbait on facebook and you stopped to do something else. And every time you get interrupted you prioritize the interruption over your own writing. Is that what you’re going for? If not, perhaps that indicates that maybe you should...
*Readers currently fabricated by Rose Oser, but I suppose you could send real questions to email@example.com and we will consider them.