I was asked yesterday, “What are you doing tomorrow?” and I replied “Tomorrow? Let me think… oh, yes, I remember. Tomorrow I am not writing a radio play.”
So here I am. Not writing a commissioned play. Nuff said.
I’ve spent the morning peeling veg and making a fruit salad for tonight’s dinner, an evening with friends. As I finished the last job (I really can’t peel pineapples with any good grace – knobbly silly things with those annoying little black tuftettes) the phone rang. Our church has many elderly people, and one of them, a lady, was spotted holding onto some railings in town, too unsure of her steps to walk on. One of the other elderly church ladies took her to the hospital where she was heading anyway (for an X-ray) but couldn’t stay with her, so she called me. The X-ray department are looking after our poorly friend and will be done with her at about 2.15 when she will need a lift home and maybe more care, so, in a few minutes, that’s what I’ll be doing today, instead of writing a radio play.
Good excuse, eh? The truth is, regardless of this emergency and those vegetables etc, I wouldn’t have put a single word down, because the words are simply not there. Writing is a strange occupation – usually if you want to do something, you can do it. For the dinner tonight all I have to do is gather the ingredients, set the table and cook. But as a writer, the ingredients have to be grown in my head, harvested, sorted, and then shaped. There ain’t no handy shop with plot, characters and message just waiting for me in the bargain section, and you can’t make roast chicken without the damn chicken, can you?
See? When I think of a play that has to be written but I have no inspiration, swear words pop up in place of stage directions and dialogue.
It’s supposed to be a play for Radio 4, Christmas 2019. This year. It was commissioned last year and there was oodles of time. I mean, like, ages and ages. No rush. A ridiculously long gap between commission and recording. Almost too long. Ha! Nae bother. Absolutely nae bother. Be done in a trice.
I actually wrote a treatment and it was good. I’ve just read it and it really is good. I would listen to that play. I just can’t quite manage to write it.
I know. I’ll hop off to the hospital, see how my elderly friend is faring and maybe, just maybe, while I’m there, I’ll see the whole wonderful thing. The title? Oh, I have the title, neat and confident at the top of the treatment “Who Would Imagine A God Like This?”
Apparently, not me.
Watch this space. When I come back I am going to make a start. I am. No, seriously, listen, I am.
PS and update: I didn’t.