by Jenn Weatherall
Here we are living day to day in this strange, upside-down world that we all thought at one time we knew...We had all figured out a certain level of comfort or at least familiarity with it to be...well, ok.
I used to look forward to Friday and Saturday nights. Once I got the girls tucked away in their beds, and the kitchen cleaned, I would sit down at the living room table to step into whatever world I was writing about at the time. It was my escape, my reward, my vice. I looked forward to a couple of drinks and a date with the characters I was creating on this keyboard in the quiet comfort of candle light. You see, I was very unhappy in my marriage. He would walk off to the pub and I would walk into my imagination. It was a sane and easy way to cope with things that I wasn’t satisfied with. No one needed to know. It was just my way.
Before this pandemic smacked us all right in the face I got out. The details are messy and unnecessary for you to know...but I moved myself and my children (fifty percent of the time) out into a beautiful little house with a pool. There’s something lovely about a new home that is not bogged down with years of memories, clutter, and piles of unnecessary stuff. So here I am, in my new home with lots of storage but not too much stuff to fill it with...and I get to enjoy a clean break. During a pandemic when we are all forced to remain at home, my home is a beautiful new space that allows me to be...me.
I have to admit, that because of my own personal circumstances, I find myself rather grateful for this forced break of reality. I have been able to use this time to rediscover, to reconnect with ME. And I’ve written many blogs, and I’ve drawn many portraits and written a couple of songs...but I’m not yet ready to step into another world. I’m consciously avoiding it. Perhaps it’s because I’m already living an alternative life right now...or maybe it’s because I no longer require the escape the way I used to...or maybe I’m just not yet ready to open myself up to meeting and developing new characters and worlds outside of what I find comfortable within my new home. Whatever the reason, it is what it is. I’m accepting this play writing dry spell for what it is. In fact, I have put together a fantastic idea for my next play. I’ve laid it out, and solidified the characters, and even some of what the characters do...but I can’t bring myself to write it. Not yet. And I think that that is ok.
We can’t lay pressure on ourselves to produce during this very confusing and alien time. Although we may find ourselves with more available time to create, it doesn’t mean that we are ready or able. And that is ok. I‘m not a big supporter of self-care. I find it to be hokey...and maybe that’s my own problem because I was always brought up to just ‘buck up’ and deal with crap as I needed to. But in this particular situation...I don’t believe that any of us should push ourselves, put pressure upon ourselves, or feel forced to produce in a time in which even the intelligent, balanced adults are struggling.
If it flows for you...then relish and enjoy. If it doesn’t...then be patient and understanding. These are strange times for all of us and as much as I want to take advantage of the time and space I am privileged with, I am not ready yet to write my next play. And I’m ok with that. I am restless and probably drinking more than I should...but I’m ok. I’m getting through these days one day at a time...my ideas are flowing at their own pace, my creating is welcomed when it comes...but I refuse to force anything.
Although we don’t have all the time in the world...we still all have time.
Jenn Weatherall, who has recently returned to the theatre after an almost two-decade hiatus, has had her plays performed in the DarkCrop, HamilTEN and Unhinged Festivals. As well as writing and directing her shows, in some cases she has had the fortunate/unfortunate opportunity of stepping into and breathing life into some of her characters. Besides her family, Jenn lives for the opportunity to create stories that allow her to bring life to the stage in ways she hopes is both intriguing and different from what has been seen before.