Another Rhino goes to Sleep...
Image by Purpledee
As NaPlWriMo concludes its 3rd year, I wanted to take a moment and write each and every one of you who signed up on November 1st with the intention of writing a play in 1 month.
Regardless of whether you did it or not, I wanted to acknowledge you for taking on something extraordinary in your life. Your commitment to art and community means a lot to me. It is the reason I started this crazy thing, 3 years ago.
There are a number of places you could be at right now.
You might have 75 pages and be elated that you completed the challenge and won. You might have 75 pages and instead of feeling good about it, you beat yourself up about the quality of your play…Stop it! You won… there is the whole year to fix and edit your play. You overachievers hate taking a moment to feel good about yourself. But really… you did it… honor yourself for that… CONGRATULATIONS!
You might have written a lot but not reached the finish line. Take stock of your riches, Rhino… Look at how many pages you have written that you might not have otherwise written and look at how many cool people you have met that you might not have otherwise met.
If you gave up early on, you might be looking at what stopped you.
Wherever you are at, Rhino, there is value.There is value in accepting where you are at.If you're saying to yourself "it doesn't matter, it's just a stupid challenge", look again.
As playwrights, I believe it is not only our job but our duty to look, take stock and forgive ourselves.
As many of you might know, this past year, I took a big leap from the world of theatre and my life in Seattle and moved to San Francisco to pursue my masters in drama therapy. This means that on top of my commitment to theatre, I added a commitment to healing. I believe that community is one way we can heal. I believe that no matter where we are in life, we can always use more art and we can always find more places in ourselves that need art and healing.
I hope that whatever you found this year, through your participation in Naplwrimo, it connected you deeper to your art, your self and your sense of community.
As Renee Emunah says in her book "Acting For Real":
In some ways, similar to postpartum depression, the letdown following the completion of a work of art is familiar to artists of all disciplines. Once the finished art product is set free, the artist is left depleted and must again face the blank slate, without knowing when or whether the creative impulse or opportunity will reappear … Moreover, the collaborative process inherent in theatre, fostering intimacy and emotional bonding with one's fellow actors, makes the loss at the conclusion or the performance all the more formidable.
Each year, as NaPlWriMo comes to a close, I feel that sense of loss and sadness. I feel how much I will miss checking in with the forums, cheering you on and sharing where I am at in the process. Each November, for the last 3 years, has been a time of intense possibility, exhaustion and awe.
Thanks to you, each year has brought twice as many participants as the year before.
It is thanks to you that Naplwrimo continues to evolve and grow and I am thankful for your dedication, support and patience through it all. I hope you have found what you were looking for this year and that you will keep returning and churning out words. They are your words and the world needs them.
As you know, I will continue to make Naplwrimo available for free to all who want to join. However, it costs money to keep the site running. It also takes time for our volunteers to help out (hands together for Josh Conkel !). I would like to eventually be able to not only have the site be paid for, but also raise enough money to pay our amazing helpers and even (one can dream) get to a place where Naplwrimo can pay to have some of the works that come out of it produced.
Please help me keep this amazing community alive and growing and take a moment to donate what you can by clicking on the link below (scroll down to find National Playwriting Month in the list of organizations)
Thank you for your participation and I look forward to writing a brand new play next year with you all!
Until next year…
In play and community,
Naplwrimo runs on love, sweat and your generous help.
Thank you to our donors!
Machelle Allman, Holly Arsenault, Will Bond, Karen Chandler, Michael Lee, Leslie Liautaud, Jeff Mackey, Maggie McAleese, Marian McNamee, Marla Porter, and all our anonymous donors.