What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Land Without “No” April 2, 2014

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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“Why did the kids put jam on the cat? Strawberry jam all over the cat? Why would the kids do something like that? They did it cause you said, no.” Please forgive the blatant musical theatre reference. (For non-musical theatre folks, it’s from The Fantasticks, and you should see that show.) For those of you who read Saturday’s post, you know I’ve had one hell of a week. And I do have some news to share, but you’ll just have to wait for that.

I’m sure you all had the same experiences that I did as a child. Mommy says “no,” so you go and do whatever she told you not to do. Which you probably hadn’t thought of as a possibility in the first place. Unfortunately for my mother, I was really good at getting into trouble without her “no” for encouragement. Whether it was climbing things, sticking my head through railings, or just running through the inn naked, I was really good at causing trouble.

Eventually I found a better way to deal with my scathingly brilliant ideas. Be a performer. You can get away with almost anything if you get your director to tell you to do it. Want to jump on the table? Just make your director think it’s a good idea. Want to throw things at someone? Make it a character choice.

In my current production, I get to force people to eat icky things. How cool is that? I hold my hand out, and they have to eat whatever I give them!

And then I realized today that that is why I love to write! I don’t have to try to get a director to tell me to do something. I can make my characters do it for me! I want to run away to the mountains, I can make them go for me! Maybe this makes me seem even more like a crazy person, but I have a horrible case of wanderlust. I spend more than four weeks in one place, and I just want to go somewhere else. I can be in the most beautiful place, but after four weeks I get the urge to go. Sometimes little practicalities like having a show to do keep me in the same place. But my characters can go wherever they like. And no one can tell them “no.” Except maybe my editor. But I’ll deal with that later.


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