I’m late posting about our third day because I had to pour some gasoline on the fire to get enough pages written for our fourth day to see what I might have swirling around in my head and in this world.
To be honest, I’m floundering. It’s a new feeling. I’m pretty controlled and organised when I write. I know the world, the characters, the basic story. And if not I at least know the beginning and end.
For a good 30 minutes I did the whole staring-at-the-screen-and-wait thing.
I didnae like it.
I’m sure part of this is coloured by my last 9-month malaise of not wanting to write anymore. But I think that’s a cop out?
Eventually I just started writing. Good, bad or indifferent I decided it was better to have crap on a page to give me somewhere to go from than to walk in with nothing to work from.
And it’s not that I’m worried about being judged in the room because I’m familiar enough with my fellow collaborators that I don’t worry about that.
It might be that our third day was so fraught with complex conversations and debates about the politics of these characters and who these women are. It got heated – in the most positive way.
I don’t think people (i.e., the West) really understand how complex the Middle East is. Four Middle Easterners in the room born ‘over there’ and even WE couldn’t wrap our head around everything.
So then the question becomes: Who are we telling this story to and for? Because believe it or not that matters. My ultimate goal is to present an Arab narrative no one knows, one that counters the narrative perpetuated by the media’s Theatre of Terrorism, one that brings in audiences that look like us because they deserve to be properly portrayed on stage with authenticity and truth through the eyes of a cultural sibling and not some tourist who finds our lives (social, political, other) ‘fascinating’.
But then how to write it – non-traditionally – without alienating one audience or preaching to the other or, God forbid, not saying anything new or interesting.
It’s a large albatross to be hanging around anyone’s neck.
I don’t know if what I wrote last night will capture any of that. It might be that it will make no damn sense. But at least I’ll leave today with some kind of answer and some semblance of a path to walk on.
Or I’ll just pour more gasoline on it all.