Crossing the mid-point

Well then, quite a busy/frustrating few weeks I’ve had…

Plenty of non-writing stuff going on in life at the moment, including the joys of a lengthy visa application process.  But, somewhere in there I’ve managed to slip across the half-way point in the script, and things have taken an unexpected turn, as they are wont.

I laid the story elements out and started to write the connections between them.  How does Shakespeare relate to green tea?  Excellent question, so I tried to answer it in narrative and conversation.  My characters started to sound like themselves, they developed little annoying quirks and redeeming qualities; all exciting and really fun for me, even if those annoying quirks were remarkably similar to things that annoy me about myself…

It occurred to me, like a slap in the face, that I was missing a golden opportunity to delve into one of my favourite Shakespeare plays: Macbeth.  Temptation, ahoy!  Lady Macbeth, how I love thee!  In re-reading it I re-discovered that weird Porter scene: after Macbeth decides to do the deed and kill Duncan, the action cuts to a drunk Porter yelling at the eerie knocking that echoes through the damned castle.  It’s a play within the play, harkening back to medieval English morality plays.  The Porter acts like a porter to the Gates of Hell, listing off a series of treacherous sinners who are knocking at the gate.  So, naturally, now my book as a mini morality play.

The two stories in my book are split and carry on side by side, until Lucifer reaches a tree in the meadow and the woman is left alone for a moment.  The structure breaks down, and my version of a morality play, including a staging of the medieval play Mankind in the background.  The moment of temptation, in this case, is something quite different.  The woman is tempted to negate herself, to break herself down and to give up on herself.  Temptation takes the form of Depression, of self-annihilation.

Of course she fights back, of course the story moves on, but this felt like a turning point for me, like I was discovering why I’m writing this thing in the first place.  This is a story about temptation, but it’s also an exercise in understanding and overcoming my own depression.  I’ve been reminded recently that the stories that matter, the ones that stick with us, are the difficult stories to tell.  I’m challenging myself to write the tough stuff, so I’m letting this piece wander into its dark night of the soul, confident that its dawn will peep through by the end.

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