The Playwright Itamar Moses, 2008
The terrible thing about writing, the thing that, sometimes, he finds the most terrible is the way that that initial spark, that maybe orange glowing ember-tip of a new thing, that genesis, that it happens so easily, that the idea for something comes in a flash, which, while, okay, admittedly, is not a very original way to describe a moment of inspiration in the creative process, but it’s true, it’s almost literally true if you think of neurons and the way they make little electrical storms, but how an idea will come in a flash: A man and a woman. Sitting at a table. There is history. There are particulars. That comes, all of it, in a single moment. Or, okay, full disclosure, because that was never the idea, so, more accurately, to be really really truthful, the idea of a scene that doesn’t get to start, because it is hijacked by its own opening stage direction, by someone nameless, identified only as: “The Reader.” This idea comes in a flash, and it’s joyous, it seems right, and good, and like it will be, for as long as it takes to write, it will be the answer to all of my problems. He thinks. But how, and this, finally, is the terrible thing, how the process of actually writing it is nothing at all like that first flash. The rest is just the day to day work of building something. Often frustrating. Often boring. Often seeming to be almost entirely without the prospect of any discernible reward. And that the choices are therefore to write it and feel only deadened by the poor results especially in light of the brightness of the flash. Or not to write it. And to be haunted by it. A chance unruined because it went untried. An impossible choice unredeemed by the fact that even this, even this idea to write about the choice itself, making use of slightly more recently developed but no less contrived meta-formal meta-conventions, as a way of maybe, finally, saying something a little bit near the vicinity of what he wants to say, even this was part of the idea from the beginning. This was always the idea.