Salting My Story

Last night I told Ready to Serve, my new story, at the first pre-view.  I was plenty nervous about it. I have been writing and re-writing for two months and it still was not "off the book" for telling. I was presenting it as a "reading."

I feel good about the story - and the history I am capturing in it - but a bit of salt is missing and I knew it. I did not send another email blast or put up a Facebook evite. In fact I kind of hoped no one would come - except a few friends - a poet, an author and a storyteller, who had said they would be there. They were there ---- along with other exceptional folks - some I knew and some who came to Friendship for the very first time. 

They were all intent and wonderful listeners. During the Q and A they gave rich, rich feedback which has nailed my salt problem. They also threw out some other suggestions which give me a lot to think about.

Where is all this leading? - How about a tip?

Last night reminded me again that - as much as time and quiet are necessary for creative work - isolation gets hard. Bringing folks in from time to time, dropping your pride, and risking a "reveal" is an important part of the story development process.

But don't be careless about it - a preview is not a time for criticism - that does not help - it is a time when trusted folks can really help by giving constructive feed-back that points you to a solution. 

I am a huge fan of Charlie Rose and try to watch his interviews regularly. The other night he had the playwright, the director, and two actors from a current raved-about Broadway play.  He drew out a wonderful conversation about their process to perfect the production. In my hearing it boiled down to having a fine script, outstanding actors and - - a skilled and brilliant Director.

Listening to that talk around Rose's table I realized that what I was missing at a crucial point of my story was outside comment and direction.

Last night the comments from the group - who were hearing it new - picked up a few things I was too close to see and they saw other opportunities to set the staging and to separate the wheat from the chaff. It was wonderful! I am very grateful to them.

Let me clarify - no one was telling me what to do -- - they were telling me what they would like to know more about . Their questions opened my eyes and imagination to new possibilities for solving   my "salt" issue. I let down my defensive barriers and listened.

This morning I am back at the computer  -  moving on. 

I have another preview in Baltimore on May 22 .

17 days from now.

Another leg on the journey to the Capital Fringe in July.

More will be revealed.

Special thanks and deepest gratitude to everyone who was there last night.


Still the Lucky Few said...

Congratulations for getting the feedback you needed. Sometimes, it's just impossible to move ahead until you get those valuable comments. I admire the way you keep everything moving!

Granny Sue said...

That's really a great way to get that outside-looking-in perspective, Ellouise. It's something I lack here, too, being fairly isolated.