Act One: Writng about Tough Things: 2/25/2024

Alex H -

Play practice on both fronts is going smoothly and I’m continuing to work on stories for my one man show. In relation to this topic, I have something that I would like to confess about my project: it’s sometimes hard to write about some of the stories I want to tell.

Kid sitting on a bunk bed
Summer camp cabin…OF DOOM!

This show is meant to be sort of a biographical sketch of my life and my struggles with autism in contemporary society. When I set out to do this I wanted to have a mix of both humorous and serious moments with my life. While the funny moments are a lot easier to get out and make humorous, I have to admit I’m having some difficulty writing serious stories. My original intention was to try to inject some kind of humor into all the stories that I told. The problem is, these stories are sometimes really, really uncomfortable for me to remember because I might have behaved badly during this situation or thought something that wasn’t true. Mr. Ray and Ms. Giles told me to write them for myself first before trying to make them ready for an audience. It’s very difficult to try to relive these stories, but I know I have to be honest for this show to be a success. My strategy is just to write as much as I can and figure out the rest later. If you have any advice for me I’d love to hear it. Accompanying this post are some pictures that relate to a story I am going to tell entitled “Camp Hell.” I hope you all make progress with your senior projects too. Have a good week!

Kid chops wood on log in forest
Chopping wood like a real man

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    Alex, This is such a great post, because it already does the work of admitting to something difficult. The fact that you are able to be vulnerable in your writing will only be an asset when it comes to the final draft. One of my favorite writing teachers ever, Lynn Nelson, often quoted EM Forster--How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Lynn was a big advocate of starting from a private writing space, in a journal, where you are safe to say anything you want and explore everything. He suggested that public writing comes much later, after you have had time to write, draft, re-draft, revise, solicit other opinions, and finally publish. I do think that your ability to articulate your experiences is rare--and my guess is that your audience will receive your stories with a very empathic mind, and probably have a much kinder view of your experiences than you might have of your own. Be gentle with yourself. Write to explore. You have a lot of time to discover and decide what you wish to share, and how. Keep going. We are incredibly proud of you and the work you are doing.
    Thank you for saying that.
    I'm not entirely sure if this helps, but Stephen King does not only write best-selling novels. Writing is an art, and sometimes things come out the way the writer wants it to, and sometimes language just doesn't fit the bill. Stephen King's method of writing bestselling novels is just to keep writing. He might write a thousand pages, and only end up keeping a dozen of them. What matters is to keep writing, even when it feels uncomfortable, or it's not perfect. What matters is that you keep writing.
    Thank you for the advice Connor.
    Brianna Pierce
    Hey Alex! I had a similar struggle with being vulnerable while doing my senior project. I know our projects are very different, but I had many conversations with my mentor about how my project was both about me telling my story as well as creating a product and project from it (I hope that makes sense). My mentor wanted me to dig deeper and share more than I initially wanted to, but I was scared. I wanted to do the project I did, even though I had so much push back on it, because I wanted to tell my story from my eyes. Honestly, my project was more for me than the school or anyone. I feel like yours is too. I see your passion in wanting to tell your story. Trust me, I know it's so beyond difficult to do, but it will be so worth it to you. I enjoy reading your blog posts and I can't wait to hear more about your final show. I just want you to know that this show should be for you. So, anyone who judges you or doesn't like it, can go elsewhere (for lack of better words). Also, I learned that sometimes the stories you don't think are very important can actually mean a lot to others. My advice would be to take some time to explore some of your experiences and just write then out without pressure to share them. Just see where that takes you and don't judge yourself too harshly. Often times, our most embarrassing moments are really where we grow. Do with that what you will. Good luck!
    Alex, I appreciate your vulnerability. I think that no matter how deep you get, sharing your story will help others feel less alone and more comfortable in sharing theirs. Glad to hear you're making progress!

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