Tomorrow a section of my new play How to Be Lost is getting workshopped. I’m nervous and curious about what kind of feedback I’ll get. I’m with what seems like a thoughtful, kind group of people, so I don’t think they’ll have harsh or discouraging words, but I worry about the worst kind of feedback – disinterested. I guess it’s sort of like what’s been said is the opposite of love, not hate, but disinterest. (I forget where I’ve stole that from, but I think it could be from the Philip Roth novel, Everyman.)
The play is about a woman who gets her best friend and mother in a hotel room and tells them she’s leaving her life. She’s destroying her old identity and beginning her life again essentially. For no real, solid reason other than to see what it would be like – to find her true self without distractions. This is their last night together. They have to fight to keep her. If they want to.
I think what interests me most about this idea is what will happen to the people she leaves behind, the people whose lives she’s such an integral part of. I’m most curious about how the people closest to us shape our identity, how our identities become like venn diagrams with each other. I’ve often had the feeling that my best friends are almost an extension of my personality, and I feel lost being apart from them for too long.
While I’ve been here at Sewanee, I’ve been reading a Lorrie Moore novel about childhood best friends – Who Will Run The Frog Hospital?– and the main character touches on this thought of identity saying:
“I often think that at the center of me is a voice that at last did split, a house in my heart so invaded with other people and their speech, friends I believed I was devoted to, people whose lives I can only guess at now, that it gives me the impression I am simply a collection of them, that they all existed for themselves, but had inadvertently formed me, then vanished. But, what: Should I have been expected to create my own self, out of nothing, out of thin air and alone?”
-Lorrie Moore, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?
On a side note, but related tonally I guess – one of my favorite people in the world and best friends is back from an extended trip to London. For this, I am incredibly grateful.