As a high school senior I wrote my first play. It took constant nagging by my AP English teacher who insisted I enter the statewide playwriting contest. He believed in me and I didn't want to disappoint him.
I had an idea in my head for weeks. So, it felt written already. Days passed, then weeks. Then suddenly it was due... the next day. I was up until 4 a.m. writing. I ran out of paper and wrote up the margins. I believe my teacher typed it before he sent it in, otherwise I feel certain it would have been unreadable, and thus not even submittable.
I won honorable mention in the contest ... with a first draft.
While a glimmer of a Truthful Writer might have been there from the beginning, getting her out fully, allowing her to be visible and to do the work of a professional writer, took decades.
Fifteen years later, after working only a few days for a professional writer, she insisted I take her class. I had not mentioned my experience of writing at all, but after sharing some thoughts I had on her writing (AFTER she asked) she said, “You’re a writer.”
“Well, I--. I mean I have ... used to ... I—“
“You're a writer. And you’re taking my class.”
I told her I couldn’t afford her class. “I didn’t say you’re paying for my class, I said, ‘You’re taking my class.’”
All of the writers in her living room had laptops, quite a few them were published and produced. I cried the entire time, nearly filling an entire legal pad with words.
I wrote some short stories. A friend showed them to an artistic director of a theatre company who was impressed and commissioned me to write a play. It was produced in New York and L.A. I shook and cried writing that play. Sometimes the resistance and fear was so intense I had to write in bed with the covers pulled up. That same good friend made me buy a laptop, which was the most expensive thing I’d ever purchased. She too had to remind me I was a real writer.
That play was way too long with too many characters. There were good things, but now I realize I didn’t take myself seriously enough to do what professional writing requires ... rewriting. Though, to be sure, The Truthful Writer got stronger from the experience. It took another decade to begin reaching my potential.
Total truth, total vulnerability, and total transparency were too close for comfort, so I focused solely on my acting, directing, producing, and helping OTHER people with THEIR stories. I was frozen by fear ... and waiting to not be afraid.
But courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to face fear with heart pounding, then saying, “Bring it on.” When “Who We Truly Are” can no longer be silenced.
Desperate, I found assistance and began to thaw. The result has been transformation, and the desire to help others. Since my own Truthful Transformation, I have written and written ... full-length plays, short plays, monologues, screenplays (both full-length and short), many more short stories, blogs, and piles of poems. Friends tell me they save texts and emails I send them for their inspiration, humor, and truth.
I am still playing catch up a bit, and still transforming around visibility and finding my own truthful voice as I help others. I spend little time on regret.
When one experiences real transformation many doors open.
I have learned that Truth tells us what is best to do next … what we choose to write is up to us.
“A skilled script doctor not only has to have a keen ear, but she has to be able to comprehend the big picture. Hannah Logan has it all. She instinctively knows, after many years of study and hard work, of course, what’s needed to turn lifeless words on a page into exuberant, passionate, funny, and moving embodiments of the human drama.
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Will Cooper, playwright
Author of gUnTOPIA, Margin of Error, Jade Heart, and others.
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Mahshid Fashandi Hager, 'NO WAY BACK’, 1st Place, First Annual Solo Show Contest produced by The Roustabouts Theatre Co. (performed by Hannah Logan)
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