Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dada Writing Lesson

Last night was my last Dada writing session with WNEP for awhile. There's another one scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, but I will be in Ohio visiting my mother.

We read a lot of stuff, but also worked on new material. Steve, the assistant director, had us do two brief sessions of free writing.

Free writing is where you simply put pen to paper and keep writing, nonstop, for a set amount of time. The purpose is to just unload whatever is happening in your head. I used to hate free writing. It seemed pointless to me to write something that didn't have a clear intention and wasn't meant to be read by others. It took an improv class to turn me on to the benefits of free writing.

A few years ago, I took Andy Eninger's Sybil "solo improvisation" class. As someone who's been around the improv scene for quite awhile, it's hard to find class situations that will be challenging. Andy's probably the best at performing this intimidating form, but he's also a fun guy and a great teacher. He knows how to take some of the pressure off. One of the techniques he encouraged was my mortal enemy - free writing. His argument was that anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes of free writing would help scratch the surface of your subconscious and help you flow more in your solo improvisation. I did it diligently, before every class and before every performance. The bastard was right. Now, I preach it in my writing classes for the same reason. Especially if you don't have anything to write about, free writing helps bring topics that are already going on in your head to the forefront.

So, last night. We did some free writing and then Steve had us write a poem developed from what we wrote. Here's my poem...

Remember, read it out loud with an affected German accent. A little panic in your voice will also be helpful.

by dada mondo yippeeeeeee

It's funny. Last night, while you were upstairs...
I became afraid...
I am always afraid.
I am afraid of being attacked.
I am afraid of being provoked.
I am afraid I will have to excuse myself to go to the toilet (again).
At a certain point, I...
I am afraid I may vomit uncontrollably.
I am afraid I ate my supper too quickly - chewing little, swallowing lots.
I am afraid I will sneeze or cough or choke or fart loudly
It's funny. Last night, while you were upstairs...

(dada walks offstage. offstage we hear painful moaning sounds that may or may not be associated with relieving oneself. dada walks back on stage.)

It's funny. Last night, while you were upstairs...
I became afraid.
I came into the dining room. Is there any wine?
I am afraid I will die before I am through.
I am afraid I will not die after I am through and will spend several decades twiddling my one arthritic thumb with my one orthopedic thumb.
I guess you heard me because...
You know.
You know.
You know I am afraid of forgetting and never remembering.
I am afraid of breaking. I am afraid of breaking my jaw, my nose, my kneecaps. I am afraid of bones snapping, organs failing, fluids leaking and gums rotting.
It's funny. Last night, while you were upstairs...........................................................
..............................what the hell was I saying?

RoboWriters: Meets tonight from 6pm - 8pm at The Uptown Writer's Space. It's only five bucks. Bring something to read.

Mom Update: My mother is still at St. Vincents Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. She had a MRI on Monday and, as of Wednesday, has not received any results from it. I spoke to her on the phone and she's sounding and feeling better. She talks about food a lot. As do I.

Joe Update: I fired myself from my job of waking up my girlfriend on weekday mornings. For the second time this week, I was late. You see, my cats used to have the job of waking me up. I fired them when they started to push the wake-up time earlier and earlier, sometimes at 4:30am! I'm usually very reliable at waking up on my own at the time I want, but this morning I was deep in a dream connecting Lincoln's assassination with the Dutch Mafia. I'll let you know if that theory pans out for me and was worth making my girlfriend late for work.

Cystic Fibrosis:
Jeri, my friend from college, has some beautiful kids that suffer from this awful disease. If you have a moment, check out her message...

It's that time of year again, I have a team walking in the Great Strides for Cystic Fibrosis. This is the only national fundraiser for CF. No amount is too small. Click on the link below and help add tomorrows for my children and others living with this deadly disease. If you are unable to donate; please become educated about CF, and go to the website. Awareness is a step toward finding a cure. Pass on this link, educate and/or donate. We can make a difference!

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