Writing class homework last week was to write the blues-lyric of a draft play-script. This is supposed to focus our minds on our draft’s “base-line”, or underlying rhythm; an analogy from David Mamet, apparently. I’d half intended to skip it; I’m not really working on my play at the moment, and anyway, not exactly inclined to waste precious free time writing useless song lyrics when I could be, I don’t know, writing this blog, or mumsnetting.
However, it was raining that morning, I couldn’t go on my usual post-school-run run, was bored with Mumsnet, and had no blog idea, so having checked email, Facebook etc. fairly exhaustively, I sat myself before a blank Word document, as one does.
I typed, and continued:
“Base” of play in blues’ terms: Conflict; personal & political (possibly romantic).
“Treble”: the setting, the story; the secondary characters: Sergei, Sergei’s family, Emily’s colleagues.
Then, lo! To my astonishment, the following lines materialised as if by magic:
I thought I could grow up without you
I thought I could cope on my own
But inside I’m still just a baby
Waiting for Dad to come home
We crossed the oceans together
We tried to agree for a while
But distance was just an illusion
My wound like an ulcer inside.
I tried, then, so hard to appease you
And laboured to bring you to me
But you couldn’t hear what I made true
And walked to your own kind of free.
It just goes to show, folks. You never know what you can do till you sit down and try.