Summer School Begins!

I’ve always been a nerd, and I’ve always enjoyed school.  I’m okay admitting that.  As I have moved along in my educational path, I have found that I enjoy school more and more–likely because I have a lot more say in the courses that I take now than I had, say, in middle school. Of course, every degree program has those pesky courses that are required even though they don’t seem to directly relate to your field of study, and you wish you could take just about anything in their place but are nevertheless forced to suffer through them…  But I’m finished with all of those at this point.  (Unless, of course, I end up pursuing a doctorate or a second Master’s at some point… Which I am absolutely in no way ruling out!)

Summer session started today.  I found myself in an unfamiliar position this term where I had only 3 credits toward my degree that were available for me to take, but I needed a minimum of six credits this term in order to qualify for the financial aid I so desperately need.  I searched through every department for course offerings that were relevant to my degree and that would give me some additional insight into the complexities of this field, but there simply weren’t any.  An undergraduate version of a class I already took at the graduate level here, an introductory language class there…

I considered taking a language course, even though it would require commuting 45 minutes each way four days a week, finding additional childcare during those hours, and it would complicate my availability for my required internship this summer (the one degree-related course I was already taking), but it just didn’t make any sense to do that.  Not when I can get the same information from an online course unaffiliated with the school, a home language-learning CD-ROM program, or through the local community college.  So, instead, I decided to give myself a little treat:  I am taking a playwriting course.

I have a strong theatrical background, and I have received some degree of training in all aspects of live theatre with only one exception:  the writing.  Often, I have wondered if I might enjoy the process, if I might have something relevant to add to the art that would survive long after I was gone…  But a lack of self-confidence tripped me up every time, and, without any sort of external motivating factors, I abandoned the projects before they were ever really conceived.  This course offers me a structured environment to guide, to assist, to motivate, and to force me to follow through, if only this once.  I have a unique opportunity to receive feedback from a decorated playwright, as well as my theatre-loving peers.  It’s not simply a how-to on writing a script:  it’s a series of ideas and exercises to spark the creative mind and to workshop ideas until they become something cohesive and solid.

I knew I was looking forward to this course, but it wasn’t until I opened the course information online, just available to me for the first time this morning, and found myself immediately diving into the first week’s reading and assignments.  In less than four hours, I had completed the first week’s work, none of which is due until 11pm Sunday night.  I find myself battling the urge to open the coming weeks’ lecture notes and assignments, knowing I can easily get too far ahead of myself and hinder my chances of long-term success.  I am just so very excited about the foundations I lay today in our first exercises, and I am anxious to see where this will lead…

I am very gifted at creating unique, fully developed characters.  I know this, because I have well over a decade’s experience in successfully doing just that.  However…  I have absolutely no idea if I have any aptitude whatsoever in translating these characters and their stories into a developed story arc, into meaningful and effective dialogue, or into anything more than these vibrant personalities who exist only in my mind and who will soon be forgotten…

This is going to be an exciting and educational summer for me.  I may find that I have a true passion for playwriting that has heretofore gone unexplored, or I may be very thoroughly schooled in just how hopeless an endeavor this is.  In either event, I am certain I will learn a great deal more about theatre, and, much more importantly, a great deal about myself.

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