Mother Daughter Holy Spirit

I knew I had to write a play about this party I had in 1983 because I never understood it, never talked about it and absolutely hated it when people brought it up. I did not know that the writing would be a defining moment in my life. I just knew I didn't want to, but I had to, that in that darkness there was a play. So I wrote all the time, obsessively, stealing my own sleep, breaking the babysitter budget, feeding Liberty malted milk balls and trying to tempt her to watch another episode of Peppa Pig. And I wrote a first draft. I cried and shook, my mouth burned. I kept writing.

I arrived in Washington on Saturday with a 130 page play with promise. Over four days, my collaborator and I turned it into an 88 page play about an indomitable 15-year-old who fights religion nearly to death, but is saved by her mother's love. It is rich in sacrilege, blasphemy, secrets and joy. In the thick of it, I wrote out McClatchey's old elements of the monomyth of death and resurrection. The outsider's journey, the outsider's impending death and the concomitant terror, then resignation, then resurrection. When I re-read it, I noticed in my list of elements, I had skipped over the death. That slippery little 15 year old Miss Mariner can just about do anything.

Tomorrow it gets delivered to the Verity Bargate. The VB invites plays that are bold, brave and entertaining. I have been bold and brave, now we shall see if it is entertaining.

When I returned, my two year old daughter and I played in the conservatory. She was oddly insistent that I wear a crown Owain had made. It was made of plastic cups and cardboard. I was pleased.


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