The Annual Christmas Pageant4:49 PM
I did it. All sixteen pages of it.
I wrote my first play.
There are many things I have not accomplished in life, and that was one of them (was being the operative word). There's something about plays that seem to make them stand above and beyond novels. Anyone can write novels. And they often do. But a play is a bit different. You can't toss it across the room if it gets boring or vulgar. You can't make up how characters look and act. You're very much at the mercy of the wit and wisdom of the playwright.
But to be honest, I never wrote a play because I never had a plot that held water. It leaked all over the place. We could count the amateur attempts of my youth -- The Bitty Twins (complete with theme song and dance and matching sweatshirts) and a Christmas play here and there that always, always ended in disaster. I don't count those. I try to forget them. Certain siblings don't have the same objective.
The only way I was going to finish anything of the sort was if held under duty's lock and key. And that's exactly what happened. Evidently, the rumor got around that Bailey (who just happens to like writing, so we hear) wanted to do a Christmas play. Now, I must admire the economy of whoever headed up this rumor: not only did we have some who (allegedly) desired to be in a play, but she could also whip out a script in no time!
I'm very glad they did, though I don't think I stopped grumbling about it. (There's something about blessings -- they must be grumbled at.) And so, ladies and gentlemen all, I wrote my very first Christmas play. It's very simple. It's just the Christmas story with some moralizing thrown in (I couldn't entirely escape from Christian literature's main weaknesses -- sorry, fellow crusaders).
But it's already in production. And I'm super excited. I got this weird feeling when I saw my favorite scene play out. It was with the shepherds, Hosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah, and they have a wry humor that made me giggle while writing them. The first time I met them was in our basement, played by stand-in sisters who were willing to bring them to life for the first time.
It was a strange feeling. My words. My characters. Come to life in a way that made me laugh.
And the other characters -- Leah, Joseph's younger sister, for instance, and her chatty friend Milka. I loved those girls. I poured out all the insanity I could on them, things like
LEAH: But he's my brother, and it's a sister's privilege to talk about her brother's private business.
LEAH: But nothing's interesting if people don't gossip about it first.
MILKA: It builds suspense.
They were in every way I imagined them to be. I wonder if it's the same feeling a novelist gets when she holds her newly-printed book in her hands. Someday, I hope to compare the two.