Writing orphans me. For the purpose of making a world, I lose all ties to my own. I’m unbound. Until I know where I am on the page.
When I’m finally in contact with the characters who inhabit this new place and a context emerges, then I’m able to start looking up and out again. To see if I’ve done justice to the whole endeavor. To measure what I’m doing against what I should be doing. Not to be an example for anyone else. But, just to ask if I’ve lived up to my own expectations. Have I worked my ass off? Have I sweated out a really good sentence? Have I provoked a deep breath. Caught a moment. Located an uncomfortable situation. Have I disturbed the universe in the least bit? Have I tackled something worth my time?
I’m responsible for getting some aspect of the human condition right before anything else. We’re all basically unresolved. In conflict. Yearning. Sometimes it’s not so pretty, not so encouraging. But the fact of my taking it on and writing about it is what makes me responsible.
I wrote plays with central gay characters before I knew it could get me into trouble. And then, later, despite knowing it would get me into trouble. There wasn’t necessarily an overt socio/political framework. If you wanted to enter the play, you had to do so without the easy access of an issue. In my play, Flux, for example, two people are engaged in a relationship and there is no mention of the fact that they are women. It’s just a leap you take.
Writing about young people in Anyone But Me is a departure from my usual self-imposed exile only in the sense that with a web series, we are in a continual dialogue with our audience. We hear their voices. We want the connection. And so the responsibility to do right by the world we create right is huge. But, getting it right isn’t playing to the crowd. Getting it right means giving young people their due, by depicting their concerns and doubts and exquisite time of life honestly, lovingly without gloss. That is the responsible thing to do.