Yesterday and today I have felt more like a writer than I have in a long time. Yesterday I finished the two essays for my U.T. application, and I spent a good amount of time working on a short piece I'm writing for an online magazine about Buddhism and the arts. The piece is an essay on the particular challenges of being an artist and a Buddhist at the same time. And I shuffled through the scraps of scenes that want to be my new screenplay.
Today, I finished the artist/Buddhist piece, a first draft, anyway. And I really dove into the screenplay. Over the last several days, mostly in my head, but I took a few notes just to ensure that I kept it straight, I had made some big changes in the main characters and their relationships to each other. I sort of folded an aspect of one character into another character. Changed a co-worker into a roommate, and gave the former roommate's personality to somebody else. Stuff like that. Which solved a heap of problems, untangled a bunch of loose threads. But it also created some unfortunate dead ends and puzzles.
So I spent the afternoon untangling. It's still a mess, but a slightly smaller mess.
The script is about a handful of urban homosexual men figuring out love and sex against a background of frequent, routine public sex and the risk of HIV infection. It's a tricky story for me to put together, because each of these men has a different attitude, a different set of beliefs and practices that he has put together to control the level of risk of emotional and physical harm. The differences are subtle, and I have to be very careful to keep them straight.
But in a way that's what the story is saying, that getting the hang of it, these days for gay men, is like juggling dozens of different versions of a story, sorting through information and advice that conflicts, changes often, and usually seems like it's meant for someone else.