Everyone I know has an idea for a play.

Everyone is really generous and wants to share those ideas with me. Most of them want me to write those plays. Many of them know me well enough to know what concerns me, in the world, what might pique my curiosity, they’re not handing me war-games ideas, for instance. And most of them know I have a fodder folder that tops 1,000 items.

My standard answer is – as you might imagine – you write it! The idea/prompt/impetus speaks to you, you can do anything if you give it 15 minutes a day (that’s another column for another day, for radiography of the soul), I’m happy to give you ideas about structure and to give you support as you go.


In the fall of 2013, my wonderful artist friend E.D. Taylor mentioned an idea to me and to two other playwrights. I asked if she or they wanted to collaborate – they were busy with their own stuff, she is too modest – but I engaged her in a conversation about her idea. I put the conversation away (I was also too busy) but in spring 2014, when required to “free-write” for a class, rather than obey the edict that I had to pull a brand-new idea out of the air (what am I, 14?), I returned to this one.

I’m so glad I listened and conversed. In two short months, the play I wrote has yielded no fewer than three development opportunities, a working relationship with a brilliant director, and the possibility of working with some truly stellar actors I hadn’t previously been able to entice.


While many of the ideas I’ve been gifted will likely live in that fodder folder for the rest of my natural life – 1,000+ of them, remember, and I can only write so many plays – I’m glad I listened and engaged with my friend. While she refuses to take credit for anything but an emailed idea, she has given me so much more – a reminder to listen and engage with those who generously offer their ideas.

That is a rule, not an exception.


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