Last year, the Tony-award winning musical, The Book of Mormon, finally made its way to Chicago and V. and I sat enraptured through every single moment. As expected when you watch anything written and produced by the co-creaters of South Park, parts of the musical had me literally guffawing while other parts had me squirming with discomfort. At the end of the night, I once again left the theater absolutely inspired and in awe of those who write and perform musical theater. That is, perhaps, one of the biggest privileges of living in a big city: the endless opportunities to see good (and even not so good) art.
Six months later, V. and I started speaking seriously about writing our own musical together based on an idea that he had months ago, and since then, I’ve listened to this song almost every day. It sounds crazy, I know, but this song just…inspires me. When I’m bored to death at work and drudging through the day, I turn this song on. When I feel like this project might be impossible and fearing inevitable failure, I turn this song on. No matter the time or the situation, this song instantly lights me up with thoughts of hope and possibility.
It’s a funny thing, inspiration. The song is clearly meant to be comical; I still laugh at its preposterous lyrics. Yet, if you look past the lyrics and to the music, the melody is beautiful and downright compelling. And the idea of having faith in something that seems unlikely, well, that speaks to me.
As always, the first thing I do when embarking on a project that I don’t know how to approach is read a book about it. Once we decided we were serious about this idea that we’d been joking about for months, I promptly searched the Kindle store for good reads on how to write musical theater. Although I took a playwriting class in college and have participated in plenty of theater, musical and not, I’m a complete newbie to writing lyrics and a script (or a book as they call it in the musical theater world). On top of that, I’ve never collaborated with someone on a creative idea before. As a blogger, essayist, and sometimes fiction writer, I’m more accustomed to pursuing my own creative inklings, content to wander in the darkness until my ideas turn into something new and exciting or fizzle out and disappear. Working solo is one of the most liberating and lonely things about being a writer. Working with another person’s vision and unique creativity is certainly going to be an adjustment.
If there’s anything I know for certain, though, it’s that both of us feel this is an important idea, an idea that needs to be made into something whole, whether that be by us or by someone else. In the end, we just hope it’ll be by us.
As we attempt to plan two weddings and a trip to India, keep up with our demanding jobs, and maintain a health regimen, I can only hope that this idea will be patient with us while we slowly grow it into something more. In the meantime, I’ll continue to believe that V. and I will write this musical. I don’t know what will happen along the way or after it’s finished, or if anything will happen at all. But, still, I believe.