A lot of people ask me how did I write my one-woman show? First off, I must say that I’ve been obsessed with writing and performing a one woman show ever since I saw John Leguizamo’s one man show “Freak” on Broadway. I think I was a teenager or in my early 20’s, not quite sure but the minute the show started he was not only captivating but he was like me! He was this Colombian guy from Queens, New York who was kind of street, came from the hood, spoke my language, cursed, very smart, silly, hilarious and most of all he let go of fear on that stage because I could tell he was in his element!—That’s totally me except I’m Black a woman and I’m from the Bronx. I was mezmorised the entire show and immediately after it ended I literally cried tears of joy because I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do. My only problem was..what was I going to write about? What was my story going to be about? And who was going to care?
Fast forward to about 12 years later when I moved to Westchester with my boyfriend at the time, I had a lot of free time on my hands and had very little stress in my life, I was given a book. The book was called, “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron. I know this sounds cliché but this book changed my life. I may be explaining this wrong but from what I remember, the book challenges you to write a minimum of 3 pages non stop everyday as soon as you wake up. I think this equated to about 20 minutes a day for me because I had a big notebook but the rules were, you must write before you do anything, you must write whatever comes to mind and don’t doubt yourself even if you write out your grocery list or “I am short and happy” over and over until the 3 pages are filled, then you are doing it correctly. Apparently this exercise takes you out of your head and allows you to just flow and free write. I’m not sure how many days or months this was supposed to last but I did it for 365 days straight. Some days I would write in my underwear for like 12 hours. I would write about my childhood, my current feelings, my pain, my happy times, jokes that I wished I had the balls to say as a stand up comedian, things I wished I would have said to people but didn’t because I froze up in the moment. And soon I realized a pattern. I realized who I was. Every great story I wrote was about me not doing what I really wanted to do or say or be in life all for the sake of making other people comfortable. I mean these stories were hilarious! Full of loud ass laughing outbursts and sometimes my ex would ask me, “what happened what’d you just remember?” And I would tell him and he would literally be rolling all over the apt in laughter, grabbing the kitchen counter for air. Or sometimes I’d just start balling tears of pain and then telling myself to let it all go, forgiving those I allowed to hurt me and shut me up. But through this amazing writing process that I learned from The Artist’s Way, I gained clarity. Clarity about myself and most of all, clarity about knowing exactly who I wanted to become. Then it clicked! All of these hilariously painful stories I’d written could be put together to tell the journey of who I was and who I wanted to become. But something was missing. I told my Ex about my idea for my one woman show which would be based on all the stories I read him and he said it was brilliant! He said “you should call it The Closet Bitch because it’s like you’re strong, and you know what you want but you don’t get it because you keep that part of you in the closet. You’re worried about offending people or changing their perception of you and making them uncomfortable”. I knew he was right because the stories I’d written said exactly that. I was also a very upfront person with him and my mother and constantly spoke my truth around them and felt no way about doing so. But everyone else had me on eggshells and after a while, so did he. The issues we went through as a couple started to make me timid and fear standing up to him for many different reasons I may share in a future post. So although I had this show written I never truly had the full journey of the show flushed out until I left my ex and overcame the fear of “Being alone”. Being alone allowed me to dig deeper and connect all the missing dots that I filled with fluff in my first few edits. Being alone allowed me to gain the strength and the space I needed to understand what was truly best for me. Leaving him gave me power and a voice I had lost years ago. It helped me remember there’s nothing to fear except God. So..I guess the real answer to the question, “How Do You Write A One Woman Show?” is know and decide you want and must do it (After seeing John Leguizamo’s FREAK) , which will naturally attract a way and open doors (The Artist’s Way), live your life and face your fears (leaving my ex) Oh! And of course writing it all down a little at a time.
This post is dedicated to all of the writers out there who don’t even know they are writers yet. Put the pen to the pad and become one right now. YOU ARE A WRITER. I Believe in you!