WRITE THIS WAY
WRITE THIS WAY WRITER: A blocked soul. EMILY: A young woman, character in the writer's new piece. ALEC: A young gay man, character in the writer's new piece. SYNOPSIS: A writer allows characters to take the lead and, in doing so, breaks through writer's block as well as stereotypes to create a love story. WRITER WALKS ONTO STAGE AND SITS DOWN AT A COMPUTER. TYPES TWO WORDS, PAUSES, TYPES TWO MORE WORDS. WRITER Aargh! Writers block is a real thing. 137 days. That’s how long I’ve sat here, sat outside, sat at Starbucks trying to hack my way through it. Ha. How many hacks does it take to hack-- See? I’m fresh out of ideas, or out of fresh ideas. I’ve written everything I know. EMILY walks out onto the stage. WRITER Who are you? EMILY You tell me. WRITER But I don’t know. EMILY I’m a character stupid. Aren’t you supposed to start with character? WRITER Oh! So you’re... You can be... Agnes. EMILY Agnes? WRITER Harriet? EMILY You weren’t kidding about the writer’s block. WRITER They’re fine names.
EMILY For a modern girl like me? WRITER Sure. EMILY How about Emily? It’s old-fashioned, but current. WRITER Emily. (begins typing, stops) What about Emily? EMILY Does she have a job? WRITER Of course. She’s young, just starting out, she’s... She’s an intern... no, an administrative assistant at... a publishing company. EMILY Not a very promising career path these days. WRITER You’re right. At... at a computer technology firm. EMILY What does that even mean? WRITER I’m trying to be current. EMILY You still have to know what you’re talking about. WRITER Starbucks? EMILY That’s a career? WRITER I know Starbucks. EMILY I wouldn’t mind heading up a construction crew. EMILY puts on a construction hat. WRITER That’s... different.
EMILY You don’t like it. WRITER (starts typing) I can work with that. Road or buildings? EMILY Road. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman on a road construction crew. WRITER Have you seen one on a building crew? EMILY I guess not. And I like buildings better. WRITER I don’t know much about construction. (turns to computer to start researching) Maybe Wikipedia-EMILY Research on your own time. Learn all about termites, tin bangers, and toasters. WRITER (thinking) Carpenters... Sheet metal workers... Toasters? EMILY Burnouts. Don’t make me a toaster. My contract should read “competent erection person.” WRITER Very good! EMILY A double entendre. WRITER And as the only girl on the construction team, it is the perfect double entendre. All those men... there’s got to be a story there. EMILY (sarcastic excitement) Oh which one will it be? The headstrong girl trying to make her way in a man’s world? Or the tomboy who realizes through the love of a macho man that she’s got a girly girl buried in her loins?
WRITER There’s something wrong with those? EMILY Heard it all before. You’ve written it all before. WRITER So why does she work there? EMILY Because she’s fucking good at it. And the men know it, and that’s that. WRITER That’s not very dramatic. She may as well be a man. EMILY I should point out here that you are really hung up on gender stereotypes. But you might have something. WRITER She’s a man? EMILY (looks down her pants) Not yet. WRITER I could make you a man-EMILY Look at me. WRITER --dressed like a woman. EMILY (grabs her crotch in masculine gesture) And then what, yo? WRITER That’s not very convincing. EMILY Convince me. WRITER Why don’t you see women on construction crews? EMILY Maybe you do sometimes. I’m sure you do.
WRITER But not mostly. Why? EMILY Sexism. And men are stronger. WRITER Men are stronger. So you’re on the crew, you’re a man, but you want to be a woman. A woman on a construction crew. EMILY Every woman’s dream. WRITER No, no, no... This has always been your job. But maybe... EMILY Go ahead. WRITER Maybe being a woman has been your dream. EMILY That’s interesting. WRITER It’s crazy. EMILY It’s not. Just please, can you make me a very attractive woman? WRITER You are. EMILY But that was before I was a woman who used to be a man. I feel different now. I look different. EMILY feels for an Adam’s apple, runs her hands over her body, flexes a muscle. EMILY I mean, am I pretty? I want to be pretty. WRITER Oh. Maybe this isn’t-EMILY No. It is.
WRITER Okay. So the men-EMILY Here comes the sappy love story. WRITER The men are having trouble adjusting. You’re the same person, you’re doing the same work, but.... they won’t stop calling you... Elmer. EMILY Not Elmer. WRITER Elwin, Emerson, Edward, Evan... EMILY Ed will do. WRITER Ed. They keep wanting to call you Ed. And some of the men are mean. They steal your lunch, or drop your hat from the girder so you’ll get in trouble. And they call you pansy and queer-EMILY Butt pirate, bone smuggler, Clay Aiken doughnut puncher. WRITER Where’d that come from? EMILY shrugs. EMILY Even though I try to tell them I’m not gay, and that those things don’t even make sense anymore. WRITER Stupid asses. EMILY Assholes. WRITER But there’s this one... EMILY Here comes the love story. WRITER There’s nothing wrong with love. Everybody loves a good love story.
EMILY Right. WRITER He feels badly, this guy. EMILY Can I name him? WRITER Go ahead. EMILY Alec. WRITER So Alec, he feels badly, because he and Ed were friends, close friends. And he’s not being mean to her, but you know, they haven’t really been friends like they used to be either. EMILY Why not? WRITER Because-EMILY I didn’t tell Alec what I was going to do. WRITER No. ALEC enters. ALEC And Alec is hurt. WRITER Because... ALEC He disappeared. And then she came back. WRITER She didn’t know how to tell you. EMILY It’s not an easy thing to talk about. ALEC I thought we were friends.