From the Editor’s Perch

"The Next Good Idea You Have May Be Irrational"

“Many large corporations, with hundreds of workers, who have their headquarters in Seattle, wall themselves off from salespeople by offering only one generic phone number, no mention on their website of who works there and a receptionist who, when you call, sends you directly to a ‘vendor’s voice mail’ before you can recall  hearing a “Hello!” 

So what do you do?  Especially, if you’re a salesperson and know that this company needs your product and/or pricing?

One of the things you can do is to call one of their out-of-state offices.  Then you ask whoever answers if they would direct you to the person who handles the purchasing and leasing of the product you offer.  They will usually tell you, (with such sadness in their voice!)  that this is ALL handled by their headquarters in Seattle.  So, you ask them (with a sigh) for the person who would handle it “there” – and they often will toss you a bone.  If they don’t, then you call another out-of-state office.  And “by the way,”  you also ask,  “Do they have a direct phone number?”  Often times they will give you that also.

A playwright’s mind is often like a large corporation.  It is often beset with a very large problem and does not want to be bothered.  And so it often walls itself off from considering just those ideas that it needs to perform its mission, by blocking all the ports of entry and interruption.  This can help to get you really stuck.

At readings, common feedback often reinforces these inclinations.  Listeners often recommend that the playwright cut this and/or that scene and/or authorial interruption from the script as they bear ‘no rational relationship to the narrative line’.  This is a great way to never find the story.  I support following up on those blips which seem out of context, or wholly divergent from where the story seems to be heading.  This is the authorial equivalent of calling Miami.  And it has a good rate of success.  ”

                                                                    – Carl Nelson

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