Regect Your Darlings

When you’re a writer, there are many quotes and phrases that people will fling at you like they’re a really witty metaphor going out of style.  Some of my favorites are:

When at first you don’t succeed, write write again!” – people who think they’re being helpful but are really just being irritating

Anything Stephen King says!” – because he has a million of them (just like his novels HEYOOO)

The first draft’s always shi REALLY NOT GOOD” – paraphrased from the original, more vulgar saying by Ernest Hemingway because my mom reads this blog (hi mom!)

But there’s one phrase that’s always bugged me, and that is “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings“.  This is, of course, referring to the point in the editing process in which you discover that you have to cut a scene or paragraph or chapter you absolutely LOVE for the betterment of all mankind your piece of writing.

But the phrase killing your darlings always made me think of this:

And this:

BUT, you do sometimes have to get rid of the first words you’ve written or your favorite piece of writing for the sake of the whole.  BUT that doesn’t mean that they’ll be gone forever and always- not at all.  SO instead of a phrase implying bloody word murder, I think I’ll say “Sometimes you have to regect your darlings“.

In order to prep for my workshop/reading TOMORROW (I’m not nervous or lying AT ALL), I had to do a lot of prep work on the script.  And I had to get rid of a monologue that started it out.  The first words I ever penned in this play’s creation had to be ZIP ZAP ZOPPED out (any theatre people get that reference?)

If only there was a place this monologue could still be seen…where it could be read by people I respect and care about…a public forum like a newspaper or…or like a blog…

OH LIKE THIS ONE!

Raise your hand if you saw that coming!  I realized that I’ve never actually shared any of my actual writing on this blog yet, so I figured I’d put my regected darling on here for all to read.  So you can know I can actually write.  Like real stuff.  Like for realz.

So, without further ado, I would like to present the monologue :

WHAT, no, take off the top hat and bowtie, Mister Monologue, you’re just being ridiculous now.

Here it is:

THE CHOIR MASTER

Have you ever heard the sound the sun makes as it leaks through the stained glass windows?  Seen the breathing of silence?  Have you ever tasted eternity?

I have.

[He stands up and snaps his fingers- lights flood the loft.  We may or may not notice that he has two extra sets of hands and an extra finger on each]

THE CHOIR MASTER

I am the Choir Master of this Church and I control everything you see, hear and taste when you walk into this place, into this Holy place of worship.  The choir is the heart that beats the Love of Christ out into your souls.  They raise the hearts of the weary and heal the hearts of the guilty.

And I control it all.

I smoke my cigarette with one hand and play my organ with the rest and conduct the Angel’s voices with my bald head. I don’t sing, but I can taste the music, wrapped around the ashes of my cigarette.

The angels in the choir loft prefer the scent of cigarette to incense.  They say it helps them sing, helps the music leap from their tongues and saturate the air with their songs.  It lands on the tongue of the congregation and they swallow it, roll it down their back of their throats and it melts faster and more truly than the body of Christ, slips down sweeter than His blood.

If only they knew who sang it, though.  Then perhaps those words wouldn’t taste so sweet. Then, perhaps, will their footprints leave the Church, too, like the little angel with the broken halo and crooked wings.

That little angel, singing in the choir loft with the broken halo and crooked wings.  Her voice has dried up on her tongue, left it dusty and raspy, so that it’s like she’s swallowing sawdust, so that it’s like she’s rubbing her tongue along the edges of the dried out pit of an Apricot.  Or at least, she believes it to be so.

She carries her sins in and she carries them out because she won’t forgive herself.

And so with this weight chained to the Littlest Angel’s heart so that she tastes metal in her mouth, she carries around what makes her wings crooked and all that energy puts too much pressure on her halo and it breaks.  And her tears only collect and dry in the corners of her eyes so that her tongue can’t be watered by the tears, so that she can’t taste the salt that will heal the cracks of her mouth, so that she will taste sand no more.

But what can I do?  I’m only the Choir Master.

—–

So next time you realize you have to get rid of that stroke of brilliance, know you’re not killing them – you’re just putting them somewhere else for a little while.

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30 comments on “Regect Your Darlings

  1. emmiemears says:

    AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH, AG!

    Two things:

    1. All I could think about with that first picture was your tweet from yesterday about how difficult it was to draw a shovel. LOL.
    2. That. Monologue. Is. Brilliant.

    Should I say it again?

    THAT MONOLOGUE IS BRIlLIANT! He should wear his top hat. He looks quite fetching in it. But seriously, there is some delicious language in that. Specifically stuff like this: “…I can taste the music, wrapped around the ashes of my cigarette.”

    Bloody miraculous, that.

    Sorry you had to regect your darling there, but I think you’ll find a resounding bout of reception for it here.

  2. I like to think of them as undead darlings.

  3. Adeel Salman says:

    Okay i can totally relate to that 😀 as usual BRILLIANT post

  4. zencherry says:

    …’she carries around what makes her wings crooked’ (Bows to your greatness and checks back for broken wings) Whew. Okay. I’m good. It’s just bad posture. 😉

    Yes! I have lived to see the day to read AG’s writing. (Looks around for pigs flying) Ah-ha! Bacon! I knew it! (Shoves mouth full)

    Very good A.G. You must, simply must find some other way to weave this into something else that you do. The descriptions are a true testament to your skill, (which is grandmaster poobah wonderboy levels). Arrrg on not living closer to where your production is going to be. Arrrg yaaarg! I would buy DOZENS of tickets. (I would say hundreds but only if you took lint as currency)

    Your shovel turned out fantastic btw. It looks so REAL. (Goggle eyes)

  5. Ha! Gave me a good giggle! That’s worth a million bucks any day! Looking forward to reading more. Thank you, Maureen, for the link to this! All the best to you, A G!

  6. coastalteach says:

    I like this:
    “It lands on the tongue of the congregation and they swallow it, roll it down their back of their throats and it melts faster and more truly than the body of Christ, slips down sweeter than His blood.”
    It sounds like the Junior Mints of Jesus. I would go to that church, but I would be scared to find out why I enjoyed it so much.

  7. This is brilliant, indeed. The most brilliant line… “She carries her sins in and she carries them out because she won’t forgive herself.”

    Almost song like.

    Thanks, AG.

  8. Jane Isaac says:

    Totally brilliant and hilarious, as usual. You are inspiring – and a wonderful writer too:)

  9. melynda says:

    And her tears only collect and dry in the corners of her eyes so that her tongue can’t be watered by the tears
    Bravo

  10. hungry4momos says:

    I think 9 comments later, I don’t need to say that the monologue was fabulous (which it was). I have that feeling so much, the fear of x-ing out my favourite nugget from a script, or story, because you really know you’re saving it. Kind of like putting down your dog, you REALLY don’t want to let go, but you should.

    Yep. Sh*t got morbid real fast.

  11. Debra Kristi says:

    Wow! I can just visualize it all and I want to be in the front row of that play! So that little darling got hacked to bits, what is left must be beyond fantastical!

    I recently slaughtered one of my little darlings. More like chopped it up and redistributed parts of it. My husband was all, “NO! Not that little baby. I liked that one.” LOL

  12. Ahhhhhh!!!! *sounds of a thousand hands clapping…pairs, that is* First off, I about had a heartattack from laughter after I saw the shovel picture. The awesomeness of that picture can only be calculated on a scale of winning the lottery to bathing in ice cream and not gaining anything after you eat your way out of it.

    As for the monologue..holy skills, Batman. The kid’s got skills out the wazzoo! I wish I could be there for the performance. Now I want to know the WHOLE story. Since we can’t be there, I say you post it after everything’s said and done. Ok, I gotta go share this post with the world.

    Later Gator…:

  13. I meant to add a ..:) ..not just a set of eyes.

  14. AG – you are wise and brave to give that clip a home, a place where it lived for a minute outside yourself. I completely understand. I found that the slaughtering of whole sections of writing was way more prevalent in screenwriting than in fiction and part of why I became disinterested in writing for performance. So, I admire your passion and persistence as well.

  15. asoulwalker says:

    As someone who has gone to church his whole life I have to say that was strangely beautiful…
    And the bits before were hilarious.

  16. […] Such as this gem from his most recent post, discussing the oft-given bit of writerly advice, “sometimes you have to kill your darlings”: I hate him for being this funny. Which is how I justify stealing his […]

  17. Andrew says:

    Dear AG,

    You are funny and this post is true. Writing is the art of arrangement.

  18. Liz says:

    Yes I totally get that theater reference 🙂

  19. Elisa says:

    That monologue is AMAZING! WOW WOW WOW! Soo much beauty.

  20. ZIP ZAP ZOP! love that game!
    and i so agree. i’m regecting many darlings right now…sighhhhh.

  21. melynda says:

    So I’m thinking you must be out making a million dollars and working your hind end off or I’d have heard from you or read a new post from you by now.
    Sure do miss you.

  22. melynda says:

    Hi stranger! Just wanted to pop in and say Merry Christmas! I hope all is going well for you.

  23. zencherry says:

    Just wanted to stop by here and wish you a happy, happy holiday! 😀

  24. hungry4momos says:

    Hello!!! Merry Christmas to you, Sir! I think your blog is hilarious, and I want to nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Here’s the link to my post. Enjoy!!

    http://stowawaytrain.com/2011/12/28/the-versatile-blogger-award-merry-christmas-to-me/

  25. Elisa says:

    P. S. Happy New Year. You’re one of the blessing 2011 brought to me. I’m so happy to know you!

  26. Richard Wiseman says:

    I don’t murder them or reject. I look after them until I can find homes for them with other characters and I train them to fit in and change a little. I won’t let them go! I LOVE THEM DO YOU HEAR ME! I LOVE THEM! IF NO ONE WANTS THEM THEY SHALL HAVE A HOME WITH ME AND ALL MY LITTLE DARLING WORDS, SPEECHES AND AND PRETTY SCENES WILL BE WITH ME FOREVER… DO YOU HEAR…. AND I WILL SIT BEHIND THE LOCKED DOOR WITH MY PRECIOUS ONES! YESSSSSSS PRETTY, LOVELY WORDS OF MINE….ahem hmmm yes, yes I don’t throw stuff away, I have umm files of edit cuts… anyway.

  27. Marcie Hill says:

    Ok, I’m late, but I love it!

  28. Elisa says:

    Just a note to say that I miss you and hope you’re doing awesome!

  29. Richard Wiseman says:

    I hope that the lack of your brilliant and wonderful blog entries is a sign of success elsewhere? I’ve missed reading your posts. Pray things are going well for you.

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