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  • Writer's pictureCriena

100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl

This is a delicious read for anyone who who dedicates their life to the theater.

Written by one of my favorite playwrights, Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House, Euridice, In the Next Room or Vibrator Play), it's no wonder why I love this. I read the first essay as a sample for its Kindle version, and I was sold.

It was entitled On Interruptions. As she was writing about her experience working from home as a mother of 3, she would get interrupted mid-sentence by one of her children and would type how she was interrupted. It was so delightful! She was living life as she wrote. I couldn't stop reading afterwards.

"I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And life, by definition, is not an intrusion."

Here is what I loved about this book:

  • The essays are short but thought provoking. At the end of most sections, I I would need a minute to digest what I just read.

  • Sarah leaves more questions than answers. Which left me, meditating on the answers after.

  • Reading Sarah's thoughts on motherhood and her work struck a real thick ass chord with me. I always feel having children is the end of one's artistic career.

"When I looked at theater and parenthood, I saw only war, competing loyalties, and I thought my writing life was over."

  • Learning about Sarah's relationship with Paula Vogel, reminded me of the power of mentorship. In one of the anecdotes, Paula brings Sarah and a few of her students to her home in Cape Cod, over looking the Atlantic Ocean, she tells them "This is what playwrighting can buy." Where would we be without our mentors. Frankly, we need more of them. Especially for actresses!

  • The musings on the current state of theater and how our technological advances are affecting it.

  • I love essay 41. Color-blind casting; or why are there so many white people on stage? Thank you for talking about this.

  • Analysis of the well made play and how there are more ways of telling a story. An that maybe we should make more bad plays!

"It's beautiful, but I don't like it."

- William, Sarah's son

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