A “Flush” of Inspiration by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “A “Flush” of Inspiration.” Enjoy!
How’s the fall writing coming along? With a chill in the air you might be inspired to try something new or revamp past ways of working. Did you ever consider stepping outside your chosen genre as a way to refresh yourself creatively? I was offered the opportunity to do just that recently and I learned a lot and enjoyed it very much!
If you’ve ever read any of my past posts on this site you’re probably aware that I mainly write graphic novels and screenplays, though I’ve also written a short screenplay, the occasional short story, blog posts on film, literature and pop culture, comics and comic reviews. In August, I was asked to write a short play by the Georgia College Department of Theatre and Dance, and I was given a topic: things not to flush down the toilet. The play was a collaboration with a campus environmental organization, Shades of Green, and I agreed to write and direct the play. Since the play was intended to inform, educate and entertain, I wanted to have fun with the topic and incorporate the information about things never to flush down the toilet into a story that folks could laugh at and relate to. For that I turned to the characters from my comic series, Fretville.
I’ve written about Fretville in previous columns, and suggested creating a comic series as a possible alternative to jumping feet-first into creating a graphic novel, which is a major undertaking. Comic series can be light, lean and fun, and Fretville for me also has become a way to comment on current events and my own neuroses. For my short play, “Don’t Flush It!”, informing the audience about what never to flush took the shape of a story where the main characters had to deal with the consequences of their carelessness via a clogged toilet, which triggered worries about low finances and simmering family tensions. Solving the problem and learning how to avoid such an unpleasant situation ever again led to understanding and better relationships all around, not to mention a much healthier (and greener) plumbing system, waterways and planet!
Sherry, Jessie and Ma from Fretville, along with new characters Bo the Plumber and Cory, Jessie’s cousin, rounded out a fantastic cast along with a wonderful stage manager that brought my words to life: in my opinion, one of the most thrilling things a writer can experience! I loved seeing how the actors interpreted the characters, and how they brought new dimensions to characters that before this had only lived in my mind’s eye. The response from a live audience is priceless and I can’t wait to write an original play or adapt another one of my works for the stage. It was all-in-all a great thing to try something different, and I’m grateful that I did.
If you have any reservations whatsoever about putting yourself and your work out there—on stage, no less– for the world to see, use this fall to put those reservations aside and go for it. Widen your comfort zone and get comfortable trying new ways of writing, seeing, collaborating and learning—you’ll be so glad you did!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Georgia, Nevada McPherson lived in New Orleans for many years and now lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is a professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from L.S.U. She’s written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, one short screenplay, a short play, short stories and two graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons.