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It doesn't seem like that's something you've experienced with your theater writing.
Actually at one point I said to my husband, "I don't understand this, I could fall out of a tree and write a play before I hit the ground and I can't get a sentence out." It was really, truly a terrifying process. And my agent, who's this wonderful woman named Loretta Barrett, and who was very much leaning on me, she just kept saying over and over again, "The second book is the hardest one. You guys get yourselves through the first one on inspiration and you don't care that you don't know what you're doing. Then when you get to the second one, you really know that you don't know what you're doing." She explained the whole thing. "And then the third one," she said, "is so much easier." And sure enough, as soon as I finished the second one, which was torturous for me to write, the third one was suddenly all there in my head. I knew how to do it.
Anyway, I think that's part of the reason I write so much, because I find it's the only way that I learn anything about writing. I have to just keep doing it. I'm not one of those writers who dislikes writing. I pretty much like it. And I become kind of an unpleasant person when I'm not writing. I think I'm a much better writer now than I was when I started, so that's exciting to me. And I'm excited about what other challenging things I could do. I'm really interested in comedy right now. The Understudy
is very comedic, it's got a lot of other stuff going on, but I've started thinking a lot about Molière, and those Shakespearean comedies, and the buoyancy of the universe, which is attractive to me. I think a lot of people think comedy is something simpler. We've gotten a little too trained by sitcoms to think [comedy] is something simplistic or pat or sentimental, with a couple of good jokes thrown in. I think that comedy is so profound. So I'm excited to be looking at that right now.
Something that intrigues me about your writing is that while it's really smart, there's also a lot that's popularly appealing about it, which some people in New York City would consider a demeaning thing to say. But there's something really wonderful about the surface of The Understudy, about this group of wannabes trying to get what they want. It's funny because in that New York Times article you said you like to write about poor behavior, but it seems to me that you really enjoy putting your characters in sort of desperate situations, in situations that can't possibly give them what they want, but they're trying to find some way to make that work for them.
Yes, they're losers. I'm more interested in life's losers than life's winners.