Writing What You Want and Falling in Love

I didn’t know what to write about when I was asked to write this blog. When I asked Elite Squad what to write, they said write what you want.

“Write what you want”, that’s the thing isn’t it?
Like all artists I have an incontrollable urge to tell stories, to share them with people, to reach out beyond my own world, push my thoughts out into the world, in words that maybe reach people, that maybe make them laugh or feel less alone or want to tell their stories too.

Who knows why this became my bag, the thing I want to spend my life with but it is.
I want to tell stories, any way that I can. So when you’re asked to tell a bit of your story that’s what you do. Even if you don’t know what you want to write about.

I have fallen in love three times. Fallen out of love twice. Earth shatteringly, core shakingly out of love once.

My first love, the core shaking, mind altering kind was with a man.
He is married. Has children or child.
I’ve met him once.
I don’t know what age he is, how he takes his tea, what turns him on or wakes him in the night.
I fell in love with him when I was 18 in a cold room in a university in a second city with 19 other people watching.
We were introduced by a kind man, who nearly as enthused by him as I was soon to be, brought him to us in photocopies.
I fell in love with Enda Walsh when I first found his Disco Pigs.
Each word of that play spoke to my 18 year old self, like the word love powerless until spoken by a particular person.

“You know, what’s the colour of love?”

I had heard and read all these words before.

“Blue. Blue da colour a love. Is blue, yeah?”

I had grown up my whole life listening to “the”s and “pork” and “and oh my gian fuck”s of Cork City but in this play, in his world, in his story it was like they were all followed by a whispered Laura.

“I wanna walk inta da sea and neva come back” Laura.

“I fuck off so” Laura.

“I wan ta tide to take me outa me” Laura.

It was like he had taken the thoughts out of my head, thoughts I haven’t even gotten around to thinking yet, thoughts I had forgotten were important and placed them on a page for the world to see. And now those same thoughts were beautiful and worthwhile, worth more than a life stuck inside the walls of my head.

It must have been the same as the time the cave person in Africa let out a sound and another cave person nodded in understanding and they offered and answered in sounds until language was born.

And I swear my 18 year old self would have denied ever hearing the word love before it was written down in this man’s play.

And this, this love affair continued on for 7 more years.

And it made me write and tell stories myself, my own stories in front of people in darkened rooms.

It made me open doors to rooms inside my head, rooms I didn’t know existed.

It made me blow huge holes in the walls and unleash things Pandora wouldn’t bat an eyelid at.

And it was glorious and inspiring and obsessive and exhilarating and exhausting and ridiculous until it wasn’t.

One day it just wasn’t. One day at another one of his plays, it just wasn’t.

Something had been missed. Misheard. Misfired.

I went back a second time, to see the show, to hear the same story again, convinced it was me not him.

It just wasn’t.

It was broken now, this one sided conversation.

I wasn’t able to hear it anymore. I had lost the language, my muse.

Every conversation about the play in question, seemed to me an endless list of profound moments all which were lost on me.

I missed it. I had lost the language.

Four years on and still nothing. Not a sniff of brain blowing, heart throbbing, soul obliterating word or words and believe me

I’ve been looking.

It was a onetime thing.

The thing, the writer, the play that made me a writer. That was to be it, to be enough. I was to be happy with that. Happy alone.

Then in Brixton and a red haired love of mine brought me to Outspoken, a night of spoken words.

She said “so you do this don’t you?”

I said “I don’t know. I don’t know what it is.”

They had me at “Hold Your Own”

Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe

Laura Wyatt O’Keeffe’s self-penned show Arrival plays the New Wimbledon Theatre Studio on the 16th and 17th of May at 7pm.

Get tickets at http://illuminatefestival.co.uk/arrival/

Follow Laura and find her work at www.lwok.co.uk and @LauraWOK

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