i & me & you
A blog about a play
4. Detour (Love Stories)
Before we move from the now-there’s-a-draft thing to the what-happens-next thing, let’s talk a little bit about love stories. Because this play is a love story. It’s what I sat down to write, and it’s what I reminded myself I was writing anytime I hit a wall that I couldn’t see over.
It’s a love story about Sarah and Jake.
In fact, one of the only notes at the beginning of the play is: “Take care of Sarah and Jake.”
Take care of them. Because this play is their love story.
So I tried to always (always) remember I was writing a love story, and how happy I was to be writing one. Because I loooooove them. Love ‘em. On my list of favorite kinds of stories, love stories is right near the top. (Right under inspirational sports stories, but that’s a detour for another play. [NOTE TO SELF: WRITE AN INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS STORY, JEFF.])
Anyway, I love stories about love. Some of my faves? I’ll try to be brief, because I could break the internet if I tried to list them all, but just off the top of my head . . . Notting Hill (“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love me.”), Broadcast News (“And I’m in love with you. How do you like that? I buried the lead.”), The Big Sick (“Your driver will be ready as soon as he puts on his pants.”) (Also: SEE THE BIG SICK RIGHT NOW.), The American President (“You better stick with me, ‘cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.”), “Sports Night” (“I want you to remember that when I started liking you, I didn’t stop liking tennis.”) (OK, I could do Aaron Sorkin all day, so I’ll move on from that . . .), “Friday Night Lights” (“Don’t whisper yell at me.”) . . .
I’ll stop. Because clearly I could do that forever, but my point is love stories keep us all in the game, right? They remind us that even in an idealized world where everybody talks just a little bit better than we do in life, it’s not only possible to find love, it’s essential. It’s primal. It’s who we are.
Which leads me back to Sarah and Jake. They are both, in their own ways, on a path to love. They have met smack dab in the middle of the road and are trying, even though it feels scary, even if it actually feels impossible, they are trying to take one little step at a time in the direction of love. Just one little step. Because that’s the number of steps you CAN take at a time with another person. One. Then another. Then another. But first? One.
The question of the play is: can they get there together?
I guess that wasn’t such a big detour after all. See you soon.
—Jeff Talbott, Playwright