First off, what is your name?
And you’ve been to SPACE before.
For three years in a row now.
But this year is different for you because you’re participating in The Working Farm.
Yes. I’ll be here a total of four times over the span of the season. Last year, I was only here for two days and there was this immense pressure to accomplish a lot. That pressure ended up making me less efficient, and less productive. But now that pressure’s lifted because I know I’m coming back, I can actually slow down a little—which I never do at home. That has actually been a huge release and has made my creativity more alive. It’s helped me write and there’s not that huge pressure for me to have accomplished a lot.
Yeah, this place has the same effect on me.
Yeah, I’m realizing that actually doing less is better for my writing. Like if I take an afternoon to just read, then the next day, the writing session I have in the morning is so much better.
I imagine it’s better for creativity, too.
Part of the great thing about being up here is that you have to slow down a little bit, and my writing is just better when I do that. That’s something I’ve discovered just from doing the Working Farm.
How is it for you, as a writer, to be here surrounded by a group of your peers working on projects together?
Sometimes it’s really nerve-wracking—not actually here, this year’s been so wonderful—I’ve been in writing groups before (and maybe I was younger and more insecure) but I had this sense of where I fit and where my career fit amongst the group and feeling insecure about not writing for TV or going to LA or doing this, that, or the other thing. But I’m older now, so I have a little less horrible insecurity about everything. But the Working Farm group this year is really wonderful. Everyone is very low-key and we’re all kind of struggling with the same things. It’s a really warm, good group of people and it’s been wonderful. I don’t see them all the whole summer, but it’s nice Max is here because we know each other from earlier—it’s nice to sort of carry the relationships through the summer.
If you compare how you feel about a project before you come to SPACE and how you feel about it when you leave, is there any change for you?
Last time I was here, I had some commissions I had to write. I had some inklings and I made an outline before I came up here, but then I got here and I trashed all of it. I let myself go down some rabbit holes and I got some really interesting writing done. And not that my writing is super structured, but I have a lot of good material that I didn’t have before because I let myself off the hook.
So what is the new piece you’re working on now?
Well, it’s in fragments right now, but it’s ultimately about a father and a daughter and he’s very ill. But he has this nurse who is a guy that his daughter knows from high school. She feels jealous that her father has connected with this person that isn’t her but she’s also not been very present for him. Then she strikes up a relationship with a poet, an older man. So there’s some weird substitution there. But I’m trying to incorporate music. It’s not a musical, that’s not really my style, but I’m playing around with it.
And here’s a silly question, if you could have any kind of farm, what would it be.
I’m a huge animal lover so I would say a farm with animals, but that might be emotionally difficult for me.
Well, what if it’s an animal rescue farm?
There it is. Perfect. I’m going to rescue animals on my farm, and also we would have vegetables!
Interviewed by Stella Gibson.