I want to write plays like you, Master Marlowe, William Shakespeare had once said. Marlowe had replied, then do it.(and too blue eyes, my Lady)
Do it. Don’t tell me about it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t think about it. Do it.
Where do I start?
With a quill, a pot of ink and a sheet of paper.
Fourteen years later, with a quill, a pot of ink and a sheet of paper, Marlowe takes his own advice. He doesn’t think about it, or rather he doesn’t let himself. He had thought too long before, turned all that brilliant creative fire on himself until it had soured to poison, and he didn’t need Mary fucking Anne to tell him that he had been a coward.
So he writes.
It is that simple.
It is nowhere near that simple.
He had forgotten how much he hated it; the way the piece would possess him, torment him, be there on waking and sleeping and in his dreams. He had forgotten the pacing, quick and restless and well past midnight into dawn of pace, pace, what’s that fucking word and just because it felt too damn good that he had stop, had to pull himself back else the words would consume him forever.
He had forgotten how much he loved it; the way the ideas would run through his head, bang bang bang bang until he could see every person and hear every word, the feeling of his mind and self being too large for his body, he had to walk, run, tap his foot to keep moving while his pen flew across the page – to be still would be to die, and only sometimes did he mean that metaphorically.
And so he writes. He writes as one cutting a wound to draw the poison out, he writes to purge himself of his self-loathing and disgust and sheer loneliness. He writes as one taking a drug he had long since sworn off, and dear god is writing a drug; ecstasy, ambrosia to make him live forever in a single moment.
A king, nameless and homeless. Exiled, stripped of his memory and told to walk forever, but did he do it to himself?
Marlowe doesn’t know.
A place, a tavern with characters from above, below, abroad. Dark in the woods and a clear stage with hints and small lights there and there. Everyone has a story, it just might not be their own.
Everyone has a story…payment? Their journey, their quest, and everyone knows the rules but him. A drunk, a dandy with clothes of yesterday, the cook with a dimpled smile, a queen who has no country, no followers, no robes or crown
and she knows him though he doesn’t remember her. It’s in the way they argue and fight and she says, what is your story, what is your story.
Marlowe writes for the sheer joy of creation, even if this moment the possession has him on the floor, back against the wall and fingers against his mouth as if he is praying. No one has names, so it isn't that, but the words sometimes escape him. That line didn’t work, shorten it, change it, rearrange and god damn Shakespeare in his head the last time they talked.
After tomorrow, Kit Marlowe, the playwright, is dead. I only hope Kit Marlowe, the man, can survive.
I understand why you have to go…but you must come back one day-
Kit Marlowe can never come back.
Christopher Marlowe smiles faintly, although there is no one to see it. “But you must come one day…Ah, yes, William. You always were right in the end.”