Before starting work on a new show, I do all kinds of wacky shit. From lurking in the library for hours to watching random shows on DVD, I try to dig up inspirations and try to get my brain fired up. Sometimes, an idea will happen right away. Other times, it takes months to simmer. I also mess around with numerology and etymology for characters names. I like naming characters things that mean something, even if it’s just to me. In this quest, I stumbled on website of goddess names. I was recently told that I write women very well. And I was humbled and relieved by that comment. After all, women have been my constant companions since I was little which is odd seeing as I grew up in a house with major macho energy. I’ve always looked up to women as goddess, heroes and saviors. Nevertheless, my relationships with women are many and storied but that doesn’t mean they’re any less complicated.
From my mom and sister to childhood friends and teachers, I identified with women at an early age. Yet my life with women isn’t just a big episode of Will and Grace. My most tumultuous relationships with bosses, friends and family members have all been with women. The biggest fights, the nasty breakups, the wounds that didn’t heal? All with women. People would say when I was a kid, “There’s Sean hanging out with the girls again.” And this little gay kid loved his dolls and the goddesses he saw on TV like this one:
or these gals:
and of course my all time favorite goddess– Wonder Woman!
My admiration for women is so great that maybe that’s part of the problem. The ones in my life don’t fly invisible planes or fight crime. They’re human beings who make mistakes and inevitably let me down. I had a dramatic altercation with a work colleague last fall (a woman of course. Can somebody say pattern?) which made me rethink the way I handle my relationships with women. I asked myself some serious questions. Did I have problems with women as authority figures? Was there still stuff from childhood that I didn’t forgive my mom for? And was I Sean Paul Mahoney, that Sean from “Sean & the Girls”, a little bit sexist? Gasp! It’s hard to admit this stuff but my repeated history with these matters suggest they require further investigation. These bombshells might not seem like the things that would make for hilarious comedy but they certainly have me inspired. The ability (thanks, recovery!) to reexamine the way I’ve always done things and relationships serves me well as a playwright. I think societally we lump gays and girls together because we do love each other but also just because we both sleep with men. We forget we are still mortal men and women who speak different languages. And now all of this is starting to sound like a very interesting and very funny show.
All I know at this very, early stage is that is one gay man and 10 women with goddess names. The rest I’ll find out as I keep writing. I’m looking into myths, anger management classes, books on rage and watching womencentric films. All in an effort to know this story better than before. As a sober writer, I’m lucky enough to work these questions out in a script and not back away from the truth about myself. The best case scenario? It all makes for a hilarious hit play. The worst?I gain a little perspective and forgiveness for the goddesses in my life. And maybe even for myself.