Dream of:12 October 1998 (2) "Manchurian Connection"
I was thinking that I would like to write a play, and that I would like to find someone to work with me on the play. I figured that collaborating on a play wasn't a common practice, but that it could be done. Musicals, for example, had often been written by two people, like Rodgers and Hammerstein. One writer sometimes worked with several different other writers, such as Rodgers, who had written other musicals with writers besides Hammerstein. Or course musicals were different from plays, because with a musical one person typically wrote the music, while the other would write the lyrics.
I knew that finding someone with whom to work wouldn't be easy, especially since I had never written a play. I had, however, once written a book of dreams, which had given me some experience in writing. Actually I would have preferred to write books of dreams instead of plays, but I didn't envision being able to publish a book of dreams, whereas a play could perhaps be published. Maybe someday, when I was old and after I had successfully published plays, I could publish a book of dreams.
Another problem would be to determine how much time I would spend writing, and where the other person and I would meet. Since I was practicing law in Dallas again, I couldn't spend a great deal of time on writing. It would probably be best to find someone in the area between Dallas and Fort Worth. Since I lived close to Fort Worth, I could stop on the way to or from Dallas to visit the person with whom I was writing. We could work together just like having a regular job. I would go in at a certain time and together we would start writing.
At first I thought I would like to write a comedy. Trying to discover ideas to make people laugh would be interesting. When I then began thinking about writing something more serious, the first idea which came to mind was inventing a scenario where an atomic bomb had been dropped. Although the bomb wouldn't be dropped on the United States, but on some other country, the play would be about the reactions of people in the United States to the dropping of the bomb.
Manchuria came to mind as a possible site for the dropping of the bomb. I imagined Manchuria as a country just east of northern China. On the map I envisioned in my mind, I saw Japan on the eastern border of Manchuria, on the mainland. I pictured Manchuria as a poor country which would be attacked by the Chinese. Manchuria would be quickly overrun, leaving China right on the border of Japan. The Japanese would have always felt themselves protected from China by the buffer state of Manchuria, but if Manchuria fell to the Communists, capitalist Japan would be faced with a dangerous neighbor.
In the play I would examine how several typical Americans would react to this situation. It would definitely be helpful to be working with a co-writer, because then I could see how he would react. Clearly he would have a different reaction than I. But I thought both of us would probably react with a certain degree of horror at the idea that an atomic bomb had been dropped.
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