It happened? "That's how it seems when I'm writing," she says. Indeed, Fornes worksand in classes at Intar, Yale, NYU, and elsewhere, has taught a generation of playwrights to workby clearing her mind with yoga-inspired movement, then waiting for characters to take shape in her imagination. She simply writes down what they say and do. (She becomes an exacting editor in a later rewriting process.) Fornes has devised a series of exercises to prod the imagination. She'll open a book randomly and pull a line from it. She'll find an object to suggest a scenelike the wooden chairs, ironing board, and hoe she bought at a flea market and shaped Mud around. She'll visualize a substance and see who emerges from itDrowning's blobs of humanity oozed out of a viscous puddle of muck. No doubt it's this way of working that explains what playwright Suzan-Lori Parks finds inspiring in Fornes's work: "It seems attached to basic bodily functions."
Fornes offers her own precise bodily image: "Writing is like your fingerprints," she says. "You have no idea what they look like, but wherever you go, you are leaving your mark."