For ‘I May Destroy You’ Creator Michaela Coel, Writing Is a Spiritual Experience

by Jeremy Spirogis
Michaela Coel of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum

Michaela Coel created, directed, wrote, and starred because the lead in HBO‘s current 12-episode collection, I May Destroy You. Coel’s non secular background is what initially impressed her poetry — and her first Netflix collection, Chewing Gum, was the truth is primarily based on a poem. Here’s why the author/actor/producer likens her writing course of to religious experiences from her previous.

‘I May Destroy You’ author Michaela Coel says she used to talk in tongues when praying

Michaela Coel of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum
Michaela Coel visits the Build Brunch in 2019 | Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Writing is a really religious expertise for I May Destroy You creator Coel, in keeping with Vulture.

“When she writes, she gets the same feeling she did one Sunday when she was 18 years old and her hand shot into the air during the altar call,” the publication included in a current profile on Coel. “She ran to the pulpit, tears streaming down her face, ready to accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and savior.”

The star of Chewing Gum spoke with NPR host Terry Gross about her religious journey on a current Fresh Air. Coel defined that as part of her Pentecostal Church group, she used to talk in tongues.

“We would do this thing called prayer in the park,” she shared. “And one of those prayer days … was when I first spoke in tongues.” Coel remembers that the language got here out of her “unprovoked.” When requested the way it felt to talk in tongues, Coel revealed: “very, very, very emotional.”

The I May Destroy You author additionally related that non secular phenomenon to her present inventive endeavors.

“I was definitely having an experience of something beyond,” she defined on the radio present, “and I liken that very much to the writing process when I don’t necessarily know what I’m going to write.”

For Coel, it’s all about letting that “something beyond” information her phrases.

“I put my fingers on the keypad and something flows,” she informed Gross.

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That movement, she believes, explains her previous religious expertise, too.

“This just happens to be tongues,” she mentioned. “And it’s unexplainable.”

The creator of the Netflix collection ‘Chewing Gum’ says that she typically cries when she writes

Coel went on to make clear to Gross that she now not participates within the non secular apply.

“I mean, obviously, I definitely don’t speak in tongues anymore,” she mentioned. “But … when I meditate, sometimes I cry,” Coel adopted up — once more linking the ideas of faith and artistic course of.

The I May Destroy You creator spoke concerning the emotional expertise of writing with Vulture, as nicely; they summed up Coel’s course of like so:

Michaela Coel on I May Destroy You Season 1Michaela Coel on I May Destroy You Season 1
Michaela Coel on I May Destroy You Season 1 | Natalie Seery/HBO

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She cries and cries and cries as she writes as a result of all of it feels so massive — the ache, the ecstasy — and whether or not you name that factor God or the cosmos or just inspiration she isn’t certain, however she is aware of it’s holy and treasured.

Even because the creator of an award-winning TV collection, she’s undecided how one can determine the wild, omniscient presence that guides her creativity.

“I can’t name what that is, because I’m never going to know,” Coel informed Vulture. “I open myself up as a vessel for the story to come through.”

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