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One Must Act, or Wither on the Vine!

It occurred to me last May sometime that my writing purpose had become muddled again. I was finding my way out of personal blogging and into more productive fiction writing, but by doing that, I realized that what I wanted more than being published was just a short list of friends to trade bon mots with in a quasi-scholarly sort of way. Moreover, to do this, I had to short circuit the whole "thinking deeply" apparatus and instead think more dramatically in terms of quips, quotes, and repartees. In short, writing in seclusion was suddenly unbearably lonely. Too much blogging can make you a crack addict.

That being said, I also realized that I was not writing for posterity, or for truth, or even deeply for myself. What I was writing tended to be some (to me) interesting thought often said more for effect than for truth. Almost like: I wonder how this wild thing will look on the wall of my living room-- and will my friends just love it or puke on sight of it? You get some raves, and you get some pukes that way.

But this surprising need for attention caused me to realize that I was essentially a dramatist, and not an advocate of a particular realm of knowledge. I enjoyed evoking an emotion, even a mood, and I was very agnostic about what sort of material was used in the process. I had called this my need for expression. And expression here functions as a physical need as much as an intellectual one. Lying right behind this need is the hypothesis that, if one must express oneself, then one should strive to do it in a manner that might be called art.

So, in addition to my non-blog writing I began an actor's improv workshop. There I could do many things that I could not figure out how to do with just words. I got nearly instant feedback. I began tuning into what drives dialog, and some ideas of how to fit it back into fiction writing. The unsatisfied need for expression suddenly went away.

I wrote a short screenplay (SIXTY TIMES SIXTY) in a film workshop, and then played the principle role for filming. This seemed to cure me of all toxins unreleased through my previous writings. I will continue to seek theater and film parts as this seems to clear my head of excessively dramatic urges.

Working in three dimensions is very liberating and brings some freshness back to the two-dimensional page! At least on this side of the ink.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Bravo! I have just been a Magus for the sake of performance art, and had forgotten until Friday night that he who can barely carry on a casual conversation with strangers can play the improvisational comedian for a whole audience of them.
Dec. 14th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
I have had that same experience, believe me! In fact, during my recent two weeks in Greece I seem to have gone solely for the purpose of entertaining the inhabitants in my role as "unwitting American." Although in that case most of the humor was unintentional... I will be posting several at-length entries here on my Greek trip so that friends can share in the fun.

Edited at 2009-12-14 10:16 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Any chance of the movie getting published online?
Dec. 14th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Yes, I suppose so, if it is not too self-damning-- as soon as it is available some time in January.
Dec. 14th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
What drives you
So, what's so bad about needing attention? Sharing words may have its own reward although working on scripts, or dialogues, or performances, or blogs all seem different forms of self-help. Tom Z.
Dec. 14th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: What drives you
No, true, it's all good! Just remarks in way of explaining the unusually sparse activity on these pages the second half of the year.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Cydonia photo: ESA

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