For some reason, and in my experience, those 4 words, ‘what are you saying?’ seems to give a disproportionate number of writers a lot of trouble – once they go beyond the knee-jerk and instinctive: ’I don’t know’. How come? What’s happening to us? How can so many people have such a strong passion and desire to write, and yet have nothing to say?
The name is a fantastic resource to be drawn upon, like a deep, deep well of emotion, history, quirks of fate, travesties of justice, happy unions, psychology, status, class, education, aspiration, ethnicity……identity. It’s all in there – in your name – whether you know it, like it, recognise it, or not. It is inescapably so.
Where do you want to be 20 years from now? If you’re lucky. Where will you be? What will you be doing and who with, what for and to what end? … Really can’t get your head around it and really uncomfortable about being asked to? Ok, how about 20 years ago then, if it’s any easier – 1992? Can you remember that? Of any significance? Were you born? Were you alive to possibilities, had you already got a plan, an idea, a sense of the way you wanted things to be…now?
This was a question that came out of the workshop on structure at the beginning of this week. A great question, brimful of nice, juicy worms with teeth….
…prompted by the scrutiny of a cereal box – to satisfy our curiosity as to just how nutritious is our maple crunch? – my step- daughter told me about the boy at her school whose New Year’s resolution is to give up eating healthily. Now, given we’re nearly two weeks into this new year, it means that on average 80% of us have already given up on and failed in our resolutions -making this boy’s resolution brilliant! I loved the reverse psychology of it – the backwards cognitive behavioural therapy – if he failed in his plan (the chances of which are high, very high indeed) then he’d end up doing something good for himself.
…it’s much harder (and seemingly rarer) to write the conflict inspired by and underpinned by love. But invariably, at the heart of the matter, when things seem ridiculously complex, difficult and excruciatingly painful to handle…rest assured, they’ll be love sitting there at the root.
…yesterday I was privy to the first try-outs of Coventry’s offer to next year’s Cultural Olympiad, which is made real in the form of a giant animatronics Lady Godiva – all seeing (and blinking), head nodding (and turning), hair flowing, fingers moving and arms waving. This Lady’s got legs – a fine pair of legs in fact – to compliment a face which is full of grace, wisdom, and optimism. Heads will turn and hearts will flutter. Can’t believe I’m saying this about a puppet, but you wait, you’ll see.
…don’t break the rules until you know the rules, and in the case of playwriting, the rules are relatively benign and there to help you, guide you and lead you down the path to serving up a treat. Besides, they’re better thought of as tools rather than rules – there to assist you in the art you want to create, in the way you want to create it, rather than hinder, block and obstruct you.
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