Friday, August 7, 2009

Tarnished Tapestries 8/07/09

How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.

Thoreau
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You're welcome here, rain or shine.
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Happy are those artists who achieve success at an early age. As long as they keep going they know that their works will be bought. But why do we hear of someone who publishes his or her first novel at the age of 75 or 80? That's a good question.

Many years ago I got a phone call from a man I didn't know. He told me he had written a play and wondered if I would read it and give him my opinion. He told me it was about the assassination of a famous political leader in England. It sounded like a good drama so I agreed to read it. He had it delivered to my building and I started to read. I wasn't particularly tired but I feel asleep midway through the first act.

He had made a series of fundamental mistakes. First of all it began with a chorus of men rolling beer kegs into a pub. It was a musical. I thought maybe it was a comedy about death, so I read on. Then he struggled over writing British dialect. One should not try to write dialect unless one knows it thoroughly. Otherwise just say they are Englishmen and leave it up to the actors to do the right dialects. Then he brought into the pub the character of George Bernard Shaw. One shouldn't bring Shaw into a play unless one can write dialogue for him which is at least as clever as his own, The assassination was a foregone fact. There was no suspense, no distress, no danger. And finally, there was nothing of the writer in the play, no point of view, no character speaking for or against the author's own ideas. In fact, there were no ideas. It was a straight narrative of events. No doubt the author's history was correct, but it wasn't a play. I sent it back with my opinions and that was that. The play was never done.

When I was asked what kinds of roles I played as an actor, I answered that they were either autobiographical or wish fulfillment. In a certain sense those are both the same. They were autobiographical because I made them that. I always drew from my own life experiences, either lived or observed, to fill in the important areas of the role. The rest was invented.

Every work of art is autobiographical to one degree or another, That can't be helped. The good artist can never completely disassociate himself from the work. Nor should he try to. The reason that fellow's play didn't work is because there was nothing of himself in it.

I've had a few exhibits of my paintings and won a couple of awards. But I have never sold anything through an exhibit. No one is publishing my essays or stories. So why do I do it? I do it because I have to. It's like breathing or feeding myself. One good reason for older folks to write is wisdom. Wisdom doesn't necessarily come from intelligence, it may come from a life lived. My words are often torn from the obscure, inner pages of my being. I am not rich or famous but I have stood up to live 7 decades of a difficult, adventuresome, vagabond life and now I am sitting down to write about it.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
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Spend a day without worry.
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Coin I put before the wrong deep, worm. (9)

7 comments:

Bonnie Bonsai said...

And I am glad you're doing it now; writing your life's experiences t you generously share with your readers without profit and that's when wisdom becomes profitable. You have so much of them.

You may not be rich and famous, but your Riches belong to impecunious category that no amount of money can buy.

I am still searching a website where you can contact to get your works published. Please give me time and I'll get back to you. But being there yourself, you would know how to distinguish the Scrupulous from the Unscrupulous publishers.

One lady writer I have known through her son, who is an editor; his mother wrote plays and poetry and she was paid by the cents for every copy sold. How hurtful is that?

As to writing at the age of 70's and 80's, you still have a chance to be read amongst by the million while you can still enjoy the Best of what is Yet to BE!

Janice said...

Coin I put before the wrong deep, worm. (9)
What do these mean, very confusing to my gentle mind.

Indigo said...

Love the Thoreau quote. Sigh you can't imagine how much I needed to read this today. In any editing process with writing it's always wise to leave a certain element of personality into the mix. If someone is determined to make whatever they write grammatically correct and precise charging to the point...you lose a huge element of the story.

Again thank you I needed to read this. (Hugs)Indigo

Beth said...

I think practicing, whether it's writing or painting or any other creative endeavor, keeps you SHARP, too. It's always dismaying to see people stagnate and do nothing for enrichment. Hugs, Beth

Arlene (AJ) said...

Also glad that you are doing it now DB and sharing all your knowledge and experiences with us, know you sure make us all stop and think daily when we read your words. You'll never know how many of us have reaped the benefits of your words or us taking a chance on trying something new that your words said "go for it", you'll never know unless you try. Thank you. Hope you have have a good weekend your way.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is all about timing, and perhaps your next chapter is just around the corner :o)

Linda S. Socha said...

Love the quote...it fits what you are saying to me in this post.

My words are often torn from the obscure, inner pages of my being. I am not rich or famous but I have stood up to live 7 decades of a difficult, adventuresome, vagabond life and now I am sitting down to write about it.

To me this counts and it noted and is recorded about heart deep.I appreciate your obscure inner pages. Thanks DB
Linda