Friday, December 17, 2010

Dig We Must

Don't blame yourself for missing the target. Blame yourself for not aiming at it.

Bate _ The Vagabond
I really didn't care for summer camp when I was a lad. I found most of the activities boring. But one thing I was fairly good at was archery. Whenever I shot the arrow there was always either of two results. I would hit the bulls eye or miss the target completely. Eventually I learned that overconfidence from my perfect shot would keep me from aiming carefully the next time.

One day a young man, fresh out of college, who had worked crew on a productions I was in and had watched me prepare, rehearse and perform my role, asked me if I would teach him about acting. I agreed.

So we met. He had an audition speech that he did for me. When he finished I had one word for him. "No."

He was trying to tear up the stage and impress me with his passion and great dramatic flair. In the meantime nine tenths of the speech was lost. He missed the target.

So we sat down and calmly went over the speech to discover who he was talking to, why, what was his purpose, what did he hope to gain from it, why did he choose the particular words and images, what had happened to bring him to the point of speaking out in such a way? There was a myriad of questions that needed to be asked and answered and as we addressed them he was getting more deeply into the speech and the situation. Slowly his bellowing was being replaced by intensity, structure, intelligence, feeling: real drama.

If you want to build a house you first have to prepare the ground and that usually means digging a hole. I used to like watching them build skyscrapers in New York City. They put up a big wooden fence around the area. On the outside was an architects drawing of the finished building. But there were holes in the fence so people could watch them working on it. They started with a big pit and had to remove the solid, immovable Manhattan bedrock, which meant dynamite. A backhoe would spread a great meshed metal blanket over the area and then they set off the charges. When the blanket was removed the men went in with picks and sledge hammers to break up what was left into smaller pieces to put in a dump truck and have them hauled away. When one sees the giant building aiming it's arrow-top against outer space it's hard to imagine the original hole in the ground but without it there would be no building.

Any endeavor in life worth doing requires careful preparation. We must aim at the target.

DB - The Vagabond
Now, since I can't get into my Word files, I can't post the Autumn Question or any of its answers.

So I'll start the Weekend Quiz early

Weekend quiz, answer the following clues. It's easy

Comet's driver (5)
Headless egos are helpers (5)
Precipitation sound to gentle creatures prancing (8)
Sooty entrance for bag man (7)
Herb's digit up above (9)
Receptacle for feet hanging (8)
Charles' festival song (1, 9, 5)



Silver said...

I agree. Construction and following the development of these buildings or towers from groundwork can be a very interesting thing!


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

There is a difference between showing passion and having passion. True passion does not involve any showmanship.