Today was a great day. I woke up early, made a pot of coffee and got to work. I worked for several hours on my book, wrote another letter by hand, and then worked on the musical that I'm collaborating on. As pretentious as it sounds, there is nothing like a full blast of Mozart's 'Requiem' to get the melancholy juices flowing. Although I generally like to write to music that is void of lyrics, that is the one CD of classical music that I listen to if I want to get that deep well of nostalgia ignited. Years ago, I went to a Playwriting Festival and Conference in San Francisco. There was a playwright and teacher there, John Orlock who suggested writing to classical music as a way to subconsciously subterfuge a structure into the writing. It was perhaps one of the most profound ideas I learned at the conference, and have been doing it ever since. The trick is to get the right music for the right job. I always thought that Bukowski's love for classical music was a key to much of his poetry. The idea of sitting in a tattered apartment writing the raw poetry he was writing and listening to Beethoven certainly is not what one would expect. Perhaps he was gleaning the same idea, letting the structure of the music find its way into the writing. Try writing a letter while listening to Mozart's Violin Concertos, and I promise you, it will change the way you write that letter.
The rain is still pounding on the rooftops here, still, it feels good today to let it come down, sit at the table and write words, words, and more words. I think I told someone not long ago, that when you start writing, don't worry so much about the exact form it will take, instead, just write what you think and are remembering and the form will begin to appear. A book that is your story is never going to have the same form as someone else. In the same way that we are all unique, your story is unique as well. There are some people who appear to us to have an interesting life, but trust me, yours is more interesting than you might believe. No one has seen the things that you have seen, no one has experienced what you have in the exact same way. If you are persistent, the difficulty of writing that first word will disappear with time spent, just writing. I am so excited about what is beginning to appear in the writing I'm doing presently, and I know from experience, that once the excitement begins to happen, and I hear the 'click' in my head, it makes the writing wind up and release like a top. Writing is one of those actions that makes you feel, and even though the feeling may recall some long ago heartache, at the end of the day, writing it down will always yield a certain kind of healing.
Excerpt from 'the book'.
"…All of these incarnations and experiences are but a flicker in the light that has kept me steady, that of an artist in the theatre. Of all of the disciplines in the theatre, I hold the playwright in me to be the most precious. Although I've explored and experienced each theatre discipline, playwriting is the one vocation I have that allows me to make sense of the strange journey that I have made into the long night of day. Theatre has been my therapy, my muse, my mistress, and my hold on staying alive.
I love the smell of a theatre, the building of flats, the cheap black paint, the light, the darkness, the look of the seats, folded in half. I love the smell of coffee in a greenroom; I love walking into a costume room to see the array of clothes that once adorned a body. I love the reading of a new piece of work, the development, the casting, the rehearsal process, and that final tech and dress night. I revel in the fear and trembling of an opening, from the morning of that day to the drowsy early two a.m. elation after the first performance is over.
I have prayed many times in a theatre, like it was a church, my church, and I have staggered through a set, drunk on whiskey after a review. I have sat on the floor of an empty black stage, professing a vow of poverty. I have questioned my sanity to pursue this path, and have many regrets as to the life I have lived outside of those doors, but never regretted being on the inside of a theatre. It is the only relationship I've had that really worked. It is the only relationship in my life that has offered me complete and unwavering collaboration…"
End of excerpt.
Writing allows us to collect thoughts and have them appear before us, as a testimony of what we have experienced. It is a way for us to make sense of the tragedy, the humor, the life, the death, and the miraculous. As I am close to the end of 'Crime and Punishment', I am struck with two major revelations. The first, as my Aunt Linda pointed out, it is a dense novel on the events taking place in three days! My God! The conversation, the detail! The second is the thinking that it contains within its pages. These thoughts are without question, as relevant as the any theory of relativity. It is something to read a miracle of a book, a work that is so bold in its rhetoric and elegance that I can only assume that there must be a God! This is why art is so relevant. It is why we need it, more now than ever before. Art answers the questions of the universe without judgment or doctrine. When we are in need of comfort it comforts. When we are in need of direction, it directs. When we are in need of answers, it answers. Okay, so I may be going overboard a little here, but don't I always? Is this the higher power that I have been seeking, or is just a small part of it?