Painting by Adell R. Donaghue
Sometimes making someone smile is a pep talk.
PEP TALKS: WE ALL NEED THEM
Every writer needs a good pep talk from time to time. Writing as a business tends to be rife with negative feedback, whether it’s a string of rejection letters from literary agents or a bad review from an unhappy reader. Since sitting at a computer all day is such a solitary activity, it’s easy to let all that negativity pull you into the dark corner where all your insecurities lie, that place where you convince yourself that you don’t even have enough talent to write a proper grocery list. That’s why those pep talks are so crucial. Staci McLaughlin Another writer, Priscilla Royal wrote: Most writers are fragile sorts. Some may come across as arrogant, others painfully shy, and many in between. But when it comes to that public reception of that beloved creature which has burst forth from our fevered brain, we all very nervous. That is when pep talks are needed. I thought a lot about these two statements this week and changed their words a bit to include all of us, writers, readers, humans, non-humans, the whole lot of what inhabits the earth.
I would change Staci’s wise words to: Every person, no matter who they are, needs a good pep talk from time to time. Life is rife with negative feedback, whether it’s a string of complaints from loved ones, or an unhappy co-worker or worse, a boss. It’s easy to let the negative pull you into a dark corner where all your insecurities lie (and every nook and cranny where light never shines), that place where you convince yourself (and have for many years believed) that you can’t even get it together to write a proper grocery list. That’s when, as Staci reminds us, you need a pep talk.
I would change Priscilla’s wise words to: Most humans are fragile sorts. Some of us may come across as arrogant, others painfully shy, and many in between. But when it come to that public reception of any work or words that have burst forth from our fevered brains, that is when many of us are bundles of nerves … some about to unravel. That’s when we need the pep talks.
Where do the pep talks come from? Mainly, ourselves. Ann Parker posted a video showing a five-year-old girl talking into a mirror, cheering herself on, reminding herself of all that she had going for her, including her house, her PJ’s, and sister. Heartwarming. Reaffirming. Reminding us to be our own cheerleaders and to move on toward our desires, over mounds of self-doubt, by remembering the little things that made us feel worthwhile, and important.
The Best April Fool’s Day
I looked up the history of April Fool’s Day, and decided to share a shortened version for you:
The history of April Fool’s Day or All Fool’s Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was moved from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week) to January 1. Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled “fools” by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on “fool errands,” sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a “poisson d’avril” or “April fish” because a young naive fish is easily caught.
My husband is a prankster. He has a fun-loving nature and a soft heart. Twenty-three years ago, on April 1, he took me out to dinner at the Turning Point Restaurant in Piermont, NY. During dinner he asked me to marry him, smack dab in the middle of me chewing food, in a tone that I liken to discussing the weather. Now, the back story is that he had asked me before and I had said no. (He had asked four months after we dated, and we Capricorns are slow, cautious spirits that don’t move that quickly.) I nodded yes before I had swallowed my food, eyes widened. How utterly romantic. . Then he added, Larry being Larry. “If you said no, I was just going to say: April Fools-ha-ha.” He had it planned, ring and all.
Harvey Robinson (“The Historical Point of View”) wrote: “It is clear that all our information in regard to past events and conditions must be derived from evidence of some kind. This evidence is called the source. Sometimes there are a number of good and reliable sources for an event … Sometimes there is but a single, unreliable source.” He continues to explain that we not only lose a sense of reliability of the event, but what do we truly learn from just one source?
Sarah Cooper, a history teacher wrote “Making History Mine …Personal Primary Sources.”
Sarah Copper had her class define primary source as point of view. The students, middle grade, knew that a primary source was something written by someone who was at the event, (single point of view) or an eyewitness. Sarah brought in a jade lion and asked the class to tell her about the person who owned this jade lion and the society around it. The answers varied as can be expected: “A lion trainer owned the real lions, a zookeeper, and a tourist bought the lion.” Three different perspectives.
This got me thinking: Philosophically speaking: Do we as writers deny the reader a deeper essence of knowledge (of a character, or scene, a lion statue) of the story by limiting the story to single POV? Doesn’t the multiple POV give the reader more perceptions into the story, therefore touching more of the readers’ own beliefs—helping them see a richer and different perspective by showing them multiple views on one subject?Of course it does, some readers might say. Some writer’s might respond that delving into the single person, from that specific point of view, gives the writing the intense depth and passion enriching the character and the story. However, I’m thinking more from the angle of what does the writer owe the reader. Some authors say that writing from the first person is easier and they still deliver a wonderful story–the true goal of writing. I guess this just boils down to individual preferences and an internal guideline of author’s ethics.
Simplexity:directed by Lisa Drostova
I was selected to write a play for the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco’s (PCSF) 24-Hour Playwright Festival, performed on March 23, 2013 at PCSF’s Studio 250 Theater. The production was a charitable event to support PCSF and included seven one-act plays comprising the Saturday evening format. All plays were written, directed, and rehearsed in less than 24 hours. The theme for the Festival, Simplicity, was chosen at random at 9 PM on Friday the night before the performance. All scripts had to be written and submitted the next day by 6:30 AM. The number of actors and the directors were also chosen at random.
The play I wrote, titled “Simplexity,” is a short, humorous play based on a random meeting between two college students at the campus coffee shop, Cafe 101. Claire, an art major, who just received a poor review of her painting from her art professor, is hysterical, and interrupts Devon, a lit major, talking on his cell phone while trying to make a deal to write another college student’s lit paper.Claire brings the complex to the simple in her art, and Devon believes he brings the simple to the complex in his writings for other students.
“Simplexity” was wonderfully directed by Lisa Drostova and the play was brought to life by two very talented actors: Rosalie Muller-Boiral, who played Claire, and Jerren Jones, who played Devon. You can view more information about the event here.
It was one of the most exciting adventures in my life. Electric, yet exhausting. As Lisa, the director said to the actors: You made the audience know what fun is! The audiences roared with approval for the actors, the director and for moi, the playwright.
I will discuss, in another post, the changing POV of a play, and the playwright’s dilemma in hearing the real voice on the stage.
Thank you so much for visiting and sharing in my joy!
My friend Adell is an Plein Air artist. She paints outside and in real light. This winter, she wanted to learn snow: its texture, and how the light of day, bright and dying, changed its essence. Then, she needed to translate it onto canvass. After the scetching, she did the painting. Then she sent it to me, and wrote, “Hey, this is what I painted today. I hope you like it.”
When I spoke to her about my post, we discussed the similarities in our art forms. And we came to the same conclusions about the beginning and the ending of the creative process.
In the beginning, we have to learn our craft.
Then, we decide what we want to say about that craft that is unique to us.
Pieces of our work are created, polished, and our ending?
We send them out to the world and say, “Hey world, I created this. I hope you like it.”