Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thoughts on writing plays

As a playwright deeply immersed in Jewish culture writing for a largely non-Jewish audience how much should I "go out" to them and how much should I bring them in to me?

Often when I have attempted to write a fictional play or film script addressing issues I fell passionately about - for example animal rights, the right of Israelis to live in safety and security - my writing tends to descend into rather in-your-face polemics, where the characters are merely mouthpieces for my own views, and don't assume a life of their own.

I'm thinking it might help me to revisit plays by playwrites who had a definite agenda, such as George Bernard Shaw, or works of fiction such as Animal Farm by George Orwell, where the story has a life of its own despite its enlisted nature. Uncle Toms Cabin also comes to mind.

For those of you struggling with a similar challenge, I'd be interested to hear your responses and tips.

Tzimtzum for writers and creators - the kabbalistic idea of G?d retracting Herself so that there would be "space" for the world very much applies here - the writer must get off His/Her own agendas and concede that they are arbitrary and no less or more valid than many/any other interesting ccombination of agendas.

In order to become an effective writer, who can facilitate self-recognition via keen observation, I need to let go of the more surface desire to change, preach, imact, is sacrificing influencing on a very superficial level for "influencing" (by being, truthfully) on a much more proound level - Shelley's "unacknowledged legislators of mankind."

Much of my writing ends in masturbation, as I become overwhelmed by the seeming impossibility of the task and seek comfort and escape - truly my books were written in sperm, not blood. I had already articulated this several years ago, when I wrote: "some people's works are written in blood, but mine are written in sperm" . I wanted to include this in "Hidden and Revealed" but the publisher, Gus Ferguson, declined - he felt it was a bit gross and yukky.

No comments: