Monday, August 22, 2016

"it's the fact that it's the best you can do that kills you" and...

"Between the click of the LIGHT & the start of the DREAM" 

--Arcade Fire


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I've been listening to Maxence Cyrin's version of Arcade Fire's song "No Cars Go" and
it. is. magical.
When it first came on my Pandora I hummed along until the score sounded all too familiar. I was SO stoked when I realized what I was listening to. It's the most charming tune, and I immediately looked the song up and played it again. 
There's this part in the song that goes "Between the click of the light and the start of the dream". Cyrin's version of the song contains no lyrics, but I know them by heart so I hear them in my head. Anyway, the entire song slows for the bridge part, and when I heard it a first and second time, I kept envisioning this one scene in my head of characters/people I don't know. Everything is in slow motion and the characters/people are outside. In the scene, I know that something has been terribly wrong, but that every one present is on the brink of some sort of goodness.

I turned the song on this morning and just let myself meet whatever characters I had conjured up before. 
That's the way I prefer to write -- although a more methodical approach works better for me to actually complete a piece.
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Anyway, aside from working on whatever it is that I started this morning, I'm putting together the bones of the post about Dorothy Parker.
I read an interview she did and I was HOOKED to every word of hers. So much clever wit and wisdom. And so many quotable parts of the interview. I'd have to say that my favorite part is this excerpt:


INTERVIEWER
How about Hollywood as provider for the artist?

PARKER
Hollywood money isn’t money. It’s congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are. I can’t talk about Hollywood. It was a horror to me when I was there and it’s a horror to look back on. I can’t imagine how I did it. When I got away from it I couldn’t even refer to the place by name. “Out there,” I called it. You want to know what “out there” means to me? Once I was coming down a street in Beverly Hills and I saw a Cadillac about a block long, and out of the side window was a wonderfully slinky mink, and an arm, and at the end of the arm a hand in a white suede glove wrinkled around the wrist, and in the hand was a bagel with a bite out of it.

INTERVIEWER
Do you think Hollywood destroys the artist’s talent?

PARKER
No, no, no. I think nobody on earth writes down. Garbage though they turn out, Hollywood writers aren’t writing down. That is their best. If you’re going to write, don’t pretend to write down. It’s going to be the best you can do, and it’s the fact that it’s the best you can do that kills you. I want so much to write well, though I know I don’t, and that I didn’t make it. But during and at the end of my life, I will adore those who have.

INTERVIEWER
Then what is it that’s the evil in Hollywood?

PARKER
It’s the people. Like the director who put his finger in Scott Fitzgerald’s face and complained, “Pay you. Why, you ought to pay us.” It was terrible about Scott; if you’d seen him you’d have been sick. When he died no one went to the funeral, not a single soul came, or even sent a flower. I said, “Poor son of a bitch,” a quote right out of The Great Gatsby, and everyone thought it was another wisecrack. But it was said in dead seriousness. Sickening about Scott. And it wasn’t only the people, but also the indignity to which your ability was put. There was a picture in which Mr. Benchley had a part. In it Monty Woolley had a scene in which he had to enter a room through a door on which was balanced a bucket of water. He came into the room covered with water and muttered to Mr. Benchley, who had a part in the scene, “Benchley? Benchley of Harvard?” “Yes,” mumbled Mr. Benchley and he asked, “Woolley? Woolley of Yale?”

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I can't say if Hollywood has changed. I wasn't there then, and I am obviously not there now. Nor will I--by the end of my career--likely be able to claim that I'd been there long enough to have a right to some sort of say.

In spite of her wisdom, however, I awoke to this alarm notification yet again -- and I will continue to keep it this way. Until I get back. Until I find that I am there and through with it all. Or, until it all comes to some happy--or content--end.


And for clarifications sake, I do not urgently write to receive a one in a million award. I still realize that you can't be successful in writing if you're writing to solely meet someone else's quota or preference.

This outlandish goal is there for dramatic effect -- simply to be a driving force.
At the end of my life, if all I have creatively is completed pieces of plays, screenplays, novels, essays, shorts, posts, etc. then I will still consider myself accomplished as a writer.

It can't always be about that little golden statue. At the beginning and end of my days, all that matters is that I bled somewhere onto paper. I don't even have to like every word. I just have to finish what I start.

Anything that happens--other than a final, finished draft--after the click of the light and the start of the dream only God knows. I just have to get to the point of all this killing me. And even in killing me it can never be everything.

This summer is all about learning the art of balance in my life. 
I'm currently in a free fall, but I'm hoping to hit he ground hard enough--and soon enough--so that I can get up and keep going.


-M

p.s. The version of "No Cars Go" that I'm talking about. I'm OBSESSED (!!!)

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