Sunday, May 8, 2011


Your strategy for readings, performances, and lectures may be called the cynic's approach or even the curmudgeon's approach because you are surely blood relatives to both, although in the case of readings, performances, and lectures, you like to think of your strategy as one reflecting self-preservation.  Not too long in the past, perhaps a month, you'd accordingly positioned yourself in the back row of a theater, where a screening was to begin in a matter of moments, smug in the fact that you were, indeed, mere feet from the rear door.

The only problem.

Just before the lights dimmed, your hostess saw you and said in these very words, "Are you sitting in the back row in case you have to make a getaway?"

Indeed, not ten minutes into the film, you did make your way under the cover of darkness into the resuscitating dusky light of evening, into fresh air, and a restorative Aloha Burger next door at The Kahuna Grill.

This past week, you deftly avoided a front-row seat saved for you at another venture, positioning yourself within access to an escape route.  Except that one of the principals saw you and sat next to you, dooming you to ninety minutes more audience time than you would have wished, during the course of which, you were rescued, not by a Kahuna Burger but by voices.

It is your belief that writers are either "hearers," meaning they hear their material, either dictated to them by some detached, mellifluous voice or by the ensemble voices of the characters they have created; or they are "seers," visualizing the events and in some cases, subtitles, such as those applied to foreign language films.  You are a hearer.  When you heard these particular voices of rescue, you thought with some amusement that they were real voices, speech everyone about you could hear.  But it soon came to pass that these detached voices were your own, doing their best to keep you looking attentive, alert, perhaps even interested in the material being presented about you.  They were lead-ups to arguments or confrontations of the sort characters in fully realized drama have when there is to be some important rhetorical explosion, a discovery or epiphany.

In general, you are supportive of live performance, of readings, poetry slams, plays, even lectures.  In general, you are also conservative with your cynicism and curmudgeonly mien, saving those for dealings with truly impossible adjuncts of bureaucracy, thus the welcomed appearance of these voices to help out.

When the going gets tough, the writer hears voices.

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