To Write and to Act, Both are Creation!
It has been a little while since I last updated, and my entries have been less frequent of late. College is eating up more of my time now, as it should, and with the combination of classes, student organizations, performing arts auditions/events (and hopefully at some point) rehearsals, in addition to an increasingly active social life (good heavens, Gwendolen!), I have not been as committed to my regular entries as I was during the summer. I do, however, intend to keep this blog up for as long as possible, even if for no one else’s benefit than my own (although I do seem to have a growing readership!)
Writing, for me, is wonderful for both constructing and deconstructing. It gives me opportunity to relax and throw the tangle of my thoughts out there (deconstruction), but it also allows me to synthesize thoughts and feelings that may have been brewing for days or even years, just waiting for their moment of realization. It doesn’t matter, ultimately, if I look back on some of what I have written or find myself disagreeing or judging my own work. It is better that I acknowledge my thoughts in some form, even if they are unrefined. Writing is an imprecise art, and that is why I find it challenging and rewarding.
I also find writing to be very complementary to acting. Actors inform their words with “thoughts,” whereas writers conform their thoughts to words. Both create. Both, I believe, benefit tremendously from observing and studying life. Both should listen. And both have a story to tell. When I say actors inform their words with “thoughts,” I use quotation marks because “thoughts” can refer to many things: feelings, emotions, intentions. The point is, for an actor to create a world in our mind, he has to conjure the right thoughts that match or “inform” the writer’s words. In other words, he must take the words and give them meaning through his inner life. A writer, also, needs an inner life – writers of fiction must be incredibly imaginative and they must be precise – they must be able to conform their many thoughts to words, words which fill the mind of the reader with vivid imagery and meaning. Do you see how writers and actors share such a symbiotic relationship?
There are several notable actors who are also accomplished writers, perhaps most notably Sam Shepard, an Academy Award-nominated film and stage actor who also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for Buried Child. He has written dozens of other plays and acted in countless films and stage productions throughout a long and illustrious career. And I think one of the reasons he has been so successful is because he operates in multiple artistic mindsets: being a writer himself, he has a greater understanding of language and the meaning behind words when he acts, and when he writes he knows what actors like to say. Sam Shepard understands human behavior better than many actors or writers, because he has examined human behavior from so many different angles. And I think there is something to be said for that. Whether you are primarily an actor or writer, or take a liking to both, they are both forms of artistic creation, and it benefits any artist to examine how he creates from as many different perspectives as possible.