Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you all will enjoy celebrating this august holiday with your paramour. If you live in the Fort Wayne area I highly recommend your celebrating by taking your significant other to see The Princess and The Goblin tonight. I will be performing in it, and thus not celebrating romance with the rest of you, for the Arts are a harsh mistress.
Yes, that’s definitely the reason.
But mostly, it’s the Arts. The Arts are what define a society. They call us on to greatness, they take our ideas and paint them in bold colors across a canvas that stretches across the hearts and minds of an entire society. The Arts, my friend, embody a romance that goes beyond sentiment and passes on into the very fabric of our thoughts and lives. They are not merely professions of beauty or adoration. No, they are, in a way, the foundations of that admiration.
Writing, it would seem, is the least of the Arts. It is so old, so ancient. Surely it is surpassed, in this day and age, by others. The Arts, after all, embody so much more than just words on a page. A picture is worth a thousand words. They say that Music hath charms to sooth the savage beast, and with radio and the Internet to help spread it Music has a reach and impact like never before. Theater, the Art that claims me tonight, can draw on Music and combine it with the nuance and power that comes with the dynamics of audience and performer to drive story and draw people in. Film looses the power of that bond but offers the opportunity to craft the perfect performance on the cutting room floor and duplicate it time and time again.
And yet I am drawn back to Writing. It captivates me, demanding my time and my energies as jealously as any romance.
The empty page is the greatest promise of all, full of untapped potential, crisp and fresh and pure. In time it will be marked and marred and scrubbed over, mistakes made and imperfectly erased, or simply crossed out. There is nothing in the world like flipping back through the pages, running your fingers over the words and reading, over and over again, the thoughts that shape your life. The written word cannot suffer for being spoken poorly, cannot be forgotten by the mind of an actor.
And for all its simplicity, you will find that Writing is the Art that underpins all the others. There can be no Music without a score, no Theater without a script, no Film without a screenplay. Writing is at the center of all the other Arts. Its simplicity is its strength.
Writing endures. We have films dating back to the creation of the medium, music from a few hundred years ago, plays from the time of the Greeks. But the oldest written words may be twice as old as the oldest play, if not older, and have survived because they embody ideas that are essential to understanding the human condition. (Also because they’ve been written down.) Writing has gone from tablets of stone to the hides of animals, the pulp of trees to pixels on a screen and it will undoubtedly continue to transform itself as long as there are people with ideas they love.
So today, this is my Valentine. May Writing long endure.