Why write?

First I need to mention that, never in my life have so many things gone so right, not all at once or individually, as they are going now. I am still saying “yes” to everything, because I don’t want to miss a thing.  Still playing along like this is normal.

The creative writing class that I was teaching at UT Informal Classes has ended. Looks like a new one will start in June. For now a little  break, with only two improv troupes and an improv class that I’m taking to juggle and squeeze into my life, along with plan making for more and different classes to teach – improv for actors, – improvised singing.

Strangely, we did an exercise in the last writing class about why we write, and here is my unexpected response:

I don’t write anymore.  It broke my heart far too badly to create worlds of such love and beauty, to have them fade away and never really know them.  I can’t make that kind of commitment. …

Let me talk about why I improvise.  That is to free my soul and be in my body , my voice, for even a few minutes here and there.  That’s a gift of pure creation. That is what I want to teach and do.  Truly, that is freedom.

Improv can never break your heart.  Improv is always there, always imperfect, always liberating, always all of you in any given moment out there for the world to see, know, and love, or not love.  And there are no mistakes.

But, talking to a friend tonight, I realized that the kind of improv I am currently doing has new worlds every night, or every few minutes, and so it lacks that commitment that I am so afraid to make with fiction.  And I realized that there is a love, a deeper revelation of yourself, and potentially more transformational force behind the written word, behind a world that hangs together for weeks, months, years, decades.  I find fictional worlds grow with every person who visits them.  By their nature, improv worlds can never grow beyond the few people who witness their sand painting moment of life.  It can be magical like any performance.  Something never seen before.  Something never seen again.  But, how much meaning can it carry?  How moving can it be?  How deep can it go into your heart and what you want to share with the world?  If it can go there at all, I haven’t seen it explored much.  A little bit with a format based on “One Thousand and One Nights” (or “Arabian Nights”).  But now I realize the over arching power of that for me, was the power of the original fiction format.   Can such a powerful world be created for improv?  Sure, logically, why not?

Hmmmm.  Food for thought.  And to get a format and a cast to a point that it will be a moving experience consistently?  Hmmmm.  Food for thought.  I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m heading.   But I am noticing, there is a combination of writing and improvising at the heart of what I love best.  And I cannot ignore my heartbreak anymore and continue to let it stop me from writing.  I need to find some way to either unearth my beloved worlds and bring them to life, or mend my faith that they will return when the time is right, or perhaps even to let them go… I need to do one of these things to be able to go on to find the worlds that will come to me now.  There’s something to this.  I will look into this.  Perhaps unearth something in my closet this week…  I think I may be up it.  To remembering that much love.

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3 responses to “Why write?

  1. Good luck with your hunt. You will find something to love whatever you do, as long as you let yourself love it. I also believe that a deep emotional experience can be found in a short format – it’s just a matter of trusting that the word(s) you chose are big enough – not the biggest but big enough – to carry the emotion they hold, forward.
    (Thus spakes a recent grad of John J’s structure class, and terrible mauler of the language, me!)

    • Susannah Raulino

      Hi Mariellen,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I do need to remember that the ideas aren’t the key, it’s the emotion, the caring about the ideas, that gives them power. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement.
      You mentioned John J’s structure class, and I noticed you are in the Northwest. Is that John Jacobsen, or another John J.?
      I love your site. Exquisite photography and cinematography!
      -Susannah Raulino

  2. John Jacobsen, the very same. I just did the 3 week intensive screen writing class at TFS and was very pleased with it. Now to put even some of it into practice …

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