Friday, October 15, 2010

the pirate ship and the sand box.

When I was a little kid, I went through a phase where I didn't like books or movies or TV shows, because I knew they weren't real.  That's not to say that I was overly pragmatic or concrete (in fact, I doubt I've ever been either of those things).  I just couldn't bear the thought of these stories I loved-- desired, even-- not being real.

the rugrats having a pirate adventure.
from here.  also, "yo ho ho and a
bottle of milk?" hilarious.
Who remembers the Nickelodeon classic RUGRATS?  Man, it took a long time for little Julie to enjoy that show.  The basic arc of any given episode went as such:  Tommy and the gang create an elaborate and fun adventure for themselves, somehow revolving around the events of the day.  Let's say they have a pirate adventure.  It's grand and exciting and everybody's happy.  Until the end of the episode, when we find out they've really been in the sand box the whole time.  I thought this was so awful as a child.  I wanted desperately for them to really be on a pirate ship, and it depressed me that they weren't.  I knew that if it wouldn't really happen for them in the cartoon, it could definitely never happen for me in real life.

I pined for adventure as a child.  I don't know why.  I'd always led a happy life, and I wanted for nothing growing up.  But why did the characters in books get to have all these fascinating, compelling experiences, and I never did?  Maybe this is why I spent the majority of my youth involved in theatre.  I discovered an outlet where I could effectively pretend to be the one having the adventure, and people believed me.  I became, for one example, Joan of Arc.  I got to be closer to the pirate ship without having to wake up in the sand box.  Because if I had been in the sand box, I would have been in the audience.
the play in which i played joan of arc,
way back at walden in '02.  i would have
posted a picture of me in costume,
but those are all at my parents' house.

Looking back on it now, I realize it was taking that passive, observational role that upset me.  I wanted to be actively involved in the storytelling.  I miss acting so much sometimes, it's unbearable.  I miss the moment, the way I felt on stage.  I even miss memorizing lines.  I miss being a character, reacting to a situation.  But most of all, I miss the journey.  I miss the cathartic energy of living in someone else's story.

So, is it really that strange that I should enjoy writing, as well?  If my desire is to be actively involved in telling a story, then I think not.

I can handle books and movies and TV shows a lot better now, if you were wondering.  Though, I must admit, reading THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY twice through within a month (not kidding) has sort of shut down my creative brain for a while.  As soon as I get over the fact that I will never write anything as brilliant or important as that, I'll be fine.

seriously, why even try?
it doesn't get better than this.
remember the signs of a stellar book?
number one, fan art.

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