Years and years ago, there was a production of The Tempest, out of doors, at an Oxford college on a lawn, which was the stage, and the lawn went back towards the lake in the grounds of the college, and the play began in natural light. But as it developed, and as it became time for Ariel to say his farewell to the world of The Tempest, the evening had started to close in and there was some artificial lighting coming on. And as Ariel uttered his last speech, he turned and he ran across the grass, and he got to the edge of the lake and he just kept running across the top of the water — the producer having thoughtfully provided a kind of walkway an inch beneath the water. And you could see and you could hear the plish, plash as he ran away from you across the top of the lake, until the gloom enveloped him and he disappeared from your view.
And as he did so, from the further shore, a firework rocket was ignited, and it went whoosh into the air, and high up there it burst into lots of sparks, and all the sparks went out, and he had gone.
When you look up the stage directions, it says, ‘Exit Ariel.’ Tom Stoppard, University of Pennsylvania, 1996 (via flameintobeing)
…In these moments when we’re blocked, or in the moments we are staring at a board full of diagrams, moving characters and motivations around like chess pieces, trying to “solve” a story as if it were math homework, paralyzed by the academia, it helps to remember that any act of creation, whether folding a paper airplane, baking a cake or writing an episode of SVU, is, by definition, a religious act and a subversive one. We reach out with ape-like hands and filthy minds and we mock and challenge all that came before us by making something be there that was not there. We change the history of the world, we change who we are and we change everything that touches what we make, so we may as well also always change the rules by which we make them.
…Now that you’ve studied Campbell, you’ve got what’s important about it. Heroes go Somewhere Else and Heroes Come Back Different. Everything else is yours to interpret.
Dan Harmon rises to poetry here. Quite lovely. (Italics mine, btw. Cf. Harlan Ellison’s frequent characterization of writing as “the holy chore”.)
(already reblogged here from Peter, but this is worth excerpting. Especially because I’m at the “moving characters around like chess pieces” stage on something at the moment…)
This is the most important thing to understand: something that may seem innocent to you may be painful to others
I recently had someone say to me, “Well X group can’t just expect us all to be mentally updating our list of words that are insulting to them.” I was like “Yes… they can?” It’s not “ooooh evil political correctness,” it’s basic human decency.