Thursday, November 6, 2014

Re: Shakespeare's "Cymbeline" (1982 TV): Act 1, Scene 7, pt2




The one sure way, when dealing with writer's block, of feeding ye Muse anew is to return to Shakespeare.  Shakespeare is my Ghod of Literature.  I first encountered Shakespeare as an actor in high school.  My girl friend
my high school girlfriend, Valerie McBeth
was a Shakespeare freak, and she and I presented two scenes from the plays (Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew) to a drama room full of students on three or four occasions.  I then had a very minor role in a production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theatre.  Oh, to be in troupe of players performing Shakespeare!  Nothing else in life has given me more pleasure.  I thought I was going to be an actor, and pursued a life on stage for a wee while after returning from my two years as a Mormon missionary.  However, it was in Ireland that I first became obsess'd with weird fiction, when I began to collect British paperback anthologies.  It became obvious to me that I was a bad actor (although with proper training I may have improved; good acting is something that requires practice and instruction.  I have seen too many poor local Shakespeare productions where the acting was appallingly awful, where the players, at times, mumbled

Shakespeare's immortal language. 
It is, now, that language that enthralls me.  I miss the stage always, and wish I had tried to stay with it and improve my acting abilities (I loved, most of all, the rehearsals, being part of a company, a family of players; I have never found anything to replace that special sense of community, except in punk rock).  I loved trying to get to "know" the audience, to learn from the, to listen to their responses, with which they help tutor the actor in ways remarkable ways.  

Acting is a very social existence.  Writing is entirely private.  I need to be completely alone, with no interruptions, in order to write.  It was becoming a writer that led me to the magical discovery of Shakespeare as a writer of genius.  And it is that language that evokes my Muse during those times when writing fiction seems impossible.  I love audio Shakespeare, listening to the plays; but listening to the plays presents them primarily as dramas, and to read the plays in the silence of your room is to discover other elements of textual power and beauty.  I think my favourite study of Lovecraft's language is Frank Kermode's book of       2000, Shakespeare's Language.  


Literature rules my life, and is my salvation, my sanity, my soul.  When I visit Facebook (less and less, it's so boring), I am always mystified that others who are writers or editors almost never post things relating to writing--it's always boring political crap or social commentary.  Why do they never discuss the one thing that matters--Literature?  Mystifying, and as a result I almoft never read their posts or visit their timelines.

I sometimes "return" to the stage in my dreams.  I am thankful for my memories of acting.

with Brian Arthur Paloy in MRS. McTHING (1969)


a college production in which I portrayed a tortured corpse, 1971



Knight of the Burning Pestle, 1971

1 comment:

  1. Wilum, like you I had a passion to be an actor, and went to drama school. They were three of the finest years of my life and I am grateful for that, but Showbiz being the fickle Lady She is, there was little work forthcoming and I returned home to be with family at the end of their life. I know the jov of holding an audience in the palm of one's hand and the dismal darkness when you stand before a very disapproving audience too. There is nothing like live theatre for immediacy. You have found your true voice through your writings. Sesqua Valley is a marvellous creation and its people and language give pleasure of a decadent Lovecraftian form. Your literary voice is truly unique and your gift to the world, for which many blessings. The actor stands naked on a stage and dons the mask and clothes a character as the writer faces the blank page and writes words that create whole new worlds of the imagination. Both are in their solitude behind the mask and costume while facing the public. Shalespeare knew this - he understood the private behind the mask of the public - look at Prospero, Richard II, Kate... the truth of the artist is not that of the character, but there is some reflection there. I too wish writers would talk more about their craft. Stephen King's book 'On Writing' is quite enlightening but I need more - deeper stuff on the choice of the right word juxtaposed within a scene, given a character to speak it - why that word and no other? I wish I could find the words in prose, but I admire those, like you, who can. :-)=

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