Being brave…

Yes… I’m being brave because I’m, for the first time, (I think), putting up a blog post that is simply some creative writing. I found this piece I had written a couple of years ago. In fact, long before boldly diving into blogging.

It shows my fear surrounding my writing, and also shows me that I’ve stopped listening to that voice, otherwise, I wouldn’t have a blog or two!


The Voice

The cursor blinked on the empty page.

The voice was speaking. The voice was taunting, teasing, provoking, driving, tormenting, intensifying, and succeeding. It always succeeded. It always won. It wore a badge of honour. It had the best sabres, the best ploys, the best reasons; it even wore designer clothes- of course. It’s home? Her head. And, she was prisoner.

Each time she planted her fingers on the keyboard, a list of her shortcomings unfurled and the voice gladly announced each and every one of them.

She slammed her computer closed, grabbed her keys and sped with urgency out of the city.

In the woods, she stopped in front of a massive cedar tree and wondered at its thick bark protecting it from the wills of the world. She stared up at the resilient spire feeling dizzy. She found the voice’s argument to be strong and valid. Why on earth would her thoughts matter? What made her think she had anything significant to share or express?

The voice snickered with conceit, keeping up the momentum: “Not only are you a pathetic writer, you are unfocused, you have no hope, you are wishy washy, uncommitted, lazy, and…. “

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!” Her real voice suddenly competed. Her real voice spewed forth. Her body dizzyingly spun and she collapsed to the ground.

At last, silence.

A robin in the distance chirped – clear, unencumbered. The trees whispered with the wind nodding in approval. Finally, now, maybe she could write her piece.

Cathedral Forest, Vancouver Island
Cathedral Forest, Vancouver Island

“Empathy: Our Greatest Guide (in my humble opinion)”

The above tweet (twitter term) came to me last night while I was having the privilege of witnessing a conversation about writing between an experienced screenwriter, and a newer one who was asking some pertinent questions. I mostly observed and then offered a couple of my thoughts.

Two things happened: one, it reminded me of how twitter can be such a valuable tool if used correctly (don’t worry… this is not a post about twitter, despite the fact I probably could ramble on for a length…), and secondly, the dialogue gave some valuable story advice.

Especially as I dive further into writing a piece for me to perform.

Last night’s discussion touched on emotion and its usefulness when creating effective scenes that will reach an audience. It reminded us to review the people for whom we’re writing, and in the possible ways they could see themselves in the story.

I was reminded of the importance of empathy, and to feel what someone is feeling, to place myself in their shoes. This is an almost impossible feat to do entirely – but one worth exploring if you are going to deliver something with substance…don’t you think?

And, speaking of feet, I wear a plastic support on my right foot as I have drop foot. The “AFO”(ankle-foot-orthoses) goes under my foot and reaches up my calf in an ugly way becoming my best friend so I can’t trip. (I draw on the plastic in the summer so it at least looks funky).

It looks like I’m digressing but it’s related, I promise.

In a rare moment, I met a man my age, the other day, who was also sporting an AFO. It was an instant empathetic moment. We understood so much without even saying anything. We knew in a flash some of the pain, discomfort, and challenges the other one had.


That was a direct one on one moment.

What about mass empathetic moments as a result from a play or a movie?

In our art, or even just our every day life, isn’t it better to work hard at trying to understand a person, a group, a movement, a tragedy, a joy, in order to reproduce a story, a character, a plight, a reason…

Of course it’s impossible to truly understand, & completely empathize, as we are such individuals with such a variety of experiences. But I think that empathy serves well as a guide to a deeper place of truth whether it is for performance, or just relating to a stranger or a close friend.

“I know how you feel.”

As we write, or give life to characters already written, as the twitter conversation implied, we must put our own tears where we want the audience to feel tears, we must feel our own joy in order to pass on the same emotion, and be in our own excitement in order to take others there.

What is my point of this blog post? I guess it is my attempt to remind others as I was gratefully reminded last night that to give “good art” empathizing with your audience is a good stage from which to dive.

I’d like to thank @JBMovies (John’s site) & @vivspace (Vivienne’s blog) for allowing me to watch your valuable twitter conversation unfold.

Enjoy some good musical art from my favourite album on human nature. “One Giant Leap

Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary’s meaning of empathy:

The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.