Monday, October 4, 2010

What It Takes



My friend Ruth is a writer and writing teacher. Ruth excels in both roles because she is gifted with an astute eye for human behavior, and because she knows her craft.

Ruth specializes in the art of writing comedy. It seems to me that truly funny people recognize the pain inherent in trying to connect to others and to find meaning on this darn planet.

Ruth has an adult daughter pursuing the acting profession. This year Ruth sent me a review of a play her daughter was in and a picture of her comely offspring. The play had been a success and when I saw Ruth this summer I asked her how her daughter was doing in her career choice.

"She doesn't have the hunger," Ruth answered.

There was little I could add because I knew exactly what Ruth meant. She didn't mean her daughter didn't want it or that her daughter wasn't doing her best. She meant her daughter wasn't starving for it.

Ruth and I, side by side on a bench, looked at the ground and said nothing.

Writers wake up in the morning with words running around in their heads. Words that long to join up with other words into sentences, paragraphs, stories, essays and songs to entertain and enlighten an audience.

Painters wake up with colors and pictures in their heads and they run to find a canvas. Photographers see things on everyday jaunts that most of us miss. Maybe composers wake with notes racing to be played. I'm not going to pretend that I know how every artist approaches their work, but I am going to say that any artist who rises to the calling has no choice. To make it their life's work, they must have to do it like they need oxygen to breathe.

It certainly ain't for the cash because the term starving artist can be a true thing. Few get rich in their discipline of choice but they do it anyway.

I recently watched the documentary, "A Piece of Work" about the career of comedienne/actress Joan Rivers. This film is a study of the hunger. Ms. Rivers will always crave the light. She will die with her boots on. Joan Rivers is funny, wracked with pain and always starving. It's the way it is and the way it must be for anyone who takes on showbiz as their life's work.


My friend Ruth is a writer and a writing teacher. Ruth excels in both roles because she is gifted with an astute eye for human behavior, and because she knows her craft.

My friend Ruth is also a mother who loves her daughter, is proud of her and knows her. She knows that her child is not hungry...enough.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
Micbeth is very nevous. I would want to now that I will not die. I will live a really long time. I would also want to now that I will be rich. I will have a good life. I will have what ever I wanted. I will also have a good college dugress. I would be a princess. I would live in a beatiful castle that has pink and red, I will have a nice red dress and pink on it with gold.
Natalie, 4th grade

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