Thursday, December 24, 2009
Ready for my close up ...
"If you couldn't write, what would your creative outlet be?"
Even when I was little, I liked to pretend to be other people. When I was six, it was Samantha on Bewitched -- minus the irritating, whiny husband, of course. Or Anne Marie, on That Girl. And sometimes Batman (never Robin).
I liked strong, independent characters, despite being inundated with images of grumpy boyfriends and husbands [did you ever notice how many 60s sitcoms featured yelling spouses and bfs? There's a thesis in there about the rise of feminism, but I'm not going to write it. ;). The most loving husband and wife relationship was on the Addams Family--which I adored, though I never particularly wanted to be Morticia ... but I digress. ;)]
Anyway, I never outgrew this habit--I just channeled it into acting when I was a little older, and eventually got a chance to trod the boards as a Drama major at my first university. A little Shakespeare, a little Euripides. It might not exactly surprise you to learn that one of my most enjoyable comedic roles was as a courtesan in The Comedy of Errors.
I fell away from acting--despite good notices and all that--because the life style was just too emotionally hard on me. But in my heart of hearts, I'm still an actress -- one reason I actually LIKE reading at signings is it gives me a chance to act. :)
So ... in a perfect world, if I couldn't write I'd still be doing that. On stage, as opposed to film. I love Sunset Boulevard--one of my favorite movies--but it's too truthful about how temporal the film industry is ... and how merciless. So, like Rebecca, I'd also like to be a film director, and actually toyed with film as a major after Drama.
In fact, one of my youthful goals was to film Ayn Rand's book We, the Living--her first book and probably her most readable--it's a real page-turner. I knew the shots I wanted to use, I could see the opening credits unfold ... and I still think it would make a great movie. [It was filmed in Italy under Mussolini, with Alida Valli as the protagonist Kira--though it was interpreted as hostile to the regime and therefore banned.]
Eventually I began to write screenplays (a useful exercise for any writer, I think) ... hoping they'd sell and someone would offer me the chance to direct, of course. :)
Of course, the cool thing is that as a writer, I get to both act AND direct ... because I write "in character" while a part of my brain watches the performance. OK, so I'm a Gemini, I can legitimately operate more than one personality at a time. But really--writing is the best of both worlds. Acting, directing and a carefully researched and composed experience that you hope you'll be lucky enough to share with readers. Writing CITY OF DRAGONS was remarkably like filming a movie, in a lot of ways.
And I've still got my fingers crossed for that directing chance. ;)
I also just wanted to take the opportunity to say Happy Holidays and a big, big thank you to my fellow CMS and all the readers who have made our blog such a joy to hang out in. :) Thank you for reading us, following us, and for your always fascinating comments and observations!! We've got a lot in store for 2010 ... and we hope you'll be on the journey with us. :) The warmest of holiday wishes to you!!