Friday, 21 April 2017
Blog time again and as promised I am writing about those two wonderful yet ambiguous words; The End.
As a writer I love to write the two words that signify the completion of a work . They add satisfaction, relief, pride and a general sense of well being. This may last for a few minutes to hours, day, even weeks. How long the sense of accomplishment lasts depends on how well the finished work is received, or not.
But, consider the differing contexts in which the same two words can promote an entirely different emotional state. The end can describe the finality of a relationship, a job, the age of innocence, the destruction of an icon, the disbanding of a group, the loss of a friend to someone else, and the least desired meaning, the death of a person. While most of these events would initiate some kind of sadness or despair, there could, depending on the specific trauma be a release of relief or sheer joy, particularly if the end brought in a new, happier phase of a person;s life. We can all think of a situation where the leaving of someone or something, the ending of a relationship, can enhance our own sense of freedom and well being. So, the context is all.
Where does this lead? It leads to the confirmation of the wonders of language, particularly the English language, which has around a million different words, although most of us use only a few thousand on an everyday basis. Most writers are well aware of the possibilities of how just two words, can be used to signify almost anything if the context is correct. There is, I believe, a problem looming when technology defines language as having a less important role in explaining a concept or feeling. It is so easy to underestimate the power of words if they are reduced to a few letters and not put within the context and/or emotional state for which they are intended. This is not elitism, it is common sense, for language is primarily for communication, an exchange of thoughts, feelings, ideas and information. Images might entertain more effectively but words are what defines us as human beings. Other animals, birds, insects, fish use other senses to see, smell, touch and hear but only humans have the capacity for detailed language. It must not be lost.
A final note, the ending of the life of that incredible New Zealand born, Australian satirist John Clarke, whose brilliance made me laugh and cry at his every performance. His amazing use of language cannot be beaten. In a pithy ABC slot where he was 'interviewed' as a politician by his comrade Brian Dawe his response to the question what is Clean Coal was the short witty comment.."It's an example of alliteration." He turned the knife with a word, not a sword. Vale John Clarke, a man who knew how to use language for its optimum purpose, even if it only took a few words to say exactly what was needed to be said.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
As a writer I of course love words. As a writer for the stage and screen I also appreciate the value of the visual. A picture can take the place of a thousand words, a few hundred at any rate.
Such was the case when watching a scene from that fabulous British TV show "The Vicar of Dibley".
Dawn French sat on the sofa staring at a bottle of whisky doing her best NOT to take a swig from the bottle. As a vicar she was being tempted. The way she spent between 60 and 90 seconds turning her head from the bottle to the picture of Jesus and back again, using her eyes, her lips, and body to emphasise the battle was a great lesson in comedic skill. Such a simple act and yet she made the whole process as funny as anything I have watched on TV. Not a word was needed to explain the conflict of her decision making. Of course the visual 'punch line' was that she gave in and gurgled the whisky straight from the bottle. I laughed and sighed with admiration for her and of course for the director.
This action would have been indicated in the script by the writer of course but it shows how an actor can add so much to the concept. It helps if a writer has been or can imagine being in the position in which they place a character or in a scenario in which they have been involved. Yet the fact that silence can add to a script is an important lesson for both actors and writers to remember early on in their career. So, while the audience would see the actions performed in silence, those actions would have been described in words. Dawn French, I love you. Words, I love you too.