I've been thinking about my writing and then writing in general, at least the good writing. I realize much of my blog is a complaint. Another bunch is sad whining. And then there is that sarcastic smart-ass funniness that is supposed to pass as wit. I think I have the classic ratios down--three tragedies to one comedy. At least that is what I think I remember from college, but memory is a terrible thing. I've used The Google for reference. There is not much on "ratios." But here is something I found:
The Ancient Greeks took their entertainment very seriously and used drama as a way of investigating the world they lived in, and what it meant to be human.
The three genres of drama were comedy, satyr plays, and most important of all, tragedy.
Comedy: The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness. The first master of comedy was the playwright Aristophanes. Much later Menander wrote comedies about ordinary people and made his plays more like sit-coms.
Tragedy: Tragedy dealt with the big themes of love, loss, pride, the abuse of power and the fraught relationships between men and gods. Typically the main protagonist of a tragedy commits some terrible crime without realizing how foolish and arrogant he has been. Then, as he slowly realizes his error, the world crumbles around him. The three great playwrights of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
Aristotle argued that tragedy cleansed the heart through pity and terror, purging us of our petty concerns and worries by making us aware that there can be nobility in suffering. He called this experience 'catharsis'.
Satyr Plays: These short plays were performed between the acts of tragedies and made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters. The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat figures and actors in these plays wore large phalluses for comic effect. Few examples of these plays survive. They are classified by some authors as tragicomic, or comedy dramas. (source)
Whatever. I mean to justify what I do, but there is really no justification for anything in the end. I don't want to be a writer of complaint, though, most of all. I complain about a lot of things, but most of what I complain about comes from my own uncertainties and feelings of inadequacy. I mean really--what harm can Facebook do to me? Or Twitter or Snapchat, or anything else that other people do before I know about them? I usually hate them because somebody I like uses them in the popular way. It seems to take them away from me somehow. The Fashion Editor, for instance, quit answering her phone. She was an early texter. She told me, "I don't do verbal." This was back in the oughts. What a fuck, I thought. Little hipster girl. Now, just try to get me on the phone. I don't do verbal. What I didn't like, I realize, was being put into the pot with everyone else. And why is that so troubling? Because--I don't want to be like everybody else. Last night, a woman texted me and asked me how my life was going. I told her that it was "the usual nightmarish carnivale. I almost wish I were normal." There was a smiley face icon flourish at the end. She wrote back--"Sometimes, I wish you were, too."
Oy--I just can't stand the veneer. Oh, I have developed one, but I like to point out that it has a clubbed foot and three testicles.
And so. . . the literature of justification.
Who do you think wrote those Greek plays, though? Who wrote satires that mocked men or plays that made fun of the plight of tragic characters?
If you answered, "Oscar Wilde," . . . .
There is no getting away from it, I guess. The trick is simply to make it attractive, to write vivid characters or impressionistic landscapes, to create beautiful moods and smokey atmospheres. All the rest is just the same. Why would you write if not to say look at me, love me, admire me, poor, poor, pitiful me? I am not like the others. I am your friend.
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