Thursday, April 19, 2007

Do the write thing.

Here is a link to a play written by Cho Seung-Hui for a creative writing class. It's terrible. Flat characters, fairly violent, very Oedipal, but is it worthy of all the "we should have seen it coming" hand wringing that is going on? Probably not. Most young men who write delve into some of the themes and characters that are in this play, as have a few writers of note. There is the fiendish usurper who kills the protagonist's father to marry his mother (Hamlet). There is the promising young man grown old, fat, and pathetic (Death of a Salesman) and if you read Wm. S. Borroughs (or listen to Shane MacGowan) the old pederast is not a new character. None of these things are new. Throw in some Tarantino and filter through the pen of an undergraduate kid, and you have the very poorly written one act play linked above.
One act plays by their nature (short and visual) lend themselves to either navel gazing, or violence. The only thing that shocked me about this one in particular was the poor quality. I think this is making headlines only because it is so rare that people actually put fictional writing out for people to see (outside of erotic Harry Potter fan fic and whatever else folks spew out into the internet)
Too many people fail to write. By that I mean create a truly original voice. Attempting to create a fleshed out whole from a part of yourself can be a vehicle for greater self knowledge. Putting people you know in situations in fictional writing can help you understand the complexity of your opinions and relationships to those people. Creating a new world can help you fill in your opinions of yourself and your place in this one. It is a great exercise no matter how poorly done. That in mind, we need to acknowledge that we all have dark places in our psyche, and exploring them fictionally is generally a healthy thing. Hopefully this won't cause people (young people particularly) to be discouraged from writing, and hopefully, eventually, doing it well.

Violent, poorly written, one act plays are neither the problem, nor really a symptom, violent actions are.

More on fantasy and reality HERE.

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