words talking with each other

mind cogs

It’s true. I am in love with language.

Recently, or as recently as this past fall, I came to understand how words – on a page, in an actor’s mouth – can be encouraged to communicate not only with the reader or listener, but also with their neighbors. To be fair, Michael Dumanis tried to open my mind to that concept several years ago, but I didn’t have the synaptic lexicon at that time to make a mental picture. In part, because of the kind ministrations of Frank Giampietro and Imad Rahman, I now do.

The other evening, Brian Pedaci (an amazing director who has lately become attached to my work – at my behest, one of the better requests I’ve made) and a group of generous actors read the first full draft of a new play of mine aloud. Afterwards, as he and I debriefed, he gently tried to persuade me that sometimes my verbal flights might not be actable.

I told him about this concept, and how it’s affecting my work. For good measure, I also talked about the influence of “leaping poetry,” Robert Bly‘s understanding of how verbal artforms can ping our three brains in such a way that we-the-audience are encouraged, along with emotional and intellectual and sometimes even physical responses, to make new synapses, and are given pleasure in the Jonathan Miller pleasure-as-necessary-for-survival paradigm. I also mentioned James Joyce and William Shakespeare and, for good measure, Naomi Wallace and Caryl Churchill, or would have done if I hadn’t been so eager for feedback on the play at hand. Which I received, in beautiful spades, but that’s a story for another time.

In my experience, the best exploration/explanation of words talking with each other comes from a lecture given by Gary Lutz. The bad news is, I wasn’t present for the giving of that lecture. The good news is, it was published in The Believer, and you can read it here.

In the spirit of free love, I can only hope that you’ll join in my grand affair.

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©2014

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