Upon graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Playwriting, my mentor, Mr. Arthur Giron cozied up to me and asked the question heard around the world: “Well, what are you going to do for the next twenty years?” Cocksure and filled to the brim with inflamed enthusiasm and a bulwark of self-confidence, I smugly replied, “Why, be famous of course!” I had a produceable play under one arm, a New York literary agent under the other; copies of my scripts being eyed by regional theaters all over the country, and a handful of positive reviews of my recent MainStage production; not-to-mention the sheepskin from a meritorious and first-string school like Carnegie Mellon! I mean really, really, what else did he think I would do? Mr. Giron shook his head slowly while he stroked and fiddled with his moustache: “You’re like a new-make-scotch-whisky. You’ve been recently poured into your used cask where you’ll age or mature (meaning you’ll absorb the character of the ageing oak casks heretofore used to ferment sherry); and just like new-whisky’s alcohol content diminishing year by year, so will the strangulating auspices of your of fame and fortune. The end result is a smooth, complex, and enigmatic author with the depth of character fossilized by year after year of life’s experience bearing down on talent; similar to pressure applied to coal produces diamonds. In other words, my dear boy, now you’ve got to live life to its fullest, absorb as much as you can. It’s from there, your experience of life from which you’ll withdraw the dark, dense, and curiously smooth depth.”
They couldn’t have told me that before I signed the promissory note for fifty thousand dollars to pay for two years of post-graduate education?
Mr. Giron’s soothsaying was brutally honest and absolutely true! For the next twenty years I was given the cold-shoulder by most of the legitimate theatres in America; my New York agent dropped me because I was a one-trick pony (I had only one produceable scripts so when directors asked: “What else have you got?” she had nothing to offer.) And soon thereafter I rendered my writing as the needless folly of starry-eyed twenty-somethings young men and turned my attention to the corporate world, leaving my writing to rot in a trunk in the attic.
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