Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Fantasy and Drama

How often do you think of a nuclear holocaustic future these days? I used to think of it often. Maybe it was the waning ripples of bomb-fueled fear illustrated by various "Star Trek" and "The Twilight Zone" episodes, which gathered new resonance with the release of The Omega Man, a movie I watched repeatedly one hot San Bernardino summer over thirty years ago in a double bill with The Poseidon Adventure, another upbeat flick. Yep, media was to blame, both for my future phobia and a nascent consumerism. Really, what could be better than habitating a shopping mall bereft of buyers, ingesting the infinite meals presented by supermarket shelves sans shoppers, and movies I could watch over and over again in a theater absent an audience just like Charleton Heston did? No need to make friends or find one's place in society. Society *was* you. No need for responsibility or approval.

I hardly ever think of life as a latter-day Eve now. Maybe because I'm squarely an adult, and the illusion that I have a modicum of control over my life and a sliver of earthly possession is much stronger than it was in my youth. Which is the real fantasy?


"Creativity comes from excess," said Annette Bening in an interview with Terri Gross on "Fresh Air" tonight. I don't think I'm a person of excess. I am disdainful of excess. But I can't be creative? I guess I just wish Annette (we're on a first-name basis--she calls me Tink) had put a "My" at the beginning of her statement of creativity.

She also said that balance was overrated, though children need consistency. She ought to know, she has four. I'm sure she gives her children everything, but I pity them their mother's excess. Perhaps this is a good segue into:

My Unified Theory of Relationship Drama

Long after I was divorced and it was too late, I came up with this theory of love matches. (Oh, I could have saved myself years of misery if I had just figured this out earlier.) We all have a role to play, specifically:

The Director
The Actor/Actress
The Stage Manager*
The Fans
The Pedestrians

Actors and Directors thrive on drama and conflict. It doesn't have to be negative conflict. They are often extroverts. Actors crave center stage, while Directors can be off in the wings--though they must be recognized at awards time. Actors fling dishes, Directors duck--though they make the snide remark that initiates the launch.

M has a good friend who is a Romantic Lead. He chooses women (usually Actresses) who are psychically wounded. His role is to try to save them, which seems heroic but the guy is no Dr. Spock, and he ends up inadvertently egging them on--reinforcing his role as a savior. Over and over he tries redeem them, to no avail, and he must move on to the next damsel in distress. He's now dealing with a former girlfriend that is doing her level best to make his life miserable, and yet he won't ring down the curtain on their relationship.

My ex is a Director. He made such an effort, for years, hoping to light the fire of conflict in me, but I'm a talent-free bumpkin. Unfulfilled, he was forced into the role of Actor and had to seek dramas on his own. I hung in there as long as I could, but we were miscast. I believe if I had been an actress--even a stage manager--even a fan of the worshipful stripe--we'd be together today. But I couldn't follow his expert direction.

Stage Managers and Fans shun the spotlight, though they thrive when sparks fly around them. SMs love the bustle of the backstage, the costumes and lighting, the cat fights, rivalry, and politics. They are those folks at the water cooler--they know what everyone else is doing, they relate every detail to interested parties, and are hurt when left out of gossip. Fans sip from the paper cups at the water cooler, nodding their heads at the SMs, dreaming of getting on stage themselves--but the closest they get is the sidekick, or the Actress' best friend offstage.

Can you guess? M and I are Pedestrians. We step around the crowds chattering excitedly at the theater entrance. We admire the lurid advertising posters, we say that we really must get tickets sometime. But then we decide it's really not worth the cost. We go back to our small quiet pad with fur everywhere and watch other people's drama on TV, once removed.

*Thank you, M, for this additional role identification.


I received a reply to my grumpy note to Flickr from Corey, who politely explained that it wasn't server space that I had squandered, but uploading bandwidth. So that's why deleting the photos hadn't helped, the uploading deed had already been done. Well, now I know. And I won't upload such huge files from now on.


At 9:08 PM, February 23, 2005, Blogger Rebecca said...

Although I don't think that one needs excess to be creative, I do wonder if some needs don't need to be met for one to create. One can be creative in prison - many people have made that clear - but what does someone in prison have an excess of? Time, that's what. Begged, borrowed, or bought, I think creativity requires a certain amount of time to come into existence. Fallow time, maybe. Or just the time it takes for the act of creating, itself. Your posts are food for thought - thank you for the poetry you add to relaying your thoughts and the movement of your days.


Post a Comment

<< Home