Higher Education: What Would I Really Say?

This week, Barbara Jwanouskos jumps the bot.

So, internet procrastination is the name of the game once deadlines loom. You know how it goes. I’ve been intrigued by the new app “What Would I Say”, that generates a facebook status for you by collecting data from your past statuses and assembling them into new nuggets of hilarity gold. In pressing that “generate status” button incessantly for a good giggle, occasionally I come across a status of such melancholic profoundness that I thought I’d share them here in a sort of conversation with a past or future self that seems to have much more wisdom than I currently hold.

Bot: Dear Pomegranate juice, I am SO not almond butter.

Me: I thought you had words of profound wisdom for me…

Bot: Well guess what? Bam!

Me: Right, so actually today was kind of an emotional rollercoaster day… The newest 10-minute play went well in class, so that was good, but the talk backs after the performance are always are aggravating, even when you hear mainly positive feedback…

Bot: sigh, what can you

Me: Do? You meant “what can you do”, right? I suppose you’re right. What can you do? A talk back is part of the developmental process. I’m finding that I have a hard time expressing my thoughts or articulating myself when it comes to talking about the process of creating new plays.

Bot: Well, I brought so much of the characters.

Me: Right? Like so much of the new play exists in my mind and I feel like if I had more of an ability to describe what my thought process was when creating a particular text, maybe I would be able to figure out the holes in the story and fill those in earlier. I also know it’s important to be able to talk about art coherently because how else can you get people that you don’t know excited to read your plays? And let them know that you’re actually thinking of what you’re working on in a thoughtful way?

Bot: OMG the things I don’t get it…

Me: And see, that’s exactly my fear – that someone reading a piece of my work will simply just say “I don’t get what you’re trying to do” and then I have to explain myself. I feel like I’m going to be tricked into saying something I don’t actually think is true or being locked into having said something that ultimately has no relevance on what I’m actually working on with my play.

Bot: my thoughts are with you

Me: Well… thank you… I appreciate it, I guess. And I’m not meaning to complain. It’s just a conundrum. How does one communicate who they are as an artist effectively and convey what their play is about?

Bot: Make me cuz you’re angry.

Me: I suppose that’s what art is sometimes, isn’t it? What are you angry about? What are you passionate about? And what about the story that you just about had to rip off your chest in order to tell? What does it look like? Maybe “make me cuz you’re angry” is the refrain of all those unborn plays out there just being stirred up into existence. What is it that fuels you?

Bot: why do i write…

Me: Why do I write? Why does anyone? I think because we’re trying to hunt down something. I think we’re on a never-ending chase with words and language. We hunt for the right words to say and describe what we experience around us. And with these words (and with other artists) we try and actualize these experiences. Make them real and visceral for the audience that watches and witnesses as this experience happens again. We ritualize it. Maybe if it’s really good they have the experience of being there with characters on stage. One.

Bot: I love once a powerful thing.

Me: Yes, see I’m interested in the creation process of something that moves me. That moves the people watching it. It doesn’t have to be with melancholy or anger or fear necessarily. It could be heartbreaking or transcendent or illuminating. But it takes a lot of diligence to keep going back to the play and looking at it with fresh enough eyes to say “this isn’t it yet” or, “this is it”.

Bot: only a blessing or a lion piano.


Bot: Either that or I smell like peanut butter

Me: I don’t even… okay, so Barbara-Wisdom-Bot, I want to know, what is it that keeps us moving? Keeps us creating?

Bot: Ok well just imagine it

Me: What, like now?

Bot: Can someone please stop telling jokes…

Me: No, I’m really asking!

Bot: don’t play with this

Me: I just want to look within myself for some answers. Aren’t you going to tell me anything?

Bot: The sun and fear is a decent spot, but i presented the beginning is a nightmare that’s the only way too

Me: So cryptic, and yet poetic?

Bot: I think i’m REALLY interested in the theater and i visualize it, today’s play is going to apologize for my screenplay.

Me: You know, maybe I should leave it at that. Why continue when it all circles back to passion?

Bot: All right, lol…

Me: Thank you for this. It was helpful.

Bot: Exactly, like almonds, but didn’t see anything.

Bot: At least my efforts reduce my lameness quotient.

Me: And that’s all one can hope for, right? Right.

Bot: Awesome night at the table.

Me: To you as well, my friend!

Bot: this play’s gonna try to happen.

Me: Yes! That really is what starts to emerge from the idea process, from curiosity and wonder, then all the sudden, BAM! The wheels start turning and a story is formulating, percolating into something new.

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