The Writers Guild or A Collection of Failed Bolsheviks Community
– a personal opinion
Writing, painting, sculpting, performing arts whether as singers, actors, dancers, poets, magicians? ~ Creating in any way, f—–g maybe, needlepoint, knitting or cooking anybody …?!
The creative pursuits all have an addictive quality to them. Whether we may assume that being artistically creative is harmfully addictive or not there is no doubting that the creative pursuits build up a certain head of steam, a passion, a consuming fire in the belly that if married to any kind of personal obsession or a substance dependency, whether benign or acute can produce a detrimental trojan horse within the mind or soul of the creative person. A veritable molotov cocktail that may internally combust and consume the individual from the inside out. A raging forest fire that once alight can eat out the soul of an individual … or do I exaggerate or run ahead?
The creative mind has always been susceptible to excesses. The truly ‘artistic’ are inclined to frequent the unoccupied habitat between the accepted and the unknown. They explore the very boundaries of freedom. The writer and the artist can easily become voyeurs, either through imagination or as daring inquirers seeking informed, first-hand reference. They may originally travel to places they would not necessarily have visited in regular lives, to push and press against the borders of the establishment or at very least the current and accepted status quo in any particular field of experience or expertise. They can become explorers, pioneers, social scientists in pursuit of personal artistic professionalism or writers journalistic credibility. Traversing this realm of uncertainty therefore they can become susceptible to excess in their personal lives through the many windows of opportunity that afford the open and creative mind. In other words they can discover temptation more easily, and once discovered, may participate more frequently and with greater relish and appetite.
This pursuit of creative excellence has produced many casualties relative to all ages and eras throughout history and it is relatively easy to index and identify many such tragic identities within our own 20th/21st century arena and among those working in the teeming delta of the performing arts and creative disciplines. Artists, painters, writers, poets and performers have fallen prey to their own personal weaknesses while attempting to answer the call of their more curious, artistic and creative side.
Amy Winehouse, you might say is a more recent victim of her own creativity to mention one recent example but many creative casualties litter the streets, boardwalks, viae and boulevards of the growing Global Artists Village from Tin Pan Alley to Tinseltown, the Montmartre to Greenwich Village, from the Fiumicino Commune in Rome to the Veles in Macedonia. For example characters as diverse as Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, Amadeus Mozart, Jim Morrison, Aubrey Beardsley, Michelangelo Caravaggio and of course even Elvis Presley himself have become virtually clichéd by the nature of their early demise and beside the many other creative casualties that litter histories artists garrisons and billets where creative excess has contributed to disastrous and premature fatalities.
The sad loss of Amy, paradoxically threw into contrast the fairly lean period of such pop celebrity disaster that we had seen in recent years compared to the rock-star binge of the sixties, seventies and even eighties where we may revisit and collect creative names such as Brian Jones, Keith Moon, Phil Lynnot, Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, Marvin Gaye … , … , and so on and so on. Their deaths all tell a similar tale of burn-out or being as kind as one needs be at least of living life to the fullest. Performers and artists of more recent years had seemed to avoid the pitfalls and ship-wreck boulders to live and die in more normal circumstances and then came Jacko’ and Amy and we are again left to wondering, why the creative need to sail so close to the wind?
‘The Personal LIfe Is Over’
There is a great line in David Lean’s ‘Dr Zhivago’ movie where Tom Courtney’s character, Pavel Pavlovich or ‘Pasha’, by now a leading light in the Bolshevik party, announces to Zhivago, himself a poet and writer, that ‘the personal life is over’. I often wonder on hearing that particular Bolshevik mantra, whether that is not the reason that the communist ideal mistrusts individual creative freedom per se. On the grounds that it can lead to such personal indiscipline, breakdown and subsequent self annihilation. Can the creative mind cope with its own inspired power surges or is it truly and simply that few have the necessary ‘bottle’ to handle popularity and what has been tagged euphemistically ‘the price of fame’. They consequently drift into excessive lifestyles that may lead with a certain inevitability to tragic conclusions.
The Bolsheviks hoped to organise us all
Writers themselves must tread a solitary path to construct their particular art or craft which is at least as daring a route as any actor who by imagination or ‘method’ usurps the will and persona of another to portray a part either on-screen or on stage. Arguably the actors course is less fraught, due to the obvious attention they receive from fellow actors and production directors. People are generally confirmed in their professional labour by those they work with and the social exchange that simple communication and rapport with others brings.
Is it not surprising that there are not more casualties in the unofficial Writers Guild as these silent travellers must journey with stealth and discipline through imaginary landscapes and human-scapes most often unaccompanied, uncounselled and even more worryingly, unpaid? They wrestle foes and encounter trauma and problems from within and the widest sources imaginable as they construct schizophrenic multiple novel personalities or delve deep into history, fact, fiction and biographic detail to investigate societies heroes or villains. After all this they must still continue to build ordered, interesting and engaging literature or prose with virtually no feed-back or exchange.
For the writer assaulted by the demon block there is not even the opportunity to piggyback on the creative skills of fellow performers because the only sounds he gets as he goes about his task is the rhythmic tip – tack of his keyboard and maybe the muffled ghost perhaps of an i-pod?
Well indeed, the Bolsheviks spoke, when they proposed, that ‘the personal life is over’, for whichever way you ‘cut’ it. For the mute members of the unofficial Writers Guild every shared observation, every witty or frank remark, every revealing or sensual phrase announces to the whole potential world outside their own private, if not lonely, then ‘alone’ status that yes, indeed their personal life is, sort of ‘over’.
Other reading :
The AMAZING … BRILLIANT and WONDERFULLY CREATIVE ~ AMY WINEHOUSE … WARNING : GENIUS AT WORK !!!