Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's the Craft that Unites Us

It always amazes me how a group of strangers can meet in a classroom, or the back room at Starbucks, and these strangers can become unified in spite of their social, economic, religious, sexual, and political differences.  They enter the room as strangers, but leave the room with one binding commonality.  They are writers.

I'm taking another writing class and actually had the opportunity to attend two different classes this week.  I met about fifteen new writers in the past two days.  A lay person might say, "Great, you met a bunch of nerds."  And that might be true, we writers do tend to be nerds, but we understand each other. The way I look at it is, "Great, I met fifteen more people who are like me." They aren't just like me, of course, (and no one wants that) but we all relate when one person in the room describes the writing exercise as "like therapy."  You can tell by the nods around the room resembling a bobble headed dog sitting on the dash of your car.

I had this same type bonding experience recently with some actors as we were doing a play.  Beyond all of our differences, we all understood character motivation, working with other actors, building the "craft" of acting.  We understand each other in a common language.

Unlike acting, writing tends to be a solitary life.  There is no audience to feed off, or other actors to play against as you're plugging through a rough scene, or tightening dialogue.  It's the writer and his or her keyboard.  When he has a chance to share his experience with other writers, he jumps at the chance.  If for no other reason, to feel less the lone wolf.

Being around actors or writers accomplish the same thing for me.  They make me want to be better at my craft.  Whichever craft I choose.  Acting is a lot of fun, but it's writing that feeds me and makes me feel whole.  It is what makes me who I am.

I am a writer.