Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Midwifery

I mentioned a post or so back that I dreamed I was pregnant. By coincidence, a friend of mine also dreamed he was pregnant, and that I was his midwife. A kind of bitchy midwife, actually, who kept suggesting he get rid of “it” or at least not get his hopes up too much. I looked like I did in college, meaning dyed black hair, pierced nose, salvation army clothes – exactly what you look for in a midwife.

It’s not often you get to play someone else’s Superego, for I’m sure that’s what I was – the great squelcher. I’ve got enough Superego for two, so it’s no surprise the overflow migrated into my friends psyche. My friend has an overabundance of id (S., you know it’s true), so I may have a salutary effect.

Dear S is very creative, and like many creative people, he is in Hollywood getting paid very little. He was approached to write a screen play that was, let us say, very different from any he has ever attempted. As if, for example, instead of Gods and Monsters you got to write American Pie. I would like to see it produced no matter what, but he has many screen plays that should have gone before, ones that would be a true expression of his vision. Perhaps that is why I am the voice telling him to abort, even at the last minute. For whatever reason, I am the person his mind chose to be the scold.

And, really, I suppose that I am a bit like that. I have been dismayed at some of the decisions he has made, and I often wish I could eradicate some of his more dissipated habits. They make for entertaining stories, but I don’t think he needs to be quite so Arthur Rimbaud-ish about it.

S and I were friends in college. We worked together on the literary magazine. We spent a lot of time talking about books and a lot of time in nightclubs in less than our right minds. He wrote plays and poetry. I thought he was the most talented person I knew, always self-confident and very ambitious, with dozens of friends and a boatload of charm.

S. and I both adore the book Brideshead Revisited. He even has a cat named Aloysius. Sometimes I feel that I am Charles Ryder to his Sebastian Flyte. I’m the disillusioned, misguided and rather dull artist who never lives up to his talent, and he is the charming, dazzling, self-destructive libertine. I doubt he would ever end up in a monastery, though, and really, there is a core of pure steel in him. Somehow he breezes through incidents that would have killed me and then serves them up with wit and style.

So, S., I’m not quite sure what you’ve given birth to, or if it will live and thrive. Just keep writing. And a little less Jaegermeister, please. It’s bad for the baby.


  1. This was a great piece of writing. If his screenplay is half this good it'll do fine.

  2. Here's hoping the screen play moves beyond his desk to someone else with a similar vision and the means to bring it to life.

  3. JP: You are a sweetie. Thanks for boosting my morale.

    Mompriest: He deserves success, although I know Hollywood eats its young.

  4. What's all this about not living up to your talent? Scuse me if this is too harsh, but you remind me of an anorexic who thinks she's fat. I don't know you at all, but on this blog you're doing fantastic work, are you just never good enough for yourself?

  5. C: I think you're right - I'm never good enough for myself. And despite all my counter-cultural protests to the contrary, I still tend to measure success in terms of worldy success and ambition.