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No, YOU Tell It! is a great "switched-up storytelling" event that I came to by way of my participation in Liars' League NYC a few months ago. It combines the experiences of storytelling and story-writing in interesting work, providing a venue not only for hearing your words performed by someone else, but one in which you workshop those words with your fellow performers, a couple of directors, and the NYTI organizers. Accordingly, for the past few weeks I've met with a group of collaborators to hammer out my written contribution to the evening. It's been an ideal situation in which to work on something I generally try to avoid - revision.
But how much revision can possibly be required of a personal narrative, in which the events are all a matter of historical record? I thought gamely to myself, imagining perhaps that I was getting away with a kind of self-congratulatory "discipline." Turns out:
I believe you cannot call yourself a writer if you don't thoroughly revise. Part of the beauty of writing is that one has absolute control, and can benefit from applying perspective broadened by almost limitless time and objectivity to a single moment of the audience's experience. So why do I avoid it? Frankly, it's painful. I've known writers who enjoy the process, who in fact struggle through the blank page and cranking out letter after letter just in the hopes of reaching the stage of the chisel. All they want is to refine, and cut away the excess. Weirdos.
Every error stings. Without getting too analytical: I think my pain has something to do with a need to be right, smart, and - as you might be inclined to infer - right smart. It is an indubitable personal flaw. Particularly when coupled with my propensity for excessive verbiage and high-falutin' vocabulary. And is it not truly intelligent to apply attention to turning out a finished and considered product? Ah, well. I am an convoluted conundrum wrapped in a non-redacted riddle.
I viewed this No, You Tell It! experience as a unique opportunity to challenge the pain and 1) write a first draft heedless of polish, and 2) revise it, cut it and "kill my darlings" all to heck-and-back. I even revised my website in the process, which was long overdue, and may soon be moving this here 'blog over to there. Consolidation is
But I had somehow to mitigate the pain of censoring my unbound, inspired genius (IRONY). So I collected the longer or more inspired cuts (read: I hoarded every last deletion) and will present one daily - without any particular context - leading up to next Monday's premiere of my personal narrative: Lost Track. And so, without further ado, I present to you the first in a series of excerpts not good enough for a final product:
"Theatre, you know, is widely considered to be behind-the-times. But it takes a particular appreciation to specialize in a form of theatre that had its heyday in fourteenth-century Italy. That means that when people ask you what you do, you not only have to hope they accept your willingness to invest time and energy into a medium that pays nothing and nobody seems to especially want around, but A SUBSET OF that medium that seems for all intents and purposes to be dead and gone."No, YOU Tell It! - "Outdated" takes place 7:00 pm Monday, April 22nd, at Jimmy's 43, and requires no ticket, nor reservation (though you may have plenty after reading this). It fills up quick, and the bar is crowded so...you know.