The basis of drama is... the struggle of the hero towards a specific goal at the end of which he realises that what kept him from it was, in the lesser drama, civilisation and, in the great drama, the discovery of something that he did not set out to discover but which can be seen retrospectively as inevitable.
Often, particularly towards the end of the process, I think of myself less as a theatre director and more as someone who just directs the traffic. My job is to move the ideas and bits of the show into the places where they work best. Sometimes my job is also to say, 'No.'
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When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.
The weird thing is that working within an established story was actually kind of liberating. You know the beginning and middle and end, more or less, so there's less pressure to figure all that out.
On my job I end up jumping out of planes. Last week I got in an 18-wheeler and drove down a runway onto a skid track. The week before that they put me in a car and sunk me to the bottom of a lake to see if I could escape without an oxygen tank.
When you start writing a picture book, you have to write a manuscript that has enough language to prompt the illustrator to get his or her gears running, but then you end up having to cut it out because you don't want any of the language to be redundant to the pictures that are being drawn.
By the end of an intense four years at UCLA, I had co-authored a new math proof, which the media, in fact, loved. As it turned out, math itself blazed my entry back into the spotlight and consequently into wonderful acting jobs like 'The West Wing' and others. You just never know, do you?
So somebody told me that if I wasn't a coffee drinker yet, by the end of college I'd have to be, because a math major is so tough I would have to stay up very late. I was going to need coffee to do that. Well, merely because they said that, I never drank coffee in college, never got addicted to it, never needed it.
Darwin gives courage to the rest of science that we shall end up understanding literally everything, springing from almost nothing - a thought extremely hard to comprehend and believe.
I often will write a scene from three different points of view to find out which has the most tension and which way I'm able to conceal the information I'm trying to conceal. And that is, at the end of the day, what writing suspense is all about.
Faith is a continuum, and we each fall on that line where we may. By attempting to rigidly classify ethereal concepts like faith, we end up debating semantics to the point where we entirely miss the obvious - that is, that we are all trying to decipher life's big mysteries, and we're each following our own paths of enlightenment.
I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it's better than college. People should educate themselves - you can get a complete education for no money. At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I'd written a thousand stories.
I've run into people in my life who were so dramatic; people who are so extreme and so frustrating to be around that you end up thinking about them and talking about them for literally years after your experience with them is over. I've had that happen to me, and I've seen it happen to other people. I find it fascinating.
A non-fiction writer pretty much has the shape of the figure in front of him or her and goes about refining it. A work of non-fiction is not as difficult to write as a work of fiction, but it's not as satisfying in the end.
There have been hours in my unhappy life, many of them, when the contemplation of death as the end of earthly sorrow - of the grave as a resting place for the tired and worn out body - has been pleasant to dwell upon.
I am making this statement as an act of wilful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.
When I first encountered the name of the city of Stockholm, I little thought that I would ever visit it, never mind end up being welcomed to it as a guest of the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Foundation.
'Presumed Innocent' was written over a six to seven year period with intervals in between where I was figuring out the end of the book and writing other stuff... My life as a writer was carried on against the odds. I had written four unpublished novels by then... as a writer of fiction, I hadn't gotten very far. I just wanted to do it.
Because I spend so much time traveling, I tend to do most of my reading on the same iPad on which I write. For me, it's words, not paper, that matter most in the end. This practice has had the additional benefit of greatly reducing the time I spend storming through the house, defaming the mysterious forces who 'hid my book.'
Just under the surface I shall be, all together at first, then separate and drift, through all the earth and perhaps in the end through a cliff into the sea, something of me. A ton of worms in an acre, that is a wonderful thought, a ton of worms, I believe it.
Film acting is really the trick of doing moments. You rarely do a take that lasts more than 20 seconds. You really earn your spurs acting onstage. I needed to do that for myself. I would hate to say at the end of everything that I never did a stage play.
The accidents of my life have given me the ability to make stories in which different parts of the world are brought together, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict, and sometimes both - usually both. The difficulty in these stories is that if you write about everywhere you can end up writing about nowhere.
Listen, global warming is a real problem, but it' s not the end of the world. A 30-centimetre sea level rise is just not going to bring the world to a standstill, just like it didn't over the last 150 years.
My poems tend to have rhetorical structures; what I mean by that is they tend to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. There tends to be an opening, as if you were reading the opening chapter of a novel. They sound like I'm initiating something, or I'm making a move.
If an artist is driven primarily by social responsibility, I think the art probably suffers because, again, just as leadership has a rather defined end point or purpose, social responsibility would seem to have a very clear moral context.
Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.
Looking back, fire images have been constant in my poetry. As a boy, it was my job to light the fire each morning, and I remember the celebratory bonfires at the end of the war. It was from staring into fire that I began my first poetry.
By the 1950s The Novel had become a nationwide tournament. There was a magical assumption that the end of World War II in 1945 was the dawn of a new golden age of the American Novel, like the Hemingway-Dos Passos-Fitzgerald era after World War I.
I used to enjoy using dots where they would be least expected, not at the end of a sentence but in the middle, creating the effect... of a skipped beat. It seemed to me the mind reacted - first!... in dots, dashes, and exclamation points, then rationalized, drew up a brief, with periods.
To wrap up the idea of 'Parade's End' in a sentence or two, I would say it's a love story in which we see a man with two women, and we know what's attractive about them. And we know why and what they feel about him.
Like many people, I only knew of Ford Madox Ford through a book called 'The Good Soldier,' which is everybody's favorite Ford Madox Ford if they have one, but I came to read 'Parade's End' when it was suggested via Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen.
You end up going to school plays quite a bit as a parent, there are a lot of kids who are doing the job as well as they can, but there's always one or two who seem much more at home in the world of impersonation.
I don't see myself racing at 50 years old. I enjoy racing, and that has been my whole life. But one day I will take time to look at other things. I know that everything has an end date, even life, and I also have a family and there are other things to enjoy than trying to be first into the corner and fastest out.
In the day-to-day, farm work is stress relief for me. At the end of the day, I love having this other career - my anti-job - that keeps me in shape and gives me control over a vegetal domain.
For Sarah Palin, the least experienced on the world stage, the stress of maintaining the fiction that she was qualified to be vice president sent her over the deep end almost immediately. She went off on a ferocious spending spree that might have killed a lesser woman. Katie Couric's straightforward questions unraveled her.
I once wrote a short story called 'The Best Blues Singer in the World,' and it went like this: 'The streets that Balboa walked were his own private ocean, and Balboa was drowning.' End of story. That says it all. Nothing else to say. I've been rewriting that same story over and over again. All my plays are rewriting that same story.
Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means.
Then I despair... I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it always.
There is this myth, that America is a melting pot, but what happens in assimilation is that we end up deliberately choosing the American things - hot dogs and apple pie - and ignoring the Chinese offerings.
Nobody ever predicted, a week before President Sadat came to Jerusalem in 1977, that his arrival would be the beginning of a peace process that would end up in an - unhappy - Israeli-Egyptian peace. We have seen peace with Egypt. We have seen peace with Jordan. We have seen the handshake between Rabin and Arafat - things are possible.
If we don't stop somewhere, if we don't accept an unhappy compromise, unhappy for both sides, if we don't learn how to unhappily coexist and contain our burned sense of injustice - if we don't learn how to do that, we end up in a doomed state.
Religion did not exist for the saving of souls but for the preservation and welfare of society, and in all that was necessary to this end every man had to take his part, or break with the domestic and political community to which he belonged.
I've often made revisions at that stage that turned out to be mistakes because I wasn't really in the rhythm of the story anymore. I see a little bit of writing that doesn't seem to be doing as much work as it should be doing, and right at the end, I will sort of rev it up. But when I finally read the story again, it seems a bit obtrusive.
It was inevitable that in doing this I should arrive at new results, and it is perhaps understandable that in the end I have felt impelled to present these results not only in the dry form of a catalogue, but also in a more connected and personal one.
A painter, who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art.
The Holocaust is a central event in many people's lives, but it also has become a metaphor for our century. There cannot be an end to speaking and writing about it. Besides, in Israel, everyone carries a biography deep inside him.
In the end, nature is inexorable: it has no reason to hurry and, sooner or later, it takes what belongs to it. Unconsciously and inflexibly obedient to its own laws, it doesn't know art, just as it doesn't know freedom, just as it doesn't know goodness.
I was born in ancient times, at the end of the world, in a patriarchal Catholic and conservative family. No wonder that by age five I was a raging feminist - although the term had not reached Chile yet, so nobody knew what the heck was wrong with me.
It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.