There are few things that seem more self-indulgent or more self-aggrandizing to me than an actor talking about the process of acting, or a writer talking about the process of writing. When creative folk peel back the layers to explain how they arrived at the finished product, it’s like that moment in The Wizard of Oz when Toto exposes the wizard as “that man behind the curtain.” What a letdown. I didn’t want to know.
Yet here I am, being self-indulgent. Peeling back a layer.
Well, sort of.
Not that I am asked to speak at a lot of gatherings, but when I am, the question that gets asked most often is where I get my ideas for plays and novels. And, as a rule, inspiration comes knocking when I least expect it. Ideas tend to be most elusive when I am actively searching for them, and when I do find one this way, it generally turns out to suck, big time.
It’s the random ones that lead to something interesting… More than once, I’ve been someplace, idly listening to a conversation that was none of my business, and overheard one person ask another a question. The second person responds, but at that point, I stop listening. Instead, I wind up thinking, “Hmm… what if he/she had answered that question differently..?” And my imagination is off and running.
So that’s me as a writer… plagiarizing other people’s thoughts for my own selfish gain. I ought to be ashamed. I ought to change my ways. But I’m not going to.
So be careful what you say around me. It could wind up in a book or a play someplace.