Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cranky no more

For almost ten years, I sat in this same chair in this cafe, writing my opinions for the Star Tribune.

In those days, I never ran short of criticism.

Trained by cranky immigrant Swedes, I grew up watching the world with a wary eye.

When I needed to write social criticism, I had little difficulty.

Inconsistencies were everywhere.  Lies, failures, shortcomings, and the ever-present flaws of humanity were ready for the picking.  I sat in this little chair and cherry-plucked from the vast and infinite flaws of my little world.

Today, I sit in the same little chair in the same little cafe.  I'm sure I'm wearing the same jeans, same sweater I wore fifteen years ago.

What I see, however, is far different from what I saw in those early days.

Art changes everything

Today, my world has no edges.  All the sharp contrasts from the past - the things that inspired me to  charge into righteous indignation - are muted into common effort.

Writing for the theater changed me from a comely curmudgeon to a near-obnoxious optimist. 

Instead of aligning myself with the great, ink-stained wretches of my former career and calling, I align with the bright, careless, lovely and lonely beauties and freaks who affiliate with the stage.

The beautiful people of theatre

When I pick up my pen, I think of the young, beautiful, globe-trotting actor  known for her scarves; so much, her friends assume that every lost piece of cloth belongs to her.

I think of the playwright who can only pen what she knows through her long experience as an actor.  She writes for those who deliver the goods - and not those who review them.

I think of the director who only works with young people; not because he enjoys them - quite the opposite.  He works with the young because if he didn't do so, no one would.  And he understands the importance of creativity.

These, and others, came into my life when I stopped criticizing.

And when I started creating.

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