[#Reverb10] Dec. 16 & 17

#Reverb10 is a movement to encourage folks to tackle a daily prompt with the intent of reflecting on their year. If you’d like to get involved, it’s not too late! You can backtrack to previous prompts or simply jump in where you are. If you’re interested, you can see all my #reverb10 posts here.


Dec. 16: Friendship: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

Interacting with friends from all different walks of life has convinced me that, in general, things would go a lot better if we’d all just chill out a little. I’ve always had a tendency to play peacemaker, and I think that’s what allows me to move between groups with relative ease.  I count conservative Christians, staunch atheists, and cynical agnostics, and folks of all manner of political leanings among my circle of very good friends, and I think they all have very good points at different times.  Ideologies aside, I think they’re all brilliant in their own varying ways, and I feel very lucky to know them all.

The change has been gradual, as I went from being very involved in one of those groups to not being involved in any of them other than as a sort of curious bystander.  There’s nothing novel about what I’m saying here, but I’ll say it anyway.  We can learn a lot from one another if we stop trying to convince everyone that Our Way Is the Best/Only Way and instead actually listen and try to understand the other Ways, not as threats, but simply as extensions of how we are collectively trying to do this thing called Being Human.

Dec. 17: Lesson Learned: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)

When I’ve got a potentially big moment coming my way, I have a tendency to run through every single way I think it could go, and I mentally create little scripts for myself for each situation. I even rehearse sometimes. Sometimes this is fun, and sometimes it stresses me the heck out.

I suppose this is sort of the way of a writer, especially a screenwriter, as we spend so many of our hours envisioning coherent, arcing, beat-style scenes. (Or at least that’s the defense I’m using instead of, “Sorry, I’m just neurotic like that.)

Scenes in movies are supposed to work on an independent level as well as link in a meaningful way to what’s come before and what’s to come after.  As the creator of these scenes in a script, you have the advantage of knowing the before and after (unless you’re a pantser, but that’s a different post), as well as the ability to control how everyone thinks, acts and speaks.

But the problem with life is, you can only control yourself, and sometimes we even fail at that.  I can script a conversation a hundred different ways in my head, but the second the person I’m interacting with goes off-script, I’m done for. I’ve got no idea what comes next. I don’t know what I should do or say to keep the scene flowing.  And what happens is any iota of wit or charm I had going for me disappears, and the best I can hope for is to be amusing in a pitiful sort of way.

What lesson have I learned from this? I’m a little embarrassed to admit it’s one I’ve learned before, but I have a feeling it’s going to be one I have to learn over and over again periodically for the rest of my life. Anyway, lesson is, don’t script my life. When I enter a situation without a script, I do fine — and often better. So, just relax, show up, be present, and see what happens. Save the scripting for, you know, actual scripts.

3 thoughts on “[#Reverb10] Dec. 16 & 17

    • Exactly. See, if I try to go from scripted to improve mid-conversation, I fail totally and completely. But if I go in with no script, I can usually improv all right after a little warm-up at least.

  1. Pingback: 2010: My Year in Review « Elizabethan Theatre

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