Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

You are standing in a dimly lit hallway. Around you rise the screams of the undead.

insomnia

Last night I was afflicted with the first case of genuine insomnia that I’ve experienced in a long time, brought on, I am sure, by a truly terrible set of dietary choices. I lay down in bed and felt my heart pounding in a very scary way, as if it was filled with old motor oil, and I found myself subconsciously afraid that to go to sleep might be never to awaken again. Instead, I sat up until 3:30 am watching the film Kinsey and thinking about the logistics of my next full-length playwriting project.

(At this time, I will say only that this project is to be an adaptation of one of my favorite novels, and that it will be my first attempt at such large-scale adaptation. I spent a few hours last night creating dialogue where none had previously existed in the narrative, in the service of cutting out exposition; finally cutting a path with the mind’s machete to the clearing where the author’s dialogue can simply be cribbed almost wholesale. This will be a very interesting experiment for me…I believe very firmly that this work has recently become more relevant than ever, and that it will make very engaging theater if executed properly. I am already aware that I will have to change the ending somewhat, but other than that, it’s both refreshing and a little scary to already have the basic plot points laid out before me, waiting to be translated.)

Anyway. The insomnia. I sat up watching Kinsey, which was a fascinating film less for the portrayal of Dr. Kinsey’s work itself than it was for the incredible ignorance that he was up against in terms of human sexual awareness. It amazes me that everything we currently know about sexual behavior was not only avoided, but outright incorrect, just over a half-century ago. I took Psych-101; I do remember being told about the evolution of the DSM-IV and the myriad of old wives’ tales that used to be taken at face value, but these remained abstract until I saw actors speaking these misconceptions out loud, with utter seriousness.

I understand that Bill Condon’s film was picketed upon its theatrical release, that there are still people who look upon Kinsey as having opened doors that were never meant to be opened. We stand amidst people who wander around in the darkness and proclaim that they have seen the light. Perhaps so many don’t believe in evolution because they don’t see evidence of humanity actually evolving.

My brother recently posed the following hypothetical to his blog readers (paraphrased):

If you had a time machine that could only work twice before shutting down, how would you use it? You could go to the past and back, the future and back, the past and then further into the past, etcetera…but you would only get to use it twice, and then you’re stuck where you land.

All answers to this question are subject to your own personal theories of time travel–you could travel in a Quantum Leap fashion, where you had the power to change things, or the 12 Monkeys fashion, where you could but observe, or perhaps even the Reed Richards theory, where every jump in the timestream creates an alternate timeline which is affected by your actions, while the time you came from remains exactly the same.

I replied that I would go into the future maybe no more than a hundred years, just to see if there’s really any reason for me to be worried right now. I would either return, satisfied with the knowledge that no matter how much civilization seemed to list to starboard under the ballast and unrelenting wind of itself, at some point the skies would clear, the sun would return, and all able-bodied crew members would finally right the ship.

Or, I’d come back with the horror of watching the world capsize, and having to decide if there was any hope to bail the water out, or to simply grab a lifeboat and drift away, hoping at the very least to find a deserted island where one could live in peace, if not necessarily happiness.

(Yes, the ocean metaphor went on and on like this. It was 3:30 am.)

Considering that the intended culmination of the evening had been the closing credits of Kung Fu Hustle–an entertaining flick, but not nearly the crowd-pleaser as auteur Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer–everything seemed to get very heavy while my eyelids remained light. Time may be gravity, of sorts, growing stronger the closer one gets to the center of night. Or the mind may simply stand outside itself, looking at the exhausted form, and wondering if it is its own hallucination.

Yeah. I’m still tired.

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2005 by in Critique, Mental Health, Movies, Plays, Politics, Society, Theatre, Writing.
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