Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Title

The title of this blog comes from advice David Mamet gave his daughter Zosia about acting: hit your mark, look the other person in the eye, and tell the truth. (At least this is the paraphrased memory of it I have from seeing Zosia Mamet interviewed on one of the late night talk shows).

            In the last few years I’ve written a lot about art’s function[1], and find it hard to continue in that vein, though it is an important subject to me. But there seems to be no way to write simply and clearly what art should do; any attempt at clarity seems prescriptive and limiting and in fact its success may end the whole conversation. So instead I want to try to write about smaller things, things that are on the periphery of that conversation but are not meant to be definitive.

            Mamet’s advice seemed, as soon as I heard it, perfect for any artist, and applies to writing this way: you get the perspective right, then you look where you are supposed to look, and be honest. Quite simple in theory. Difficult, really.

[1] Only two essays were published, mind you. They were editorials for the first two issues of Ryga: A Journal of Provocations.

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