Monday, March 27, 2006

when I struggle for words...

I got some writing done today, but not enough, and the quality of the prose leaves much to be desired. On days like these, when I struggle for words and writing becomes frustrating and onerous, I tend to re-read passages that have stayed with me over the years. One of my favorite pieces of writing is an essay called Television Melodrama by David Thorburn, and one passage in particular always makes me pause. I read the passage a few times, ponder how some authors express so well what we often deem ineffable, and then return to my writing, reinvigorated. Here it is (the second sentence is my favorite):

"In order to understand television drama, and in order to find authentic standards for judging it as art, we must learn to recognize and to value the discipline, energy, and intelligence that must be expended by the actor who succeeds in creating what we too casually call a truthful or believable performance.

What happens when an actor's performance arouses our latent faculties of imaginative sympathy and moral judgment, when he causes us to acknowledge that what he is doing is true to the tangled potency of real experience, not simply impressive or clever, but true - what happens then is art."


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