THE WRITERS GUILD OR A COLLECTION OF FAILED BOLSHEVIKS’ COMMUNITY – AN ESSAY
Originally written and posted ~ 3rd. March, 2012 – Edited and re-posted 15th. January, 2020 as part of an Edenbray Retrospective
The Writers Guild or A Collection of Failed Bolsheviks Community ~ AN ESSAY
– a personal opinion
Writing, painting, sculpting, the performing arts, whether as singers, actors, dancers, footballers, poets or magicians, indeed any kind of creativity in any way – even f—–g or needlepoint, knitting or cooking, concerning anybody creative … but maybe not stamp-collecting ?!
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The creative pursuits all have an addictive intensity to them. Whether we may assume that being artistically creative is harmfully addictive or not, there is no doubting that the creative pursuits build up a certain head of steam – a passion, a consuming fire in the belly that if married to any kind of personal obsession or substance dependency, whether benign, active or acute, can produce a detrimental ‘trojan horse’ within the mind or soul of the creative personality. This veritable molotov cocktail may internally combust and consume the individual from the inside out. A raging forest fire, that once alight can eat out the very soul of an individual … or do I exaggerate? … but hey, let’s not run ahead!
The creative mind has always been susceptible to excess. The truly ‘artistic’ are inclined to frequent those unoccupied zones between the acceptable ‘norm’ and the unknown. They explore the very boundaries of freedom. The writer and the artist can easily become voyeurs, either through their own imagination or as daring inquirers seeking informed, first-hand reference.
They may originally travel to places they would not necessarily have visited in their regular lives, to push and press against the borders of the established order or at very least the current and accepted status quo in any particular field of experience or expertise. They may easily become explorers, pioneers and social scientists in pursuit of personal, artistic professionalism or to fulfil their writers journalistic credibility. Traversing this realm of uncertainty they become vulnerable to excess in their private lives through the ‘open’ window of opportunity that affords the open or creative mind. In other words, they may discover temptation more easily and once discovered and the threshold crossed, may participate more frequently and with greater relish and abandonment.
This pursuit of creative excellence has produced many casualties throughout history and it is relatively easy to index and identify many popularised, tragic identities within our own 20th and 21st century arena among those working in the teeming delta of the performing arts and creative disciplines. Artists, painters, writers, poets and performers have often fallen prey to personal weakness while attempting to answer the call of their more curious, artistic, creative and in consequence – vulnerable side.
The wonderfully creative personality that was Amy Winehouse
Does Anyone Actually Value Experience Anymore?
Amy Winehouse, you might say is a more recent victim of her own creativity to mention only one recent example but many creative casualties litter the streets, boardwalks, viae and boulevards of the growing Global Artists Village from Tin Pan Alley to Tinseltown, the Montmartre to Greenwich Village, from the Fiumicino Commune in Rome to the Veles in Macedonia.
For example characters as diverse as Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, Amadeus Mozart, Jim Morrison, Aubrey Beardsley, Michelangelo Caravaggio and of course even Elvis Presley have become virtually clichéd by the nature of their early demise and those are few, besides the many other less famous creative casualties that litter history’s artists garrisons and billets where creative excess has contributed to disastrous and premature breakdown and fatalities.
The sad loss of Amy, paradoxically threw into contrast the fairly lean period of such ‘pop’ celebrity disaster that we have observed in more recent years, compared to that rock-star binge of the sixties, seventies and even eighties that we may revisit and collect creative names from like Panini stickers. Names such as Brian Jones, Keith Moon, Phil Lynnot, Sid Vicious, George Best, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, Marvin Gaye … , … , and so on and so on and so on who all met untimely deaths and all tell a similar tale of ‘burn-out’ or while being as kind as one can be – at least of those who lived life to ‘it’s fullest’.
Performers and artists of more recent years had seemed to avoid the pitfalls and ship-wreck boulders of the past to live and die in more normal circumstances but then along came Jacko’, Amy and later George Michael and we are again left to wondering, why does the creative artist need to sail so close to the wind?
‘The Personal Life ~ Is It Over?’
There is a very quotable line in the David Lean epic movie ‘Dr Zhivago’ where Tom Courtney’s character, Pavel Pavlovich or ‘Pasha’, who is by now a leading light in the Bolshevik party when he announces to Zhivago, himself a poet and writer, that ‘the personal life is over’.
I often wonder on hearing that particular Bolshevik mantra, whether that is the reason that the communist ideal mistrusts individual creative freedom per se. On the grounds, that it can lead to such personal indiscipline, breakdown and subsequent self annihilation. Can the creative mind cope alone with those inspired, power surges of creativity or is it simply that few have the necessary ‘bottle’ to handle ‘popular’ popularity and what has been tagged somehow euphemistically ‘the price of fame’.
Artistic and creative minds, unfettered by the usual lines of control, can career on, rudderless, without navigation and almost inevitably they appear to drift so often into an excessive lifestyle that can only lead to tragic conclusions.
The Bolsheviks hoped to organise us all
Writers themselves must tread a solitary path to construct their particular art or craft which is at least as daring a route as any actor who by imagination or ‘method’ usurps the will and persona of another to portray a part either on-screen or on stage. Arguably the actors course is less fraught, due to the obvious attention they receive from fellow actors and production directors. People are generally confirmed in their professional labour by those they work with and the social exchange that simple communication and rapport with others brings.
Is it not surprising that there are not more casualties in the unofficial Writers Guild – that strange unseen world of reporters, journalists and novelists, those silent travellers who must journey with stealth and discipline through often imaginary landscapes and human-scapes, often unaccompanied, un-counselled and even more worryingly, unpaid? They wrestle foes and encounter trauma and problems from without and within and the widest sources imaginable as they construct schizophrenic multiple novel personalities or delve deep into history’s darkest facts, fiction and biographic detail to investigate both societies heroes and villains. After all this, they must still continue to build ordered, interesting and engaging literature or possibly prose with virtually no feed-back or exchange.
For the writer, assaulted by the demon ‘block’ and possibly a pile of bills on the mat or unopened in their e-mail folder, there is not even the opportunity to piggyback on the creative skills of fellow performers as the only sounds they get as they go about their task, is the rhythmic tip–tack of their laptop keyboard?
Well indeed, the Bolsheviks spoke, when they proposed, that ‘the personal life is over’, whichever way you ‘cut’ it. For the mute members of the unofficial Writers Guild every shared observation, every witty or frank remark, every revealing or sensual phrase announces to the whole potential world outside their own private, if not lonely, then ‘alone’ status that yes, indeed for the writer ‘the personal life’ is indeed ‘kind of over’.
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Other reading :
The AMAZING … BRILLIANT and WONDERFULLY CREATIVE ~ AMY WINEHOUSE … WARNING : GENIUS AT WORK !!!
– how we miss her and her like – who died too soon!