The Heart Is a Pump

daelan 4-10-19

Daelan, March 31, 2019 —

I like what Terence McNally says about creating character through dialogue. His “heart” trope further in the interview, however, is hackneyed. I hope writers who survive this “age of calamity” find a new way to talk about courage, tolerance, empathy, affection, and zest for life — something that for me is glimpsed in this newborn’s face.

I realized very early that my descriptive powers — what a room looked like, what a person looked like — were scant. But I could write credible dialogue. And my characters sounded different from one another. I could define them better by how they spoke than by telling you how they looked… I decided if I really wanted to be a writer, I’d better focus on theater.

I’m working in an age of calamity, but also in an age of great progressive things happening, too… I think what’s required is an openness to them… These are tumultuous, rich times for a writer. All you need is ears and a heart.

My advice to artists is the same as I’d give to someone who wanted to be a better dentist or a better lawyer. Show up, listen, let your heart expand.

(Philip Galanes, “A Conversation With Terence McNally, the Bard of American Theater,” NYTimes, 4-10-19)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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