I felt I should reflect on the Mamet interview excerpt from a few days ago, so here it goes.
Maybe it’s part of being a self-described over analyzer and a bit neurotic – but I do wonder sometimes if choosing to be a playwright is self-indulgent. Especially choosing a career that has an incredibly long, arduous gestation time. If there ever really is one. Am I really adding value to the world by writing plays? If my plays were these masterworks of the literary canon, then I could be certain I was helping humanity in all my hours spent at my laptop because certainly – great art changes the world. But what if they’re just mediocre? Would my time be better spent volunteering and helping the world? I’m good with the elderly and children – should I just expend on job hunting efforts in these directions?
So, that Mamet quote resonated for me – when the interviewer basically asked him if creating theater was really just an adult form of “play.” Which reminded me of my concerns that writing was indulgent. And, it was encouraging to hear Mamet say that it’s about a spiritual quest. Which in essence, is how I feel about it. More and more, the hour or so I spend writing daily has become a meditation and soothing ritual of sorts.
Even if my plays aren’t changing peoples lives – they are forcing me to dig deep and ask big questions – and I think the simple act of questing and searching makes for better people, and people who are open to other ways of looking at the world. The act of wanting to know things about the world, questioning our humanity and not blindly accepting things – that makes for a better, richer kind of human being.
It’s something that I suppose you can’t think much about without getting tangled in your own head, and there’s never really a solid answer.