Everyone's asleep except me. And you.

What the Art is For (Not)

Sometimes, people tell me I should find an illustrator and pair these sketches up with Klee-like line drawings and publish a book.

I’m flattered. Even a little proud.

Then my mind runs: Yeah, I think, I could make a living off this reflected life.

And pretty soon I’m on talk shows and podcasts and taking Hollywood meeting and my life is full of airplanes and foreign cities and breathless importance.

No, really, this happens in my head.


But I know better. I know if I even think it possible, if the thought that it will need to meet the expectations of others (anyone), to satisfy their purchase, another thing will creep in. And the value I think they need to get out of it will pollute the value it brings to me to get it out where I can see it plain as a diagram on a whiteboard.

This is why, when I think of all the plays and screenplays I wrote for money — under commission, for a fee, on spec, to get “made”, to make someone else happy, to bring an audience in; all the plays and screenplays I gave to the dramaturg and producer and manager and agent to help me “sell” — that work so often is marked with striving and, to me, comes across as both flat and crooked: Unsatisfying.

And it’s why the plays I wrote for myself are more successful than anything else I’ve done, even if they gather dust on the shelves of the unproduced.

Which is why when the Artistic Director of a prominent NY house told me she couldn’t put the script down, that I had to get it produced, but that I had to change the ending because her audience would riot if it was made as is, I said, no.

And others heard the same.

This is not a book in the making, a career in hiding, a backdoor to Hollywood, a manuscript to be edited and proofread and forced into standard boring blah blah English.

It is not something to be monetized anymore than you could monetize an AA meeting or a Quaker gathering.

That makes it simple. And selfish, too.

Even in the sharing of it, which helps me see I’m not all by myself in my mind’s corner.

Which is to say, I know what the art is for. And not.

Empty House

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