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Of Mice and Franco

franco5

…and the crowd goes wild.

Last week I attended the current Broadway production of Of Mice and Men and was a little skeptical going into it. I love Steinbeck. And I was skeptical of whether Mr. James Franco – Hollywood hotshot, Gucci model, MFA-addict, director,  novelist, selfie apologist  – could bring to the role of George the gravitas and subtlety it deserves. I mean, the man is stepping into Gary Sinise’s shoes. And no one can compare with Sinise, not in my book (and not in the audiobook, which he narrates. I digress).

But maybe I should’ve given young James a little more benefit of the doubt. After all, a common literary thread runs through a lot of his endeavors, random and egomaniacal though they may seem – Faulkner is not for the faint of heart. Perhaps maybe pursuing other creative interests is of benefit to a writer’s abilities. Perhaps directing a movie develops a writer’s understanding of narrative pacing. Maybe taking on different roles as an actor enhances a novelist’s ability to bring different characters to life on the page.

Who I am I to look askance on anyone who runs whole-heartedly after their interests, even if those interests don’t seem to line up neatly. Maybe our culture is learning to appreciate Renaissance men – and women – and in future we won’t be so eager to identify people (or ourselves) with “doctor” “poet” “teacher” “painter, sticking them inside a box labelled with one vocation.franco4

And I have to admit – the show was great. Franco conducted himself admirably as one of a very talented cast. Maybe the real reason behind my anti-Franco bias is that I’m jealous of him for having more than one talent! The only thing I’m good at is selfies. At least we have that in common.

What do you think? Does it make you a better writer to pursue other creative outlets? Or do you view that as time that could be better spent on your writing?

3 Responses to Of Mice and Franco

  1. Katie Newingham says:

    Sorry it took me so long to express my disappointment that this article wasn’t more about how James Franco touched you with good luck. :-)

    During the past three years I’ve learned creativity breeds creativity and other writer friends of mine tend to agree. Having multiple outlets seems to help with rejection as well. As a writer I might be rejected 100 times before I get the call, but as a designer/project manager there is less scrutiny, and more immediate gratification.

    There is also definitely a mindset in the writing community that a certain number of words has to be written everyday, even holidays, in order to be a great writer. From a productivity standpoint, this is probably the method that will produce the most amount of books in the least amount of time. But are they fresh and original?

    Who knows? It seems like every writer or artist has their own unique method and that’s a great thing – it’s the differences that give us diverse books/works.

    • DGLM says:

      I gotta save something for Twitter, Katie! 😉

      I can definitely see that daily word counts are important for building discipline. There’s same famous quote by a writer to the effect that you don’t want to wait for the muse to sing if your butt is never in the chair. But on the other hand, all the dedication in the world won’t help you without material, and isn’t that what you get by seizing the experiences that life sends your way, even if it gets in the way of your daily goal?

      And yes, thanks for pointing out that there’s no one way for everyone. Either/or questions make great blog posts but the truth is that every writer finds their own method. We agents can certainly attest to the variety!

  2. D. C. DaCosta says:

    I’m thinking that maybe there are…

    …people with talent for only writing — and nothing else?
    …people who are brilliantly talented in many directions…and who have a maid/cook/laundress?
    …the rest of us.

    Material need not come from experience. If you know how, it’s easy to imagine events, places, and characters. The tough part sometimes is to describe them so that others see them the same way.

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