The Creative Spark! – Everything is One

Did you ever playfully mimic someone?

Well, a crazed philosopher once said that when a person he loves dies, he becomes them. For a week. It sounds morbid, but divine.

So, how do you become someone? Look to Christian Bale: the ultimate chameleon. An actor who morphs into almost anyone. Through character acting, these actors discover themselves; they shock themselves; they horrify themselves. For your viewing pleasure. And the best actors post underpants shots of themselves on Yahoo ? metaphorically speaking. In other words, the best actors bare their innermost scars and darkest layers, not their bellies.

And you can act out the inner workings of your subjects, too: in your essays. Turn boredom into A+ directing.

Why? Because in your writing if you feel something, your professor does, too. Even better, you will humanize every subject or object cited in your essay. (Yes, personify your objects.)

Judith Weston in her book The Film Director’s Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques pours the secrets of great acting (which I’ve bolded below). I add lemon twists to her cocktails to give you a student edge.

Chatterboxes that reveal themselves, entertain. Chatterboxes that don’t, bore. Put yourself in every subject or author cited in your essay. Reveal a bit of your soul (but not in first person.) If you imply your deepest secrets, your essay excites ? like an epic shush.

People identify with your work when you make it personal. Sprinkle your life’s highlights in presentations. People will identify.

Also, sprinkle your personal views in essays. To do so, insert one-sentence paragraphs that sum-up your views (and that sum-up your argument). But, again, don’t use first person.

Create characters from your own darker emotions. Call on your darker emotions to write something that shocks, scares, or embarrasses you. Add psycho to your essay.

And sometimes you disagree with a view in your essay. If you do, then call on your inner turmoil to add complexity to the conflict. But make sure your point pushes forward your thesis. Or tweak your thesis to capture the subtleties of your difference of opinion. But make sure to support your opinion. Without support, your opinion will seem weak.

And if you don’t even agree with your own thesis, then make your life a metaphor.

Make your life a metaphor (for acting). When you write about a subject?even an object?make your life a metaphor for their views. If your subject ruthlessly ruled Russia, then imagine the time you tormented your kid brother. Empathize.

If an author you cite thinks universities suppress free speech, then imagine the time your teacher sent you home crying in a crop top. Make your life a metaphor.

We may have more than one emotion to an event. Sometimes you feel ambivalence: conflicting emotions over your subject. You might feel pride over Putin’s power, but also feel cowardly. Capture that ambivalence, but make sure at least one of the emotions advances your thesis. And call the duality “ambivalence” that is either reconcilable or irreconcilable. Your prof will scream, “A+!”

Listen to each actor. Don’t make up your mind on your thesis statement until you’ve done the research. Identify with each authors’ views?and then react. Sometimes you have tons of support for a certain view, but your gut disagrees. Then, either defend the minority view or conform with the majority. Either way, you’re the star.

Never judge. Be curious about the life story instead. When citing authors, don’t judge their views. Instead, peer at their research interests online. Shoot them an email and ask what sparked their interest in the topic. Peer at their LinkedIn profiles. You’re not creepy; you’re curious.

You’ll expand your network, too. Want to work at McGill? Well?you made a contact.

Everything is one, isn’t it? Become the subjects and objects you cite?and come closer to the divine. A paradox? I call it a Creative Spark.

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