Why this?

The occasional piece of my own and a generous helping of others' creations I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

From Born Standing Up

p. 80
"Through the years, I have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up w/ delusions between moments of valid inspiration."

p. 111
"What if there were no punch lines? ... What if I created tension and never released it? What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do w/ all that tension? Theoretically, it would have to come out sometime. But if I kept denying them the formality of a punch line, the audience would eventually pick out their own place to laugh, essentially out of desperation. This type of laugh seemed stronger to me, as they would be laughing at something they chose, rather than being told exactly when to laugh."

p. 141
"Finally, I understood the cummings quote I had puzzled over in college: 'Like the burlesque comedian, I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement.' Precision was moving the plot forward, was filling every moment w/ content, was keeping the audience engaged."

p. 143
"On the road, the daylight hours moved slowly, filled w/ aimless wandering through malls and museums. But at night, onstage, every second mattered. Every gesture mattered. The few hours I spent in the clubs and coffeehouses seemed like a full existence.

When I had new material to try, I would break it down into its smallest elements, literally a gesture or a few words, then sneak it into the act in its shortest form, being careful not to disrupt the flow of the show. If it worked, the next night I would add the next discreet packet until the bit either filled out or died. I can remember bailing out of a bit because I didn’t want to be trapped in it for the next five minutes. The easiest way was to pretend I’d gotten distracted by something and then completely change tack."

--Steve Martin

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