Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lajos Egri

I can't remember which class it was that we used Lajos Egri's "The Art of Dramatic Writing" as a text - a screenwriting or playwriting class, of course - but let me say, it is one of the top three books on writing out there and I have read nearly all of them. I couldn't find the copy I had in college, so I started a hunt, and I say hunt because it took several trips and phone calls to Powell's in order to get my hands on a copy again. I am so glad I did. I re-read it, (and yes, for those keeping tabs, I finished a few of the other books I blogged about,) and it has inspired me in all sorts of ways.

The foreword of the book I think is applicable to all of humanity, so I'm going to suggest you go here and read it. (It is two and a half pages of totally breezy reading.) But, here is an excerpt:

"Yes, we all crave attention. We want to be important, immortal. We want to do things that will make other people exclaim, "Isn't he wonderful?"
"If we can't create something useful or beautiful...we shall certainly create something else: trouble, for instance.
"Just think of your aunt Helen, the family gossip. (We all have one.) She causes hard feelings, suspicion, and subsequent arguments. Why does she do it? She wants to be important, of course, and if she can achieve this only by means of gossip or lying, she will not, for one moment, hesitate to gossip or lie.
"The urge to be outstanding is a fundamental necessity in our lives. All of us, at all times, crave attention. Self-consciousness, even reclusiveness, springs from the desire to be important. If failure arouses compassion or pity, then failure might become an end in itself.
"Without exception everyone was born with creative ability. It is essential that people be given the opportunity to express themselves. If Balzac, De Maupassant, O. Henry, hadn't learned to write, they might have become inveterate liars, instead of great writers.
"Every human being needs an outlet for his inborn creative talent. If you feel you would like to write, then write. Perhaps you are afraid...forget it...
"Even if you will never be a genius, your enjoyment of life can still be great...
"Yes, we want to be noticed. We want to be remembered. We want to be important! We can achieve a degree of importance by expressing ourselves in the medium which best suits our particular talents. You never know where your avocation will lead you.
"Even if you fail commercially, you might very well emerge from your experience an authority on the subject you learned so much about. You'll be richer in experience - and if you have been kept out of mischief, that alone will be a great accomplishment.
"So the gnawing hunger to be important will be satisfied at last without harm to anyone."

Go and do, I know I will.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Molly, I hope you don't mind, but John and I are stalking your blog from time to time. I really liked that quote!