An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:
Do you love costume dramas/comedies? Ditto for British accents and Maggie Smith? Then you should be watching Downton Abbey on PBS. Don’t have a TV? No excuse because here’s a link to watch free full episodes, in their entirety (for a limited time! Act now!)
Nichols & May … is there anything better? Take a listen. It still holds up today. Every writer, comedian, actor, improv artist, general funny person should hear this. I wish I could have a kernel of their brilliance.
I remember the first time I saw Mike Nichols in person. It was during a screening of a movie I had worked on. One of our actors had invited him. He came into the small screening room and sat right in front of me (Mike Nichols! Half of Nichols & May, sitting right there!) He was taller than I expected. I think I spent the entire movie staring at his broad back and trying to guess (based on the occasional tilt of his head) his reaction to every scene. I remember how he laughed loudly at one particular scene. His laugh was booming, even the sound-proofed walls of the screening room couldn’t quite contain it.
I came across this blog post via a retweet from this fine playwright. It was one of those things that came along exactly when I needed it. It calmed a bit of my daily writing anxiety and confirmed that I’m not alone in feeling like a bit of a jester when I’m writing things that are fiction or deeply personal. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the post “Dare to Be Foolish” by Terri Windling:
“The simple truth is that being a creative artist takes courage; it’s not a job for the faint of heart. It takes courage each and every time you put a book or poem or painting before the public, because it is, in fact, enormously revealing … Worse yet, what our work often reveals is not the beautifully-lit, carefully-presented surface of our creativity, but the darker shadow-play at its interior. That can’t be helped. But the good news is: that’s precisely where the best art comes from.”