[Regarding] The Pain of Others

By | 1 May 2019

‘What does it mean to protest suffering, as distinct from acknowledging it?’ – Susan Sontag

Since many of the plotlines explored throughout my plays
have started leaking into my current reality, I’m now publicly
admitting to embracing other people’s anguishes for the sake
of my own creative endeavours. Over the past decade,
I’ve consistently been celebrated as a prophetic & iconic
playwright — a trademark I still justifiably hold.
However, since the themes I’ve so realistically & poetically
portrayed throughout my works have tragically
begun to impact upon my daily routines —
my gratification with such accolades may not fully
be appreciated without such a declaration.
I’ve experienced a great loss, which I choose not to discuss
at this point in time — but I’ll admit that until recently,
I’ve always felt more comfortable writing about
the lives of others — from a distance, but most especially
while my subjects are inhabiting their own homes.
It’s not unfitting to mention that after years of dinner
invitations & appearances — I’ve been praised as not only
being an exceptional conversationalist, but a much-desired guest.
During such dinner parties, I’ve always offered to wash-up
after each course, yet I’ve always been denied this pleasure —
so I end up refilling my glass & observing the performance
of domestic politics. Over the years, I’ve only ever contributed
to one squabble — when an amateur actor, cast in one of my plays
premiering at the time, didn’t recognise me & vehemently
began questioning the ethics of the script — which was based
upon a widely reported & terribly violent incident.
The actor’s naïve soliloquy continued until I politely remarked
that there was not only passata saucing the upper region
of their lip, but also the tip of their nose. After the actor fled
to the bathroom to wipe away now, not only the tomato purée,
but a solid amount of mascara — my fellow comrades reassured
& praised me for my honesty. I was then reminded about all
the positive reviews the show in question had received.
I’ll have to conclude this admission shortly, but do I hope
this announcement will be respected & will allow me to continue
my quest for writing authentic dialogue & descriptions —
something I truly believe is often unattainable for people directly
experiencing the duress which makes for such interesting
material that I possess an ability to curate & represent upon a stage.
As proof of my skills, I can testify that I’ve received numerous
writing grants & government financial support — even patronage,
which, as you’ll reasonably understand, I’ve not been able
to question or reject. My hand-to-mouth existence prior
to my fruitful reputation isn’t unlike the precariousness
of those begging for money while resting against the entrance
to the building where I’ve recently commenced my latest
writer’s residency & like most artistic entrepreneurs — I can
offer nothing, as I believe carrying coins grinds my inspiration
down & closer to the pavers, which I’ve strived brick-hard
to lift myself up & away from for the sake of my creative practice.

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