I often get asked how I decide what to write about in Encore, and do I ever have nothing to write about. Nothing to write about? Really? Nothing to write about? For starters, we live in South Africa.
Ask any self-respecting comedian: it is the comedy Mecca for material and scripts. To begin with: we have the funniest bunch of politicians. We boast the gamut from ha ha (or LOL) funny to the downright embarrassingly funny. So where will there ever be a moment that there is nothing to write about?
And even though not very many of my columns are political, it begs the question: what is political? And, even more importantly, is the personal also political? And for the answer to that question you might want to consult some other person for I am not about to answer it for you. Or, just ponder on it yourself – see what you come up with and let me know?
I just saved this document (and I save my columns in a folder called “Encores” with the date that it will be published), and I realised it is going to go out on February 14. I guess I should have written something about Valentine’s Day, then. And there, I just did! Moving swiftly along.
New realization: exactly 217 words later I have said so much without saying a thing! Isn’t that a feat in itself?
It reminds me of those folk in meetings who make noises all the time…they talk and talk for minutes on end, and after they finished their inane ramblings it dawns upon one that they have said absolutely nothing. This feels like a free writing exercise for, up to this point, I haven’t stopped to correct anything that I have written; nor have I stopped to even breathe with intent.
Then there are those who like to suggest topics that I should write about. “You know what you should write about,” they ask, almost rhetorically. “No, I don’t,” I would say with my tongue firmly planted (albeit annoyingly unnoticed) in my cheek. And even before I am able to complete the derision with: “…but I am sure you are about to tell me,” they have already begun to tell me what I “should write about.” And usually it ranges from the most prosaic to the biggest load of bull crap – usually something to do with their pet peeves. My response if it is someone close enough to me: “One day when you have the space to write a column, then you can write about that.” Or, a more polite: “I shall put that on my “list”. The latter of course being non-existent – a fact to which they are not privy. And, as they say in the classics: what they don’t know won’t hurt them!
These days of course people can write their own blogs. Anyone can write anything about anything or anyone; unless of course it’s hate speech (what dat?). And of course they can tweet. And boy, do they tweet!
So, if you really must say that all-important something to the world about your adorable kid’s first murmurings, or how repugnant you find swearing or, or or; then get on your tweeting soapbox and lekker tweet, my mate!
It often applies to the shows we do as well – people telling us what we ought to do with our stage productions. This ranges from the feeble what we “should” do to the more brazen what we “must” do. And we are not beyond reproach – we pride ourselves in taking criticism quite well and certainly under advisement – especially from people who give constructive criticism. But you also find the many who tell you what they would have done had it been their show, not realising that they hit the nail on the head when they said: “Had it been my show.”
Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings: but you are right, it is NOT your show.
One day when you are fortunate enough to put a production together, and you are funding it yourself as we do, then by all means…knock yourself out!
For now, the only knocking you will unfortunately be doing is either on heaven’s door or that of a deaf man’s.
And voila: there I have done it! Much have I written and nearly naught have I said.