Your Quest2016 Prompt (2)today: from Jonathan Fields
You wake up to discover a knock at your door. A wealthy uncle you barely knew has passed and left you a fortune. It’s more than enough to live out your days in glorious splendor, but there is a condition. To be eligible to collect, you must commit your full-time working energies to the pursuit of an answer to a single question of your choosing for the next 12 months.
You are welcome to continue that pursuit after the year ends, for years or decades if it warrants, but you must remain fully focused on seeking the answer until the last minute of the 365th day. A minute shorter, the entire inheritance goes to your annoying and equally long lost cousin, Philly.
The Quest2016 (ion)?
Tempting though it might be to assume the position of the long lost cousin Philly and just wait ( since I already have her name and am probably equally annoying) I realise this is a very pointed challenge.
My first answer to the first prompt was to find an aim for an arrow, a true North for the next year. To understand and reapply that understanding creatively.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery to whom would I play page and study in their footsteps? (Getting out from myself, you see)
Question to be answered
Why has Shakespeare never been equalled or surpassed in four hundred years?
(He invented a language? He used the language of drama with its deep roots in Greek theatre ( Tradition) to talk to his contemporaries about everything (Invention)? He trusted himself to make poetry out of the mundane? He managed to tread a careful line between patronage and independence. He gloried in every aspect of life, and mocked its conceits. He was endlessly inventive and able to work to a deadline. He remains anonymous).
Yes I know, as role models go, very ambitious if not presumptuous. How will Shakespeare help me for a twelve month? In a guided adventure?
It brings me back to ‘The Play’s the Thing’. I have a half written play which began a dissection of failure. I am anonymous, so nearly there. Patronage I know nothing of, nor deadlines, but independence is a familiar and talking about everything comes naturally. ‘Something in particular’ is more difficult. Mocking conceit comes like breathing and gets me into trouble. In a theatre you can just drop the curtain. The poetry of the mundane must be honed so it does not end up as mundane poetry.
If playing to one’s strengths is a good idea (and at 75 makes a virtue out of a necessity) I reckon answering that question by writing a play may be no bad answer. It will cover what I know a bit about; the sound of one hand clapping.You never know, I might hear a sound of two hands clapping. It will do to be getting on with.
(I must attribute the original idea to a very good friend Brian George. I wasn’t listening when he spoke!)