It's been so long since I've noded here, I feel like a vampire who's forgotten the flavor of blood.
Next week I'll be back East at a fancy-pants reading of my play The Sequence and if the noders who have promised to come—doyle, momomom, and IWhoSawTheFace— actually wind up showing, then on that evening I'll double the number I've met face to face.
Indeed, it was only a couple of weekends ago that I got to do more than lay eyes and shake hands with iceowl. I had met him all too briefly at a San Francisco reading of the aforementioned play, but was crushingly prevented from going out afterwards for a beer with him. We remedied that sad turn when he came up to Seattle, starting first with oysters and martinis at Elliott's on the pier, then heading up into the market to Tom Douglas's restaurant Etta's for dinner, then back down the hill climb to what I consider to be the finest bar in Seattle, Zig Zag's, where we loaded up on mojitos. (Icey thinks they're better there than even his favorite Cuban restaurant down in Callie.)
Here's the thing about drinking with iceowl: it's exactly like you'd think it would be, only better. He's this big, warm, funny, electric polar bear, who for reasons ultimately known only to him adores writers, all writers. Me, lone-wolf playwright, have a tough time getting over my cynical reticence of all others arrogant enough to arrange their thoughts into words on paper or screen. Not Icey, though. He thinks writers are swell: we're all brave and funny and full of life. It's a forgivably common error of logic. Iceowl is a writer. Iceowl is also brave and funny and full of life. Socrates is a pig. All pigs wear clown noses. Therefore Socrates is Bozo.
But maybe, just maybe, this headstrong belief in us scribblers has transformative power. Iceowl believes in writing and writers because he has witnessed the ameliorating effects of both in his life, and on his life, and in and on the world. Writing has taken him to Antarctica and introduced him to fascinating people; it's helped him understand himself, face his fears, cherish his existence just that little bit more. And writing this now, I wonder, has writing done the same kind of things for me?
Uh. . . . yeah. . . . I gotta say, "Yeah."
There are ideas and people and even some places that I could have never known, possibly never even considered, without writing. Of course, when I think of how much more nicer stuff I'd own if I didn't write-- when I think about how writing has put me in a Los Alamos auditorium facing down a phalanx of some of the world's smartest people, most of whom are utterly outraged at me for imagining their martyr hero, comparing himself (in a morphine-and-terror-induced hallucination, mind you) to Josef Mengele, I do tend to wonder if it's all been for the best.
But then, when I think of the utterly facinating real-life story of the race to decode the human genome (which I otherwise wouldn't have really known), and how a birdie sez that there's a strong possibility that one of the people I depict in the play will be sitting in the audience five nights from now, watching an actor relive extraordinary-- and sometimes extraordinarily personal and uncomfortable-- moments from his own life, I think . . . yeah, the arduous work is, in an often terrifying way, worth it.
Iceowl gets it. He was the originator of the Adventure Quest, not because he thinks the best writing is adventure writing, but that all writing is adventure writing. I can almost hear him chuckling: "It's a ride, baby. Get on it."