“Harold offered, free of any royalties, the world premiere of a short play he had just penned, The New World Order. But not unless they consented to stage Death and the Maiden.”
This article from Ariel Dorfman about Harold Pinter really struck a chord with me. He speaks about how Pinter was instrumental in getting Death and the Maiden produced. He believed so strongly in the work, that he did not let any obstacle that came in Dorfman’s way (and there were large obstacles) dissuade him. It’s stunning that Pinter would go out of his way to support another playwright, above and beyond the ordinary rules of generosity. Above and beyond to make sure that Death and the Maiden was presented the way Dorfman intended. It fills me with joy (and lets be frank jealousy too!) to read about the belief that one playwright had in another.
Artists have to be first in line of those who believe in their work. We have to. And that belief must be strong. There are many out there who stand at the ready to make you think your work is useless. You have to stand strong, stand tall, and raise your voice loud about what you do. When I get rejections now, it’s not depression or sadness I feel – it’s annoyance. That Literary manager doesn’t know what they’re talking about. This company is missing out. You have to believe in what you’re doing. Because you might be the only one for long, long time.
And I suppose that’s why it’s so joyful (and jealous-ful) to read about someone else doing the believing. Someone else taking that load off the shoulders. Belief can be a heavy weight and to have another share the load, there’s such joy in that. And further, to have a person you look up to believe in you? A writer you admire? Is there any better feeling? That has got to make you feel light as a feather and full of joy.
I should admit, I’m being a little small minded here. There are plenty of people who believe in my work. The act of purchasing and following through to produce a play of mine is the ultimate display of belief. Not having to do another job to pay the mortgage proves there’s a lot of believing going round. But oh, wouldn’t it be so cool to have a writer I admire know my work, AND believe in it? Man.
Then again, that would require leaving the house and actually talking to people. Right…. right…..