Write Club – PLAY

PLAY

The Masters wrote:

Midsummer, in a grassy field, an ant and a grasshopper met.  The ant carried a grain, the grasshopper a fiddle.  Said the grasshopper to the ant: “What are you doing with that heavy grain?”

The ant replied, “I’m taking this grain to the hill.  To save it for winter.”

The Grasshopper laughed. “Why not put that down and sing with me?”

The ant replied, “I’m working.”

And along came winter.  And the Grasshopper, having spent three glorious seasons dancing and playing the fiddle, came to realize the fields where he found his food were now dead, covered in snow.  And, humbled, he approached the ant’s door, and knocked, and begged to be fed.

And the ant shook his head.  He closed the door on the Grasshopper. Who is assumed to have died of moral starvation.

This the masters wrote.  Plan for Winter. Keep your head down.  Keep your nose to the grindstone. Work for it. Your reward will come.

Later.

We have been taught throughout history to identify with the noble ant. Taught that toil and struggle are worthy, and worthwhile.  That it doesn’t matter if we suffer now, though the sky is blue and the grasshoppers fiddle away in the fields, because a glorious reward waits for us in the end.  Security, some call it.  Peace of mind. Some say heaven, even, waits at the end of the long toil. There will be time for play.  Just not while the weather’s nice.

Who is putting this shit in our heads? Who are these “Masters”?

I posit: THE GRASSHOPPERS.

The Grasshoppers, you ask? What have they to gain?

The answer? EVERYTHING. ENDLESS, GLORIOUS TIME TO SPEND IN THE SUNSHINE.

PAID FOR BY THE SWEATANDBLOOD OF THE ANTS.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I tell you now: The Grasshoppers are not simply frivolous arthropods fiddling away short seasons in the sun, oblivious to the ever-harshening world about them.  They are not to be pitied. And they are not to be dismissed.

My friends, Grasshopper’s been guiding the narrative all along.  Grasshopper is the media.  Grasshopper is Congress.  Grasshopper is Wall Street. He’s The Church. Since the very dawn of civilization, the grasshopper has been our merciless corporate and government overlord, bent on the enslavement of all of ant-kind 

Who is Pharoah? GRASSHOPPER.

Who is Caesar? GRASSHOPPER.

Who is William Randolph Hearst? GRASSHOPPER.

Who is John Galt? GRASSHOPPER.

Sorry to ruin the end of the novel.

Don’t believe me?

The average ant’s life cycle is around 90 days.  The grasshopper’s? A year. Four times longer. Most spring-born ants won’t make it through the summer, let alone live to see the winter. But the grasshopper is there.  Waiting.  To reap the rewards.  To raid the pension plans. To profit off the mortgage defaults.  The grasshopper can afford to play.  He’s got the time.  He’s got the funds. The best indicator of future wealth? Being born Grasshopper. He’s got pedigree, and power.  And the best way to keep that power?

Brainwash the ants. Lead them to believe that from their humble ant-larvae beginnings, they too can one day grow up to be a grasshopper themselves, and play in the sun all year long.  Trick them into working against their own best interest. Turn them against each other. Against themselves.  Or, failing that, lead them to believe that they’re really doing the work of the big grasshopper in the sky.  This is the day, they’ll sing, that the grasshopper has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it. And, of course, then get immediately back to work. Convince them that work and work alone is noble, and that you must pay to play.

And- sadly- the ant has bought it wholesale. Has made it his fetish.

After a life of struggling, of carrying the grain, or building the pyramids, or the canals, the bridges, even with his last strength, the ant will struggle forward, the light dying in his eyes, and- falling in his tracks, gasping for air as he expires in the mud- he’ll rasp through shattered mandibles, “Don’t call me Saint Peter, I can’t go.  I owe MY soul to the Company Store.”

ENOUGH I SAY. I SAY ENOUGH. ENOUGH.

NOWIS OUR TIME TO PLAY.

Now is the time to cast down our grain! To take to the streets! To pillage the corporate silos! To claw our way into Grasshopper’s emerald tower, slap the copy of Atlas Shrugged out of his greedy claws and tell him on no uncertain terms that though suffering may have been our lot, it is NOT our birthright.  WE WILL NOT TOIL ANYMORE!  WE REFUSE! IT’S HIGH TIME THAT WEGET SOME MOTHERFUCKING PLAY!

We will- we MUST wrench from him the hard-earned spoils of antkind’s labor! We must.  We must learn what it is to dance in the streets without care of tomorrow.  We MUST eat, and drink, and fuck to our hearts’ content.  If not for ourselves, then for the countless generations of ants that suffered before us, and those that will come after, so that they may see that it is NOT RIGHT that ants should be born to lifelong struggle. WE OWE THIS TO OUR CHILDREN.

And Brother Grasshopper, if you’re listening- and I’m sure you are tonight- It’s time to cash in on all those tasty promises you made.  Take this as the warning shot over the bow.  We’re coming. In swarms. And we don’t care how many jack-booted crickets you throw at us.  You will pay. For all of the lost time.  For the thousand summers you stole from us. The streets will run green with your blood, Brother Grasshopper, and no one will mourn you when you’re gone 

Liberté! Égalité! Fraternité! Récréation!

It’s playtime, motherfucker.  Prepare yourself for winter.

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Savage in Alaska

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Wingo’s film “The Noble Savage” played this week at the Anchorage International Film Festival, and was Runner up for the prestigious (maybe) GOLDEN OOSIKAR AWARD for Short Film.

http://www.wesleywingo.com/index.php?/films/the-noble-savage/

Next up?  Macon.

Yeah, Macon.

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In the name of Progress.

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I am plugging on, at last, no, still, and there are yet goals to make up as I go along.

The point here, I think, is that this needs updating.

There is work, yet.

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American Dismantle

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Taking part in a new play reading by the talented Theron Patterson on Tuesday.  Details below.

***WORKING TITLE PLAYWRIGHTS Presents Theroun Patterson’s AMERICAN DISMANTLE as part of its signature program series, The Ethel Woolson Lab, Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 7:30 p.m., Academy Theatre, 119 Center St., Avondale Estates, GA 30002. $10 tickets at the door.

With Nick Tecosky, Robin Bloodworth, Park Krausen, Megan Hayes and Ismail ibn Conner. Directed by Patricia Henritze with dramaturgy by Suehyla El-Attar.

AMERICAN DISMANTLE by Theroun Patterson

Kelly arrived on time for her blind date.
Tobias?…Didn’t.
Declan knows exactly why his extremities keep bursting into flames.
Fiona is a Handy Maid…that likes it dirty.
And Zeb? Let’s just say never come between a man and his smoothies…or his money.

These are five people who shouldn’t know each other…but were meant to meet. AMERICAN DISMANTLE is a darkly comic journey from the present we know to the future we are creating. It’s not your abilities, but your choices that define your chaos.

There will be a talkback with the playwright immediately following the reading. The Ethel Woolson Lab provides a unique opportunity to experience the process of making new plays happen in Atlanta. This series is made possible through a grant from the Hellen Ingram Plummer Charitable Foundation.

WHERE: Academy Theatre, 119 Center St., Avondale Estates, GA 30002
WHEN: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
TIME: 7:30 p.m.

DIRECTIONS: http://academytheatre.org/Directions.asp
TICKETS: $10 tickets at door or reserve online athttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/129900
CONTACT: (404) 949-7160 or email to rsvp@workingtitleplaywrights.com

Write Club Video

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Here, in all my jangly glory:

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This was WRITE CLUB.

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment

The Poster Behind the fight, courtesy of Jack Babalon

Write Club, 09.03.10

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Three Rounds.  Two Authors a round.  Blood, madness ensues.

And proceeds go to charity.

Here’s my winning submission for WRITE CLUB.

“THERE.”

It begins simply enough in the scriptures: God has a very busy week, in which he makes a perfect world and, of course, man.

Man, whom he names Adam, and Eve as well, made in his own image, and to whom he gives two simple directives:  One:  Copulate, with verve, and Two: don’t eat from that tree.  They shrug, yeah, okay, easy enough, and so off they go to enjoy luxurious week-long sex induced comas.  HERE they can be happy, forever.

We know what happens next.  They eat from the tree, God condemns them, telling them they’ve cursed the land, made everything foul, that he’s keeping their deposit-  oh, and that they’re banished from Eden.

And Adam says, “where are we supposed to go?”

God’s answer is vague.

The Creation and the Fall of Man.

All this before page three.

On page three, Adam and Eve look around and decide, well, we can’t stay here.  And they begin an exodus that spans generations, eras.

There is a biological, a Biblical imperative to GET OUT OF HERE and to GET OVER THERE.

Scientifically, the pattern of human migration across the earth can be traced by reading our mitochondrial DNA, bear with me here, which is inherited from one parent- the mother- and remains largely unchanged from parent to offspring.  The few little genetic mutations that do occur leave a trail over time.  We have roadmaps in our blood.  That lead all the way back to the day when we first woke up, looked around that cramped cave that we had sullied, at those bones of over-hunted mastodons left to rot in the corner, the surrounding earth barren, all the good berries long since picked.  And we felt a sort of prehistoric ennui creeping over us.  Neighborhood ain’t what it used to be, we thought.  And we walked outside, looked out over the world yet unknown, at those distant virgin mountains and thought, “FUCK IT.”

FUCK IT WE CAN’T STAY HERE.  Let’s go out there.

And took the first step of millions.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN MIGRATION:

Around 150,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens occupied the entirety of Africa, but it was too small, too hot, too damned humid, and so some of us packed up for greener pastures.  By 40,000 years ago we’d moved outward, fully spreading into Australia, Asia, and Europe.

A handful of us, deciding that maybe China was getting a little crowded, moved north, and east, and north some more, and made it all the way into the furthest reaches of Siberia, regretting everything and then HEY WAIT I CAN SEE ALASKA FROM MY HUT!

And so, roughly 20,000 years ago, they crossed the Bering Straight, and voila!  The first Americans.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll skip forward, through the land wars, conquistadors with their infected blankets, that sense of MANIFEST DESTINY that pushed certain lucky cultures into new places while pushing others into less desirable ones.  The industrial revolution, where getting from HERE to THERE grew easier, cheaper, faster, dirtier.  People migrated into the cities, and then out, and then in again, over and over and over.

And so we come to today, this modern world, we did it, we spread out, reached all of the corners of the earth, settled down, even in places where it wasn’t completely hospitable, we’ve even laid down outposts at the furthest reaches of the earth, in Antarctica, though we’re unlikely to ever move there en masse unless someone figures out how to fuel automobiles on penguin blood.  Cross your fingers.  Full-scale globalization, achieved.  Finally.  We win.  Check and mate.  Mission accomplished.  We’ve made there into here.

Except that there’s nowhere else to spread to, now; we’re stuck here.  Growing stagnant.  And we’re polluting the earth, the water, the very air we breathe.  And here, in the most industrialized nations, where we no longer have to truly struggle, now that nourishment is a mere frozen burrito away, we’ve turned to polluting Oursleves.  Stuck in the here, we fill ourselves with trans-fats, aspartame, pop music, 24-hour news cycles, People magazine, and- of all things- Two and a Half Men.

Two and a Half Men.  Truly a first world problem.

So.  Then.  You may ask yourself in quiet moments:  Are we doomed?  Is there no more “There” there?

Probably we’re doomed, yeah, because we can’t stop copulating, populating, spreading out, God told us to, we tell ourselves, we listened to that part, and eventually, yeah, we’ll have to ration the food, the water, the air, and it’ll get crowded, and there will be babies, oh God, endless numbers of them, scores, waves of babies, filling the streets with their primal screams, get-me-out-of-here, they’ll scream, drowning out hope, and thought, and Two-and-a-half-men.  Soylent Green will one day be people.

HERE is poison.

But there is hope!

As I speak, scientists are using more and more powerful telescopes and, sifting through an astounding number of galaxies, are finding- wait for it- ENTIRE SOLAR SYSTEMS.  Finding new planets as fast as they can name them.  Not habitable planets, no, and prohibitively far off, but surely, if the universe is infinite, the possibility of finding a life sustaining world out there is… good, at least?

And, though this next bit is highly unlikely, I’d like to believe that one day, far in the future, not in my lifetime but before we burn out as a species, some wise Homo Sapien will invent a propulsion system that will be capable of getting us to that far-off there.

I’d like to think that that wise Homo Sapien will place the key in the ignition, turn it, hear the engines roar around him, look to up into the cosmos and whisper:

“FUCK IT.”

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