If you know me or if you visit my blog,
You know that I have been working on a play.
I am in my moth stage now.
After months as a pupa,
I emerged from my cocoon but–
now I am flitting around
crashing into the walls.
Is this what all that hanging upside down was for?
Ok. So anyway–
Welcome to the moth stage.
This is the part of the creative process
where the artist asks herself
What the hell are you doing?
No really What are you doing?
Ever ask yourself what the hell a moth is doing?
Well they do have a purpose.
It’s a biologically determined drive,
to accomplish an essential task.
But it’s not always obvious,
especially when you have to chase one around
your room at two in the morning.
Poor misguided moth is just trying to fullfill
it’s destiny and achieve it’s purpose.
But Moths aren’t supposed to be in your house.
They are like butterflies–and are supposed
to be outside in the natural world,
pollinating various night blooming vegetation.
Yet they some how manage inadvertently to end up in our closets–
making meals out of our favourite cashmere sweaters.
And we hate them for it.
Poor misguided moth.
She’s just trying to fulfill her purpose.
Moths and the nocturnal plants they feed on–
like the Honeysuckle flower or the Red Valerian–
can’t live without each other.
Miraculous nature has provided the moth
with dextrous long thin tongues–
an attribute completely wasted on wool sweaters,
but very important in pollinating night blooming
flowers. The moth is always looking
for the flowers. The flowers are always waiting
for the Moth. See what I mean about destiny?
So what in the world am I talking about?
And what does this have to do with my play?
Well–the moth stage of the creative process
is when the writer-
-that would be me in this case–
is madly searching for the flower but can not find it.
I’m madly flying up at that light bulb and singeing my wings.
The flower is the essence or the meaning– or the soul of the work.
I’t’s the inexplicable thing that blooms in the mind of the audience
or the reader. It’s the truth of the work.
I need to find it.
It can’t bloom without me.
There is no art without this relationship.
See. I believe this.
So there you go–
That’s the Moth state.
I saw a play recently that had no soul essence or meaning
and yet I know the young writer probably believed it did.
It was timely. And it seemed to delve into a solid and important question.
But it was trite and obvious.
She didn’t go through the moth state.
Nothing unfolded or bloomed or revealed itself.
It needed a moth.
The Moth state can drive you mad and you can end up
in a drawer pollinating your socks.
But it leads you to the thing that the story is about.
It leads you to the thing that makes the audience
sigh or cry or ache or laugh in recognition–
or even just connect to your idea at a deep level–and engage.
Because this is the purpose of art.
That is what we are trying to do
Kandinsky puts it very well–
“The artist must have something to say,
mastery over form is not his goal,
but adaption of form to its inner meaning”
My play has a deep truth in there somewhere.
I know it.
I feel it.
I am drawn to it.
I am shaken by it.
I have come close to finding it–
But I haven’t yet.
Now it’s dusk and that’s when Moths get busy.
So hopefully tonight–
Hopefully I will find the flower that is waiting to bloom in my play.