Jan 12, 2010

Where We Write: Why Where We Write Is the Heart of the Matter by Bob and Kaye




Typing away on a computer keyboard. Curled up in an easy chair with a yellow legal pad. On a park bench with a spiral notebook. Sitting in a saloon jotting thoughts on a cocktail napkin.

We've done it all. And you could probably add your own Favorite Places to the list. Maybe, like us, those places tend to be messy with coffee-stained notes piled everywhere. Or maybe they're organized and Spartan. Although that's one we haven't tried.

We've even heard that Sam Shepard began writing his plays on any available scraps of paper.

But from Bangladesh to Berlin, Manhattan to Maui, what these places have in common is really what’s central to the enterprise. We can only and ever write from the sole perspective of human beings on Planet Earth, all – from billionaire to pauper – viewing the spectacle via the same limited five senses.

Consider this: if you, as a sighted being, found yourself on an island where the inhabitants were all born without eyes, how could you possibly explain sight?

Perhaps more to the point, if these same inhabitants apprehended the world in some way other than our five senses, how could they explain that to us?

In short, not only do we not know what we don't know, but if it requires anything beyond our five senses, we can't know it.

It's like the sign in the subway station that says, "You are here." Only "here" is really everywhere, and all there is.

For us, anyway.

Of course, we know that certain creatures – the birds and the bees and your average hound dog – perceive what we cannot. Heck, for all we know, there may be actual other creatures cavorting around us whose energy moves too quickly for us to see. We read in one of Dr. Chopra's books that a snail sees so slowly that if there were, say, an apple in front of him (the snail, that is), and we reached down to pick it up, the snail would not see us doing it. He would only see that the apple had disappeared. A sort of snail miracle.

And even though inventions such as microscopes and telescopes have increased what we can apprehend, that's still just super-sizing a particular pre-existing sense.

So given that we are all right her together, be it in tent or tenement, mansion or mobile home, apprehending away with the same five senses on this same little planet, isn't it extraordinary that we can manage to see the same things so very, very differently? Abortion rights, universal health care, same-sex marriage, the existence of a deity, medium, rare or well-done?

Actually, this whole apprehension thing makes us think of a mob of people all standing in the same space looking at the same abstract painting. So
we really shouldn't be surprised.

Years ago when we were visiting the Guggenheim in NYC, we saw a painting titled Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp. Now, given that he himself titled his own painting, we have to assume Mr. Duchamp meant to depict the items delineated therein. But cock our heads though we might, we couldn't see the nude.

Although we did see the staircase.

***

Bob Brooker and Kaye O'Dougherty have been adventuring together for a lot of years now. They first met at a recording studio on 42nd Street. Yes, that 42nd Street. They recorded a commercial for E.J. Korvette's, who went out of business soon thereafter.

Bob is an old saloon singer who, as Bobby Brookes, recorded for Victor and Capital back in the day. Kaye has trouble carrying a tune in a bucket. Nevertheless, over the years, as Brooker and O'Dougherty, the two have collaborated on a variety of theater projects, performing, writing, directing, managing, and producing. In keeping with the changing times, they have even created a cyber alter-ego named eBobb.

Recently, Bob and Kaye both took long-overdue turns at being rather mature college kids. Kaye now holds a Bachelors Degree in the Humanities from St. Peter's College in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Bob was graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a BA in Theater, and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

You can visit their website by going to FootballforLovers.com or their blog by clicking here.

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