It’s supposed to be ugly, but beautiful inside. It’s supposed to be a pepper with the heat in the middle. It’s supposed to be somebody if there is no one. It’s supposed to be together cause you made it. It’s supposed to be a warning like the clanging of a bell. It’s supposed to be a tip that you shouldn’t tell her everything. It’s supposed to be easy when you’re up there on the stage. It’s supposed to have a tune if it’s a song. It’s supposed to be a message to someone.
It’s supposed to be pleasure. It’s supposed to be a thrill. It’s supposed to take the chrome off a trailer hitch. It’s supposed to be a talent. It’s supposed to be a privilege. It’s supposed to be fix, but it’s not. It’s supposed to be the cat’s pajamas. It’s supposed to be worth the cover. It’s supposed to be the mother road in between the mountains. It’s supposed to be like you’re in a hurry to be going where you’re going. It’s supposed to be you’ll ever even get there. It’s a journey, not a destination. It’s supposed to be just what it’s supposed to be. It’s just supposed to be that way.
In art you can make one move
too many and dilute a good piece
like the Mona Lisa with a vape pen.
The words in this improvisational series are like the notes musicians play in musical improv. The words are not about my summer vacation, they are not organized, necessarily. They are not in a straight line, they are not apologetic, they are not literary, necessarily. They are not for the wealthy, or political, though they might be one, and the same. They are not for the supposed righteous, they are not for those that think they are righteous. They are not the only way to say anything. They are not, necessarily.
And the words don’t have to say what you want to hear, they just are what they are. And there’s a new word everyday. These pieces move fast, they don’t suffer a lot of pause. They talk about everything at once. They are not terribly thematic individually, but vary in topic, and subject. What subject? You’ll figure it out. Hell, I have to figure it out. You’ll understand as much, or little as you will. Just like me. But so much for the negative.
Sometimes the words fall on you like rain, or blow around like leaves in the street, or gather like clouds in the sky, or move like a line of ants on the ground. Or simmer in a pot like beans in a restaurant, or huddle like stockinged ladies on a team, or assemble like children on a playground. Or cluster like a bunch of flowers, or group like a crowd of well wishers. Or round up like a herd of cattle, or swarm like a hive of bees, or grate like the sands between your toes. Or ascend like balloons at a festival, or not.
They don’t have to make sense in a literal way like the manual for your cellphone, or the pamphlet on venereal disease. They are not required to be readable. They are not necessary to understand the story line. They just are using the tools and techniques I have taught myself to inflict maximum interest on an audience of my choosing. Sounds preconceived. That may be actionable, and certainly entertaining. Good.
They are suggestive, they are emotive, they don’t have to have a thing to do with what the front row is talking about over what you say. They are free to be whatever they want, whatever you want. The audience is a very big part of IMPROV, so I guess their conversation is part of the show I don’t have to write.
New perspectives, a new pair of shoes, a novel idea whose time has come. Sometimes the words come in backwards, or upside down, like gibberish, like garbage. Like something not together, like something confused. But read between the lines. But hear them for what they say. The hints are everywhere, the hints are off the cuff, the hints are on the back of a box of cereal, the hints are hints because they have something to hide, maybe a surprise in every box.
But you’ll figure it out, sooner, or later. Sometimes they come in on top of one another, sometimes they don’t come in at all. Like water that won’t be constrained, or constricted, the words can’t be held for long before the embankment that pretends to hold them springs a leak. Rest assured, when the dam is long forgotten the words, like the water, will still be there. But you get my drift.
FORTUNE COOKIE Don’t wait for the brilliant insights, have studied responses.
Writing like painting, writing like improvisational music, like a whirlwind of words. Makes sense, nonsense, senselessly careening like a big car out of control, nice paint job. It defies Einstein’s time because everything happens at once… this is IMPROV, improvisational writing.
I choose a word for the day and like an accomplished musician, or a dedicated painter I vamp. I start here, and go there unbounded, unconfined by concept, or convention save the word of the day. I come at the word extemporaneously. Free form words to explain the word of the day like free form notes from a clarinet, like the expressive brushstrokes of a painter. Some pieces take an hour, or two, some you can start and finish on a plane ride to Texas.
IMPROV is reflexive, instinctive, happenstance, revelatory like a puzzle you can solve in a sitting. Ingenious viewpoints, and marvelous interpretation. These pieces are unedited stream of thought. They are done in the time it takes to write them down. They occur, off the cuff, just like the musical notes the musicians played in the OJO sessions. They are brainstorms, improvised not calculated. IMPROV is cool, IMPROV is easy, you don’t have to have a college degree to write IMPROV, IMPROV doesn’t cost any money, but a good IMPROV is like a jewel, in your hat, on your lapel, in the top pocket of your shirt, or in the key holder of your coat.
IMPROV is easy, IMPROV is knowing where you are going, IMPROV is confidence you know what you are doing, or what you are talking about, IMPROV is make believe if you have any kind of imagination at all, IMPROV is making your dream come true, IMPROV is talking about it without limitations. In IMPROV pigs really do fly, in IMPROV you are tall, dark, and handsome, in IMPROV you have the solution to illness, to disease, to hardship, to loneliness, imagine that. In IMPROV you are fast as the wind, in IMPROV you are over the top, in IMPROV you are the wisest in the land, or for as far as you can see, or for as long as you can hold you breath.
In IMPR0V you are first in line, in IMPR0V you are at the head of your class, in IMPR0V there are no classes, in IMPR0V you are invisible, in IMPR0V you are like the Wizard of Oz turning knobs and watching gauges as the world passes by like a truck with a big load and a flat tire, or two. IMPROV is freedom to use the writing tools you have learned to write themes that mean what you say. Because you say what you want and by making no stand everything you say means something you might not know ’till you write it. Ha!
Y’see the hardest thing to do is get a writer to write. If it’s easy, then the intimidated writer has nothing to complicate things. And all writers are intimidated about something. They’re not tall enough, they’re not rich enough, they’re not fast enough. They can’t write, they can write. And when the writing flows it might just make sense to the coveted listener. Win, win. But writing IMPROV means you were paying attention, writing IMPROV means you were interested enough to find out, writing IMPROV means you weren’t afraid to make note of whatever it was you might be writing about today. No thinking, no worry, no indecision. Like an arrow from a bow, no hesitation, no doubt. No good way, no bad way, no high, no low, no in between, no right way, no wrong way, just letting the imagery flow from the top of your head to the tip of your finger, fast as you can.
About love, about work, about the weather, about the state of the world. IMPROV is a surprise, IMPROV is a novelty, IMPROV is hard work done lifetimes ago. IMPROV flows from your experience, IMPROV flows like a river, IMPROV gathers like a cloud, IMPROV stops on a dime, IMPROV moves like a cat, IMPROV runs like a horse, IMPROV flies like a bird, IMPROV swims like a fish, like a school of fish swimming through a reef, IMPROV stands like a soldier.
IMPROV is understanding, IMPROV is traveling far and remembering what you saw, IMPROV is using your knowledge of the whirling world, IMPROV is using your language to tell a tale even you don’t know, till you write it, till you put in the commas and periods, and paragraph markings. Before I wrote IMPROV I only wrote about my summer vacation, I only wrote about what I thought, I only wrote about one subject at a time. Now I write about everything I ever knew.
IMPROV won’t bore you, IMPROV won’t let you down, IMPROV won’t scold you, IMPROV won’t criticize you, IMPROV won’t judge you, IMPROV won’t stop you from saying what you will because IMPRVO is a revelation, and IMPROV is an exotic destination you can go to when you will. If you never wrote IMPROV you wouldn’t know the thrill, if you never wrote IMPROV you wouldn’t have the satisfaction, if you never wrote IMPROV you wouldn’t know the freedom and the ease of writing improvisation.
IMPROV will save you, IMPROV will make it up to you, IMPROV will make you wealthy between your ears, IMPROV will let you wonder at the beauty of your thoughts, IMPROV will let you be the boss, IMPROV will let you control the horizontal, IMPROV will let you control the vertical, IMPROV will return control of your set to you. IMPROV is unpredictable, but IMPROV is not late like your homework, IMPR0V is not on a timer, IMPROV is not over the rainbow, IMPR0V is right here, right now, and IMPROV is over in a thought, but on again whenever you please. IMPROV is quick as a hiccup, IMPROV is slick like Elvis, IMPROV is high as the sky, IMPROV is deep as a well, IMPROV is wide as an ocean, IMPROV is remote like a desert island, IMPROV is ephemeral like Shangri La, IMPROV is the nineteenth hole on a golf course.
But IMPROV is simple, and IMPROV is unrehearsed, IMPROV is off the cuff, IMPROV is off the ticket, IMPROV is off the deep end, IMPROV is over the rainbow, IMPR0V is immediate, IMPR0V is undetermined, IMPROV is unpredictable, IMPROV is welcome to be whatever it will be. Because IMPROV is powerful magic. You are what you write, you are what you say, you are the spring from which the waters flow, you are the well from which the thirsty drink, you are the hat from which the rabbit leaps, you are the IMPROV on which the bad old world turns.
Writers were born bored. And it’s hard to get them to like anything. So IMPROV comes along and offers the writer an unstructured place from which to speak. IMPROV allows them to change their minds, and admit to liking anything at all. IMPROV is freedom, IMPROV is capability, IMPROV is wordplay. IMPROV is relaxation putting the IMPROVs together because IMPROV has no rules. IMPROV has no favorites, IMPROV doesn’t keep score, IMPROV doesn’t take names, IMPROV doesn’t even care if it makes sense, to whom? For what? Thanks be, I got that drivel out of my system when I started writing IMPROV. I began to know the writer all the more when I saw how people read.
for that one in the world.