Re: craft vs. science vs. art

Subject: Re: craft vs. science vs. art
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 14:38:06 -0700


Whenever this topic comes up, I keep thinking that people are in danger of taking themselves far too seriously.

Also, being the sort of person who NEVER approaches things the right way, I can't help thinking of my favorite archy and mehitabel sequence about Shakespeare.


For those who don't know the series, archy is supposed to be a former free verse poet who was reincarnated as a cockroach for his sins. He was supposed to leave his poems on Don Marquis' typewriter, but, because he can't work the shift key, everything he writes is in lower case.

Key parts of the sequence:

well said pete bill was a
disappointed man and was always
boring his friends about what
he might have been and done
if he only had a fair break
two or three pints of sack
and sherris and the tears
would trickle down into his
beard and his beard would get
soppy and wilt his collar
i remember one night when
bill and ben johnson and
frankie beaumont
were sopping it up

here i am ben says bill
nothing but a lousy playwright
and with anything like luck
in the breaks i might have been
a fairly decent sonnet writer
i might have been a poet
if i had kept away from the theatre
yes says ben i ve often
thought of that bill
but one consolation is
you are making pretty good money
out of the theatre

money money says bill what the hell
is money what i want is to be
a poet not a business man
these damned cheap shows
i turn out to keep the
theatre running break my heart
slap stick comedies and
blood and thunder tragedies
and melodramas say i wonder
if that boy heard you order
another bottle frankie
the only compensation is that i get
a chance now and then
to stick in a little poetry
when nobody is looking
but hells bells that isn t
what i want to do
i want to write sonnets and
songs and spenserian stanzas
and i might have done it too
if i hadn t got
into this frightful show game
business business business
grind grind grind
what a life for a man
that might have been a poet

well says frankie beaumont
why don t you cut it bill
i can t says bill
i need the money i ve got
a family to support down in
the country well says frankie
anyhow you write pretty good
plays bill any mutt can write
plays for this london public
says bill if he puts enough
murder in them what they want
is kings talking like kings
never had sense enough to talk
and stabbings and stranglings
and fat men making love
and clown basting each
other with clubs and cheap puns
and off color allusions to all
the smut of the day oh i know
what the low brows want
and i give it to them

well says ben johnson
don t blubber into the drink
brace up like a man
and quit the rotten business
i can t i can t says bill
i ve been at it too long i ve got to
the place now where i can t
write anything else
but this cheap stuff
i m ashamed to look an honest
young sonneteer in the face


If anyone is interested in the full text, see:

http://www.donmarquis.com/archy/poems/shakespeare.html



--
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177


"So that the meek will inherit the earth
Because they haven't the strength to refuse it..."
-Leon Rosselson, "What It's All For"



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