Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Opera's Lessons

Yes, opera. Better than anything, opera pulls us in. Sure, part of it is the song and dance—it's exciting and musical—but part of it is the fantastical feeling. I've espoused about opera at least once before on here, but this is different. I'm talking about the specific style and grandeur of opera and, above all, that boils down to a single factor. In opera, they don't care.

They don't care what someone else thinks about what they're doing. Look at 'Carmina Burana.' One of the most famous operas in the world (and it is an opera—I refuse to dispute that fact) has an entire movement about a goose being boiled (or it might be a duck) from the goose's (duck's?) perspective. Or look at, say, 'The Barber of Seville', my personal favorite opera. The scene right before the intermission is about how they all have headaches and are going crazy—for fifteen solid minutes.

Opera has this stigma, you see, and I don't get it. Someone apparently decided, long before I was born, that opera is boring, but I have to assume that, whoever that was, never even saw one. Opera is far from boring. It's the single most exciting art form out there. Sex, murder, betrayal, fantasy, magic, crossdressing—it's like every season of 'Passions' thrown into three hours, with a musical score.

What does it have to do with writing? It shows a good, gung-ho philosophy that's sorely lacking in literature, outside maybe bizarro fiction and books about opera. We all have this useless, mostly self-imposed set of rules that tells us what we can and cannot do in our writing. Of course, when you lay it out like that, it becomes petty obvious that it's bullshit. If it's our writing, then we can do whatever we like. Sure, there are some things you have to be careful of if you want into a specific market but, for once, we're not focusing on the commercial aspect, here. This is about writing your book or your story, exactly the way it should be. Believe it or not, chances are you're not going to offend people if you write it the way you know you should. Okay, you won't offend any more people than you would normally.

So take a hint from Wagner, Rossini, Ravel, and Orff—stop giving a shit. People are going to think what they're going to think no matter what. You're not going to make everyone happy—so why impose needless restrictions on yourself? Sounds silly, right?


1 comment :

Elise Fallson said...

Great post, something I need to tell myself more often (the stop giving a shit part) I often worry how I come across to people and actually wrote 2 N posts fearing my original would be too "gross". Turns out most people who read it, enjoyed the original.