Martin Challis

december 2005

Something To Say

Having something to say and saying it, is at times a challenge. To have something to say requires that something be considered, thought about, mulled over in some way or another. And at other times having something to say may be more immediate, based on a circumstance or set of circumstances that give rise to quicker action and speech. But it often means that some time needs to be set aside for consideration and evaluation. And following this comes the act of saying the thing that needs to be said. But to whom should it be said and in which context? How to say it, how to articulate the desired communication?

Writing an article is one context or site for communicating 'a thing' that needs to be said: But at what cost? What is at stake? To put into text a set of thoughts and ideas is possibly the height of arrogance when the writer knows that the words written will be there for all to read, if they so desire. The writer exposes him or herself to judgement. And who is the writer and what rite does this person have to write and say and be read? Why should any of us impose our ideas and thoughts on others?

The conundrum: then how do any of us share knowledge and ideas if we are to remain so apparently humble and silent – keeping our ideas to ourselves and not saying the things that need to be said. And what do we risk? Some writers risk their lives – have risked their lives and lost them. The desire to write and share ideas and ideals must have been strong for such people.

Then there are those who write for a living and one conceives that skill and ability to write and send ideas, concepts and imaginings into the world may be measured in most cases by a level of consistency and remuneration. Then there are others who write and have nothing much to say: those that have not much of anything particular to say but say it anyway. Perhaps this is an even greater courage, either that or greater ignorance.

So where does this writer stand in terms of having something to say and saying it? The writer writes a monthly article in an online forum, knowing that a number of people may or may not read the thoughts and views expressed each month. The writer supposes there are readers who enjoy and those that don't, those that support and those that criticise, those that are interested and those who do not wish to receive.

Each month the writer asks himself, do I have something to say? And should I say it? Each month in varying degrees there comes a voice of resistance saying – "you should stop writing and imposing your ideas on others, who are you really, and what do you have to say that is new and interesting – after all its all been said before…." and so it goes.

Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech upon becoming South African Prime Minister in 1994 said: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…." And in that sense the fear of drawing attention to oneself need to be overcome. Further, it becomes the responsibility of a writer, an artist and any communicator to bring the light of their thoughts and ideas into the light.

It would seem then that silence in this sense could be viewed as an act of selfishness. That fear of judgement could be seen as an avoidance of debate. The understanding that needs to grow is; that by taking the risk of expressing an idea or an opinion comes the potential reward of the counter argument or the opposing idea. Through debate, through rigour, through empathy - metamorphosis and transformation are made possible.

Bringing our ideas and thoughts into the world and finding the forum to express these ideas is a contribution to our individual development and may in turn be a contribution to the evolution of humankind.

So each month this writer potentially struggles to either have something to say and/or, to say it. But he knows that this struggle is in itself as necessary to the creative process as breathing is to the physical body. The catalyst to this creative act is the deadline – the risk is potential criticism – the reward is (through struggle), the shared richness of human thought.

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About This Article

©2005 Martin Challis
©2005 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Martin Challis is an actor and director in Australia. He recently commenced a coursework Doctorate in Creative Industries developing projects such as The Raw Theatre and Training Company. He's also the director of the Studio For Actors and Ensemble Works.
For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.




december 2005

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