I’ve been thinking about Mark Rothko, sort of.
Daphne Gray-Grant is all about writing fast and fluidly, which is why I like to read her. About a week ago, she wrote about seeing the play Red, quoting this comment by Rothko to his assistant, Ken:
“Most of painting is thinking. Didn’t they teach you that? Ten percent is putting paint onto the canvas. The rest is waiting.”
This is not what I always preach and always try to practice, which goes something like this: Most of writing is writing. Even thinking is best done with pen put to paper. There is no substitute for writing. So just write.
But about a week ago, I was tired. It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I’ve been (very happy to be) speaking a lot. I needed to quiet down for a few days.
Over the weekend, I read the play. Toward the end, Ken, in frustration, expresses his own version of Rothko’s work style, characterizing it as “let’s-look-at-the-fucking-canvas-for-another-few-weeks-let’s-not-fucking-paint-let’s-just-look.”
Ken knows the danger. Let’s not paint. Let’s not write. “Let’s just look”–or think, or wait.
I’ve looked, thought, waited, and read Red.
Now it’s time to write. Join me?
Waiting. Staying. They’re mostly synonymous, don’t you think?