I first came across McNair Wilson’s blog a few years ago, one dark and stormy night…
I drove home after a day of truly dismal rehearsals, gloomy because the director was down with the flu, and the company showed little inclination to mind the assistant director – that being my little, raw, inexperienced self. As a result, things weren’t going terribly well. Add that the seamstress was late with the costumes, and the one electrician a pain in the neck, and you’ll see why I was gloomy about the impending disaster…
And besides, my current writing wasn’t going well at all, and that particular day I hadn’t managed a single word.
Gloom, doom and despair.
So I arrived home in the rain, and made myself a cup of Earl Grey, and sat at my computer to check the mail. And found a message from an American friend, enthusing about the blog of McNair Wilson – one of those hard-to-define people, writer, playwright, actor, director, Disney imagineer and whatnot.
“Plus, he drinks Earl Grey,” Ella concluded, to cinch her argument. “You must, must, must read his blog.”
And why not, I thought, and followed Ella’s link to Tea With McNair. And the first thing I saw was a disclaimer, announcing that the author was going to gradually discontinue the blog.
There, I thought. Goes with the rest of the darn day…
Then I noticed that he was still posting, after all (and still is) and anyway there were all the older posts. I began to hop about, reading here and there, and liking what I saw. And then I found this:
It’s supposed to be hard. It’s art.
True, true, true! And not just about my awful rehearsals. Who said it has to be easy? It doesn’t have to – why, it shouldn’t be easy. If it were easy, if it just happened, if it didn’t entail hard work, and thought, and discipline, then it wouldn’t be hard. If it didn’t make one ask so much of oneself and others, if it weren’t and endless research, if it didn’t throw one out of bed in the dead of night to jot down yet another idea, if one could settle for less, if it weren’t the quest of a life, then it wouldn’t be art. If it never created argument and conflict, if it didn’t have to be defended with tooth and claw occasionally, if it didn’t call for small miracles of diplomacy, manipulation, and patience, then it wouldn’t be art.
No matter what it is – writing, playing, composing, directing, painting – it can never, should never, must never be a piece of cake. It’s a gory battle, and impassioned, and hard, and splendid. It is supposed to be hard: it’s art.