Voyeurs of Destruction as Beauty

I watched Afghan, Pardis Parker‘s award-winning film, this morning.

I found it an excellent example of how violence need not be met with violence. I also saw many similarities to my creative process.

Husayn does see the insult but he also sees an idea seed, and for him the creative process takes precedence over cleaning away the insult. While I am fortunate not to have faced that level of overt hate I too see the beauty in odd places; the Goth part of me might even look for it.

Once the seed has started to sprout it throws out limbs in many directions; the issue is not what to do but which of these limbs to support and which to prune. To aid him Husayn has Adam (they might even be close enough that he fulfils the same role as Stephen King’s Ideal Reader) who throws out suggestions and other ideas. I also need to talk through my ideas, but like Husayn am aware that others do not quite see my vision of what they are.

But for me the strongest similarity was Husayn’s look of slight horror when they actually film the KKK pastiche. When creating the initial draft I create scenes that are (hopefully) true to the characters without consideration for an audience. When I have finished writing I become the editor-as-first-audience and any sex, violence, or profanity seem – while still valid – also shameful. My inner critic barrages me with reminders that good people are polite and do not write such things. I have yet to find a balance that works for all situations.

Do you find humour or beauty in odd places? Do you believe art has a duty not to censor itself? Or to adhere to the acceptable?

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