* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

A Play On Words

27 May 2002
Don't put James on the stage, Mr. Worthington.

Act II Scene 3.

Worthington remains fraught with worry due to his lack of artistic inspiration. His loyal companion, Earnest, offers support. Uncle and Aunt Jerome remain aloof. The two young men are as yet unaware of Veronica's scheming. They are about to receive disturbing news from afar.

Lights up on Uncle's study, which is in a state of disarray. Books are open on every surface, and there are many pages of notebooks strewn around. A typewriter sits on a separate desk, unused, with no paper loaded. Worthington, looking well groomed as ever, stands behind the main desk, arms folded. He is staring nervously out of the window. A movement behind the door distracts him. He moves quickly to sit back at the desk and starts scribbling intensely in a notebook. There is a knock at the door.

Worthington: Come in!

Door opens and Lucy, The Nubile Maidservant, enters with a tray of tea and ice-cakes. She places them on a small coffee table in front of a sofa covered in books, notes and papers.

Lucy, The Nubile Maidservant: Excuse me Mr Worthington, Sir, but Madame Jerome instructed me to bring you some refreshment after she missed you at lunch.

Worthington: Ah, thank you very much, Lucy. Yes, I was feeling peckish. All this creative energy does bring on quite a hunger. He laughs uncomfortably, looking down at his work.

Lucy: (Looks at the illegible scribblings over his shoulder). Yes, Sir. If you're wanting me, please just ring, Sir.

Worthington does not look up from his notepad. As Lucy leaves, Earnest bursts though the door after her. He is wearing riding gear and carries a horse-helmet.

Earnest: Ah, Worthers, how's it all going? You're elderly relations were positively probing me this lunchtime over your progress. They seem to be expecting quite a masterpiece...

Worthington: Irritably They'll be lucky if they get a single sentence, let alone the epic poem or political tract they're always asking for.

Earnest: Well, they are your patrons, old man, so they do have some right to demand work from you.

Worthington stands and walks to the window. Earnest moves over to the desk and starts flicking through the notebooks.

Worthington: sighs I am well aware of that, Earnest. At the beginning there was less expectation, my canvas as yet unmarked, and my ideas flowed easily. Now, although the experience I've gained over these last few years has improved my style, the content somehow feels less inspired. Every time I now sit down to write, the burden of my earlier successes weighs down heavily upon me. My new ideas, when they come, feel bland, even boring. I've even considered resurrecting some old characters and developing them further, but that would go totally against what I feel most passionately about my work - the need to be original.

Worthington turns from the window and looks up at Earnest.

Worthington: But I am having absolutely no luck in coming up with an original idea this time. Everything that half-forms before me I discard. Have I become too picky I wonder? You can judge for yourself - they're all there in those notebooks in front of you. Or has the regular pressure from my patrons now become too much for me to bear? Are they now in fact stifling, rather than liberating me? No, I feel not. I know that if it wasn't for the patronage structure around me, I would most likely stop writing altogether. So the pressure on me is an inspiration. Well, as much of an inspiration as a knife held at one's throat.

Worthington turns to gaze out of the window once more

To write a successful piece, one must have both content and style. What I strive for is content, but I fear I am thwarted. So therefore I shall consider style. Sometimes content can simply present itself when one considers a stylistic tool one has never used before. Perhaps a short play will satisfy my hosts this time. Surely I can force out a scene or two before dinner.

Earnest: Looking up from the notebooks I think you're trying too hard. In many ways, I'm in the same position as you - a young, ambitious writer with elderly and very demanding patrons. But I do not shut myself up in a room and try to force myself to write.

Worthington: So do you simply trust that the ideas will arrive just in the nick of time? I'll judge that your continued patronage is merely a function of good fortune, then.

Earnest: On the contrary, by being out and part of the world, frequenting salons and public houses, ideas fairly present themselves readily. The fiery outside world is a far better source of sparks than the damp interior of one's own head.

Worthington: Turning from the window, he picks up his hat and cloak from the sofa You have convinced me. Now, off to the pub for some fine inspiration!

Earnest: Indeed Sir!

Worthington and Earnest stride out of the room, in high spirits. Lights down.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
16 October 2003. James writes: Jakesy's School of Urban Driving
24 September 2003. James writes: Chapter One
4 September 2003. James writes: The Silicon Soul
14 August 2003. James writes: A Room With 100 Seats
24 July 2003. James writes: English For Beginners
3 July 2003. James writes: Coldplay are crap. Discuss.
9 June 2003. James writes: It Takes All Sorts
22 May 2003. James writes: Lesson 2: Buying his Gran for a tenner
1 May 2003. James writes: Rosencrantz and Leytonstone
10 April 2003. James writes: Character Building
20 March 2003. James writes: So This Is It. What Are We Going To Do About It?
27 February 2003. James writes: Street Level Zero
6 February 2003. James writes: Reference: James Noteworthy
16 January 2003. James writes: Kissing George Clooney for just £99!
26 December 2002. James writes: Hongkong In Four Tableaux
5 December 2002. James writes: We Are Your Idea
14 November 2002. James writes: The Knight Of Spring Fervent
24 October 2002. James writes: Go On, Be Honest
7 October 2002. James writes: Cold Comfort
12 September 2002. James writes: Peas In A Pod
22 August 2002. James writes: Seed Investment
1 August 2002. James writes: We Are QPR
11 July 2002. James writes: The Road to Ossuna
20 June 2002. James writes: Pret A Teleporter
27 May 2002. James writes: A Play On Words
2 May 2002. James writes: Labour Saving Device
8 April 2002. James writes: Beggaring Belief
14 March 2002. James writes: Small Things
18 February 2002. James writes: Drop Dead Letters
24 January 2002. James writes: High-Rise Rhapsody
27 December 2001. James writes: My drift's too hip to resist.
6 December 2001. James writes: My Lord Has No Nose
12 November 2001. James writes: A Job For Life
18 October 2001. James writes: Which is the cleverest animal?
24 September 2001. James writes: Interview With An Automatum
30 August 2001. James writes: Each To Their Own
6 August 2001. James writes: An Escape, In Sonata Form
12 July 2001. James writes: Truckloads Of Goodies
18 June 2001. James writes: There's No Such Thing As A Coincidence
24 May 2001. James writes: It's All True - The Paper Says So
30 April 2001. James writes: A Letter From Prisyn
16 April 2001. James writes: I Quit
15 March 2001. James writes: An Essay In Procrastination
15 February 2001. James writes: Confessions Of An English Sand-Eater
22 January 2001. James writes: The Future And The Pasta
28 December 2000. James writes: Never drink with men in red
4 December 2000. James writes: The Underground
9 November 2000. James writes: Right answer. Wrong answer
16 October 2000. James writes: The March of Proudfoot: Part I
21 September 2000. James writes: You haven't got a chance
28 August 2000. James writes: Bad, man. Wicked
24 July 2000. James writes: I play games with street lamps

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