Friday, July 16, 2010

"But What's Puzzling You Is The Nature Of My Game"

I belong to a writers group in Brooklyn that recently provided me with a great prompt, which in turn gave birth to a fun story. I've been vehemently developing this tale ever since.

We were asked to, without dragging religion into it, write a piece that features a main character having a conversation with "the devil" in whatever manifestation of "him" and in any style and genre we saw fit.

I was immediately reminded of the TV series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (don't roll your eyes, I have a great correlation here; just be patient!) and how at every turn, Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy was forced to have many conversations with beings deemed pure evil. Writer Joss Whedon showed his genius by being able to intertwine humor with crises of the heart and temptations to be "bad" and that's what I wanted to invoke for my piece.

Another vision (so to speak) of the devil was that of Dabney Coleman offering Suzanne Sommers the gift of eternal thinness in the TV movie, Devil's Food, more so the idea of a "contract" for one's soul. Finally my brain was reminded of The Picture of Dorian Gray (Johnny Depp's biography LOL) by Oscar Wilde, and a movie I'm kind of ashamed to have liked, Tuck Everlasting.

All of these cultural references and images danced in my head in the 12.5 seconds it took me to get started on the written assignment. Not some horned, fanged, enflamed goat-man being scaring the bejeezus out of me, but rather a handsome and charming man, the likes of which you can't help but be attracted to, the kind that awakens in you a simultaneous desire and repulsion. This was the devil in my story. He was Louis Cyphre, John Milton and Viggo Mortenson's version of Lucifer in The Prophecy.

And even though we were asked to keep religion out of it, he was also Satanael, Ha-satan, Semjâzâ, Iblis and Mara (my liberal arts education just paid for itself RIGHT THERE with those references...Intro to World Religions was my most favorite class ever!), and his only reason for being was to tempt my main character into going against the natural order of things and offering her that which she held so dear: her youth.

Can you tell I'm excited to be working on something new?

How about you? What would you conversation with "the devil" look like?

*smooches...working towards that Pulitzer every damn day*
shout out to the homie Tiffany Jackson whose writing prompt is sure to be my next great work of art :)