Puppetry vs. writing: Why I am doing less puppetry now.

Here’s a list of wordcounts and dates over the past couple of weeks for The Transfigured Lady. Hm… I wonder on which days I was building puppets?

02-25 1,442
02-26 1,228
02-27 5,358
02-28 1,602
03-01 2,060
03-02 672
03-03 71
03-04 3
03-05 0
03-06 534
03-07 529
03-08 694
03-09 708
03-10 4,404
03-11 2,064
03-12 3,334
03-13 1,198

One of the things that I know about myself is that puppet design and construction use pretty much exactly the same part of my brain as writing does.  This is the part of the brain that engages in problem solving and character development.  It’s my storyteller.

Performing, on the other hand, has no impact on writing.  Those two parts of my brain are unrelated.  I suspect that would be different if I were doing a lot of improvisational theater because that gets back to the problem-solving/storytelling brain. Normally, though, as a performer the emphasis is on execution. There’s communication with an audience but that involves honing my craft, not inventing new things.  In terms of the parts of my brain that get engaged, performance is executing a problem that’s already been solved, if that makes sense.

The thing is that the urge to design and create a show is also affected by writing.  When I write, the creative itch to work on a new show isn’t there. So, a project has to be really compelling to get me excited.  I’m also not driven to seek out new opportunities in the way I was before I started writing.

Oddly, at the same time the drive isn’t there, I miss the puppetry.  When I was building the Odd and the Frost Giant rehearsal puppets, it was deeply satisfying.  I love the tangibility of the creative process in puppetry.

I’m still trying to find a balance in my life between writing and puppetry.  You see why there’s a conflict though.

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3 thoughts on “Puppetry vs. writing: Why I am doing less puppetry now.”

  1. Interesting! I wouldn’t have guessed that, but that just shows you how differently people’s brains work.

    I found the same thing about running roleplaying games (obviously, a hobby — not as important as puppetry.) Playing the games is fine, even sort of rejuvenating to my creative tissues. Planning/running them uses up my fiction juices. But I know that’s different for different folks — I know a few game writers who also write fiction, and they say running games doesn’t use the same part of their brain.

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