Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Failure is Not an Option!

Sooner or later, every creator suffers from a crippling case of writer's block.  Whether it be a lack of inspiration, or the difficulty in finding that perfect word, writer's block is terrible to endure (and even worse to hear about).  In media that is updated on a constant basis (like a comic strip or a daily television series), the ill-effects of writer's block become all the more apparent.  One of the characters will start complaining about it or the author himself will incorporate himself into the story, depicting himself as sitting in front of a blank canvas, waiting for his muse.

But this is just a temporary setback.  While it may take some writer's years to get over their block, eventually it can be over come.  So what happens when you make a character whose sole purpose is to suffer from writer's block?

The poor man...

Don Music, played by Richard Hunt, was Sesame Street's resident songwriter.  He apparently composed many of the classic nursery rhymes and children's songs that have become familiar to all of us.  Roving reporter Kermit the Frog discovered, however, that these ditties did not always come easily to Mr. Music.  He would often visit him at the apex of his depression, verbally and physically abusing himself, tormented over his lack of creativity.

His hair unkempt and his cranium bruised, Don Music would thrash his head against his piano, hoping to end his misery once and for all.  Even though he would only come up a word short, that single missing word would haunt him forever if he did not finish his song.  His cries of "Never! Never!" were commonly heard in his studio.

Fortunately, Kermit, being the calm presence that he is, would help the poor musician through his woes. Although the final piece would be vastly different than the intended song, the fact that the torture was over was enough to lift Don's spirits.

Each segment followed the same path, so Don was rarely featured (so as not to wear out the joke).  But his fits of frustration garnered the attention of worried parents, who feared that their children would replicate his head-banging tendencies.  Even though he was just a puppet, his attacks were brutally graphic, and had witness not been present, Don could have easily injured himself fatally.

Eventually Don eased up on his melodramatic behavior, as he grew more comfortable with his skills.  He took his musical act to Hooper's Store, where he proved that he could produce more than just "kid stuff."  His final gig (before the passing of Richard Hunt) saw him performing an original song to commemorate the re-opening of Hooper's Store.

While his craft brought him much pain, there was no denying that Don had a passion for music.  His writer's block affected so deeply because it prevented him from being able to share marvelous music with the world.  Few artists are as strongly devoted to their art as this struggling soul.  Although we should not imitate his self-destructive methods, we should embrace the vitality of his spirit in all that we hope to accomplish.

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