In one important way Harley Granville-Barker and Paul Baker thought the same way about the creative process. The process, with all of its variations, is different for each individual. Both men stressed this. (See DIRECTORS ON DIRECTING edited by Toby Cole & Helen Krich Chinoy p.201 and INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES, EXERCISES FOR CREATIVE GROWTH by Paul Baker) Yesterday, after reading Granville-Barker’s essay DIVERSITY INTO UNITY, when I was very aware of my own limitations as a writer, I overhead a woman talk about how earthshaking the realization was to her that she would never be a great actor or writer (even though she said was “good” at both endeavors). She was very critical of herself. Her criticism seemed to have had an enduring effect on her and seemed to have limited her. This made me feel sad. But I’m afraid she is not alone. I’ve been there and was sympathetic, with my feeling impatient and seeking results, which means if I continue to think this way I won’t get where I want to go. Baker was against quick results. Granville-Barker wrote, “as related alike to the actor as to the play” (and I say playwright/writer), “it will be slow in coming to birth: the more unconscious the process the better…for it does not work alike with everyone, never at the same pace, never to the same measure.” “It does not work alike with everyone.” The phase is worth repeating. And even remembering, while we rush to become somebody. What are we trying to do anyway? Isn’t it enough to be involved with the creative process and see what happens? Or are we primarily after publication, recognition, fame, etc?
It is as mentors I look to Baker and Granville-Barker. And, as a teacher at Baylor University, Trinity University, and the Dallas Theater Center, Baker personally encouraged me, and his philosophy has helped me throughout my life. And it was as an innovator that he most inspired me. I highly recommend his INTEGRATION OF ABILITIES: EXERCISES FOR CREATIVE CROWTH. (Copyright 1972 by Trinity University Press Library of Congress Card Catalog Number 73-169606 SBN# 911536-38-8)
“The teacher is dealing with the god in the student. His creative self is his god, usually never exercised or given a voice. Each god has a different shape, a new sound; expresses itself in a rhythm, movement, color different from those of any other god. It is impossible to understand the mystic depth of that god, its background, its many facets, its beginning before birth, its relationship to the whole anthropological history of mankind. But you can know the student as god; you can enjoy with him discovery of the expressions emanating from that god. You can speak to that creative act with love and understanding. You can keep your own ego out of it. You can encourage when you feel or see a glimmer of something new.” Paul Baker
And that’s what Baker did for me; he encouraged me with “love and understand.” He produced my plays. Thank you.