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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

entry arrow4:36 PM | Talk to Me Unrealisticaly

One thing that sometimes gets my goat when panelists roast writers in workshops is when they go that high-and-mighty road to Realism, and declare one writer's use of dialogue as being, well, unrealistic. "They don't talk like real people!" they'd say. Part of me says they're right, that one should always aspire to what veteran workshoppers call "verisimilitude." But part of me rebels, immediately recalling the stylized give-and-take of David Mamet or Tennessee Williams or Alan Bennett. Real people don't talk like Mamet or Williams or Bennett characters do. But, by God, listen to the "unrealistic" poetry in the way these characters talk! Here's one scene from Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar, for example, starring Joan Crawford as cold cowgirl Vienna and Sterling Hayden as her old lover Johnny, where they meet again for the first time in years...

Johnny: How many men have you forgotten?
Vienna: As many women as you've remembered.
Johnny: Don't go away.
Vienna: I haven't moved.
Johnny: Tell me something nice.
Vienna: Sure. What do you want to hear?
Johnny: Lie to me. Tell me all these years you've waited ...
Vienna: All these years I've waited.
Johnny: Tell me you'd have died if I hadn't come back.
Vienna: I would have died if you hadn't come back.
Johnny: Tell me you still love me like I love you.
Vienna: I still love you like you love me.
Johnny: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

See? Unrealistic dialogue as delicious as they come.

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