James Arrington was through the office the other day. He's the guy who does the one-person show "Here's Brother Brigham." He also does "The Farley Family Reunion," a one-man band of LDS characters.
This summer, he says, he's bringing the Farley clan back with some new additions. And - as in the past - the show will likely amuse some, befuddle others and outrage a few who feel Arrington is poking fun at them personally.Since talking with James, I've been thinking about these "types" of his. And I've decided that the most important thing I've learned in 15 years of writing is this: All of us are walking contradictions. We are completely unique creations - original, peerless; yet we are all also "types." Our behavior, our attitudes, even our personal style show up time and again in others.
Yet, as you read about Twain's types - the blustery, flustered, old aunt; the rebellious, outdoorsy, freckled-faced boy; the abusive, drunken father - you also come to see them as totally original, unique in all creation. No kid is quite like Huck Finn. No aunt equal to Tom's Aunt Polly.
It's a devilish trick to master.
As for me, I win a few and lose a few.
But scaling such heights isn't natural for many of these people. They spend a tremendous amount of energy staying "hip" - working to stay ahead of the curve. And a good many of them are torn. They don't want to accept what they were by birth and upbringing, yet staying on the cutting edge is slowly costing them their sanity and sense of self.
I would like to be a little more generous.
During our conversation I kept seeing an odd smile on his face. He seemed to be creating something in his head as we talked.
I'm afraid one of his new characters in the show might well be a "smug, type-spotting writer type."