Sunday, June 6, 2010

Behind the Wizard's Curtain


Cowardly Lion: I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I *do*!

Wicked Witch of the West: Ah! You'll believe in more than that before I'm finished with you.


In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and Friends quake and quiver and stare in respectful awe at The Great Wizard. The curtain hasn’t yet been thrown back to show the little old man who hides behind a great fiery bravado.

Dorothy: It really was no miracle.

Once the man behind the curtain is revealed, the magic and mystery is gone. The man is exposed and thus isn’t viewed in awe, isn’t revered as The Great One was. He’s only a man with a few tricks up his sleeve that he’d used to his advantage. He must come out, show his true self (and all along his true self was wonderful indeed).


Sometimes it’s like this with writers. Or, maybe I should say it was like this for writers. Somewhere along the way the curtain was pulled back to reveal just who and what was behind all the fire and booming voice and bigger than life image projected. The little old man behind the curtain with all his levers and buttons and devices used to project the aura of magic at one time was hidden away—an enigma and a mystery.


Wizard of Oz: Step forward, Tin Man!
Tin Woodsman: Ohhhh!
Wizard of Oz: You DARE to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of kaligenous junk!


Now, with so much exposed, writers are pushed out into the world, blinking in the sunlight, their mouths in soft O’s of surprise, turning this way and that at all who stare at them and say, “Wait just a minute here—behind that curtain is just . . .you? What’s so special about . . . just you?” And like the wizard, the author must explain him/herself and then offer up gifts to show they really do have something more after all to give, and not just all the flash and thunder, but something more - what what? what they ask, what more? Our heart, Our brain, our courage . . .


With the internet, social networking blogs twitter Facebook, et cetera; the author can no longer easily hide behind the Wizard’s curtain. Most all is exposed. The awed revered respect authors may have once enjoyed has been torn asunder as the heavy curtain has been drawn back and people peer in at the levers and buttons and projected image paraphernalia.


Wizard of Oz: A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.


I don’t know what it felt like to be an author during the Wizard Times. My experiences have all been after the curtain was thrown back and the Wizard’s controls were set to “off” and the fiery veil died down to embers. I have been the little old man from the beginning—exposed.


Wizard of Oz: You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you're confusing courage with wisdom


Artists, actors, musicians, authors, athletes—all have had the Wizard’s curtain pulled back and exposed the little old man behind, leaving them vulnerable to speculation, observations, opinions in a way that is much more public and personal than ever before.


Dorothy: Toto, I’ve got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore


How many times have you heard someone speak about the “downfall” of a “celebrity” with a little too much glee in their voice? Or a sense of “huhn, they thought they were SO smart and SO important—now look at them, they’re only just a little old man and not a Great Wizard after all! How Pa-The-Tic!” What goes up must come down. The bigger they are the harder they fall—you’ve heard the clich├ęs. There were those halcyon days before, when that writer/actor/singer/musician/athlete followed that yellow brick road looking for the wizard—some to unseat him, some to find out his magic to take for their own, some to find heart or courage or knowledge or home.
The stakes seem higher now, the road longer, the expectations bigger. What's a poor Wizard to do?

Scarecrow: Come along, Dorothy. You don't want any of *those* apples.
Apple Tree: Are you hinting my apples aren't what they ought to be?
Scarecrow: Oh, no. It's just that she doesn't like little green worms!


Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow, follow, f
ollow, follow,
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow the Yellow Brick, Follow the Yellow Brick,
Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

We're off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You'll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Oz is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We're off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

There will be a new day in the land of Oz - old ways turn to new ways. Things cannot stay the same because the Land of Oz is changing.

Meanwhile, our Dorothy dons her ruby slippers and turns three times:
There's no place like home; there's no place like home; there's no place like home. . .


But even home has changed, for Dorothy herself has seen the other side, seen behind the Wizard's curtain.

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

7 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

What's so special about the writer, now that the curtain has been pushed aside for all to see in this age of social networking, is what it's always been - the story shared.

Every time a writer puts pen to paper there is that moment:

"Frightened? Child, you're talking to a man who's laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe... I was petrified."

The more things change, the more they stay the same! :D

Diane said...

Did you watch this recently? I had forgotten about most of those quotes. Great job comparing. I'm glad I'm not afraid to put myself, including most embarrassing moments, out there. :O)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I am facinated by all the changes coming to the publishing industry and both authors and agents and publishers and booksellers' reactions to these changes.

But too, I think of "the olden days" when the writer (or artist/actor, etc) were more "protected" and their personal lives were more mysterious - they had personas that were strickly cultivated by agents or publicists or both - which, as for personas, we can still have or cultivate, but it isn't has easy to do.

The days of The Writer on The Pedestal just isn't there as much - we can get knocked off our pedestal real fast *laughing*

Like this morning, I clicked on something in my google alerts - I don't go looking for reviews and don't even look at Amazon, though I wish I could read any good things being said - so there was this really glowing review and I was feeling all good and happy, but under it was a review that the title said, "I wasn't impressed..." Laughing! I just got out of there real fast and didn't read it -- POW! Knocked off my happy horse...haw! it's just the business, but never before has so much been Out There -but it has its good side too -writers like me gain such a supportive audience through social networking and being so "Out There" - :-) it's really cool.

Karen said...

Oh, I'm still in the spinning house. With two books, dear Kathryn, you have much to show/give and receive. Blessings**

Analisa said...

Love this post. When they went before the wizard it used to scare me as a little kid. Like the Lion I would run to another room.

When he was shown to be just a man it made me feel good. I like the humanity I see behind the curtain. It tells me that everyday people do amazing things and write amazing books. I find comfort in that.

Great Post!!!

Analisa said...

Love this post. When they went before the wizard it used to scare me as a little kid. Like the Lion I would run to another room.

When he was shown to be just a man it made me feel good. I like the humanity I see behind the curtain. It tells me that everyday people do amazing things and write amazing books. I find comfort in that.

Great Post!!!

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow! Cool article!