Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meet David Steven Rappoport

Visual artist David Rosenak nominated David Rappoport as the most fascinating person he knows:
David Rappoport and I met when we were fifteen. I had never met anyone like him; it seemed as though David had already read and done almost everything; he was already a published playwrite with the talent, skill, knowledge, ambition, and -- most impressively -- the work habits of a professional. Fifteen! I was used to thinking of myself as being advanced for my age because I had a little talent and loved to look at art books, but I couldn't conceive of the life of a professional artist -- wasn't one just carried along on a cloud? So meeting David was a real eye-opener for me. This wasn't inspirational, exactly -- it was impossible to emulate -- but it was instructive. And fun. I was very lucky to meet him then. And, yes, later he had some well-deserved success in New York; but he got burnt out and gave it up. Our loss. (But rumor has it he's writing again -- stay tuned).

Welcome David.

1. What motivates you to get up in the morning?
I'm sort of a nihilistic candy bar, optimistic at the center but coated in darkness. Rare moments of positive cataclysmic change -- such as the fall of the Berlin Wall -- are motivating as they remind me that once in awhile, impossible good happens and thus, we should continue to seek improvements.

2. What keeps you awake at night? What obsesses you?
Self-recrimination and self-improvement, even though I don't hold grudges and don't think people fundamentally change. As an aside, why are we generally surprised when people are self-contradictory? People ARE self-contradictory.

3. What do you struggle with most?

4. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned?
Let me frame this as a contest in which a number of valuable lessons compete for the diamond tiara. The winner is that the greatest danger is human rigidity. By this, I mean to include all variants of religious, political, and scientific certainty because these tend to be the original causes of most of the suffering in the world. The first runner-up is what I call David's dictum: "It's perfectly all right to have limitations, but God help you if you don't know what they are."

5. What is your personal philosophy or motto?
Spencer Tracy's comment about acting, "learn your lines, and don't trip over the furniture," might be applied more broadly as "know your shit, and don't make things worse than you found them."

David Steven Rappoport has had different foci at different times in his life. Currently, his primary interest is writing mysteries under the name of Ezekiel Weaver. His blog is Ezekiel Weaver’s Shaggy Bunny Blog. David also works to improve access to, and the quality of, health care services for the underserved and disenfranchised. He currently lives in Chicago, but has previously lived in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and rural Maine.


The Frog Queen said...

Great post, love his philosphy. Thanks for sharing.

therese said...

I want to give him a big hug!