“I thank God that I have lived long enough... to understand that the shadow in which I felt that all of my characters had to move and live in fact was cast by God’s sheltering hand.”
As “John From Cincinnati” moves toward a conclusion (next Sunday), I must confess that I haven’t been watching. I tried, but the show just didn’t pull me in.
I have, however, been watching HBO’s reshowing of “Deadwood,” Season One. Creator David Milch’s poetic language and unflinching examination of human nature remain as breathtaking as they were the first time.
When I worked for Milch in the mid-1990s on “NYPD Blue,” he didn’t mention God much. I found out later that he was substance-abusing throughout those years. Now that he’s sober, he talks about God a lot.
David Milch spoke at MIT last year, with literature professor David Thorburn, and I want to share a 2½-minute audio bite with you.
It concerns the Humanitis Prize, an annual cash award for screenwriters whose stories “probe the meaning of life” and “affirm the human person.” The prize was established by the late Father Bud Kieser, a Paulist priest who did some TV and film producing himself.
The first television script Milch ever wrote – a 1982 episode of “Hill Street Blues” titled “Trial by Fury” – earned him a Humanitas Prize (as well as an Emmy and a Writers Guild Award). He received two more Humanitas Prizes for “NYPD Blue” (in 1994 and 1999).
That’s all you need to know to appreciate this tale told by Milch at MIT. Click here to hear it.
FYI, you can download Milch’s entire two-hour presentation as a huge MP3 file via Calamity Dan’s “Deadwood” fan site. An edited video stream is available at the MIT World site if you have a Real Player (which I don’t).