Alan Watt – Interview @ Wellness Day 2011
Alan Watt is a screenwriter and novelist. He is also the founder and creative director of the LA Writers Lab. After presenting at Wellness Day, 2011 – Alan made some time for a very thoughtful interview that is available below.
Please bookmark our YouTube Channel and keep checking back here often. Many innovative minds in the recovery world were interviewed at this year’s event and footage is being rolled out gradually over the coming weeks to the greater community.
Transcripts and links to the remainder of Alan’s interview are available below:
QUESTION 01 – Please tell us a bit about what you do and why? (link to video)
I’m a writer and a writing teacher. I started writing when I was a little kid. I’ve been writing my whole life. I started teaching writing in 98. I got a job at UCLA for the summer and really loved it and formed LA Writers Lab in 2002 because I really wanted to teach this process of getting the story out of your imagination to the page and its really a right brain process. It’s really about staying out of the result. It’s really about understanding why you write. Why you write is really more important than what you write. And that’s what I do.
QUESTION 02 – How did you come to your field of work? (link to video)
Again I was always a writer and it’s always something I gravitated towards, helping other writers with their writing and I’m really fascinated by story. Its just something I kind of fell into really. I had written a novel and was paid a lot of money for it and then the money started to run out and I couldn’t sell my second novel and suddenly I found myself in this situation, “Well what do I do? I’ll teach writing” so its kind of this thing that I happened in to. It became something I really really love and it’s now become a part of my life’s work
QUESTION 03 – How do you approach addiction directly or indirectly in your field of work? (link to video)
There is a real connection, I think, between addiction and creativity and I think one of the reasons I love teaching this creative process so much is because just like addiction is often viewed as a problem, it’s the same thing with creativity. People approach story as if it’s a problem to be solved. There is a great quote by Einstein where he says ‘ you can’t solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created the problem.’ So what I began to discover in working with story in working with writers is that at the heart of story there is no problem. What there really is is a dilemma and that’s what Einstein is talking about because what we are struggling with as human beings is dilemma and I began to see that problems are solved while dilemmas are resolved. There’s a shift in perception and story is all about transformation. Its the reason we are drawn to story .T he desire to write is the desire to evolve or resolve something that we are seeking to understand. This is why the 12 steps are so effective for addiction because it’s a spiritual malady. You can’t solve addiction just like you can’t solve story.
QUESTION 04 – How do you think your contribution to healing people intersects with some of the other things that are going on here today? (link to video)
That’s a great question. I feel like any healing that results from writing a story is a byproduct. I don’t mean this in any callous way but I’m not interested in my writing students’ personal lives at all. I’m interested in their story. I’m interested in them finding the most dynamic version of their story and I think that if I were interested in their personal lives that would actually prevent me from doing my work. I’ll have students telling me the most dramatic unbelievable situations and I don’t really ask if it’s true or really happened. What I’m really interested in is the nature of the experience and so I think that the by helping people through writing and the creative process healing can result but healing is a bi product of telling their story but its not the goal.