Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Dear Tami,

I’m thankful that you did not ask me to go on any adventures this past week. I am still recovering from weequashing. Also, I still do not have the foggiest idea what was in Prickly Pete’s “juice”, but I think it took the better part of a week to clear it out of my system. [Note to self: do not consume any more beverages in jugs with hand-written labels that read “juice”, especially when coming from anyone named Prickly Pete.]

Thank you for the congratulations on winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor for my dual portrayals of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein. It is a great honor, one that I get to share with Jonny Lee Miller. My only regret is that you never made it to London to see it. I think you would have greatly enjoyed it.

Now, to address the most persistent question from your letter this week: I will only send you a recording of me saying “aluminium” over and over in exchange for the location of your writing cave. That’s my final offer. Why hearing me say that word makes you giggle so much is beyond me. Besides, it’s you Americans who don’t pronounce it correctly and sound funny saying it.

But… if I knew where your writing cave was located, I could come teach you how to say it the *right* way. I would bet “aluminium” would sound fantastic bouncing off the walls of that cave of yours.

Still searching for the writing cave… Source: thecakeisalive.tumblr.com via Tami on Pinterest

I’m sorry you’re so frustrated with your manuscript. I was thinking about how you said you were trying to write that particularly difficult scene from different viewpoints. It reminded me of what you said a few weeks back about acting and writing not being so different.

(By the way – have you signed up for an acting class like you were inspired to do after reading  Tiffany Lawson Inman‘s post on using method acting to help with your writing? No? *shakes head* Tell me where your writing cave is post-haste so I can hound you about it until you do. *waves thumb drive with recording of “aluminium” and lovely poetry readings on it as enticement*)

It could be incredibly valuable to you as a writer. You’ve said yourself that reading a book is like seeing a private showing of the movie version in your own head. There are a multitude of articles and even a few books that discuss how the two crafts are not only related (obviously), but also how method acting can help a writer really capture their characters on the page. You’ve probably already discovered these, but I will point them out nonetheless:

In Kate George’s post, Method Acting and Engaging Writing, she talks about seeing her novel’s scenes in her mind as well as finding ways to step into the characters lives that she writes about in her novels.

In Using Method Acting in Your Writing, Samantha Bina shares how she struggled with getting the right voice for a secondary character in her novel. She visualized being that character, down to how she was feeling about the weather in that scene, and then she stripped out everything but the dialogue from her manuscript so she could act out the scene in order to properly find the character’s voice. Brilliant.

And then there’s David Niall Wilson who asserts Writers Are a Lot Like Method Actors. He states that in order to fully know your characters and make them multidimensional, “you have to be willing to meet all the characters halfway and if you can’t understand their motivation on a personal level, you have to be able to recognize that motivation and allow them to react to it uninhibited by the confines of your own thoughts, ethics, and morality.”

Perhaps you could give some of these strategies a try. And since you have a multitude of disguises and costumes, I think you are well equipped to get completely in character. Acting out your troublesome scene could help you get unstuck.

I’d be happy to help with this, if you’d like. I still have part of your pirate disguise from the time we literally ran into each other in Central Park that one summer evening. I didn’t know it was you at first since you were wearing the pirate disguise, but when I noticed the large quantity of gelato that was accidentally spilled all over my shirt by our collision, I knew it had to be you given your love of the creamy confection. I did very much appreciate you loaning me your pirate vest so I could stay to watch the Shakespeare play in the park without having to go shirtless, even if it was a bit snug.

I can bring it to you and we could act out your novel together. What? No pirates with British accents in your novel? Hmmm… We may have to change that. Could be just the thing your novel is needing.

Cleverly yours,



*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.

19 thoughts on “Letters from Benedict: On the Olivier Awards, Aluminium, & How Acting Can Help Your Writing

  1. I wish there was a way to include a soundbite. I’m really dying to hear him say, “aluminium”. 😀

    • It’s both the combination of his voice and the English way of saying it that tickles me so. If you listen to this ad he recently did for Jaguar, you’ll hear it (at 1:46): http://youtu.be/fdWMTMjzaik I’m probably the only person out there who finds this word so enjoyable when he says it.

      • wOOt, what a voice! THANKS for the link! I love the way he says “Jaguar” too. I bet he weequashs from a Jag? What do you think?

        • You’re most welcome, Elaine. LOVE your enthusiasm. It’s contagious and making me smile. 🙂

          I love how he says “Jaguar”, too. I think it might be difficult to weequash from a Jag. That’s why he built the Squeegee Beckenheim. Perhaps next week I’ll post the t.v. ad he did so you can see what he does in a Jag.

  2. Tami,

    Why is it that after reading this post, I suspect your novel may undergo a genre shift? Romance comes in different heat levels. Just saying.

    • Hmmm… Not sure if I have what it takes to write romance well. My WIP does have some teen romance in it, though that’s not the focus. If Ben had his way with it, who knows what it would end up becoming – YA/paranormal/pirate/classy British actor/romance/thriller/mystery. That’s why I need a writing cave. He’s way too fun to hang out with.

  3. One of my daughter’s closest friend’s father is British and the first time he said “aluminium” in front of her, she talked about it for days. Then, when he came here, I, of course, asked him to say it. Again. And again. My daughter wasn’t even embarrassed by my asking since she loved hearing it too. I’m sure he isn’t quite up to your boy Ben’s pronunciation but our friend has a deep, lovely voice so it might be a close second. Thanks for all the links and for more Tami-Ben inside knowledge. I think you should just tell him where to find the cave. It could be a win-win. 🙂

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds the English pronounciation of aluminium so lovely. I was worried no one could relate and I’d be flying my freak flag out there all alone. 🙂

      If I thought I could get anything done or be even remotely productive with him around I would give him the location to my writing cave. My resolve to focus and accomplish wanes considerably whenever he’s around.

      • on ,
        livrancourt said:

        Hey, in the Jaguar link, he says it twice. How cool is that?! Maybe they’ll let him come on Top Gear and they’ll all talk about Jagyooahs.

        • That would be divine. And if he could sneak in saying aluminium at least three or four times, I wouldn’t be able to stop giggling and smiling the whole time. 🙂

Send me a Letter

Sending your message. Please wait...

Thanks for sending your message! I'll be in touch soon.

Whoops! There was a problem sending your message. Mind giving that another try?

Please complete all the fields in the form before sending.