Saturday, January 18, 2014

Writing With The TV On


Have you ever tried to write while watching a movie? When struggling to find an idea it can be difficult especially when it is the beginning of “Throw Momma From The Train” when Billy Crystal’s character is struggling more than you are at that moment. It is a little painful to watch not for the actions of the character but because you can see yourself and sometimes remember yourself going through those same motions. “You’ve been on 'The night was’ since July.” It is not a pleasant thought but that is the reality of writing.


I guess there could be worse movies to have on the television. “Funny Farm” comes to mind as a prime example. The internal hell that Chevy Chase goes through in that movie is darn funny (this is when Chevy Chase was funny for those young people that don’t know any better). But it also touches on the jealousy of inspiration that comes so easily to others. We have all been in that situation when we hear a line or read a story and have that ‘I wish I had thought of that’ notion float through your mind.

Those can be disturbing moments if you let them percolate in your mind. What we have to realize is that we all have those moments of clear creativity when everything just fits together but, most of the time, we are either not aware of the spark or don’t write it down quickly enough to keep the ember burning until you can get it down on paper. However, when you catch those moments it can be something of a mesmerizing experience when the world falls away and all you can see is the images and actions that your words are etching into your eyes and embedding in your ears.  

Those instances may be rare for many of us but it is still enough to keep us going. Sometimes it is an entire story that just blindly falls onto the pages while other times it can be a word combination that you have never heard before. Sometimes it is a matter of finding a different perspective while other times that tiny ember can be found in the smallest crevice or the minutest detail found in a crystal of rock salt borrowing through the whining ice on its journey to the gray tar patch in the middle of the pockmarked road. Inspiration is in details and perspectives. Once those are established the action can be introduced organically. Of course, scotch helps too.