The Night Was Dark

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting on my couch, listening to old INXS songs on youtube. Writing this, instead of working on the Space Marine: Pew! Pew! Pew! manuscript, because Monday is one of the days when I can get away with that.

I should probably go make coffee. Or go collect coffee from the cafe on the far side of the train tracks, if there’s enough spare change in my change-jar to justify that kind of expenditure.

I’m trying to stay chill because, lo, I watched a bunch of movies this weekend, and so many of them had characters who are writers, and that is the stuff of rage.

Movies give us an endless parades of characters who agonize about writers block and disappear on book tours and live with an absolute conviction that what they do is the most important shit in the world.

“It’s not important,” the none writer characters will say. “It’s just a book.”

“It’s the most important thing in the world,” the writer character says, then goes away to sulk.

Movie-writers sulk better than any real-world writer I’ve ever met. They sulk like they’ve been told their sulk will end wars and bring about world peace, and so long as they are unhappy the world will be transformed into an eternal, glorious Disneyland.

And yet, I love them. Even as I hate them and rail at the TV, I love me a good movie-writer film. He Died with a Felafel in his Hand with Noah Taylor wandering around as the biggest dickhead writer of all time; Stranger Than Fiction with Emma Thompson being the most batshit insane writer of tragedies ever; innumerable films adapting the work of beat poets and novelists; Throw Momma From the Train.

Oh, dear god, especially Throw Momma From the Train.

I love those writers with their sulks and peculiarities, their impending alcoholism and their books that are all-consuming parts of their lives. Get the narrative right and I will forgive all manner of impracticalities when representing the act of writing, ’cause…well, story.

Good story trumps most objections to most things while you’re watching it. Good story will let you defer your anger ’til later.

Except, today I’m not angry.

Today I’m thinking of what it was like when I wanted to be a writer as a kid, when all I had to go on was the way writers behaved in books and movies. When you had an interpretation, shaped by narrative, instead of instant access to blogs and twitter and facebook messages that, while still being an interpretation, come far closer to the reality of writers lives.

This is a handy thing.

Given time and sufficient internet access, we may actually start to deconstruct the bullshit that surrounds creative careers and rebuild it into something useful.

In the mean time, I have checked the spare change jar. There will be no trip to the cafe this morning.

If you need me, I will be staring pensively at my computer screen, awaiting the inevitable complication that is going to drive the next scene.


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