There are great moments when I write. There are moments that cause me to wonder why I’m fooling myself about my talents. And there are moments when pure, insane genius washes over me and the thing comes to life. The characters jump off the page, the background noises are clear and the food the characters eat tastes so good.
About five weeks later I’m revising that amazing chapter and realize that it’s complete crap. Almost every paragraph is redunant, the pacing is bad, the characters are all doing the same thing, too many nods, smiles, shakes, and other little tedious items crop up to make me want to hit “Select All” + delete.
It is a curse that every writer seems to have. The reality is that most of the work is probably pretty good but the norm (for me) is to over produce and then have to pare it down. My current WIP (Work In Progress) is a great example. Old Lardo hit 132,000 words at one point. This morning it was down to 112,000 and shrinking. I’ve taken to calling it an amphetimine & Nutri-Systems diet. Eat right and stay up for days doing crunches.
I read an article that documents that same creative process right down to the illegal stimulants. (No, I don’t use drugs. But I sure do like coffee.) Reading the text I kept thinking -You fools! It could have been ruined if you’d done that! – but they didn’t “do that” or any of the other things that I was completely unaware of at the time they were doing them.
HUH? I’m talking about The Blues Brothers. The article documents what it was like to make the movie given Belushi’s drug problems and the completely off-the-wall creative process. Dan Aykroyd and I evidently write the same way. Thankfully I have an inner John Landis to pull us all back from the brink.
I must caution you, some of the language in the article is not what you see here normally. Cursing, drugs, wierdness. But that’s life in the real world. I think it’s a good read for anyone who’s ever seen the movie.
I have to confess that when it comes on the television my wife just smiles and picks up a book. I’ve watched it dozens of times and just bought the original version of it so that the revisionists can’t take the magic away from me. I hate the Politically Correct Police who take out words, phrases, and scenes to reflect modern tastes. Leave well enough alone.
Is there a book, movie, or recording that makes you feel a kindred soul was involved? And if you’re a creative type, do you have the same love/hate relationship with your work?
Finally, a shout out to my friend Rajdeep Paulus who just announced the publication of her first book, Swimming Through Clouds, due out in June. I’ll be buying a copy. She’s so much fun that I have no doubt the book will be wonderful.