I thought a lot today about inspiration.
Over this past year, I have come to know inspiration rather differently than I had before. Before, inspiration was an all-at-once kind of experience. I’d have an idea, and it would kind of flood out all at once, or at least the main bits. Everything would feel very clear in those moments. Everything would be right, and make sense. Inspiration meant that a lot of work would get done very, very fast.
This past year, I’ve tried to stay away from that. It’s a completely new venture, as you would know if you read this blog with any sort of regularity. The inception of my projects still very much comes from those “flashes” of inspiration, I suspect they always will, but the “work would get done” part is now entirely different.
See, with the deluge-method, I found myself with lots of ideas and not so many pages. Taking a hard look at the all-or-nothing approach left me with the honest conclusion and sinking realization that I really should be getting far more work done than I actually was. Replacing it is the “every day” method. I do work every day now. Not all at once. All the time, every time. 200 steps in a day has been replaced by 2 steps every day for 100 days. Inspiration, as it is, has become much more like a growing tree than a waterfall. Add a ring every day.
And, I do have to say I much prefer this method. It brings stability, sanity, and routine into my creative endeavors, something that the deluge could never give me.
All that kind of left me today as I found myself, believe it or not, really without any…inspiration. Fatigue is really what robbed me of that. My writing so consistently has filled my head with pictures and conversations and action and *fun* that when I sit down and write for the hour or so that I do every day, the words are almost bursting forth. Not today.
I tried. In my head at least.
See, on the one hand, my novel currently is lacking momentum. I stopped writing it for almost three weeks. No, four weeks, actually, and there’s absolutely no rhythm to what I’ve written the past three days. Then, top that with the fact that I’m in the wilderness with my pilot. I have a start. A very solid start, actually, but I have zero idea right now of where it’s going to end up. It’s not exactly writers’ block in the sense that everyone thinks it is…I *could* have cranked out my pages today…but it’s a vacuum of inspiration.
Now, guys, I realize that the ONLY solution to the above is to just keep writing. Forge ahead. Which is exactly what I’m going to do first thing tomorrow morning. Not even think about it, just do it. See what comes out, and keep on like that until I’m back in love with what I’m writing.
Today, however, the fatigue won. I’m here in bed at 10pm, having slept in and taken a half hour nap, and I’m freaking exhausted. Exhausted, mostly, because I feel like I worked my ass off over the past two weeks, and I have almost nothing to show for it. At least in terms of what I *want* to show for it. The apartment duties list is winding down, finally, and that should make a huge freaking difference.
Moving on to nicer things: I *did* get some movie-watching in today. I started with finished The Faculty, which was an invasion of the body snatchers teen horror flick directed by Robert Rodriguez from when I was actually in High School myself. It was terrible, for reals, but it was also a stroll down memory lane. I started working at a video rental store the summer that movie went to video. I remember the posters, and people talking about it. The woman who ran the video store, Debbie, I remember she liked the movie. We would play it on the TV next to the checkout counter (that’s where I worked), but I never actually had seen it from beginning to end.
Then, I watched The Master, the Paul Thomas Anderson film from last Oscar season with Phillip Seymore Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix which was about a troubled alcoholic from WWII who gets taken in by a cult leader. It’s a bold-faced parallel to L. Ron Hubbard and how he started Scientology, and both leading men were freaking amazing in it. Seriously. I’m surprised neither of them won for their performances. And Paul Thomas Anderson can write characters and dialogue like a freaking genius. It’s not fair. Overall, however, as with so many of Anderson’s films, it ended up feeling incomplete. Anderson always just ENDS his movies. He’s very anti-formulaic in that way, except in Magnolia, really, where there was such a strong almost completely on-the-nose through-line to begin with…but in pretty much everything else, all the sudden his films are just over. Just like that. The movie was clearly a cut above, don’t get me wrong. And, I don’t just say that because I’m *suppose* to say that, because that’s bullshit. Paul Thomas Anderson hooks you into his movies with his sheer, incredible ability to craft characters who are so spellbinding that you have absolutely no idea what they’re going to do next, and you can’t take your eyes off them to see what it will be.
I ended the night with a genuinely fucking delightful movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I honestly had no freaking idea what to expect from this movie. I didn’t know anything about it, and that was even after seeing the previews for it last year, which told me absolutely nothing in the way of what the film was about. It’s a caper, and most certainly Wes Anderson’s most sprawling tale to date. And, perhaps, his most adult. Or maybe I just feel that way given that his last film was about boy scouts and a pair of 11 year olds in love. I freaking loved this movie. It’s one of the best that he’s done in quite a while, in fact. Perhaps not as emotionally charged (for me personally) as The Darjeeling Limited which will always make me think of my brother Russell, or as impeccably done as The Royal Tenenbaums which is probably still his best effort…but it’s up there with them. Some day, I’ll purchase a digital compendium of all Wes’s films, watch them over the course of a week or a month, and then do a comparison of them all together and REALLY decide which of them are the best…but as for right here and right now, The Grand Budapest Hotel is the tits. Ralph Fiennes is freaking delightful, the plot is funny and charming and something NEW for Anderson, it’s EXCITING…I loved it. Great movie. It was also much less Aspergers in its style, so that was something new writing and performance-wise. But the visuals were still all Wes Anderson. Cute, charming, and with a delightfully miniature-like quality that makes me think of being a child.
That’s all for tonight. I’m gonna watch some Star Trek before falling asleep. Coco is snoring next to me and Coops is asleep at the end of the bed.
Tomorrow, it’s back to work, which is always the instant cure-all for all of this “inspiration” angst. Never fails. Sometimes, days off suck balls. Today didn’t…but you know what I mean.