The Domino Effect

The moment I love most as a writer usually happens when I’m not actually writing. This moment typically occurs when I’m brushing my teeth or washing my hair, and the storyline that has been going through its terrible Act-Twos finally aligns. An idea clicks and rest of the story falls into place like dominoes. It’s is a glorious revelation, one that oddly seems to always involve water and/or nudity, but, whatever. When the Muse speaks, listen.

In that moment, when the story becomes clear and compliant, a weight lifts. The sullen cloud that had been hovering dissipates revealing a bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The dread of staring at the computer screen turns to anticipation. Now I can’t wait to write. But I must. Day job.

There’s a rush that comes with it. And it’s not just the near overdose of caffeine. Then a swell of optimism: Maybe I can even finish that little bugger tonight so I can actually enjoy the sunny Saturday the weather folks have promised.  We’ll see. The timing is both perfect and pooey. This happens to be deadline weekend, so I can’t screw off and play until this is done. Fade out. The end. Because I sort of screwed off last weekend. Who didn’t?  It was the (my) high holy holiday awards weekend. One must drink whilst watching the Spirit Awards and one must be reverent during the Oscars ceremony. Not a whole lot of writing gets done that last weekend in February. [Side note: I’m just thrilled that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won Best Original Score because 1) It was, and 2) How unbelievably cool it is that the man who wrote the greatest love song in the world, “Closer”, and told the recording industry to go screw won an Academy Award?!? That is the Oscar moment I live for every year. However, I do agree with a friend who said that it would have been utterly epic if Reznor went to the mic and said, “I want to thank you like an animal.” Maybe next time.]

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I don’t believe in writer’s block. I don’t think that really exists. For me, anyway. Usually, if the flow is not going, it’s because there’s something wrong or missing in a previous scene. Or I just don’t love the story anymore. That happens, sometimes. Usually around the third rewrite. Or I love it too much, squeezing it so tightly it suffocates. But more often than not, I’m avoiding going into that deep abyss that the story can lead to. One that’s so overwhelming I can’t break free of it. Nor do I want to. In this case, however, it’s the constriction of budget and timeline the film will be under that has been limiting, murdering every grand idea and bludgeoning it down to the basics. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good lesson. It’s just less fun.

But, now that the missing link has been found, and the joy of the process has returned. The pieces have come together and are falling into place. I can finish this tale and move on to the next. That is my other favorite writer moment: Coming to The End before the next beginning.

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