Exploration · Writing

Thinking Writing

…in which the writer thinks about writing more than the writer actually writes…

I do this all the time.  Thinking about writing is probably more pleasurable to me than actual writing because it doesn’t involve any of the work.  It’s like, when you’re planning a trip and the whole lead up to and planning of the trip gives you more satisfaction than the actual trip.  Same thing, to me at least.  I think about writing before I go to bed, while I’m in the car, on a walk, when distracting myself at work… Thinking about writing is my daydreaming.

When I think about writing, I’m not just thinking about sitting down with a pen and paper and how and when, but I’m thinking about characters and stories and traits and worlds.  I create protagonists and villains, dystopian worlds, problems and actions, that all live in my head.  I write whole novels in my head that will never see paper.

This isn’t a “problem” in the grand scheme of things; like I said, this is how I daydream, pass the time, let my mind wander.  It keeps me from running actual real life problems over and over in my head.  But it doesn’t get me anywhere closer to being a writer.  It doesn’t give my stories life.  My creative energy is wasted on a loop with no exit.

It’s easy enough to say, I’m going to sit down and write.  It’s like going to the gym or eating healthier, where there is a lot of thinking about it, and not a lot of actual doing.  I’ve written about this conundrum before.  Sitting down and writing is not always fun, it’s work goddammit, work that I’m, for some reason, totally enamored with and work that I find myself not actually working on.

But I’ve been doing a lot of that thinking writing lately, so that means I need to re-examine my time and hunker down for some good writing.  It reminds me of a Mary Oliver quotation that haunts me.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative
work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to
it neither power nor time.”

Most days, I try and push this quotation to the back of my mind, forget about it, unread it, because who, with a 40 hour a week day job, and a new home to finish, has the time to push aside “real life” for the solitude of creative work?  Most days, pushing the creative side away works.  Most days, I can get by in this way.  But then, a particular drive in the car gives me a particular thought and my mind spins and whirs again with story.

Is it ever really possible to forget our creative sides?  It may not be fulfilled by an art per se, maybe you do get that fire filled by your day job or you do have an outlet for it, and maybe it’s possible that there is no creative yearning…  But those who feel it, you know what I mean.

And so I find myself with only one solution: to write.

There is time, it is possible.  It has to be.

Opinions · Writing

I finally watched Lady Bird.

…like, a year later, but I finally watched it.

My expectations were super high for “Lady Bird” because the internet loved this movie and because how could all of those award noms be wrong?  This was advertise as a story about a strong female character, and I’m definitely here for that.  I wanted to like this movie, love this movie, be inspired by this movie.  I wanted a fresh story about a young woman going after her dreams and achieving.  Just the day before watching it, I texted my girlfriends to say that I wanted to see it “v badly.”

Halfway through the film, I realized I hated it and cringe-watched it to the end.  This film is an awkward mix of “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Garden State.”  It has the same kitschy vibe and, in “Lady Bird’s” case, it makes it feel too structured.  Lady Bird’s reality is so perfectly teenage-early-aughts that I didn’t believe it because it feels completely curated.

Lady Bird is, by far, the least interesting character in the film.  Sure, she insists on everyone calling her Lady Bird, but why?  Where did the name come from?  She had plenty of interesting views that Greta Gerwig (the writer/director) just gave her.  I found Lady Bird vapid, shallow, and ungrateful, all the worse because, unlike her popular “friend” Jenna, she has no idea that she is those things.  Wouldn’t someone who wants to be called Lady Bird have a strong enough sense of self to not give a shit about the popular kids, and think it’s cool to give a shit about the school’s drama production?  I’m officially sick of the trope of the nerdy cool girl ditching her real friend(s), wanting to be popular and liked by everyone, and it being passed off as a “coming of age” story.

I wanted to know so much more about her mother, her adopted brother, the real reason why her brother’s girlfriend lived with them, her sad drama priest, Julie, what happened when Danny came out and so much less about Lady Bird, about whom, as it turns out, there is not much to know.

Lady Bird has no struggle in her life.  The actual worst thing in her life is that her mom loves her too much.  But Lady Bird hates her mom so much, she throws herself out of a moving vehicle.  Why wasn’t that attempted vehicular suicide ever mentioned again?  Lady Bird’s mother, a psych nurse, should know a cry for help when she sees one.

Sure, Lady Bird’s family is “poor,” and true poverty can be tough.  Unemployment and collective family trauma can be tough.  Yet, Lady Bird is so disconnected from her family’s narrative that she, behind her mother’s back, applies for college across the county.  Of course, she makes it to college in New York City and that’s where Lady Bird’s final bits of “growing up” happen.  The ending is hollow and brief.  Ultimately, I felt there is no reason for her to hate or love Sacramento.  It was such a huge part of the plot, but with no supporting information about it.  We never got a sense of Sacramento beyond the fact that we are told that Lady Bird hates it (and then, also that she loves it).

“Lady Bird” is nothing new.  Lady Bird is another manic pixie dream girl, another John Green female supporting character, another hipster claiming originality.  “Lady Bird” is another “Girls.”  I will allow that if this movie wasn’t so hyped, I might have enjoyed it, but “Lady Bird” is old hat.