Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The long and short of it.

The movie SIDEWAYS led me to wonder how I wouldn't end up like the character Miles, a fortysomething, insecure, depressed, divorced, unpublished author courting alcoholism. It was a very, very good movie, and I really, really identified with Miles, which scared me a little. I drink socially, though, so I don't think the alcoholism was the thing I feared. I think I'm more afraid that I'll just keep doing the same things until I'm in middle age, wondering whatever happened to my life.

Clearly, I thought to myself, I need to write something just to prove that I can do it. (I love it that this thought only occurs to me as a whim, usually so late into the evening that the only thing I really want to do is go to sleep.)

But this time, instead of saying to myself the cliched "Oh, OK, I'll finally start that book," I thought I should maybe write a short story, just to prove to myself that this is not some hopeless, unaccomplishable dream.

In the movie, the character Miles has actually already written his book, but he still can't seem to get it off the ground.

I loved SIDEWAYS the way I loved WONDER BOYS a couple years ago. In that one, Michael Douglas played the frustrated, middle-aged, drug-addicted, depressed writer courting suicide. And Tobey Maguire, in that one, played a frustrated, young, insecure and depressed writer courting suicide. It was a really good movie, one of my favorites of that year.

Of course, in WONDER BOYS, they'd both already written their books.

So my goal of the week is to come up with a character. To write a story of a moment, a singular, emotional moment, the sort I usually can touch on in the journal, but I want it to be about the character, not about me.

Of course, SIDEWAYS and WONDER BOYS were both books first. Written by frustrated authors.

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