Thursday, January 17, 2013

Unblocking The Muse

     A week or so ago, I was watching, or listening to I guess, a movie with my family. It was the story of an old burned out writer who moves to an island community off the east coast. The community is small and tight knit, and this writer is a mean nasty drunk who ends up being neighbors with a single mother and her three daughters. The main character is played by Morgan Freeman which drew my interest in the first place but also it was a story of a writer.
Morgan's character is in a wheel chair and has his right arm paralyzed so when he writes he plunks away on an old fashioned typewriter with just one hand. I always find it interesting that movies portray writers to be people who just sit down and type out a 100,000 word manuscript and then mail it off to their editor to be published and sell millions of copies. Anyone who has ever even attempted that move will find very quickly how much of a fantasy that is. But I digress.
  One of the pre-teen neighbor girls goes to this author with an offer. She will pay him 34 dollars and 18 cents if he will teach her how to write a story. Well he takes the 34$ but lets her keep the change and then proceeds to give her the best advice any writer can get.
#1 Have a good cry. Tears are just the way to get you to the place you need to be.
#2 A story starts with a hero, be your own hero and do what you think you can't.
and #3 Your imagination is working when you look around and list what you don't see. Never stop looking for what you don't see
     Now perhaps, that third one was more profound for me than it will be for you, but think about its ramifications.
     What world don't you see?
     What faces, clothing, cars, pets, etc. etc.the possibilities are endless.
     What lives in the heart and mind that you don't have the understanding to imagine? We don't see time, space, love, fear, or joy? Use your imagination to form pictures, sensations, smells, and sounds. If you make a list after trying it. You will be surprised how many story ideas you have; how many descriptors to fill your Work In Progress, How many emotions will spill onto the page.
No matter how stifled your muse or blocked your writers mind is; you will never regret exercising your imagination.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an interesting movie. Do you remember the title? My late husband Bill, who was partially paralyzed as a result of two strokes, might have been inspired by the writer with the use of only one hand typing his manuscripts.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver