Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prologue to the Prologue: In Which I Talk to Myself:

(Note: These next three posts (a prologue to the prologue, a prologue, and a review of Adaptation) were originally written for the Filmspotting forum. On the forum once a month, those who would like to, participate in what we call "The Movie Dictator Club." Each person dictates a film to another person to watch - the dictatee must watch the film and report back with some thoughts about the film. I was assigned Adaptation for July's dictator club - I put off writing and put off writing until I finally published my write-up, two months later, in September. The prologues reflect my problems in getting started in writing - and interestingly, the film, Adaptation, dovetailed beautifully with my writer's block.)


[Kaufmann]:"To begin... To begin... How to start?
 I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin.
Okay, so I need to establish the themes. 
Maybe a banana-nut. That's a good muffin."


Me: [Yes, how to begin? Hmmm, . . . hangnail, there – ooo, like that shot of the jagged skin on the finger of Kaufmann in the movie – yes, yes, there’s something about that shot that captures an essential part of the movie, I think . . . ] 


Me: [Ok, but talk about that image later maybe. Here goes:]


There’s something infinitely comforting . . .  


Me: [“infinitely”? no, that won’t work, pretentious – less is more. Ok, go again.] 


There’s something comforting about Charlie Kaufmann’s neuroses and self-doubt as I sit here trying to write about Adaptation


Me: [wait, should I say “Charlie Kaufmann” or “the Charlie Kaufmann character”? Does it matter? Yes, . . . but that question is part of what the movie’s about isn’t it? Errr, ok, get to that later. Maybe. Go.]


There’s something comforting about the self-doubt, the ordinariness, the neuroses, the paralysis of the character of Charlie Kaufmann as I sit here trying to write about Adaptation . . . 


Me: [I think Aoife’s crying. Should I go check? . . .  I’ve [i]gotta [/i]get this write-up done. This was a July assignment, Melissa, July. You slacker.]


[Kaufmann]: "If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would be happier . . ."


Me: [Heh, both true. Go.] 


There’s something comforting about the self-doubt, the ordinariness, the neuroses, the paralysis of the character of Charlie Kaufmann as I sit here trying to write about Adaptation – he couldn’t begin, I don’t know how to begin. He was afraid of being cliché: "My life is a walking cliché."
I’m afraid of being cliché, of being boring. A little bit afraid of being so almost every time I speak, write, post something online, on the boards, on Facebook, wherever. Of course, Kaufmann - both the character and the man – has much less reason to doubt his writerly abilities and wit than I do, but he, the character at least, acts the way I feel when I’m supposed to be creating something, especially writing something . . . 


Me: [Yes, she is crying. Dang. When am I going to get back to this?] 


[6 hours later . . .]


Me: [Where was I? Errrgh. [/re-reads] 




Me: [Sigh. This is stupid. What am I trying to be, Kaufmann? Heh, very funny, just write already. Edit out the edits. Go, go, go.]

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this.

    ( :


    I always struggle when writing something down, with thoughts that it
    won't be witty, or interesting, or intelligent. All things I would like very much for people to think that I am. and that is why I very frequently resort to...

    this

    ( :

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  2. Being bored with life is a struggle indeed. Often times I feel like I can relate to this character a lot. I think a lot can be learned from this prologue. Very good post!

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    Replies
    1. I think I'm more afraid of being boring myself than finding life boring, you know? But that fear is such a trap! It breeds paralysis, and then I end up shutting life itself out. I love the film Adaptation for how it shows us the ways we can shut life out - in our obsessive desire to make it perfect. We just need to LIVE! :)

      Thanks for reading, Tom, and thanks for your comments!

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