“Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss”― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
Whenever I’m intensely in the thick of the writing process (working on a novel) I watch A LOT of film. I consider it scratching as described in the book The Creative Habit.
One thing that I particularly love above film (and I’m sure there is a correct and proper term—I just don’t know what it is) is its ability to show without telling. It is one thing I’m trying to improve upon in my writing—but find difficult. This is also one of the reasons that most of my novels are written in third person, omnipresent tense. I like to see what’s going on in all of the character’s heads. Not so different than in real life. 😉 The trouble is, in my opinion writing this way is much more difficult than writing in first person where it’s more acceptable to hand it over, so to speak.
But I’m not a fan of just handing it over. I want to have to work for it and vice versa. However, I’m not sure that readers always enjoy this. 😉 Or if they do—it needs to be done really well.
For example, in The Age of Adaline (which I’m about to talk about below) there’s a scene where the camera pans in on a number of locks on the front door. This very brief scene infers something to those that are paying attention. It shows us insight as to the character— without directly handing it over. This is my favorite aspect of art. To figure out how to do the same with words can be a rather difficult challenge. Still, I try. 🙂
That said, I thought I’d share a few (or three) films I adored recently:
Oh my, Philomena. What to say? The day I watched Philomena I was expecting a delivery, which as it turned out arrived exactly as the movie was ending. It was both good and bad timing as I answered the door in full on ugly cry. Standing before me was a middle-aged Cuban man who spoke kindly in broken English and was understandably quite perplexed. But for a lover of words this experience showed me the beauty of not using them. I simply moved to the side, pointed to the TV, and uttered something along the lines of ‘that damned movie’ to which he offered a look of understanding and gently patted me on the back. All the things delivery people must see. Ironically enough, just an hour and a half earlier, about twenty minutes in to the film, I had wondered why in the hell I was watching it. But by the end, I recalled and quite unexpectedly I might add what it had been like to be fourteen years old, knocked up, and in the belly of a very old building with an ancient nun teaching class— all the while questioning how in the hell you ended up there. Shame was the answer. If not yours then certainly someone else’s.
Brian Wilson’s story, my God… The power of love. The power of loving a person, a vocation—and the perseverance and grit it takes to do both.
I loved everything about this movie. The imagery. The absurdity. The story. The history. The messaged tucked neatly within. Loved all of it.