“There’s a book that I need, that I can’t find; and I never will, because it’s in my mind.” – Hillary of Troy
I got my dream job on a cable show that I can not expressly identify because I would get in trouble, but mostly because I don’t need you people stalking me. Now, more than ever, I know the massive difference between convincing your self that everything will work out one day and having had it work out – thus justifying all of that hope. Suddenly I can join the ranks of the “There were only those 9 months between graduating from college and getting the job I hoped I’d get” and finally leave behind the all too large club of “It’s been 9 months since graduation and I’ve accomplished exactly nothing- I’ll have to go to the reunion with a bag on my head”. Granted, I’m not actually on a writing staff or anything, but knowing that many people (including not a few who will read this) want to kill me and take over my job is satisfaction enough. Writers’ PA is still a PA and there is lots of getting of coffee, lunch, and other foodstuffs but I’m definitely one of the better paid coffee runners in the world, and obviously those aren’t my only responsibilities. The Show Bible- the mythical document they told us about at TV school that holds inside it all that you ever need to know about a given program is not only available for me to lay hands upon, but is now written by me. It may not end up on the air, but it’s pretty freaking amazing.
Not to mention the obvious advantages of being the conduit to the writers for everyone on set and in production, thus meeting everyone and making myself invaluable. I’m now 10 feet away from the writers’ room, which is significantly closer than the innumerable miles (both literal and metaphorical) that separated us when I was substitute teaching.
My whole universe has flipped on its head as a result of this momentous shift- most definitely for the good- but the whole whirlwind is a wee bit overwhelming. Within two weeks I have the job I’ve wanted since the fateful day I said goodbye to my English major, and I’m on the verge of moving out of my parents house for the second, and hopefully more permanent, time. I’m also leaving the few friends I have back home, but to be entirely honest between 12 hour work days and my propensity for sleeping I don’t know when I’ll have the time to talk to anyone anyway.
I’d write more, but my current state of semi-consciousness is only being maintained by taking over the part of my brain that forms words. Going non-verbal until I get a nap.
There is a lot of speculation about how it is that artists (of whatever their chosen medium) make the things they do. Many artists have even told people how it is that they create their prized works- the things that they need to happen for the magical genius sparks start doing their sparky thing.
Picasso always had a muse (sadly for his wife, it was very rarely her, but that is another very sad story) whose existence in his life allowed him to create some of the world’s favorite paintings. Religion, and more specifically, the Roman Catholic Church played a massive role in the inspiration of statues, murals, and some of the most impressive architecture, like, ever. And the Pre-Raphaelites had Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Keats to provide their subjects and scenes. You may have noticed that I did not mention what it is that has inspired the writers of the ages. Not because we are special, or so drastically different from any other kind of artist, but we’re weird and accomplish most of what we do because of the firm affirmation that we are wholly unlike any who has come before us, and will be irreplaceable by any who come after us. Whether or not it’s true is irrelevant. But to state the inspiration of other writers would be to claim a kinship to them which I will be more successful ignoring.
Now, don’t assume I am quite so high, mighty, and vain as to suppose that having an ounce of Shakespeare’s talent wouldn’t be one of the single greatest things to occur in all eternity, because it would. But assessing myself to be a rational person, it’s a lot easier to believe that whatever measure of “I-guess-this-doesn’t-suck”-ness that I do have comes from something innate. That sense of possession over the words in my head and anything they happen to compile into is the last gasp of sanity that I get.
After days of listening to the fictional people in my head tell me about their lives, showing me exactly how it’s meant to happen in my dreams, and yelling at me when I don’t write it correctly one begins to think schizophrenia is not too far off. This may, or may not, be why some writers seem moody. Their moods would make perfect sense to anyone who could see the epic throw down going on, mid-cerebral cortex. Anyway, if I began to even consider that part of why the voices in my head behave the way they do could be attributed to dead authors of the past, my latest romantic entanglement, or (God forbid) the diety of your choice then I might actually lose it. It’s one thing to be a little off within your own head, and totally another to believe that your crazy transcends the bounds of space and time.
I have no idea if it is the same for painters and sculptors. In that arena, I am best known for my stick horse and the one bowl from ceramics that doesn’t tip to one side. And I don’t really know if it’s the same for other writers. But it would explain a little of our behavior, and if that isn’t a slice of modern psychology then whipped cream is a food group.
My personal creative process is only initiated after a fair amount of mentally yelling at myself, getting into comfy clothes, putting my hair up, and eating a croissant (I’ll use pretty much any excuse to get a croissant and a hot chocolate). Then I stare my laptop into submission, sometimes outline up my left arm in pen, and periodically get up for solo dance parties in my room to keep things going.
I have no idea how knowing the way the words you’re reading reach you is in any way helpful, but I really needed that dance, and I feel better now.