No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest, and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.
– Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Midnight in Paris
Ah, this movie! This movie gave me something that I haven’t felt in awhile–hope for the written word. Not that I’ve ever lost hope in the written word. More like my own meagre scrawlings. Perhaps it’s because I’m a penmonkey by day and night, but I’ve felt dry, utterly dry, when it comes to my own thoughts and how they shape into words. Over the summer I fancied that I had a novel brewing inside of my imagination. I took copious notes on my iPhone, subsequently lost in the robbery in September, but not mourned. (The iPhone was mourned, but the notes, oddly enough, weren’t.) Earlier, in August on a visit with my parents, I brought the laptop with me, thinking that I’d be like Francis Poulenc and retire to the country where I could finally unleash prose. Instead I reveled in my family’s company, drank and ate far too much, and read more than I wrote.
Very recently I began writing for an online fashion magazine, a well-respected one at that. My enthusiasm for writing serious pieces knows no bounds, but it seems my creativity has been stuck at the border with a phony visa. Deadlines confound me and the process of thinking up and pitching ideas is exhausting. How do people do this for a living? Yet, they do, and I’m going to continue writing for this magazine because, for some inexplicable reason, they’re letting me and I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. If you’ll indulge me, the last piece I wrote was my favourite.
Somehow I’ve persevered. Well, I have to if I’m a penmonkey; that copy ain’t going to write itself. But regardless of that, I still manage to find little ekes of creativity left at the end of the day to form something for myself and so I have hope. Hope that was reaffirmed tonight by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. It’s really the belief in one’s own writing that gives it strength. So I’m going to keep plucking away at this keyboard, one piece at a time, be it essay, blog post, poem or God, maybe even a piece of fiction.
And, even if I don’t mourn the loss of them, I’ll back up my notes on my phone from now on. Lesson learned!