Writing Chose Me

I’m a Netflix junkie. I’ve watched horror flicks, rom-coms, dramas, foreign films and some of the saucier selections. Then I discovered Shadows in the Sun.

Yes, it’s a little predictable (at least for me- a romantic comedy/romantic drama queen) and the ending a little cheesy but it’s the middle that’s the important part.

The movie centres around a writer who hasn’t published anything in 20 years. Then there’s the new kid- fresh blood- in the the publishing world. Lo and behold, he’s an aspiring writer. He’s sent off to Tuscany (of course, you need the romantic hills and beautiful 15th century homes to really get the creative juices going) to get the old writer back and signed on to publish another novel.

The perceptiveness of the old writer and the insecurities of the young one really made me think. Of course it was easier to identify with the young writer but at the same time I flinched each time the young one was prompted to describe something. I could see bits of myself in the old writer as well. Perhaps it was wishful thinking but it shocked me when I realized how well I could relate to him. The movie brilliantly illustrated a writer’s struggle- as a novice and as someone more established. (Perhaps here I’m taking liberties assuming that others can relate.)

I borrowed this next thought from the movie because I never thought of writing this way before.

Anyone can write but it’s our jobs as writers to give words new meaning. The very best of us have created descriptions that have become clichés because of their enduring truth. Sometimes things can’t be said more concisely so it’s up to us to breathe new life into an image, action or feeling.

Take for example “double over in pain.” It’s succinct, clear and evokes a sense of empathy and connection with the poor, unfortunate soul who was sucker punched. there must be another way to phrase this as efficiently but can it create the same emotions in us or will the description be more clinical and objective?  Or is it so powerful because it’s so well-established in our language? I can’t think of a replacement phrase equal to this.

Writing is difficult. It’s time-consuming and it can suck you dry before you know it. I truly wonder how many people would be willing to choose the path of a writer because like the older writer says, you don’t choose it, being a writer chooses you. It’s certainly the road less traveled successfully but it’s not one I would give up.