Permission to Invent

Today, I’d like to talk about the different forms of writing, which reminds me of a line in the movie, Bridges of Madison County.  Clint Eastwood said, “….Problem with being a journalist too long is, you stop giving yourself permission to invent.”  He continued, “They (National Geographic) like their wild life in focus, and without any personal comment.”  We know that writing is writing, but there is such a diversity in this field.  Can I begin with the journalists who either like the news or are trapped, and have been doing that for so long, like Clint Eastwood’s character, they’ve lost their creative edge?  Then, there are the script people handling all those sitcoms.  We also have travel shows where descriptions of each locale are given, and their creativity is sneaked into a sentence describing a town built into the side of a mountain.  For instance, “The whitewashed homes on this hillside sparkle and reflect not only the personality of its residents….”

Then, my favorite – the tons of history broadcasts, which in my old age has become extremely interesting.  I really don’t know where that came from, I hated history in school.  But, I love the narratives to do with World War II, and Eastern Europe.  The other day my husband laughed and said, “Why weren’t you a Historian.” Who knew.  In any event these are the most complicated, I think.  He or she has to provide as much information as possible, and usually fit it all into a sixty minute time slot.  Who could do that?  With all the hours I’ve logged watching this stuff, I consider it quite difficult to figure out how to describe the Wannsee Conference or Germany’s taking of Poland in that amount of time.  Yes, I know the information is provided, but I’m pretty certain I would have one of two problems – I’d have too much information, and not be able to cut it down or only be able to come up with one paragraph.

Next, those goofy World’s Dumbest Driver’s videos.  I always wonder, do they watch all the way through and then, come up with their humorous descriptions?  But, as I think about it, I guess they’d have to, huh?  I know I said the history pen person’s job proved most difficult, but I think this category also ranks up there as challenging.  An inebriated driver is butchering the alphabet while swaying to and fro with his hands behind his back.  A script is devised to the effect – “This alphabet alchi is aching for apprehension.”  Or, “This swaying and smashed inebriate is headed for the slammer.” (Woo, that hurt). I would seriously believe, one would profess a comedic background to fill those shoes.  It’s gotten so bad or should I say good in my house that whenever we go to the movies or are watching a movie on the television, while I’m engrossed on the screen, yelling at the characters, my husband is reminding me – PLOT.  And while at the theatre, one can tell three rows back, this man is married to a writer or maybe he is the author.

Moving on, everyone in my immediate peer group tells stories – developing pictures through words.  Yes, we have given ourselves permission to invent – create; characters, quirky or otherwise, places, weather, on and on.  I think developing tales in this way is so much fun, although it can be very frustrating at times.  I remember Nora Roberts mentioning at one of her workshops she enjoyed being at her computer making up stories, because she could control the environment.  Does that mean that all of us writers are controlling people?  I don’ t believe so, but it certainly gets the endorphins cranked, doesn’t it?  To work for one of these shows, yes, is a paycheck.  But, does the professional receive a sense of fulfillment when checking that bank statement or say to him/herself – “Well, it’s a paycheck,” wishing all the time they had never gotten into that end of the writing game?  For me, I’ll continue concocting stories, controlling my characters in my little make-believe town/city.  Because, although I and a lot of my peers are not published as of yet – like reaching the gates of Heaven – can’t you anticipate one day witnessing that marvelously colored book cover with your picture imprinted on the back. And that is an unquestionable accomplishment.  Wouldn’t you agree?

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