I’d prefer it if life were a beach…

“I couldn’t possibly write a novel if I had to work it all out first. I’m writing into darkness, as it were, not knowing where the story is going or what the characters are going to discover. It’s more exciting like that.”

Philip Pullman via The New Yorker

Like the esteemed Mr. Pullman I write spontaneously. Yes. It keeps the process fresh and exciting. However, sometimes I could do with a little less excitement. Recently I went north for a vacation with my beloved and while visiting with my brother I started blurting out Hollywood stories that had infiltrated my psyche and come out, in some form or other, in the novel. Noting that a friend had recommended I play up that real people appear in the narrative in imaginary situations under made up names, I related the unvarnished tale (behind the tale) of delivering a script to the home of a film producer (whose career is usually referred to as inspiring — I assume for predatory behavior everywhere) in which the producer appeared at the door of his majestic Holmby Hills home clothed only in an unfastened bathrobe, cigar in hand. The young PA, upon seeing the producer’s shortcomings displayed, shrieked, threw the script on the doormat at his feet, turned, and ran for her car. The producer is now dead. His bathrobe ploy sickly survives. The young PA is approaching retirement. I told my brother the name of the producer, about the art collection he amassed, and his philanthropic contributions to the city. Does that wash away the stain of his flashing youngsters? No.

In the novel things take on a rosy glow instead of the sheen of disgust they first elicited. I don’t know what psychological mechanism accounts for that, but it may have something to do with wanting to entertain rather than enrage people.

It was ever so nice to get away — yet while I was traveling the news broke about the illegal dealings of two world leaders, one who tarts up his ill-considered statements with a posh accent and the other with Mafia lingo.

And while writing a book is a pleasant kind of excitement, the mess those two have plunged the world into is not.

You will note I didn’t name the producer or the world leaders, it probably leads back to that psychological mechanism I was mentioning earlier. The one who uses Mafia lingo had been so attention grabbing he colored the first pages of the new novel, and still, even in this blog I won’t type his name.

Enough of that. Imagine instead that you are walking on the beach with the people you love.

That’s better. Be well, be engaged, and I’ll be back to posting this weekend.



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