I love the movie Bull Durham. And until this morning I didn’t realize how much a writer can learn from that film.
“If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you ARE! And you should know that!”
“I told him to respect the streak!”
Annie convinces Nuke to breath out his eyelids like a lizard from the Galapagos Islands, and to wear a garter belt (“the rose goes in front, big guy”). It’s all a part of being just distracted enough not to over-think what he’s doing when he pitches. It’s about having better control when you forget you have control.
So many times, I self-edit, and psyche myself out by over-thinking it.
Did I forget what I did in the last “good streak”?
Respect the streak, writers!
“Nuke’s nervous because his old man’s here and his eyelids are jammed.”
Once he started over-thinking, his confidence goes with it. I’ve done that. I’m still doing it, in fact.
Whatever it takes to be “off-center” just enough to let the skill show is what it’s all about. (For some, apparently that has to do with lizards and undergarments.) 😉 As a writer, it has to do with turning off the self-editor and practicing and challenging our word-smithing skills, trusting the words and the character’s voice. Trusting the image that will emerge and letting it!
Usually I write best when I don’t set expectations for myself. Half-asleep sometimes works for me, but really it’s about a “zone”. When I don’t try to write a certain way and let the words come, they do. And I usually write best when I do a bit of free-form writing before I get to the work in progress. I had forgotten how much writing poetry gave me permission to write whatever worked in my fiction, no matter how absurd it seemed at the time. when I write a bit of poetry I think my synapses in my brain fire differently or something.
When I let it go, I write toward a true image that I want to keep in the book. When I don’t let it all go, I try to force an image and I have to work really hard in the editing process to fix it.
In beginning and through most of writing Yet It Will Come I had never given myself so much permission to be unhinged and to just let the words flow. Then the intensity dwindled until the bits that had any spark at all had forced-spark. And I become Nuke when Crash says to him, “You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat.”
I know the exact moment when I forgot what went into my streak . It’s the point that Yet It Will Come becomes a bit tedious. The spontaneity that is very much Charlie’s voice disappears. His voice instead of intense and untamed, becomes heavy and task-driven.
I’m trying to fix it, but see a lot of rewriting in my future with this book.
So while I’ve neglected my poetic side for quite some time, while I focused on fiction, I saw today it might be what’s missing in my fiction; I gave up a necessary thing. It appears I need a bit of poetic exercise so I can find Charlie again.
Now if I could find a live chicken to take the curse of Jose’s bat, we’d be all set. 😉