Sunday, September 20, 2009

TV and Storytelling

"I am, when you stop to think of it, a member of a fairly select group: the final handful of American novelists who learned to read and write before they learned to eat a daily helping of video bullshit."
pg. 22

How do you think watching TV helps or hurts writing and storytelling? I took a screenwriting class in college and I think film and writing can have some overlap - plot, characterization, show don't tell, etc.

"Let's get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the sky . . ." pg. 25

I'm sure we'll get more into this later, but as an occasional writer, I think this is soooo true. And it means that if you want to write, you have to show up. You have to make the time to sit down in front of the Glowing Screen of Doom, and see what decides to visit, and then write it down. And sometimes it doesn't show up in front of the screen, so having something to write on at all times is important. Very important.

I think a lot of things in life are like that - if you show up, and sit down, certain things will take care of themselves.

"I was ashamed. I have spent a good many years since-too many I think-being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction and poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose) someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all." pg. 39

So true. And most of us take it too much to heart. Of course, we can tell our friends what we need to hear - that the people who are out there doing it need to keep on doing it, and ignore the peanut gallery. How do you ignore the peanut gallery in life and get on with business?


Jennie said...

I am definitely afraid that tv (and video games, and the internet and all manner of mindless media we are bombarded with every day) is detrimental to creativity. But I think that's only when they are taken to excess. Too many children these days watch hours upon hours of television everyday, and it is just tragic. However, I think good media, experienced in moderation, can actually spark creative endeavors. At least that's been my experience.

And as far as ideas falling from the sky...It's actually been very interesting to read King's thoughts on the process of writing. In one paragraph he'll be talking about how much effort goes into it and how his colleagues were so out-there in college, and then he goes and says things like this. I've heard many writers describe the way they get ideas in the same way. It's another reason I don't think I'll ever be a writer. I'm just not prone to those spontaneous moments of inspiration.

Amanda said...

I agree with Jennie: TV and other forms of media can spark creativity when not taken to excess. I think otherwise the only things you ever experience are what is in your own little world, and it's so much more fun (and enlightening) to experience other places, lifestyles, and ideas through the amazing world of media. Stevie himself loved going to the movies every weekend to see "Poepictures" and admits this as a source of inspiration.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from a character named Lucas in the movie Empire Records, who when asked "What makes you think that?" replies with "Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear." And I have always thought there was truth in that.