Station to Station

This ended up being a more sedate weekend than expected, although I can’t say I’m unhappy about this. Admittedly, I would’ve liked to have been feeling more adventurous, but even fighting against my innate inertia is something I have less and less stomach for.

One thing we did end up doing was having an impromptu David Eggers double feature: The VVitch last night and The Northman today. I’ve been wanting to see both for quite some time (the former since it came out), and The Lighthouse was one of my favorite movies to come out in the last few years. Neither was what I expected: The VVitch was even less of a standard “horror” movie than I’d been lead to believe, and The Northman was unfortunately advertised as a more traditional action movie than it was in either case. An inciting surprise was that my wife was willing to watch both of them with me, since us deciding to be lazy in the same room is one of the rare times these days I have the patience to actually watch a movie, even a good one.

My feeling is that all three of Eggers’ movies so far are folktales. There’s no conceit about “this is someone [in universe] telling a story,” it’s told the way someone actually tells a story. They’re grounded with a layer of the fantastical mixed in, and it’s up to the audience to decide where that line is. I don’t get the feeling that he’s specifically trying to tell morality stories, even if one can glean a lesson from them. The common thread, if there is one, is that evil is very good at finding us where we’re weakest.

Our impromptu movie and YouTube marathon was initially brought about by my wanting to clean up my office in preparation for painting. Having company definitely helps, and my wife’s a much better practical problem solver than I am (I have a hard time staying grounded in the immediate question). As I was cleaning/organizing, I came across a diary I’d brought back from my dad’s house sometime in the last year. The first entry was from the summer of 1991, when I was nine, and I seem to have written once or twice per year for the next few years, and then a one-off entry in the early aughts when I was in college. Something I wrote nearly every time is that I wanted to write more often, but clearly that didn’t happen.

It did get me thinking a bit about why that kind of consistency is so hard for me. I’ve thought often about trying my hand at writing-writing, most likely fiction, and even made a few abortive attempts over the last few years. The frustration is typically that I have some idea or concept, but don’t really know how to take it anywhere. Some of it is not having the patience to do the slow character/world building pieces (i.e. showing not telling), and I also don’t really think I understand people well enough to be that good at characterization. Beyond that, though, is something arguably more fundamental. The things I think about writing about are usually questions that I have. The problem is that if I knew how to answer them, I wouldn’t need to write about them. Once an idea is brought to its completion, I’m ready to move on to the next thing. Sitting down and doing a whole story about something I already know or already think sounds unimaginably tedious. At the same time, I’m not sure a running puzzle-solving process that may or may not go anywhere would be a worthwhile read.

Then again, there is this blog, so…