So this is an odd thing for someone with a history degree to say, but is anyone else out there totally creeped out by the past?
No, really…some of that shit is seriously weird.
I was searching for something to watch the other night, and Willy Wonka came up as a recommendation. No, not the new(ish) Johnny Depp one – even I’m not that whacked! – but the 70’s, Gene Wilder one.
The one I grew up with…
No wonder I’m so fucked up! Those oompa-loompas are creepy as hell.
And, while Gene Wilder was no freaky-as-shit Johnny Depp character, he was still pretty out there. I kept trying to square his performance with the Gene Wilder from Blazing Saddles (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way), and just couldn’t fit those two performances onto the same mental page.
It was a good thing I had had a couple of drinks before I started watching – I really can’t imagine what that movie would be like sober.
On the other hand, you do have to respect just how effectively Roald Dahl was able to let go of all inhibitions and conventions (and, yes, he wrote the screenplay as well as the novel, as far as I know). My writing grew up in college and the corporate world. Not my reading mind you, but my writing. That means the Chicago Manual of Style is branded (oh so painfully!) onto my very soul.
Wrath intentionally breaks many of the rules in that book, and Silence ain’t looking to be all that far behind.
I knew, and still know, the narrative voice I need for these stories…but forcing myself to violate the rules in order to be true to that voice? That’s hard. It was hard for Wrath, and it’s still hard for Silence.
I do get shit for doing most of my writing in taprooms, but I gotta tell you: the atmosphere, the life and, yes, the beer, all help me a great deal in breaking down my inhibitions in order to write the story I want to write, rather than the story I think other people want.
As soon as you focus solely on what other people want, you’re screwed.