So the prompt for the week is “movie titles”, and the movie that’s front-of-mind right now is Die Hard. (Actually, who am I kidding; the movie is Star Wars VII, but I’ve talked that one to death around here of late… even I kinda want to lightsaber my own face if I bring it up at the moment.)
So, Die Hard. I hadn’t seen it until about a week ago.
I know. I know. I’m sorry. How I was ever carrying a man card before that, I don’t know. But it’s been remedied. Movie seen. Balance in the universe restored.
But my weekly re-motivator is about writing, right? So how is Die Hard about writing?
Maybe the better question is: how is it not?
McClane faces an impossible task: take down a squad of international terrorists. The writer faces many: stare down and overcome the impossibly intimidating blank page, stay focused and driven enough to finish his projects, and eventually, swim out into the open waters chummed with the manuscripts of his fallen comrades.
McClane is hamstrung (literally by his bare, and eventually, his ruined feet; metaphorically by an inept police chief and FBI agents who only make the situation worse), having to overcome obstacles that a normal person in his situation really shouldn’t have to. So, too, the writer: he must conquer his usually over-inflated sense of self-doubt about his abilities, his lingering and ever-present fear of rejection, even his lack of simple time in the day to do the thing he wants to do.
McClane is actually not trying to save the day for everybody; he’s trying to save his wife. (Disclosure: I’ve only seen the first two movies. I know. I’m working on it.) The thing everybody thinks he’s doing — defeating the terrorists, saving the civilians, foiling international intrigues — is secondary to the immediate need to save something that matters to him. Writers? I’ll posit that people think anybody trying to write is trying to become the next J.K. Rowling or whoever wrote Fifty Shades of Grey (shudder). In reality, though? Basically every writer I’ve come across — myself included — is a person who feels he must tell stories; who needs the creative outlet and the meditative focus that writing can bring like he needs oxygen. Not that we would eschew widespread acclaim (nor would McClane turn up his nose at saving buildings and planes full of people), but it’s not necessarily the primary goal.
And then, of course, just like action movies, writing is a thing best punctuated by the occasional bout of gratuitous explosions.
Nah, that’s not a metaphor; that one’s delightfully literal. Because every writer is a little bit of an action hero in his own mind, I think. John McClane saves the day because it’s just what he does. Writers write because that’s just what they do.
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.