Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Hazards of Not Writing

I was slapped in the face this morning. Not literally, but I'm stinging from it just the same.

And it's all my fault. And it's all because I haven't been writing.

For YEARS, ever since I took freshman composition, I've been in love with the idea of writing a play about Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, whom I suspect wrote Shakespeare's plays. But over the past many years (too many to mention, believe me), I didn't write. I have tons of research for it, a huge collection of books on it, and I'd even made an outline of the major events so that I could someday write it.

Only now I don't have to. The movie is coming out in October, and it's called Anonymous. I've missed my opportunity.

Fiction writing is one thing--sure, J.K. Rowling has made the one and only Harry Potter, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only happens once, but other fantastic characters can still lead beautiful lives on paper. I noticed, too, that yet ANOTHER production of The Three Musketeers is coming out. (How many versions are we going to get? The book is better than any of them.)

But Oxford's story should only happen once. I just hope it's done beautifully, that it is better than I can wish for, that people can see the irony, the tragedy, the poetry of the whole situation. Either way, whether it sucks or holds audiences spellbound, it's too late for me to write it. I've missed that chance because I haven't written it. Hell, I am probably still a decade away from having the skill to write it.

Then again, I'm not really writing anymore, so what do I have to complain about?


  1. Sorry I didn't know you had another fabulous blog... and I am sure I’ll gleam something very worthy from this blog as well!!

    Now on to this issue at hand.

    That is ludicrous, “a story can be told but once” I don’t believe that for one second. If you love it share it, if that’s what you want to write: write it… let the audience figure out which one is better or deserving.

    Come on! This doesn’t sound like you… is this just another reason to give up, or stop writing it completely.

    I say do it, write it… put it down on paper; your vision of this story does deserve to be told, and heard for that matter.
    If I could, I would slap you right back… you need to write this, we deserve to read it, or see it!

    No story is one hundred percent original, so don’t cop-out, get busy and live your dream!

  2. You know, it's ironic. I love Dumas, but I consider the caliber of the movies and the books inversely proportional. The Count of Monte Cristo is, in my opinion, far and away his best book. I still hold it up as the quintessential plot book with so many dissimilar threads deftly woven into the final tapestry without catching it. There's never been a movie I could sit through to the end made of it.

    Man in the Iron Mask (with Richard Chamberlain) is easily my favorite of all the movies ever made on Dumas' material. I find the book a waste of time.

    When I read Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After, I find jokes and plot lines that peter out that keep them from being great. Most movie renditions still completely fail to come up to the original, but I make an exception for the 1970's made-for-TV 3/4 Musketeer movies (also with Richard Chamberlain and a few other people). Still the best. And I like the movies better than the books.

    I liked "The Musketeer" inspired by the book but not held to it. Silly, but fun.

    I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

  3. Lovely pep talk, Jeff. So sweet!

    I agree that many stories can be told more than once. This particular thread is so specialized, though, that I just don't think it will lend itself to multiple interpretations, at least not for years. I'm at peace with that, though, and I have plenty of other things to work on, believe me (if I were actually writing, that is).

    And Stephanie, I couldn't agree with you more. I like both film versions of Man in the Iron Mask only because they hardly have anything to do with the book, since the book was pretty horrid. Unlike you, I adore the Three Musketeers as it is... and no film version has come close to it.

    Most film versions of books give me the heebie jeebies. Not sure I'lll be too keen on seeing my book go to film. I don't want it destroyed.

  4. You sound like the commercials that warn you if you don't vote in the political election, you can't complain about the results.

    Just do it! Just write! :D