First, I'd like to say that the staff and atmosphere at #Alamodrafthouse are exceptional. After my partner, Nick, and I attended a special movie premiere hosted by The Movie Crypt podcast, Alamo took care of our broken seat recliners with free appetizers and movie tickets to return — and return we did to see the new film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
What did we think of it? As a writer did I find the script compelling? The film well-directed and character-driven? Well, none of that matters really. More so, this post isn't to give an unrestrained opinion about the film. This post's intentions are about how and why appreciating any cinematic art is absolutely necessary as a writer.
1. You become humbled watching a story visually come to life.
2. Character flaws are front and center — what makes a strong or weak character is evident and allows you to reflect on your own characters and if they have a necessary role or can be put in a compost pile.
3. A writer wrote that script! How exciting! You're supporting a writer's "a-ha" moment.
4. There is nothing so nostalgic as treating yourself to movie, however good or bad that movie may be. It's an opportunity to be entertained and (hopefully) motivated by the creative energy of others.
5. When the credits roll, there is a sudden awareness of community. Hundreds of people are storytellers just like you, so while you may write alone, you are never really lonely.
When watching the film, I was amused. I will give no more opinion on the actual movie than that. Entertained by an anticipated action-packed galactic journey, I think my brain and soul needed to zone out for the evening. Sometimes, it is alright to have no motivation at all and just be taken on an exciting ride where the world nearly ends and is saved by likely heroes. Sometimes, it is alright not to think creatively, so long as you are always thinking and thinking appreciatively.
That is why film is beautiful, writers (and non-writers needing to equally escape). Storytelling is enchanting because it provides an opportunity to live in a world you know is impossible to live in otherwise; it's important to make believe and admire fictitious characters to teach ourselves time and again that we can become unlikely heroes in our own realities.
It's been a bit tricky for me these past few weeks post-holidays to focus on the editing process. I edit books every day and going home to edit more of my own work can be a struggle. Two of my novels feel like different planets needing to be rescued by dark forces right now: The Wirewood Grimoires (which received four agent requests during #PitMad and now has my heroine, Azurra, and the Great Babatunde forest spirit eagerly awaiting responses) and my newest book, Dragon on Cranberry Road (finished in a mad #NaNoWriMo November 2019 and still not elevated enough to my liking). I've written both books but have the annoying need to constantly perfect what I know may or should not be perfected. Do I sound like every other writer ever yet? Then I remind myself that patience is really a pure form of skill. To await those agent responses, good timing with marketability, or simply allowing age to provide further clarity and wisdom on how to polish the chipped edges of my books, is a matter of patience. And in having patience, perhaps I can study and research through art created by others.
Every film you watch, every album that makes you cry, or the book on your shelf that you've finally read after enough silent buzz has passed your evenings, holds value. It does not have to be the best book or most inspirational song or film, but there were minds behind that art that made you think and thinking about the art, the heart that goes into those stories, is a promise that you are not alone in your creative struggles.
Do you find value in going to the theater? Has it become a lost art, and if so, would you revisit it?
I am not a Star Wars fan. I am not not a Star Wars fan. But somehow the force has carried me into writing this post, which in turn has allowed me to revisit my dear books and heroines and forest spirits I've neglected. For that, I suppose there is great value in sitting in that theater for two and a half hours and wanting to do it more often.