Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Little Moments

The Pirate Weekend
A late posting today, only an hour before the end of the day, following a nine hour shift following a night out on the town.  But this is exactly why I set myself this challenge.  After such a stressful, busy-busy day, the last thing I’d want to do is think, creatively or otherwise.  But now I need to write something, it has me thinking about other things I’d like to write.  It has awakened a part of me that has remained dormant throughout the day.

It has been the kind of day where there is little of note upon which I can report.  It’s been a pirate-themed weekend in our little town, and hundreds of people have dressed up, carrying out pirate-based activities.  Saturday morning I was woken by cannon fire – how often does that happen?  Today we’ve seen hundreds of kids with painted faces, mock-sword fights in the shop, and an lot of very happy faces.  It is such occasions that bring out the sense of community, that remind you why it is sometimes a blessed thing to live in a small place.  Pirate weekend has bought people together, commonly, in good natured fun.

As a writer such a weekend is an insightful experience.  Creative drama is all about conflict, about things not working out.  When I sit down to write a story, or a screenplay, I am looking at how best to put my characters into conflict: what has A got that B really wants?  What has A got that B will kill for?  We become receptive to drama and conflict in the real world because we’re so attuned to it in our creative lives.  But, as writers, we need to remember there is light as well, that humankind can come together in charming, surprising ways.  The look of delight on a child’s face as a pirate captain warped a balloon into an animal.  The way in which friends mucked about in pirate costume for the entertainment of others, and for no pay – not even officially part of the festivities, just getting into the spirit.  Wonderful.  And you have to remember these moments exist. They might be moments that have little place in the conflict of a script, but such moments, deployed well in a fiction, end up making the fiction seem more human.  More real.  More honest.

There are little moments from this weekend that I’ll treasure in memory, that I will work over subconsciously, and that one day my end up feeding into something else I write, further down the line.  So writers, be open.  Be awake to the little moments.  Not just to the conflict, but the joy as well.  The joy can be as important as the conflict in making your work sing.  They can be the difference between an average piece of prose, and something magisterial.

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