Not writing easily now, I find myself watching old movies and trying to stay focused for the work at hand

Cover of "Le Samourai - Criterion Collect...

Cover of Le Samourai – Criterion Collection

I like to put on a familiar movie, playing over and over, while I write.  Movies that are moderately paced with sparse dialogue are actually easier to work through than silence for me.  Silence makes me twitchy, in fact.  With nothing going on, I feel compelled to do something with my hands.  With bits of noise, ambient sound, I often find that I can drop into the space in between (think of it like that old definition of music being the space between the notes) and concentrate on my work.  Lately, perhaps because of other things going on, I’m finding concentrating at all difficult, whether with or without background sound.

I suppose it’s typical for me.  I am always “all in” at the beginning of a project, I bog down under the details of the middle parts, and when I have met my goal — keeping in mind that completion may not always be the goal — I am off to the next new thing.  Speaking of new things, I picked up a new book this morning.  I am perpetually dipping in and out of books, papers, magazines — always restless, stuffing my mind full of knowledge, striving to connect all of the dots.  This morning’s choice: The Renaissance Soulwhich purports to help me to understand myself and my need for many interests.  It also suggests that it is quite possible for me to channel those interests into financial and personal success without sacrificing those interests or the pleasure I get out of having all of those interests.     Reminds me of a line from a movie I saw recently, I think it was Now You See Me.  Somewhere in there, one of the characters say the secret to being successful is, “always be the smartest guy in the room.”  That’s my goal, ultimately, I think, although I like to think that I don’t pursue knowledge for arrogant reasons, but rather for its own sake.  I genuinely thrive on learning, enjoy packing my brain like a computer, and strive to be able to see the connections between things.

Anyway, yesterday I put in the movie, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and turned the volume down low.  I kept it running over and over for three or four hours while I worked on a longer blog post.  (It’s not finished, so we will all have to wait and see how it turns out.)  Loosely, I was working through my struggles with creativity, recalling the literary influences that have shaped me, trying to understand the connections between my influences and the writer I am struggling to become.  Today, writing this, I put in another perennial favorite: Le Samouraia film by Jean-Pierre Melville.  The pacing, cinematography, and sound track bear a bit of a resemblance to Tinker Tailor, although the former was a French-Italian production set and shot in the late 1960’s while Tinker was set in the early 1970’s, but shot in 2011.  Not unsurprising, really.  I like films like this.  They bear repeated viewing, aren’t flashy enough to be distracting, and yet are potent and influential in their own way.



  1. ricklamplugh said,

    September 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Jim

    I understand the difficulty in writing.

    My approach is that I look at writing like plumbing.

    It’s a job and I get it done–whether I feel motivated or not.

    I sit down and write. though I might produce trash, I can clean it up (or toss it) later.

    At least I wrote.

    Hope this helps.


    *Preview Chapters of Forthcoming Book* *In the Temple of Wolves* at:


    • greenfae said,

      September 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Yes, it does help. This post was actually part of my attempt to move myself away from my perfectionist, edit-as-I-go mentality and more towards a I-must-write-so-I-am-writing-now-and-revisiting/revising-later mentality. Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback.


  2. September 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I agree with Uncle Rick. The important thing is to get something down on paper (or computer), no matter how clunky it seems. Then, you can revise it, rework it, etc. But, let’s face it, if your computer screen is blank, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do to make your point.

    • greenfae said,

      September 21, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      I have been working at writing every day. It’s not all gold, but as you and Uncle Rick have pointed out, it is something. I write a lot here, but save some things as drafts instead of posting them. I appreciate the feedback and support in any case.


  3. May 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    […] Not Writing Easily Now, I Find Myself Watching Old Movies And Trying To Stay Focused… […]

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