So I've been writing a bit lately. I don't mean in a musician sort of way, you won't be hearing some 3 chord funk thing or being exposed to my first symphony quite yet, I mean like, words an' shit. I stopped being an active, playing, gigging musician about a year and a half ago now. It's what I had always done, always known and it had defined me since I was about 8 years old. I was that kid who was good at music. It's how I made friends, how I fit in, how I processed, how I mostly stayed out of trouble in my teenage years and how I got with some girls in my youth that were clearly out of my league.
For about a year I waited for the urge to play to return, to pull me back to a set of drums, to work out an alternative way to hold a pair of sticks and muddle through playing some basic stuff just for fun. That's still not happened. Instead my creative output seems to have been pointed in a different direction. This whole blog thing all started as some of you know with 3 long, very open and honest Facebook posts about my Baby Bear, the worsening state of my physical health, dealing with grief and the state of where my head is at. I had some truly lovely and encouraging things said from the first of those posts which made me write more. I didn't want to clog up people's FB feeds with my ramblings so I put it into this here blog, that way you can take it or leave it, I won't be intruding on your every day goings on.
It wasn't just writing that was the natural replacement for music making, I started to watch a lot more films. I've always been a film geek, always loved the escapism of switching off from the outside world for a couple of hours, be it with a full auditorium, snuggled up on the sofa with the other half or my eldest bear or on my own, pop by my side and something to munch on. Mama Bear is incredibly good at being the wife of a depressive. She gets that I need to take myself off and watch something, build a Lego set or just tinker in my Man Cave. She has no issues with me going to the cinema or into my Cave a couple of times a week for some PB time.
So these things seem to have merged quite naturally. I'll often play out a movie plot in my head, either something I've seen or adding bits, improvements, recasting, that sort of thing. But a few months ago I found myself coming up with something different. It was a new film. It stayed in my head, developed over a couple of days and started to become something that I wanted to see. So I started writing my first ever film script. It poured out quickly and naturally with the overall structure presenting itself pretty clearly. I haven't finished it, I intended to but film no 2 started to leak out before I could finish the first one. Again that one is complete in terms of structure, a tight 90 min fantasy comes to modern day, knights and all that tale that stars Andrea Riseborough. She just doesn't know it. And then film 3 comes along, a family survival zombie film, still having not completed 1 or 2. A week later I've got a fourth narrative starting to present itself after watching the wonderful "A Monster Calls". Cancer triggers the start of this one, a kid, the mums got cancer, no too close to what I've just watched, the kid has cancer, I want to write a story about a kid with cancer, in hospital, he's going to be in hospital, that's how the story starts, I can see it, 1980s maybe, stripped pyjamas, old school hospital beds etc etc. That's how my brain works. Oh, and then we throw in multi dimensional travel and there we have it, story number 4, structure complete. But this one is a bit different. I have signed up to a writing course, it starts next week and is held in the basement of a local coffee shop. Sounds fun, hopefully it'll give me a bit more structure and make me actually finish one of these bloody ideas! But for the purposes of the writing course story no 4 is going to be written as a story, not a screenplay, just to see if I can I guess. What's the difference? Well a screenplay deals with direction, notes about location, what people are wearing, everything other than dialogue really and then gives you the dialogue too. When you write a story you are leading the reader through every little detail. If you don't mention stripped pyjamas no one will know that's what your cancer ridden kid is wearing.
It's an odd thing putting your ideas down on paper. Or more likely onto a Word doc. You realise that you're writing with totally non deliberate biases. My hospital bound kid is white. Quick, write in a mixed race nurse, female, tick all the boxes or you are a massive literary Nazi. All of the people that he teams up with later in the story are male, quick, write in a woman, she's got to be pro-active, kick ass, give her something to do so she's not just a token vagina owner, tick a box. Without thinking about it one of the team is gay, based on a friend of mine. Good, that box ticked! And so on.
One thing does worry me about putting my ideas down on paper though, especially if people are going to read this stuff or even better, if I get stuff finished I hope to get them in front of people that could get them published or made into a film. I don't read. Ever. I haven't for probably 17 or 18 years. I used to read on the train when I was doing my Post-Grad, 45 mins on the Met line there and back most week days, I didn't listen to music, it was so long ago that Smart phones weren't a thing, I made sure that I read stuff. Since then it's been comics and even then that doesn't happen all that often. So I guess my vocabulary must come from films. That may not be a terrible thing, screen writers are amongst the best writers in the world. I mean, not all of them. Some c£@t must have written at least part of Fast & Furious 2: 2 Fast, 2 Furious........ But there are some incredible writers out there. On the plus side I guess I won't get accused of ripping off Dan Brown or similar, I've never read any so any similarity in style is purely coincidental.
Well I shall leave it there, I have multiple stories to get back to. Wish me luck for next week, I may well blog about it soon