So I’ve been watching a lot of movies this weekend. It’s kinda funny. I think it’s part of my “process.” Because I am writing stories for the February BnM. I am editing stories for the February BnM. It’s almost February and I should be working on these stories every waking moment of my day . . . but I’m watching movies. (And we won’t talk about the junk food being consumed while I’m watching movies, because I refuse to acknowledge that’s happening. Ignore, ignore, ignore.)
So Friday night when I’m at the computer actually working I have the tv on behind me, that show with Anne Heche in Alaska or someplace. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complete episode. Anyway, in the show she’s a writer/radio talk show host and she’s working on a book for her publisher. She’s got to have chapters done to show very soon. She’s on deadline. And she’s cleaning her house from top to bottom, cleaning out the fridge, volunteering to work rummage sales . . . doing just about anything but work on her book. It’s her process, she says. Another woman, who I thought was also a writer (but that’d be kind of weird maybe, to have so many hip lady writers in this out of the way freezing mountain town), so she was probably something else, anyway, she commiserated saying she once did something outrageous to avoid doing her thing too.
And I think to myself . . . MY GAWD! They’re talking about me. These people get me. And far be it from me to ignore such a revelation, so I turn off the computer and give the show my full attention. I mean, they get me, they really get me, THIS is important.
It’s hard to follow a series when they’re at least a half season in and you haven’t seen a single episode. But even with this obstacle I managed to extract something of value for my life. So she does her chapters, sends them to her publisher (who is very cute and single and obviously digging her on a completely different level, what’s not to love about that?) and he comes to the small town to discuss. Basically he tells her it’s superficial crap, she’s skimming the surface, and she needs to stop being afraid and let herself feel the work, or work out her feelings through the work. The problem is, she isn’t in it.
Lightbulb! I know this about one of my stories, Katt’s Lives, but now I see where I’ve been doing it all along in all the stories. I’ve been holding back. I can see it. I know where. I know why. And I know what I need to do. Revelation!
And of course, now, while I’m on serious BnM deadline, is the perfect time to go work on all that other stuff.
Nah, just kidding. Instead, I watch movies. Friday night I watched The Deer Hunter, which I mentioned already. I had seen it before but I think I missed the beginning and it was a long time ago, so I’d pretty much forgotten anything I knew about it. Last night I watched Derailed with Clive Owen & Jennifer Aniston . . . which seemed really familiar to me, but I don’t think I’ve seen, which was a little weird. But likely means the plot is very predictable . . . or maybe it’s some kind of a remake. Then I watched The Devil Wears Prada, which was predictable but funny too and I guess you can never hear that message about doing what you want to do, that you always have a choice, enough.
Meryl Streep is in The Deer Hunter. It’s not a super huge role, because the film centres around the men’s friendship, but still, she’s a pivotal character as the love interest of both Christopher Walken and Robert DeNiro. In The Devil Wears Prada Meryl Streep plays the dragon lady boss, editor of the fashion magazine. So, when I looked at the next movie I had lined up for last evening, A Prairie Home Companion, I stopped for a couple of seconds to consider whether I could handle anymore Meryl Streep. But here’s the thing about her, she’s actually an actor. She rarely plays the same type of character. Accents change from movie to movie. She can be strong and bitchy or strong and salt of the earth. Or weak. Or funny. Or sad. Sometimes you pity her, sometimes you want to strangle her, sometimes you cheer her on. So I didn’t think it’d matter that I’d just had a double dose of Meryl and I put in the third movie. I love the way Robert Altman shot things. He was such a master of the whole upstairs/downstairs thing. A Prairie Home Companion is funny and entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. I want to do a live radio variety show! How much fun is that?!
But back to Meryl Streep. Her character in this movie was nothing like in The Devil Wears Prada, was probably closer to the girl she played in The Deer Hunter, though not really. And seeing her in so many things (and having seen her in so many more over the years) got me thinking about actresses and the roles they play and I tried to think of another actress who truly . . . I dunno . . . acts . . . and I drew a blank.
There’s Hilary Swank, who seems to win an Oscar with every movie she’s in, but essentially plays butchy girls with strong wills and a sensitive side . . . or probably a version of herself. When you see that Diane Keaton is going to be in a movie, you pretty much know what you’re getting, you’re getting Diane Keaton. Not that I don’t love most everything she does, but has she done anything where she wasn’t herself? Like Drew Barrymore. I love Drew Barrymore. But when I go see a movie she’s in, I expect to see Drew Barrymore, not a Russian accented con-artist seductress. Other actresses like Rene Zellweger and Nicole Kidman have done some parts that weren’t completely the same character, but the majority are the same person.
And I don’t know if this is a problem of type casting, or of actresses not taking chances with roles, or not wanting to challenge themselves, or what. But I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it some more, and I couldn’t think of another Hollywood actress like Meryl Streep, who bounces effortlessly from comedy to suspense to drama, carries a satchel of accents at her side, does fat, thin, older, younger, blonde, brown, black, grey, red head, and manages to become somebody new nearly every time. I guess this is why she’s considered by many to be the best.
It’s interesting, the thoughts you’ll have, when you’re working your “process.”
Drinking: cold coffee
Listening To: the people living in the walls
Hair: bandanna bound