With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.
My gorgeous wife made lamb and butternut squash tagine over couscous. I washed it down with Guinness while we watched Tropic Thunder. From the disturbing but excellent Robin Williams vehicle last night, she was looking for a comedy.
“Old or new?” (meaning Topper or Superbad)
I told her about the Ben Stiller-helmed picture. She was already in with the name Ben Stiller. And I told her it was funny but it goes into dark places. It’s a black comedy. She was game.
And I knew it would be just her speed when the gratuitous gore and guts within the first ten minutes made her roar with laughter.
Like most people, she had no idea it was Tom Cruise as the over the top studio executive. Too much Tom can be a bad thing but he has been so effective in supportive roles (Magnolia) and he steps into the room and owns it. Delightfully owns it.
I neglected to mention Gary Cole last night. He is a scene thief, elevating whatever show or film is lucky to have him. Too much Gary may be a bad thing but fortunately he has made a living out of entering a scene and changing the mood. And he did so in One Hour Photo. His stellar work is too numerous to mention but a few won’t hurt… (TV’s American Gothic, Archer and The West Wing and films Dodgeball, Office Space, A Simple Plan… A true journeyman actor with decades left in him.
After we had our chocolate parfait pudding topped with whipped cream. Good fortune has graced us and I am forever grateful when I look into her eyes.
I’m washing the dishes. She’s drying. I’m thinking about the film and especially its structure, wondering about the creativity of the writers Stiller and Justin Theroux. The film is a collection of scenes moving from the spectrum of wacky and parodic to dark and challenging. I wondered about which writer took which scene and how the idea was storyboarded, with vignettes of their acting careers or just a rough outline of each character’s arc.
This is about my writing. I write sentences. I write scenes of dialogue. I don’t write scenes. I don’t say, well this is the music shop scene, this is the lodge murder scene, this is the scene at the restaurant… but maybe I should. I might feel more productive then. I wouldn’t be hampered by getting the dialogue down immediately and just roughly outline what should be accomplished in this scene and how it supports what comes before or after the scene.
I have a feeling writing the way I do allows me to play around safely without being dangerously productive. Something withholding in my writing technique. But I am an old dog eager to learn new tricks.
My bride awaits my presence in the next room. Madeleine Peyroux plays softly on the stereo.
And the evening slips into precious gentle simplicity…