This post may contain movie spoilers. I have not decided as of yet.
According to Mirriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the word muse, as a noun, is defined as:
1. A state of deep thought or dreamy distraction
2. capitalized: any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology, presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences
III. Ruby Sparks
Whether you are a writer or not, you have been plagued by the intimate distraction of what is a Muse. Get your head out of the gutter, because the word intimate does not refer necessarily to sex-related material. Wanting to admit it or not, we have all had a Muse; if you haven’t you probably are an indolent person with no drive whatsoever and a complete waste of breath air; if you aren’t inspired to do anything, are you even living?
We have all had a Muse, or Muses for that matter. This Muse, this inspiration, can be a simple as an object or an overwhelming feeling you have when experiencing whatever moves you at a given time and/or place. This Muse could be a human or an object, but lets home the love for that animal is more unconditional than, well, I don’t want to be gross. This person can be any of the several people you have encountered in your life, or maybe a figment of your imagination, a dream-generated individual for that matter. This Muse could be someone we have lost, and this is in every definition of the word. This Muse could be someone we have once loved, we do love, or someone we have pined over and have done nothing about the situation.
Amidst my writer’s block, when I cannot think of anything to write, I watch movies. The most ideal option is to actually read, but the more convenient method of storytelling wins over the process of picking up a book and turning its pages. Some days, you just have to take the convenient route.
Last night, I stopped at (a) Redbox and picked up Ruby Sparks (2012), which stars Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, who wrote the screenplay–respectively as the title character. The film, also, stars Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Chris Messina, (the always entertaining) Steve Coogan, and Elliot Gould. I am obsessed with IMDB, and my past browsing allowed me to come across that movie before it was released.
I highly recommend this movie, by the way.
In brief, Paul Dano plays a writer, looking for love, who writes his interest into his life. He has a dream about this girl and writes about her. When the movie started, the settings on my Blu-Ray player automatically set the play mode to “descriptive” and English subtitles as well. So, not only was I getting the dialogue of the actors, I was getting this robotic woman’s voice describing the scene.
The voice over, also, described the opening credit sequence where the Fox Searchlight logo pops up. It was quite accurate, for your information, in case you were wondering. So, after turning off the convenient settings, I got back to watching the movie in normal mode.
Yes, this is a “predictable” romantic comedy in a sense. Ruby Sparks, also, proves that the theater-released movies are can definitely not overshadow more independent films. The fact he can write about this girl, who everyone can see, proving that this is girl is not a figment of Dano’s imagination, makes the story like a bit denser. He essentially can control who Ruby is, what she does, and how she behaves. What could possibly go wrong?
Kudos to the Man versus Self relationship here. Dano’s character is is own worst enemy; his protagonist is his own antagonist.
However, in reality, this can go wrong…
IV. The Over Analytical Me, or I’m Being Overly Ridiculous
When it comes to movies, stumbling upon a gem of a flick gets me giddy. Excitement becomes intense, and there comes a point where I cannot sit still. I knew Dano’s character is a writer, which kind of puts a fire under my butt to get writing. Sure, it’s a different and indirect approach to motivate myself, but I will take whatever works. Nowadays, it’s more of a habit to flock to writing blog posts than working on the novel. Yet, when the protagonist is introduced, the viewer is introduced to his dog as well.
At this point, you may come to realize that I have fallen off my rocker, face first… That’s if you haven’t already.
The terrier in the movie, his name is Scotty. He pees like a female dog. The placement of that joke (in the movie, not my text) is very funny. The kicker was the realization is the inspiration behind the dog’s name, being named after F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I actually stopped breathing and asked, aloud: “What?!” At this point, I paused the movie. I then said, aloud (as well), “You’re fucking kidding me.” There was no exclamation or question about that.
Being an animal person, I cannot wait for the day to take on or adopt an animal of my own. I, being the person that I am and to nobody’s surprise (for those who know me), I want to name my dog(s) and/or cat(s) after literary figures. I am saving Jack for my future son’s name, but the top names I have considered are: Fitzgerald or Fitz for short (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Clemons (Samuel Clemons/Mark Twain), and Edgar Allan (well, this should be easy for you). Morrison is the runner up, which is not literary in the sense, but musical: Van Morrison and Jim Morrison.
At this point, while the movie was paused, I jumped up from my bed and paced. I walked around my room with a pen in my [right] hand and my hands in my hair. With my current hair length, depending on my pulling or bed head, I can pull off a great bastardization between Robert Smith (The Cure, circa “the entire 80’s”) and Michael Richards (Kramer). Convincing myself that I am losing it due to my reading into a movie, I announced my acceptance of losing it. It may have involved throwing my hands into the air and putting my face into a pillow and yelling. Mind you, the only thing in my system was caffeine. I opted to grab a beer at this point in the evening, however.
Saranac, here is your free advertising: You’re delicious, absolutely delicious.
However, I may be over dramatizing this scene that played out. However, I may not be. Does it matter? It’s all entertainment, poking fun at myself.
V. Face the Facts
Would it be nice to create your own character, your own love interest, or your own best friend to come to life? In a sense, Calvin’s imagination, through the Divine creativity of Bill Watterson, animated Hobbes. My teddy bear, Benjamin, just chills out on my dresser. It would be cool if he came to life. Maybe he could slap some sense into me, enlightening my mind.
As a unnoticed writer, speaking on behalf of the writers out there, I can admit that we have our Muse(s). It is bullshit to say that you do not have an inspiration to write, or to base your character(s) off of occurrences, things, or people. You want to base the love interest, if there is one, off of your current partner, a past partner, or a partner you wished you had. You want the best friend or confidant (it may be a love/hate relationship) of your main character to mimic or parallel your best friend. You’d want to make that interest flawless, because of the simple fact/desire of wanting to have that flawless inspiration in your life. The flawless aspect derives itself from that mystic and breathless feeling you get from your Muse.
Adoration drives you to create and build those characters. Adoration keeps one writing. Adoration yields inspiration.
However, I wouldn’t want my characters coming to life. They’d be clingy, or raise hell. Creating the perfect woman in text is one thing, but having her around could be disastrous. It’s one thing to live one’s life as a hopeless romantic, but being with someone perfect would just manifest predictability.
Keep fiction and reality separate, please. It will be best for all of us.