Monday, April 15, 2013

Paper Man (2009)

Number Rolled: 81
Movie Name/Year: Paper Man (2009)
Genre: Drama
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Kieran Mulroney, Michele Mulroney
Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Actors: Lisa Kudrow, Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, Hunter Parrish

Jennifer Lawrence said that she never once considered defeat. She said that was why she believed she became successful. After watching “Paper Man” today, for my blog, I realize that as much as my heart goes to writing; as much as it's always been the only thing I've ever wanted to do; I've never considered anything but defeat. It never crossed my mind once, “what if I succeed?”

I looked up to my Uncle Steven my entire life. He never made tons of money and he was never famous, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t have balls. My uncle is a writer; in my opinion, a really good writer. I’ve read all his books, twice, and all his short stories. When I started writing, he would talk to me about the industry, and his intentions were really good. For all the good he meant to do, though, all he managed to do was scare me.

He prepared me for the world, made sure I didn’t go into anything with naivety. Warned me all the time that my first work likely wouldn’t be accepted anywhere, or my third, or my twelfth. He pointed to the first sentence of his novel and told me that was the most important thing in the entire book: the first sentence. He said that I could write like Shakespeare but no one would ever know it unless I got them to read. That first sentence was the most important line in any book, because that line is what would breed interest or boredom into a new reader.

To a new writer, maybe also to seasoned writers, a blank page is the most frightening thing in the whole world. When I have a mind full of ideas and I look at a fresh new page in Microsoft Word, it’s like I forget how to type. Anything can distract me. Anything looks preferable to that open-ended, imposing, blank page. Add to that the belief that the very first sentence I write on that page will make or break everything else, and I become paralyzed with that fear.

The rest of my family didn’t help. Watching my mother and my aunt respond to my uncle’s first published eBook was painful. It was a long time ago, but I still remember nearly the exact words used. “Oh, so it’s not really published.” Down the line it was followed by, “Will you be publishing a real book?” I understand that it was ignorance of technology that bred those comments, but that doesn’t take the sting out of it.

Later on, when participating in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), I made the mistake of mentioning it over dinner with my family. I was asked what the novel was about and how long it had to be. When I told them that it would likely go over the 50,000 word minimum, my aunt’s response was, “So it’s a novelette?” I corrected her, and we went back and forth like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for a minute before I gave up and decided it wasn’t worth it.

I never revisited that novel again. I scrapped it as another unfinished project that was a failure waiting to happen.

“Paper Man” was a movie about a writer with writers block, his imaginary friend and a girl. He has dealt with a person who meant well (his wife), but was really not all that supportive – in the long run – of his methods or his goals. That kind of thing scars your soul. When people you love remind you every day how easy it is to fail, it becomes impossible to contemplate success.

I’m lucky enough to have a fiancĂ© and some very close friends that think I can do anything. People who have sat me down and tried to tell me that I can accomplish what I want; that I’m good enough. As much as their words mean to me, that scar on my soul from being told so long to be afraid, that it’s all too hard, too unlikely, is still there. No one can control how a person feels when they face themselves in the mirror, or how a writer feels when faced with a blank page.

I’m not claiming this movie magically healed me. All I’m saying is that it inspired me at such a depth, that I feel like I can look at the next blank page and power through the fear and possible failure; that I can think that all-too-important thought, “what if I succeed?”

This movie was fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t in it, but her quote fit my needs. Jeff Daniels, Lisa Kudrow, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Kieran Culkin were amazing in their parts. The story was unique and completely engulfed me.

It had its faults, but I don’t intend to take any points off for that. Any movie that can affect me at this level becomes an instant favorite of mine.

I started this blog because it gave me a safe place to write about something I loved without actually putting myself and my ideas out there to be judged. How interesting it is that this blog is what has led me back to where I wanted to go.

See you on Wednesday, right now I have a confrontation with a blank page to get to.

Overall Opinion – 5/5

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