Sunshine and Cream Cakes

It’s been lovely here this week – a cornucopia of crocuses, daffodils and pulmonaria bursting forth, wood pigeons squabbling in the trees over prospective mates and enough warmth in the sun to be able to sit and read in the garden. You know what I’m talking about – spring is here. It’s amazing how a few rays of sunshine can lift the spirits. I travelled into London yesterday and at Finchley Central station, a few stops down the line from where I live, one of the station employees has turned a strip of disused ground into the loveliest of gardens. Every time I rode past it last summer, it brought a smile to my face along with gratitude that someone had taken the time to dig and plant for no reward other than the pleasure of creating something beautiful. Already, the first blossoms are re-appearing in the station garden, with every sign they’ll provide just as much pleasure this year. As Camille Pissarro once said, blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places.
Usually I read on the train, but sometimes it’s just nice to reflect, maybe let an idea or problem marinate in my head and see if any solutions emerge. Giving space and time to let the subconscious mind resolve problems is really important for a writer and it took me a long time to lay aside anxieties about my work and trust in that process. I usually find it all but impossible to appraise what I’ve written with any sort of objectivity for quite some time after I’ve written it. Even re-reading some of the posts in this blog, I can see now they’re overwritten in places. Sometimes it helps to sleep on it and a new day can often bring a completely new perspective on what I was writing the day before. At times it can take much longer; on occasion, the eureka moment happens months later – sometimes too late to be useful! It’s only recently that I’ve managed to identify ways to solve problems I couldn’t really even diagnose in a screenplay, I was working on it last year. The question now is whether it’s worth going back and re-writing it from scratch, or whether it makes more sense to chalk it up to experience and start on something new.
While in town, I took the opportunity to watch Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s a carefully constructed, conspicuously artificial confection, a vertiginous cream cake of a movie always teetering under the weight of its own pretentions. Like cream cakes generally, it was a bit rich for my tastes, if I’m honest. There’s no question that the script was very witty and Ralph Fiennes was pure comic gold as the charmingly oleaginous hotel concierge, M Gustave, who’s saved by his own impeccable manners. The story, however, was completely farcical – a choux bun, containing nothing more substantial than air and as such, it totally failed to engage on an emotional level. By the end, it was all becoming a little tiresome. I found the box-in-box-in-box framing device quite annoying too. All in all, it was something of a disappointment after Moonrise Kingdom, which I loved.


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Filed under Art, Film, Screenwriting, Writing

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