What comes first, the writing or the apathy? Last Sunday I was interviewed on the Storytelling Show on Vancouver Co-Op Radio (CFRO 102.7 FM) by Taryn Hubbard, my partner in crime for the epically infamous artlit zine, Hacksaw. I managed to escape the hour-long interview without sounding like anything you’d buy at Home Hardware (read: “a tool”). Taryn asked some pretty hefty questions, to which I even suprised myself on the answers. Without restating the obvious, The Storytelling Show is about telling stories – Oops, that was a bit obvious, eh? – only the women who usually go on the show are dealing with the written word. Taryn wanted to explore the medium of film as an avenue for telling a story, and thus, there I was. In fact, here’s a picture of me there to prove it. It’s not a very flattering picture, is it? I look pudgy, but in a waxen way: like if it was a hot day and you touched me, you’d leave fingerprints on my skin; if you poked me harder, your finger would leave a little concave impression, like when you poke a cake in the oven that’s not quite ready.
Anyway, Taryn asked me an interesting question, one that I never fully considered before: When I’m writing, what comes first, the images in my head or the words on the page? I had to think about this. In a knee-jerk reaction I almost said the images, but I guess that’s what happens when I write for film. The medium is visual so that is how I think about it. (Perhaps that is part of what draws to me to film and theatre?) However, in blogs and things like this, I’m obsessed with words. I harbour secret ambitions to be able to string together a sentence with the superhuman abilities of Douglas Coupland or Charlie Brooker. I told Taryn – and it rings true – that when the images come first, whatever I’m writing ends up a script; when it’s the words, it ends up prose. I’m currently working on one epic story, and my writing process for this labour of like has been the rarest of rare. It breaks my previous patterns. You see, there were no images, no witty aphorisms that sparked my creative purge. It was a premise. A simple concept slowly expanded into the creation of an entire fictional world and fully formed characters. The plot came next. While it’s leaning towards script, I still don’t feel that instinctive grab in the gut telling me it’s a movie. I thus feel this ambivalence that it might just end up a novel? Sometimes I appreciate the lack of method in my madness, other times I just get mad.
You can hear the radio interview here, just find Aug. 30 at 21:15ish to 22:10ish.