There lives a grumpy old man. His wife dies, he gets angry at the property developments near his house. He physically assaults a construction worker, goes to court. Sentence is conditional, he has to move to an old folks home.
Overnight, he blows up thousands of balloons and attaches them to his house. When the staff of the home come to collect him, he releases the balloons and they cause his house to fly to Paradise Falls, where he meets a rare bird and a wonderful talking Dog.
This is of course a brief outline of the beginning of Pixar’s glorious film “Up!” (Not seen it? Watch it right now) It is written superbly. Watching it the other day made me think of my own writing, or lack of it. I now feel I could never write anything like Up, or anything vaguely close. I can write about an old man, I could write about him being arrested. But a flying house? That’s where my “That’s really stupid” would hit. Yet the writers of Up had this idea and went with it as countless others with even more outlandish ideas have. Hell even I have in the past.
But not now. Even this very piece as I write it, I’m doubting the tone and phrasing, wondering who exactly will read it. Why am I writing it? Is it for validation from the masses of the internet. No, at least I don’t think so, I mean if it got to be really popular would I shun the hits and take it down. No, everyone likes attention but that’s not my main focus. So am I writing this to get to the bottom of why my ideas for the fantastical lost the battle with my rational brain.
It could of course be that my ideas are not as good as I once thought they were, and my brain is merely better quality control than it was before. But reading through my old published pieces here, some I still think are quite good (high praise indeed!) so that isn’t it. Opinion pieces I feel are more difficult to write now, I can’t write about politics, my views on religion haven’t changed, so I can now write about “bits of string” and with everything else going on in the world anything about string seems rather stupid.
I guess if I am gonna have my own flying house moment, a vibrant flight of fantasy, I’m gonna have to be braver when it comes to crashing into the ground. Read more, read anything, write more, write anything. Even if its crap, starting with a meta piece about writing.
There lives a grumpy old man….