A Portrait of a Deranged Writer
January 18, 2011 § 10 Comments
There are certain stereotypes floating around about writers. A crowd of eccentrics, that’s what we are. Loners. Mad beasts closeted all day and all night with our pens and our paper (or more likely our laptops), haggard from lack of sleep, feverishly forcing word after tortured word onto the page. Eyes alight with the maniacal obsession that drives us.
True or not? There’s some truth in there, probably, though in all likelihood most of us aren’t so… unhinged. The above portrait of a writer is hugely exaggerated, right?
That’s almost a shame, however, because by far my favourite portrait of a writer in film or fiction is Emma Thompson’s character Karen Eiffel in ‘Stranger than Fiction.’ Completely tortured, eccentric to the point of outright derangement, and wittily acerbic. Her idea of researching a novel is sitting by the motorway in the pouring rain, imagining car crashes.
Penny the publisher’s assistant: Sitting in the rain won’t write books.
Karen Eiffel: Well that illustrates exactly how much you know about writing books.
When I grow up, I want to be her.
Everyone thinks about jumping off a building.
(The film script can be found here).
Does any of this sound familiar?