At some point, you have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close but they never actually touch.
I just got off watching the movie “The Words” starring Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and many others. This movie is a story within a story within a story. It may sound confusing but it’s actually a very compelling and entertaining film. It’s about a young writer who’s at the peak of his literary success and later discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man’s work.
Rory Jansen, Bradley Cooper’s character, dedicated his life to becoming a published author and at some point I felt connected with him. There was this one part in the story when he was having a conversation with his dad about his life not going anywhere. He submits his work to every publishing company but all of them rejected it. For a writer, it can be very frustrating. That feeling when you can’t be the person who you think you are is awfully dreadful. Rory yearns to be a successful writer of his own novel, toiling away at his computer keyboard each night, while also dejected and demoralized that his two previous novels have gained him nothing but a pile of rejection letters.
Until Rory finds a manuscript in a satchel his wife bought from Paris. It’s the extraordinary story of a young soldier who falls in love with a French girl in post WW11 Paris. Rory realizes that he could never write as deeply and as powerfully as this unknown author. After receiving rejection after rejection for his own work, he winds up publishing the novel under his name and the plagiarized novel becomes a huge success. He later meets the old man, the original author of the story. He tells Rory the life, pain and sacrifices behind the story, his story. Rory felt remorseful after hearing it and decides to fix everything.
To others, it may seem easy to have unwavering faith in yourself to create something special out of a blank page with some string of words put together to construct a sentence. But the truth is, it’s not. What lies behind every story an author makes, lies an even deeper and meaningful story. We can’t just sit down in front of our computer/paper, look outside the window and expect to poop fairy tales in our fingertips minutes later. Amidst the thinking and frustrations, it can take years and years of dedication. Something we all can get tired of. But being a writer is not something you would hope to be, because it’s something you already are.
Throughout a writer’s life, she will be tormented by the need to write and the process will be agonizing — it will claim a piece of her soul, a portion of her life, a bit of her innocence. However, once she has finished, she will briefly experience the most blissful, ethereal sensation in the world — the knowledge that you have done exactly what you’ve been put on this earth to do.
Writing can mean different things to different people. It can be a way to pay the rent. It can be a way to exact revenge on a nemesis without actually committing a crime. But to all of us, it means something–otherwise, we wouldn’t carve time out of our busy schedules to do it. It’s not all about how many rejection letters you received, it’s about the perseverance to go on despite those.
A writer, dare I must say, can be one of the most powerful people in the world. Why? Because we can hold conversations between people that don’t exist. We don’t talk to ourselves, we talk to the people we created out of nothing. And in that nothing will soon come out something special, something more magical than you ever thought it was.