Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My intake...

...of creative stuff varies drastically, according to where I am in my current writing project. I could just say my reading varies, but I tend to group prose, films, comics, and music together as the aforementioned "stuff" - it all has the potential to affect my head in some way... spark and idea, get me in a particular mood, suggest an avenue. It also gets my dreams moving, which is something I consider of great importance. (Talking of which, my son (just short of 4 years old) woke up yesterday (literally as I stood over him, wondering when the hell he's going to wake up) and said, rubbing his eyes, "I was in the animal hospital". This is a boy who says he never dreams. To him, it's not a dream. The little guy was in this animal hospital place for real.)

Anyway, just now I've been looking at graphic novels - another SIN CITY (Family Values - slight compared to That Yellow Bastard and Hard Goodbye), and Book 2 of Alan Moore's PROMETHEA. Jesus Christ, is this a piece of work or what. You know, if I was in a more embryonic stage of my novel-in-progress I might toss PROMETHEA aside as self-indulgent twaddle. I'd be wrong (and consciously so), but it wouldn't be what I need at that point in the novel writing cycle, stuff-wise. What I need at that point is linear prose, books that clearly and (hopefully) cleverly lead from one thing to another, building something nice and substantial. (Don't get me wrong here. I ain't no plagiarist. I just need to see that it can be done. I need to see examples, reacquaint myself with the craft.)

But the stage I'm at now (you might call it the climax), I need something else. I need something that stretches my brain into odd new shapes and deposits new ideas for consideration. I'm not sure why this is so. You'd think that kind of stuff is of best use when you're between books - the gestation period. But hey - what do I know. I just write the shit down. Mine is not to question from whence the shit comes.

Anyway, PROMETHEA... I've been thinking for a while now that Alan Moore is the most vital writer out there. And you know what? He lives and writes in the unassuming provincial town of Northampton... which is where my day job is. I'm sitting here typing this before hitting the road homeward, he's just a couple of miles away literally putting magic on a page. (Or maybe he's putting some bangers under the grill. Or dropping magic mushrooms.) One day I'll bump into him. (I'm not likely to miss the fella.)

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