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My Barton Fink Moment

My Barton Fink Moment

It seems funny to be writing about this right now, since I’m basically just taking to my blog to brag about my progress. Seems like I already did something similar once a few months back to complain about my writer’s block. As some of those who have been reading know, I’ve been working on a book that I describe as a “video game autobiography.” It’s my own life as seen through the lens of many of the video games I’ve played throughout my life. In my last entry about my progress of this thing, I wondered about my Barton Fink Moment of Enlightenment.

Barton Fink was a movie from the Coen Brothers, released in 1991. It’s about a man named Barton Fink who takes a large contract from a movie studio to write scripts, checking into a hotel to write his first assignment for the suits – a script about wrestling. With only that generalized concept to work with, Barton develops the world’s nastiest, most ill-timed case of writer’s block. Little goofy wave-off things become huge distractions, and Barton isn’t even able to peck out the first line of script he was ordered to write. Eventually he is given a box by a man in one of the other rooms whose real identity is more than the insurance salesman he was claiming to be. Without opening the box, Barton finds his moment of enlightenment, sits at his typewriter, and flushes out an entire script in a single sitting.

I’ve finally reached that point. After many months of fighting with both distractions and “distractions,” I was recently able to finish a whopping five chapters in the last three weeks. It won’t be very much longer now, and if my other little writing projects don’t get in the way too much, I can have this manuscript finished by the end of March, at the latest.

What to actually do with it is going to be a whole other matter. I know I’m going to try to get it published, or self-published, even. I do have to recall my favorite writer character in a movie again, though, because in his flash of inspiration, the script Barton pounded out – which he called the most important thing he’s ever written – wasn’t exactly what the suits had in mind. Barton technically did just as his boss asked and wrote a movie about wrestling. “Wrestling,” however, proves to be a pretty broad term, and so Barton managed to parlay the idea of a script about an ancient Greek sport into a script about a man wrestling with his conscience. Or, in the words of his employer, “a fruity movie about suffering.”

In my last post about my writing troubles, I alluded to one of my favorite writers, Hunter S. Thompson. His renowned masterpiece of American literature, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, started as an everyday article about a motorcycle race and grew out of that when Thompson realized the impracticality of covering a motorcycle race. The Vegas line on such a thing happening to my own humble little work is a billion to one against. The bigger issue is the fact that I’m revealing myself to a (potentially) very wide audience through publication. It seemed like a distant concept in in the final few weeks of 2010 when I started writing, but now the idea is a little scary.


About Nicholas Croston

I like to think. A lot. I like to question, challenge, and totally shock and unnerve people. I am a contrarian - whatever you stand for, I'm against.

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