I was on a regional train, early morning, heading for a writing workshop when I overheard a conversation across from me.
"Have you seen Midnight in Paris?"
"Yes, I have."
"I just loved that movie."
"I didn't like it so much."
"Have you been to Paris?"
"Well it's captured beautifully in the film. The streets, the café's…it's really worth seeing the film just to get a feel for Paris."
"Well a couple of friends who have seen Midnight in Paris recommended it. I know a lot of people loved that film but I really didn't like it."
"It's about an American couple who travel to Paris and end up exploring different aspects of it, both modern day and from the 1920's. I highly recommend it."
And the conversation goes on a little longer in the same direction. Two women with conflicting opinions, one of whom is completely ignoring the other's and I'm not sure why. Does the idea that someone else dislikes a popular film offend this woman so much she can't register it? Is her hearing bad, the train so loud she misinterprets her companion's sentiments? Is she trying to convert her opinion? Is she trying to defend her own opinion? One thing that is clear, she does not want to hear why the film was disliked.
It was an interesting prelude to the writing workshop where it turned out both women were also attending. The topic of the day was metaphor and it occurred to me after an hour of that most of the examples discussed were by authors with the same voice. Tripping the lights fantastic, as it were.
I didn't enjoy the workshop. Most people did. I told a fellow writer I met at the workshop that I was disappointed because I found the content very narrow. Anyone who's read The God of Small Things would recognize the same type of flowery metaphors. Anyone who's read Lenny Bruce is Dead knows there's a different way to get a point across.
She liked the workshop. She didn't understand my opinion.I'm not sure she even heard me because after conveying my sentiment she told me I needed to stop with the thriller fiction and get out there and read more.
To be a good writer it's important to be articulate. To be a successful writer, someone has to be listening. I'm beginning to suspect listening is done collectively and that, similar to it takes money to make money, it's going to take success to be a success. And that means to reach this brain dead audience I'm going to need to round up a few more stars for my novella.