I was listening to Terry Gilliam being interviewed on Radio 4 for the Film Programme a couple of evenings ago and was struck by many things he said. One in particular resonated. He was talking about the sudden, tragic death of Heath Ledger half way through filming The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. It looked as though the film would have to be cancelled; he thought the film would have to be cancelled as there seemed no way round the unavoidable absence of the main actor. And then, he said, he imagined how he could do it, and having imagined how, the actual doing was easy.
This is often the way with re-writing. You know there’s a problem but you can’t work out a solution. You try this, you try that but nothing works. Suddenly, perhaps one morning as you wake up, or you’re in the shower and – whoosh – there it is: The Answer. And when you know what the answer is, the actual writing becomes easy. It may take time, but the path is clearly ahead of you.
When I’m stuck with a writing problem I think about it a lot, but often don’t write much. I know that, given time, the answer will come to me. Actually, that moment when you suddenly realise you know what needs to be done is one of the best bits about writing. As Terry Gilliam said, all you need is imagination.
Next event - CHESTERFIELD! 10th June, at the library at 7.30 as part of the Derbyshire Lit Fest. (Details on p 49 of the brochure). And then it's Birmingham on the 23rd.