The Deja Vu Blogfest

DL Hammons is holding the Deja Vu Blogfest today. Basically, re-publish an old post you feel didn’t get the love it deserves. So, I’m reposting my Christopher Walken post.

I once heard a story that Christopher Walken never rejects a role he’s offered, no matter how bad. The story related that Christopher Walken believes you can learn from every role, even the bad ones. (Also, did you know he’s a former Broadway dancer? True story.)

I tried to corroborate this story this morning and only found a small mention in this article, that says, “Walken accepts any job offer that isn’t ‘too awful,’ per a humble work ethic fueled not by love of fame, glory or money … but by fear of his own capacity to ‘sit around and eat spaghetti.'” Which proves two things: 1) What my mother always said, about believing half of what you see and none of what you hear is probably correct (but can I believe it?) and 2) Spaghetti is the most terrifying pasta. (It’s very tentacle-like.)

BUT! Let’s pretend my story is true (it’s like fiction!). The idea that even bad roles offer opportunity for growth has merit. I suggest that writers could learn from “bad” stories. For instance, I (inadvertently) took a hiatus from creative writing during college (except a brief stint my sophomore year, when I took Creative Writing 101 (or something like that) and wrote a few chapters of what is now my thesis). I was still writing, just papers. Lots of them. Mostly in Italian (my minor). After I graduated, I wanted to write again, but couldn’t make it stick. I even bought a prompt book and read the delightful Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I felt inspired, but no story ideas came.

Finally, 9 months later, I told my sister about a dream I’d had the night before, filled with Greeks and wars and all that romantic stuff. She said I should write it. So I did. And let me tell you what: IT’S TERRIBLE. But I’m so glad I wrote it. Why? Because Almost 3 years later, I’m nearly done with my MFA and I’ve got one full draft of a book and another partial under my belt. I consider myself a writer, whereas before it was only an interest of mine. That story literally changed the course of my life.

Sometimes you just need to write. It doesn’t matter what it is. Write a character sketch. Describe your kitchen at its very messiest. Turn Christopher Walken into a superhero and have him save the Queen of England from an invasion of spaghetti-like aliens. If it’s terrible, laugh at it and be grateful you were able to get something down today. Because that’s what really matters. All words you write are important, even the ones you ultimately delete.

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I write speculative fiction inspired by mythos from around the world, complex family dynamics, and my own experiences living with mental illness. After earning my BA in Linguistics from Brigham Young University in 2008, I received my MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College in 2012. I live in Denver, where my husband and I spend countless hours chasing our three young sons (and sometimes catching them!). I collect tarot decks, dye my hair mermaid colors, and procrastinate by decorating my home. My debut novel, Feathers Sharp as Knives, releases on May 2, 2023.

15 thoughts on “The Deja Vu Blogfest

  1. What an inspiring idea. I tend to waste so much time waffling around the question “is this idea even worth my time?” Do it, learn. Interesting. That would be a game changer for me. Thanks!

    Nice to meet you through this fest. I’m #158. :-)

  2. Ha! I love your frank confession that your Greek war book was awful. You’re right, we learn from every book just like good ol’ Chris Walken learns from every role (probably!). If nothing else, he brings his own particular “flava” to each role, just like we do w/our books. I’ll be following, thanks to this Deja-Vu day!

  3. The number of times I resisted putting pen to paper because I wasn’t sure if the idea was good enough, or if *i* was good enough. Just do it! Every novel, short story, essay, paragraph is a learning experience. You don’t become a better writer by thinking about writing, that’s for sure. :)

  4. I often have trouble convincing myself that my ideas aren’t so dumb/weird that they don’t deserve writing, and then I remind myself that 1) that’s ridiculous, and 2) isn’t there a common saying that you write a million words of crap before writing anything good? Well, at the very least, those words will chip away at that million.

  5. I use short-stories as an outlet to write when I’m not in the middle of a book, or if I’m stuck. Sometimes you just need to step on the gas to clean out the carburetor…at least its true with us older models. :)

    Excellent choice for a re-post! Thank you for taking part today! :)

  6. Lots of good points in this post. I totally agree. And blogging also helps our writing, too. I saw that video of Christopher Walken before, and he’s an awesome dancer!

  7. As with so many things in life, the important thing is to make a start. I was so self-conscious when I first attempted to write a story that I froze for hours, not daring to put words on paper. It could have ended there. I’m glad it didn’t. You’re right, the trick is to write. Just write.

  8. Oh bother! My finger slipped on the previous comment and the comment form went and posted before I was finished filling it out. Proper signature in this comment.

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