It’s not like I don’t know there is some hype on the periphery of my daily intake of pop culture. I know there is a re-release of a movie – a re-release over which I’ve pooh poohed disdain a couple of times. But even with that, it did strike me in the last week or so that it is almost April. Almost the second week of April… when there will be a centennial of an infamous date in human history.
The centennial which will prompt that aforementioned re-release fifteen years after its record breaking box office sales. A decade and a half after I went to the movie theater 9 times (or maybe it was 10) to see it on a big screen.
If you are completely thick and can’t guess the inference, I am talking about Titanic. The disaster and the cinematic phenomenon. But I will focus on the latter as I started mulling over it in the car today when I decided not to press skip on James Horner’s music on my shuffle.
I got that CD the same Christmas I got another soundtrack recording of The English Patient. I am listening to that now… and will never tire of it as I have of James Horner. But both were instrumental in fertilizing a seed of inspiration prompted by that movie I keep bringing up in every paragraph.
One of those visits to the movie theater was with my mother. Probably because she wanted to understand why my almost 14 year old sister was so obsessed with the 4 hour over-hyped movie. I wasn’t expecting her response at the end. I anticipated some sort of Irish Catholic cynicism. But she muttered a question to Celine Dion’s high pitched lament… how exactly does the heart go on after all that?
It was an earnest speculation, one that initially prompted my 22 year-old-imagination to speculate the mystery of my mother’s unknown teenage years. But resigning myself to the improbability of a Jack Dawson in her history, I decided to contemplate the question in my own way of unraveling the world’s mysteries – by making up a story.
Tonight as I drove home and decided not to press skip on As Far As Florence, I tried to remember the initial threads that wove itself into my fictional answer.
I know I have an entire history mapped out in my brain – and on paper – revised several times in the last fifteen (good God) years. A family tree has grown and been pruned. A mystery created and solved. A story beginning and ending with that silly idea of a heart going on after all that.
That is not the Titanic. The question … and maybe the concept of flashbacks… is all that connects this novel to the movie. But the flashbacks are more like The English Patient than the contrived excuse to go under water in 1996 and see a crustacean coated wreck.
And though I am sitting here one Tuesday night typing up the flashbacks to the beginning of creating this story, I intend to make the completion of its writing my present. Maybe this anniversary of a film is just one more resonant detail to remind me of unfinished business. Along with my current residency in a town, near a lake that inspired the setting. Or the major story in the news that asks another question I ask myself in the writing of this piece. Or the urging of my writing peers.
Methinks it’s time to stop writing about writing this book and get to it.