Sanity’s Overrated, Really

NOTE: If you’re looking for my Friday’s Feast responses, they’re in the next post down.

So I’m working on this novella, and I’ve spent the last week world building, and finding characters, and in a much-needed mind-candy break last weekend, I found myself on ff.net, reading, of all things, Beetlejuice fanfic. Most of it was based on the cartoon, which is kind of creepy because my anti-animation brain vaguely recalls that cartoon Beetlejuice was pretty gross, in a monsterish sort of way, while movie Betelgeuse (and I use the different spellings on purpose) was, after all Michael Keaton under a bunch of make-up and while the character was also gross, it was a completely different kind of gross.

Some of it, mainly shippy stuff in which grown-up Lydia and old Beej get together, was actually fun to read. I mean, really, it’s no worse than any other fanfic out there, and considerably better than some, if for no other reason that everyone and their little sister isn’t writing it.

And, hey, I never said I was sane.

But it made me realize three things:
1) The lead male character in my novella, who still hasn’t told me his damned NAME, is an amalgam of a bunch of Michael Keaton characters, and has the actor’s eyebrows.

2) I own no Michael Keaton movies on DVD, and yet I really enjoy his work. (Well, I do NOW because I ordered Beetlejuice from Amazon and used my spiffy prime privileges to get it really really fast.)

3) People you don’t know in real life, and have no prayer of meeting, can totally be your muses.

So I told myself, “Ok, if that’s who this character wants to be, and since he’s otherwise cooperating (except for the name thing), I will go with it.”

The thing is, I generally have tv or movies – mostly movies because there’s no distracting commercials – on while I’m writing. There’s something comforting in the conversational cadences, and every so often there’s something really compelling to watch, which is cool, because you’re supposed to look away from the computer screen and regular intervals to keep your eyes healthy and stuff.

I mean, I love music, but I can’t listen to it while I’m working because I either want to sing, or I feel guilty for ignoring my cello, or both. And I can’t deal with silence because it becomes heavy, oppressive, and almost tangible, like this thick curtain of NOTHING that saps your energy and sends your brain into sleep for self-defense. In my world, silence is NOT golden.

So, today, I tivo’d the 1989 Tim Burton Batman, which, yes, features Michael Keaton as the titular hero, but I hadn’t seen it in so long that I found it too compelling to not watch, well mostly, and as I’d watched Beetlejuice last night I was in a position to analyze performances. While there are really big moments in both films that everyone talks about, these two things pulled my focus:

1) Beetlejuice: The look right before he launches into the “qualifications” speech is priceless. I know half of it is the dead make-up, but no one has more expressive eyes than in that moment.

2) Batman: The bedroom scene where Bruce Wayne wakes up with Vicki Vale – he does this thing where he watches her sleep for a few breaths, then cradles her head against him, and the wordless tenderness and hint of vulnerability in that tiny moment caught my attention. (I also noticed that a bunch of the fanfic authors borrowed that move in their fic…I wonder if it was a conscious borrowing.)

And after all this, I still don’t know the stupid water rigger’s name. I know how he sounds and what his hands look like. I can hear his voice (a little gravelly, with casual speech that masks his education), and I know how striking his eyes are, and I know that my main female character, Rebecca, will ultimately pick him over the military dude and the scientist who are also vying for her attention, but I can’t find his NAME.

(And no, Jeremy, it is NOT Chelsea.)

But it’s after four in the morning, and I have a ton of work to do tomorrow, AND a CSz show to be in, so I guess I’ll have to curl up and sleep and figure out his name tomorrow. Maybe another showing each of Beetlejuice and Batman will help. If not, well, White Noise is in my Blockbuster queue and should come up in a week or two.

And sanity is overrated, really.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Sanity’s Overrated, Really by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Sanity’s Overrated, Really

  1. I love the movie Beetlejuice! I thought Michael Keaton was amazing in that role. I know what you mean about working in silence, too. At work, I NEED silence, but when I’m cleaning at home or beading or working on photos, I love to have a movie on in the background…especially LOTR: Fellowship!

  2. As overrated as sanity is (and I wholeheartedly agree) so too is insanity. That only leaves a very precarious middle ground. It’s like walking a tightrope… tic tic tic

    Michele sent me,

    Mike

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