~ Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
I’ve been in the process of writing a novel for a couple of years now. Part of why it is taking so long is because I don’t really know what I’m doing. Also, I keep being sidetracked by the back stories of some of my favorite minor characters. I suppose that’s not such a bad thing, but it really does highlight my inability to focus. Attention span of a gnat? Maybe a little. During the time since I started writing this novel, I have completed two chapbooks of poetry and several classes worth of other various forms of creative writing. (Not to mention all that un-fun academic writing.) I push it to the back burner for other projects when the mood strikes me, but still the notebook glowers in its dusty, incense-scented corner of my bookshelf if I leave it there too long.
So what’s the novel about? Guessed yet? Pirates. Of course the Disney movie series, Pirates of the Caribbean, has played a huge part in the inspiration of the piece, but what really started the process of literally pen-to-paper writing this was actually a book — On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers. Sound familiar? Yep, Disney made a film that was inspired by Mr. Powers’s book. I want to stress “inspired by.” Anyone who has seen the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean AND read On Stranger Tides knows that the two are vastly and magnificently different. However, in an interview about his book when Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was premiering, Powers noted that a book and the movie should be different. Fancy that! Don’t most folk hate if the movie cuts out too much of the original story?
“Yeah, there’s some unlikely beasts in the world, and it’s best to stay near the ones that you’ve bought drinks for.” ~ Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides.
I actually love Disney’s adaptation, regardless of my love of the book and how I much I owe the work my thanks. The first time I saw it was in AMC Theatres in Middletown, New York. It was shortly after I had completed my first year of college, and before I started up my summer job again, so it was kind of like a victory celebration to go see this film. I went with my friend to a rather late show. We didn’t realize how long the movie actually was and had told my folks to pick us up at a certain time, which was about an hour too soon. I remember getting yelled at so badly for making them wait, but also not caring. My mind was still so enthralled with the imagery and the story that every negative comment rolled right off me. I ended up reading the book two years later, which furthered my inspiration enough to write — but the movie stayed with me. To this day, if I am feeling rather blocky and uninspired, I will write while watching the movie. I am an unabashed fan of each movie in the entire series, but On Stranger Tides is most certainly my favorite.
Funny enough, my novel and Tim Powers’s novel are inspired in part by Disney, and, as the link to his interview above mentioned, begun first and researched thoroughly later. It’s all part of the process. But I do aim to finish my novel one day, between school projects and one-too-many part-time jobs. It’s certainly a task of fantastic proportions, but I will finish it. I tote around a faux-leather-bound notebook that my then-roommate once bought for me. I don’t know when I will finish this book — I’m hoping maybe over the summer to take some time to really write it. The only thing I know for absolute certain is if I don’t finish the novel, it will haunt the edges of my consciousness forever.
“Barbossa: So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until Judgment Day and trumpets sound?
Jack Sparrow: Or you could surrender.” ~ Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)