Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Resnick avoidance

Ah, now why didn't I think of this before?

I mean, what better way to avoid doing anything useful (or even writing Resnick) could there be than a little blogging? Well, there's leaving bad jokes on the course discussion board thingy, but I've already done that. And watching the latest episode of Scrubs. But that just made me depressed. Not because it began with a funeral, or even because the latest series isn't as good as previous ones, but because even the worst recent episode is still good telly - playful, likeable, funny, character-driven - in other words, quite unlike what I'm supposed to be writing just now, namely [types next word slowly through gritted teeth (no, I didn't think it was possible to type through gritted teeth either, but you learn something new everyday)] R-e-s-n-i-c-k.

Anyway, in light of David's recent post, and by way of illustrating just how much writing Resnick pains me, here is why I write. Or at least, down there¬, after this disclaimer about it probably being a bit pretentious, and yet another one of my digs at philosophy, which it is, on both counts (that was it, there, by the way, the disclaimer):

My experience of Life has always been as something utterly baffling, incoherent, absurd and irrational; an unlikely, undignified, comical and tragic imposition. Frankly, I don't understand it, I don't much like it, and I rather wish I'd been asked about it first. But it can be kind of fun. If you can ignore the random futility of it all, or take it at face value and learn to laugh at it.

When I was in my teens, I naïvely thought philosophy might help me understand Life, might be some kind of defence against it. But it didn't, and it's not. Philosophy looks at Life, sees a mess and tries to tidy up. It's the annoying flatmate who leaves Post-it notes everywhere. It's the big point-misser of academic disciplines. As I came to realise, Life just is messy, illogical and baffling, and to ignore the rampant insanity of it all, and certainly to try to tidy it up, is to miss its very essence and, indeed, the fun of it.

Fiction, on the other hand - in fact, Art in general - embraces Life, its variety, complexity and extremes. It doesn't run scared of emotions, paradoxes and contradictions - the very stuff of Life - it meets them head on and refracts and reflects them anew. It shows us ourselves and the world from every angle. It prepares us. It places us in hypothetical situations and asks us, "How would you react?" It can create new worlds, new people, places of refuge, places where Life makes sense, runs to some pattern (though never does fiction try to fool us that Life does make sense). It rebels against, subverts and inverts Life, toys with it, stretches its absurdity to comic extremes: it makes a fool of Life and offers us the satisfaction and relief of laughing at it. It's our way of fighting back. Philosophy's abstracted fussing has nothing on that.

And that is why I write: to fight back against Life - to render it ridiculous, to take its own weapons and use them against it (kind of like Judo, but with a laptop). And because there is so much that, collectively and singularly, fiction can do.

Not only that, but I believe in creativity; in the imagination. I believe that it's the one thing (but in so many, many forms) that makes life bearable. But maybe it's even more than that.

I'm going to go hypothetically religious on you for a second:

I tend to believe that the idea of there being a God is just an over-complication - if God can exist for no apparent reason, why can't the world? - but just supposing there is a God, and He/She/It created the world: what could bring us closer to communing with Him/Her/It than exercising our own capacity for creativity? Wouldn't the ability to create be the one thing we shared with God, an aspect of God in all of us (created in his own image, etc.)? Could the imagination, then, be said to be somehow divine? Or could it be said, even, that God is the imagination (rather than just a figment of it)?

Well, who knows? I certainly don't. And, yep, the paragraph above may well merely be an example of someone who spends a ridiculous amount of time writing nonsense, trying to justify himself by making following his imagination sound all spiritual. But still, there's something mysterious, inexplicable, and strangely fulfilling about creativity, something that makes me wonder if there is something more to Life, something that means I can't shake the feeling that maybe that paragraph above wasn't too far from the truth.

So can you imagine how I feel about writing a Resnick episode? Resnick dwells upon all the most depressing and lumpen aspects of reality (by which I only partly mean Nottingham); it's a format that not only doesn't play around with reality it tries to make it seem even worse (and not even for darkly comic effect); and every last dour, depressing and deeply dull aspect of it all is enveloped in the strait-jacket of police procedure (that's what drives it, not characters or ideas). In short, Resnick is the place where the imagination goes to die. And, quite frankly, the last place my imagination wants to be taken is Luton.

So, in conclusion, I have said it many times, and I will say it many more:


Right, now that's out of my system, I suppose I better start writing the damn thing...

Tomorrow. Maybe.

For crying out loud, there must be some way out of it....


Anonymous said...


Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Hmm, that sounds suspiciously like sensible advice. Must have got the wrong blog.

alabaster snowball said...

Today you squeezed me so hard it did hurt, but I loved it. Life's kind of confusing like that, I guess.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Ah, that's very true, my oft-frozen friend :) But then you're always right. XXX

Jacqui said...

I hope having a blog break helped your creative juices flow again. I really enjoyed reading this posting, and felt it was insightful, honest and it made me laugh.
I especialy liked the disclaimer.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Thanks, Jacqui, glad you enjoyed it.

The problem with Resnick is, it seems to be remarkably resistant to creative juices. I think it may be the televisual equivalent of Gore-Tex... sort of.

miss-cellany said...

Yes - except goretex does something vaguely useful...