As I write this, I look at the calendar and see that winter has officially begun. No great surprise to anyone living in the snowbound Northeast, I’m sure. Here in Seattle, the dome of clouds closed a few weeks ago, and the sun is in hibernation. Nature itself doesn’t care one wit for calendars, of course. I’ve shoveled snow in April and had a picnic with my wife on Valentine’s Day. We do our best to predict, but in the end we must work with what we’ve got. Jules Asner says her husband director Steven Soderbergh believes there is the movie you envision, and then the movie you end up with, and the two are never the same. Your happiness as an artist depends on your acceptance of this fact.
But who is to say the book or movie we envision is really the book or movie we want? The book we envisioned was merely an idea before the reality of work began. In the reality of work, The girl does not fall in love with your protagonist and the murderer is a pacifist. Such is the stuff of a writer’s headache, but all these troubles never amount to more than trying to write against what you actually want.
If you listen carefully, you will always be guided toward what you want. What you want is never one story, or one place, or one idea. What you want is everywhere all the time. If you listen carefully you can pull from the noise of the world the strains of the melody you have been seeking and so you follow it along. But that song is always playing, every moment, every day, everywhere, in winter and summer, in snow and sun. What you want is never a destination; it is only a direction you can face from anywhere you are standing.