Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Just A Brian Blessed In My Throat

There are certain endings to certain things that have stayed with me all of my life. Majestic endings to movies, of such power and beauty that even thinking about them makes me cry.

Like the ending to Alien 3, for example. I had never cried over the end of a movie, before I saw Alien 3. Hell, I'd never cried over any part of any movie full stop, before that fateful night when we rented it from Ritz video and I put on my pyjamas that were perpetually too short for my legs.

Ah, how young I was, then. It was only a short while since I'd laughed at my stupid cousin for blubbering over ET. I mean, it was just a rubber alien that even my eleven year old self knew looked sort of like a misshapen penis.

Who cries over a misshapen penis?

Apart from me, when it's bursting out of Ellen Ripley's chest.

It was the first time I ever experienced the life lesson: if you laugh at it and believe it will never happen to you, it will undoubtedly happen to you TIMES ONE MILLION LATER ON.

Because it did. Oh, by God it did! I thought my cousin's crying had bordered on lunacy?? Oh, it had nothing on the blubbering heights I achieved, on seeing Ellen Ripley let herself fall from that platform. I actually think that this was the moment when my Mum realised I wasn't like other people. They didn't understand why I was crying! I didn't understand why I was crying! What I was doing didn't even resemble crying!

It was like Brian Blessed had decided to die inside my throat.

All of which brings me to my rather circuitous point: I would kill to be able to write an ending like that. To write an ending that moves, and disturbs, and brings together all the majesty of the things that have come before it. Because although Alien 3 is a kind of a not that great movie, no-one can deny how perfect that ending is.

How amazing the writer must have felt, after coming to THAT conclusion. To tie together all the strands of Ellen Ripley's life in one glorious moment of heroic self-sacrifice!

I can't even tie my own shoelaces. Never mind bring together the disparate elements of a novel I've just written into something meaningful and satisfying - though I suspect that's the lot of a pantser like me.

I mean, I do mostly know where my stories are going to end up. And sometimes I have some lovely images in my head of what should happen. But largely I just stagger around in the dark, grasping at straws made out of baby oil, wondering if I can justifiably call this thing I've written an ending.

Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't work out quite as well. Sometimes I just meander on forever, in search of closure that doesn't want to come.

But that's okay, because by God I enjoy the trying. And that one moment when something does come together in some dovetail you could never have predicted? Ah, it's as glorious as realising you can cry over a movie, after all.


  1. I try not to think of Brian Blessed in my throat.

  2. Charlotte,

    "Grasping at straws made of baby oil" - now there is an absurd image that is definitely going to stick in my mind.

    And I realize that you and I must live on different planets, because I've never watched any of the Alien movies (though I do know that at least some of them starred Sigourney Weaver) and I haven't a clue as to who Brian Blessed is.

    Still, I definitely get your point!

  3. I cried buckets at the end of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith...I knew Anakin HAD to turn; otherwise those first 3 movies would not have made sense (LOL!) but it broke my heart. Hubby just laughed at me and took me to dinner.

    I also cried at the end of the 3rd book I'd written, b/c it had an unhappy, yet closure-esque ending. (I've since revised it)

  4. Kathleen - LOL LOL you rudie!

    Lisabet - you've never seen an Alien movie???? This a travesty that must be rectified. It must be!

    Molly - although I'm not the biggest fan of the prequels, I do love how they ended Sith. I get a bit choked whenever Obi-Wan says "you were my brother, Anakin". *sob*