Friday, June 24, 2016

I Like the Way You Die.

I could watch Tim Roth die all day.

Not  because I hate him, it's just that he's so damn good at it.

We all have our talents and his is dying in interesting, engaging ways.

I've watched him die at least 125 times in Reservoir Dogs alone. It's the kind of skill you don't really think of as a skill until you see someone knock it out of the park. It's like Elmore Leonard with dialogue. I know he said he just wrote the way people talked, but no one I've ever met sounds half as cool as his characters. His immense talent was writing mind blowing dialogue so well that you just believed people talked that way, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Hemingway's great talent was saying a whole lot with very little. Stephen King's talent is saying a whole hell of a lot, but doing it well enough that you don't mind. Alissa Nutting's talent is titillating and revolting the reader in a single sentence. Chuck Palahniuk's talent is being Chuck Palahniuk - which maybe doesn't sound like much until you read a writer who's really trying very hard to be Chuck Palahniuk, and failing. 

Going back to movies for a second - Tarantino's talent is making you root for the good guys and the bag guys at the same time. You want Mr. Orange out alive, but you also want the jewel thieves to get away. Robert Rodriguez's talent is reversing the trope-y coding (example, in El Mariachi, the blonde man in the white hat is the villain, and the hero is dressed in black). 

Now more than ever, a writer has to have some special talent, some knack for something we didn't realize people had knacks for, to get attention in the big world of writing. This brings up an obvious question - what's my secret talent? Shit, I don't know. I don't have nearly enough time for an existential crisis, so I guess I'll write my way to that discovery. But it is fun and interesting to look at different writers (and actors, because seriously, no one dies as engagingly as Tim Roth) to see what they do that no one else seems to do as well. I think sometimes the greats are doing something the rest of us didn't even realize needed doing.

So go out there and do whatever you do better than anyone else. Even if it's just dying.

1 comment:

Al Tucher said...

Or even nothing at all. In his memoir Frank Langella mentioned Robert Mitchum's ability to stand in front of the camera and "just be." I knew what he meant immediately.