Greta Gerwig on writing….

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a podcast interview with Greta Gerwig….

I love hearing other writers reflect on the art of writing. Their thoughts fascinate and energize me, even if my own experience of writing is sometimes fundamentally different.

I’ve never written a screenplay so I was surprised to find myself so enamoured by the thoughts of actress, writer and director Greta Gerwig, shown above in the 2012 movie To Rome with Love. (The actress is married to the American director and independent filmmaker Noah Baumbach.) Perhaps it was because I’d recently seen her directorial-debut movie Lady Bird, which I regard as the best movie I saw in 2017.

The story has nothing to do with the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Instead, it focuses on an independent and artistically-inclined 17-year-old coming of age in California. (The name of the movie comes from the character’s decision that she wants to change her name from “Christine,” to “Lady Bird.”) I found the movie to be simultaneously insightful, funny and sad.

A few days after seeing the film, I heard Gerwig interviewed by Terry Gross on the NPR show, Fresh Air. Here was the comment that took my breath away.

I find writing to be a process of my unconscious knows a lot more than I do and then I try to trust it as much as I can and consciously craft it into something that has story and propulsion trusting that underneath there’s something at work that I don’t have control over.

Isn’t that interesting? You can listen to the entire recording here. (The excerpt, above, is at the 8:21-minute mark.) And, please, if you haven’t seen the movie already, be sure to watch it now. It’s remarkable.

An earlier version of this post first appeared on my blog on Dec. 22/17.

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