Haruki Murakami writes extensively on the writing process in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, reflecting on the purpose of one’s work:
In the novelist’s profession, there’s no such thing as winning and losing. Maybe numbers of copies sold, awards won, and critics’ praise serve as outstanding standards for accomplishment in literature, but none of them really matter. What’s crucial is whether your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself. Failure to reach the bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself.
Arthur C. Clarke’s created three laws on how humanity will progress:
Clarke’s First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. Clarke’s Second Law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Just finishing the third draft of Paint, the second part of a trilogy of coming-of-age screenplays, and this scene had to be switched out: DAVIS, coming down off a bad mushroom trip, is sitting with his crush, ELLEN.
DAVIS: Let’s watch Swiss Family Robinson.
ELLEN: Really? It’s the Disney film, right?
DAVIS: I love that film.
ELLEN: You watch it with your father?
DAVIS: No. (Pause) I don’t know. He read us the book. I remember that. He sat in his old rocking chair. It creaked as he stretched back, the light over his shoulder.
ELLEN inserts the tape and sits on the other side of the couch.
DAVIS: He had a deep voice. It was good for the book.
Dramatic orchestral music plays on the television. A ship drifts across the screen in a hurricane winds and high seas.
DAVIS: (Watching the film intently) I had my first existential moment watching this film.
ELLEN: (Sleepy) Yeah?
DAVIS: When they finish the tree house and they take the mother upstairs. (Pause) It was so amazing, so perfect. It looked like a perfect place. DAVIS: (Looking at ELLEN, who sleepily looks back) And then it wasn’t. It was the opposite. It was fake or something. I don’t know. I had to the leave the room. My step-mother made me go to bed because she thought I was sick.
The Swiss Family Robinson is revealed trapped below decks, yelling for help but still looking orderly and respectable. The ship grounds out on a rock.
DAVIS: (Pause, sighing deeply) You don’t remember doing something amazing as a kid – your absolute favorite thing in the world – and then feeling like it was pointless? You thought it was this thing. And then it isn’t.
DAVIS continues to watch the film.
MR. ROBINSON (On Television): Hans, help your mother!
HANS: If I had been captain, I would have fought the pirates instead of running into storm. The Swiss Family Robinson climbs to the top of the ship’s decks and sees that the ship is grounded near an island.
Close up on DAVIS as he watches intently.
MR. ROBINSON (On Television): At least we’re not too far from land.
MRS. ROBINSON: Then there’s hope.
FRITZ: Maybe we could build a raft. There’s enough wood.
DAVIS: Of course they can build a raft! Of course they can.
Smiling, DAVIS looks over at ELLEN and sees that she is asleep. He stares at her naked shoulder, moves forward and looks as if he is about to kiss it when she opens her eyes.
ELLEN: Just watch your movie.
DAVIS awkwardly looks back at the television screen.
KEVIN ROBINSON: Look what I found! The captain’s dogs! Are they glad to see me!
The Robinson Family begins to cut barrels and wood and construct a raft to go to shore.
DAVIS looks around at ELLEN again, who looks angelic in her sleep, and considers touching her shoulder again, but pulls the blanket over her instead. He turns back to the film and watches as a raft is built and lowered into the ocean from the ship. DAVIS falls asleep.