(Note: Mom’s feeling much better. Thanks everybody for the kind words!)
Daytime television at the Palomar Medical Center in San Marcos, California isn’t very good.
I know this because I have spent the past week and a half here, watching as my mom recovered from a serious emergency surgery, and an even more serious and problematic recovery.
In between the morphine and the post-op complications and the chronic “A-Fib”, the one constant in room 412 has been the mounted television blaring all sorts of televised nonsense.
(Did you know there are seven different shows featuring a “retired” judge dispensing homespun justice? That’s a lot of justice.)
For days nothing seemed to raise my mom’s spirits beyond an almost, inaudible groan.
Nothing that is, except for the exploits of a certain WWII police detective in the South Coast of England who can’t drive.
“What You Both Need is a Jolly Good Murder”
Besides shopping, there’s nothing my mom loves more than British drawing-room mysteries.
And so when I found out I could route my computer into her hospital TV—thank God for aux cables—I decided to head to the library for some much needed diversion.
Problem was, she had seen most everything: Cadfael, Touch of Frost, Prime Suspect, Inspector Lewis, Agatha Christie…everything!, Luther, Dalziel and Pascoe, etc.
…an English series starring the wonderful Michael Kitchen as a widowed (and somewhat retired) chief constable who must oversee the many murders (and there are quite a few) that plague the town of Hastings during the years of the Second World War.
Perhaps it’s because it was a period piece; born in 1937, the Second World War would remind my mom of her childhood.
Or maybe it was the fact that it was something to watch besides game shows and Everyone Loves Raymond reruns.
But something about those characters. Something about that gray, overcast lanscape. Something about those freakishly frequent murders in that small English town that cut through the pain, the narcotics, and the fear of not knowing what the future holds to capture my mom’s imagination.
And when something captures our imagination, there’s not much that can stand in the way.
“Funny Thing About War, Christopher…”
So…what the hell does this have to do with your script?
I’m not claiming that Anthony Horowitz was trying to change the world when he created Foyle’s War; maybe he was just trying to pay off his castle in the Somerset countryside.
But he changed my mom’s world. And he certainly changed mine.
The power stories have isn’t just to entertain. Sometimes they can act as a balm for a broken heart.
A reminder that we have great power in us. (Even if it’s just the will to live.)
So next time you’re feeling frustrated by the writing process, or feeling blocked about what to write, or just figuring it’s okay to “take the night off” from writing…don’t.
We need your stories. More than you’ll ever know.
And someday, I hope to buy Mr. Horowitz buy a pint at his favorite public house. (I hope he’s a lager guy. That would be super cool.)
But until then, I’ll just have to show my thanks by encouraging the next crop of great young writers—that’s you!—to keep writing.
No matter what.