I don’t know about you, but this is my favourite bit of a film. In my opinion, they should give out an Oscar for Best Uplifting Montage in a Motion Picture. Think of some classics-Baby learns to dance in Dirty Dancing (then gets put in a corner)! That kid learns to fight in the Karate Kid (OK, I’ve never seen the Karate Kid). Bridget Jones falls off the exercise bike! Sportspeople train for something in some kind of sports film! They’re the classic ‘things are getting better’ story-telling technique. You might even choose to set your montage to the tune ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. Sometimes, I wish life was more like a makeover montage.
If you dream of being published, you might imagine it as a string of montage-worthy moments – the agent phone call! Jump up and down! The publisher phone call! Scream! Singing the contract! Air punch! Seeing the proof copy! Holding the book in your hand! Seeing the book in a shop! All those exciting moments that should make up achieving your dream.
My first book, The Fall, is being published one week from today. I’ve been waiting for this pretty much since I first learned how to read and decided, ‘God, this Janet and John stuff is soooo derivative. I’m going to write my own book.’ So far there have been many milestones – seeing the book on Amazon, getting my first review, and taking delivery of a large box of shiny hardbacks. Soon, I hope, I will see the book in a shop (ideally with someone buying it, but I’m not fussy). Perhaps I’ll hear from readers who don’t know me. Maybe I’ll be featured in a paper or on the radio (I’ve had one print review, which was a big big thrill).
All these moments have been wonderful, and if I could watch them edited down to a two-minute loop, perhaps set to the tune of D:Ream’s greatest hit, I would also be punching the air and weeping with joy. But the truth is there is no montage. In between the great moments are days and days and days and hours and hours and hours and WORDS and words and words and more words. It all happens one line at a time, and one day you have a book. Then that book is edited and edited and tweaked and tweaked and then you have a finished book. It’s lovely to mark these moments, but there’s a lot of other moments set around them.
To paraphrase John Lennon, life is what happens when you’re busy making makeover montages. The best way to deal with it is maybe to smile to yourself, perhaps give the book a quick kiss, then get on with whatever’s next. And maybe play yourself a little blast of ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, just because, maybe, just maybe, it might be true.