I sat through the 4th episode of The Affair.
He took her to Block Island.
Ugh. They’ve ruined Block Island now, too.
I realized as this episode droned on that I’m watching the series utterly unabsorbed by it, and even aggravated by it. My mind drifts into focusing on its – myriad of – shortcomings (in my opinion).
When you’re doing that, there’s little hope for you with a story. You’ve been lost.
What I’m also watching out for are extra-dopey moments, and then I swear to myself, “Avoid accidentally writing rubbish like that at all costs.”
Which is vital to remember: people got paid a princely sum to write this.
I married “later” (in my mid-thirties), and had relationships before that. While fiction, as you may know I’ve developed my novels out of certain experiences I had personally and witnessed generally – similar to many another “fiction” author. I write my main female characters’ dialogue much as women spoke to me, or in my presence, back then. I write the leading males as I spoke, and how men I knew spoke with me:
Leaning on the bar, Mark continued, “I know you hate, you’ve always hated, when I’ve been sorta rude about girls. I can’t imagine being rude about her. I would feel like I let her down or something. The last thing I’d ever want to see is her looking at me like I disappointed her.”
I have never spoken to a woman the way this “Noah” character does. His dialogue is sometimes appalling. I’m incredulous at the ugly stuff that flies out of his mouth casually.
I find I’m asking myself repeatedly, “Who wrote this sh-t?” And it’s not just about his character. “Alison’s” husband is another, err, genius. The foul-mouthed boss at the diner is yet another one. They’re all over the place. It’s seems ALL of the men – save for the police detective, whom we barely know – are ALL slugs.
I’m not naïve. I know there are idiots out there. But still. Some balance? And “Noah’s” supposedly an educated man of the early 21st century?
Maybe its male writers do speak down to the women in their lives that way? And perhaps its female ones are spoken to – borderline abusively – that way by their men? Is what they know in their real lives imbuing their writing, too?
What really worries me as an author is this: Does the writing reflect something broader I am unaware of? The big 5-0 is ominously on the horizon for me. Maybe I’m becoming ancient and falling out of social touch? Is vulgar, tacky and nasty simply what generally constitutes “foreplay” and “pillow talk” in our culture nowadays?
Because this series has won awards.
But I can’t write my men that way. I wouldn’t know how to do so. It’s not reality to me.
And as for the women, “Alison” and her gal pals – her sister-in-law immediately jumps to mind as one example – are similarly horrors. (Among the women overall, only “Noah’s” unfortunate wife seems at all “familiar” to me.)
Even the more “mature” woman staffing the small museum on Block Island pulls off her “smart” glasses and jokes with “Noah” – a stranger who has just walked in off the street – about how everyone’s doing yoga now when they should be twisting themselves around each other having sex.
Give me a break. Seriously. “Who wrote this sh-t?”
About to move on with more of my own work this morning, I’ve depressed myself writing this post. 😦
Hate to end on a downer, though. Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂