The movie Under the Tuscan Sun shows us a treatment option for overcoming writer’s block that is both expensive and time-intensive, but evidently quite effective. Especially if you’ve dreamed of 1)living in sunny Tuscany, 2) having an affair with a sexy Italian, and 3) writing an phenomenally popular best-seller.
In this movie adaptation of Frances Mayes’ popular book, Diane Lane stars as Frances, a secretly blocked author who is publicly recognized for helping one of her newly published ex-students overcome his writing block. Frances only gets to bask in the glow of this adulation briefly because in the next scene, she gets surprise-dumped by her cheating husband. Shattering life events like divorce do make the writing harder, and she sinks into depression.
Frances finally seeks solace by taking an all-gay bus tour of Italy, though she is not gay. She eventually gets off the bus and impulsively buys a villa, renovates it for months with a crew of eccentric Polish immigrants, and has a wild fling with a fickle but hunky Italian.
When my writing isn’t flowing I sometimes have impulses too, but they are not quite this grand. Maybe I’m missing out. I might get an impulse to go to the refrigerator, or check my email, but it never occurred to me to overcome my work stoppage by traveling abroad, buying and renovating a villa, and having unprotected sex with a blue-eyed stranger. Now I know.
Needless to say, by the time the credits roll, our protagonist has resolved her grief, found and kissed her true love, and completed her manuscript. A unique and pricey approach, but each to his or her own when it comes down to finding the key to better writing productivity.
I’ve been through two home renovations, and neither one helped my writing at all. Au contraire, they were energy sapping nightmares. But maybe I left out a key step in the formula, like making sure the house is in Tuscany or using Polish carpenters. Or being in a movie.