Recently I watched The Shining. I've seen it before of course, Stanley Kubricks film is a classic and with Jack Nicholson in the central role it becomes a tour de force. However, this was the first time I've watched it as a writer and suddenly the whole film feels different.
I can see Jack Torrance in an entirely new light. He isn't really a bad man at all is he? Okay, he got fairly angry a few times but who wouldn't? He was trying to write a book for heavens sake and his wife just kept disturbing him. Just kept walking in when he was trying to work. Asking inane questions about how he's getting on. Making glib comments about how he just needs to get back in the swing of things. Honestly, who wouldn't get annoyed?
After thinking about it for a while I realised that The Shining was based on a Stephen King novel and things started to make sense. Stephen King is a man who would know exactly how annoying it is when people disturb you when you're trying to write. He would know that sometimes the urge to resort to violence is almost overwhelming.
Of course, you can lock yourself away in another room and insist people don't disturb you unless it's an emergency. That might work. (Unless you have children of course who don't understand the concept of privacy nor what might be considered "an emergency" - who ate the last chocolate biscuit is not an emergency!)
My main problem is that sometimes I'm working when I'm not at my computer. I may just be sitting there, on the sofa but my brain could be turning over a new concept or idea, struggling with the solution to a problem. At this point it's very important I'm NOT interrupted by requests for dinner or demands for help with homework but nobody seems to realise what I'm doing. They don't seem aware of my distraction (my glazed expression and drooling should give it away I would think but never seems to.) So they interrupt me just when I'm at a crucial moment and wonder why I'm annoyed and lose my temper.
As yet I haven't resorted to attacking anyone with an axe but I can see how it might happen. In fact I can sympathise with Jack Torrance a great deal. So what I need really is not a DO NOT DISTURB sign for the door but one for my forehead.
With flashing lights.