Running through Silent Hill: On Writing

I have this obsession lately with the movie Silent Hill.* I wrote about my fondness for the film in a previous entry (“Refilling the Tank”) and how I’ve returned to it for creative storytelling and refueling. The mother, Rose, runs throughout the film, either chasing down her daughter, running after clues or fleeing from the town’s varied inhabitants. Women make up the leading characters and they drive the action and decision making. The themes of motherhood, protection and justice are particularly strong and prevalent. The movie isn’t perfect, and contains some explicit gore scenes, but it’s become a dear thing to me. An odd dear.

Today, I started a running program. Small flakes of snow began to fall during my run, much like the ash in Silent Hill that Rose notices upon her entrance to the town. I ran in the drifting snow, listening to an audio book of Jane Eyre when Rose ran past me, her boots skidding on the blacktop beneath her grey skirt. “Sharon!”  she yelled, her voice ricocheting around me. “Sharon!” Rose disappeared into the school building, the door slamming behind against the frame. I skirted Midwich Elementary, ran past the hospital and ended my run at the cliff.

How much is writing like running, I thought, catching my breath. Always chasing, always enduring. Unsure of what comes next at times, but believing we know all the same…

Cue siren.

Sometimes when I write, I write the same thing a hundred times until I’m (somewhat) satisfied. I’m a very visual writer I suppose; I tend to write what my mind or imagination is seeing.  I think I prefer running alongside the Rose’s, being in the thick of the story, as an invisible ghost surveying the passing events and jotting them down like a wandering historian. I prefer running alongside my characters, turning my head as they turn theirs, watching their reactions, painting them down in words to show how they feel and understand their world.

I’m sure others do it differently. Maybe others prefer sitting outside the diorama of their story, plucking their characters around like puppets, watching them marry, eat and live much like watching a theatrical play or interacting with a dollhouse. Others may choose riding in the second car, the one tailing behind, snug in a plaid blanket with a laptop on their lap, a mug of coffee nearby, typing away a mystery as the police cars careen through a foggy London night, hot on the tail of solving another mystery.

Like with running, we train in writing. The more we write (and read other’s writing), the better we become. It’s about progress, not perfection. Endure, endure and the story–the race–will come to an end.


*Quick note: I’ve only watched the first Silent Hill film. I persevered through 20 minutes of the sequel before giving up and reading the synopsis online. I also have chosen not to play the video games. Some of the themes after the first installment appear too dark for my personal tastes and preferences. If choosing to watch the films or to play any of the games, please perform your due research as they deal with varied mature themes, sometimes coarsely.

2 thoughts on “Running through Silent Hill: On Writing”

  1. Great post. Very descriptive and poetic. I can see you really do enjoy writing. And yes, the games and movies (and my Silent Hill novels) are very graphic, so I second your warning.

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