Writing Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Part 1

I began writing a screenplay based on the the poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner some time ago. It was to be a shuffling of two stories together, the first story, based on the lyrical ballad written by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1798, is an exciting seafaring adventure with a moral revelation (more on that later), and the second was my own modern boy-meets-girl tale with a smaller more personal moral story (even more on that later). It was an ambitious project for me to undertake, and having written a few screenplays in a rather straight forward fashion in the past, this was also going to be an experiment in my writing technique as I wasn’t going to actually write it, in the traditional sense, at all. I was going to construct it based on the rules of the Enneagram Story Guide (even much much more on that later).

Thanks to http://library.princeton.edu/ for this image.

If you read my last post then you may recognize that I have a tendency to … over complicate … things a bit (cough). By “things” I specifically mean any and all creative endeavors, as, although I see myself as being endowed with an abundance of creative ideas popping up in my head from time to time, I am also cursed with an overwhelming drive to control, squelch, and eventually kill the spark. Now, is this truly a desire to kill creativity? Or, like an overzealous Boy Scout am I just smothering the spark with too much grassy-moss-covered-enthusiasm in my excitement to fan it into flame?

So, am I him? Or him? Which is it?

The answer to that question, dear readers, is perhaps the purpose to my undertaking writing on this blog. For as far as writing goes, isn’t a blog in that weird divide between completed work and diary? That a blog is to be read by others lends it an air of news or entertainment because it is the presentation of an author’s structured information, but that it is generally understood to be chronological in nature and past entries are to remain unedited as time and opinions move on, is very much diary in nature. It makes me wonder about the serialized novels of a Dicken’s or other such author that would appear, blog like, in the paper each week, moving a story along with each installment. Was it all pre-written and then chopped into weekly installments, like a modern day sitcom all neatly produced in advance and dolled out like time release medication? (Now with Laugh Track!) Or were those authors so good, so brave, as to sit down as each deadline approached and … let the sparks fly as they may? I am inclined to be attracted to the romantic notion of the latter, but to believe the former is closer to how it’s actually done. Either way, they both seriously diverge from my point which is that I have a tendency to over complicate the creative process (or perhaps that little philosophical diversion is evidence of my point;). The method I concocted to write Rime of the Ancient Mariner which (…in case my meandering forced it off the transom of your mind. POINT OVERBOARD! …) was to shuffle two stories together and write it by enneagram. This “recipe for writing” was sure to be so cumbersome as to choke out all creativity and forward momentum leaving yet another lifeless and half finished project weighing me down, forever lashed to me, hung about me like a … well … like an albatross.

The Mariner with albatross about his neck and crossbow in his hand.

And so there it would have remained … about my neck with all the other abandoned projects, forever reminding me that once granted a truly remarkable creative spark, beautiful in its simplicity, I will undoubtedly ensconce it in such a quagmire of intertwining and interrelating rules and conditions that it will sputter and finally cease to sparkle … but for this blog. The challenge that this blog placed before me, the beckoning empty by-line which I see after each entry posted by somebody else, was threatening to have me take the dead bird from around my neck.

Now don’t think for a moment that I don’t know what’s actually going on, I know full well that each creative spark I am gifted with never truly dies, it lives on even though I bury it beneath a hamper full of clothes, it lives on if I dare it to survive a week with me at work, or survive my empty bank account, or just douse it with a bucketful of business … it lives on. I see that this blogs call to me is just the spark’s doing, its little heartbeat reminding me of its innocence, reminding me that it is alive, and that that life, albeit by rules and conditions that I don’t understand, will seek to flourish. In the words of Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park …

… “Life <take a beat> find’s a way.Life Will Find a Way


PESSIMERIC and OPTIMERIC (who are just devilish and an angelic versions of the author) are sitting high in a tree. In the distance can be seen Sam Neill as DR. ALAN GRANT and those TWO KIDS, the three of them are in their own tree having their little scene in which they wake up an see a friendly dinosaur.

PESSIMERIC – Well I see you managed to get through another post without writing anything.

OPTIMERIC – I got…? (stammering) …are we at the end?  (looks around at the scene confusedly) …this is the end of the post?

PESSIMERIC – It seemed as good a place as any to shut this down, it really wasn’t going anywhere.

LOUD DINOSAUR SNEEZE is heard and the Eric’s turn to watch as DR. ALAN GRANT and those TWO KIDS play out their scene where they react and make vegetarian dinosaur jokes. OPTIMERIC looks away smiling, his smile fades as PESSIMERIC turns and rolls his eyes.

PESSSIMERIC – Pfft! … and that’s good writing?!

OPTIMERIC – I liked it. I thought it was fun… hey, you can’t get away with that, our post was good, and it did say something!

PESSIMERIC leans back against the tree and yawns while looking at OPTIMERIC.

OPTIMERIC – It, it explained what a challenge the writing of Rime is and how hard…

Leaning forward, PESSIMERIC pretends to play a violin and acts as though he’s weeping.

OPTIMERIC – …and, and it had that insightful bit about blogging and, and the other bit about the life of the creative spark. Yeah, there was some stuff in there!


Rolling his eyes PESSIMERIC lays back, folds his arms, and takes a nap. OPTIMERIC looks back toward where DR. ALAN GRANT and those TWO KIDS were, but that scene is over and they are gone. He then looks back to where PESSIMERIC was and he is gone as well. He looks about nervously. TREE RATTLING CRUNCHING can be heard approaching. T-REX roar is heard.



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