Me and Jack Torrance

We went to go see Stanley Kubrick's The Shining at our favorite movie theater a couple of weeks ago. And I shocked to recognize myself in one of the scenes. You know that scene where Wendy interrupts Jack when he is writing and he just unloads on her?

Jack: Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand?
Wendy: Yeah.
Jack: Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing
or whether you *don't* hear me typing, or whatever the *fuck* you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, *that* means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?
Wendy: Yeah.
Jack: Good. Now why don't you start right now and get the fuck out of here? Hm?

And we realize that, oh yes- something is definitely not working out with that guy. This might not go so well for Wendy.

I've said those words. We've had this scene in our house.***

As I watched the scene, I sank down into my seat and looked on in horror.

The fact that I recognize myself in Jack Torrance is a unsettling. I like to think of myself as a pretty low-key, balanced, quiet person. I don't yell. We don't fight. But on that day- I did.

It was one of those days. Perhaps I was stressed out about an order or money or maybe I was just not feeling top-notch. Kenn came into the studio and I got upset. I basically said what Jack says:
"Stay out."

I still defend that I need "quiet studio time." And I still recognize that it makes me look like a crazy person. 

Kenn is such an integral part of our business that to shut him out of the studio is a ridiculous notion. One of my favorite things is for him to bring me a cup of hot tea in the evenings when I am in the studio. But one of my least favorite things is for him to ask me a shipping question when I am throwing pots.

So where is the line?
Have you had a similar scene?
Do you have a "no interruptions" rule?

I suspect that, like most things in life, this is a fluid and organic process. Some days I will get upset by it. Some days I will recognize that it is unfair to unload on Kenn in such a manner. And some days I will probably unload on him anyway.

*** I have not had a similar outburst since seeing the movie.


Cadry's Kitchen said...

I totally understand where you're coming from! It's hard to be interrupted when you're in the zone - especially when it's with a left brain question when you're knee deep in a right brain experience. When I'm focused on something, I'm really focused, and in those moments, I don't like being distracted.

Linda Starr said...

oh yes, my dh comes in and sometimes I say, go away, you're bothering me and it does take me some time to get back to what I am doing even if I am just sitting there thinking.

jeanette said...

Hi Cadry's Kitchen and Linda! Thank you for your comments. The "zone" is so inviting and so cozy that we don't want to leave. Even for our loved ones! And its hard to vocalize that without hurting feelings or feeling mean. But its true, even if I'm just sitting and staring off into space- there are times when the distraction will send me into the red. Unfortunately.

Unknown said...

I'm a writer as well as a maker. IMHO, when I'm working, I'm at work. Emergencies qualify for interruption, but not much else. It sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but that's the deal we make as creatives. It is not only painful to be interrupted, it can really set me back for hours...or longer. A lost train of thought is usually impossible to reboard.

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