Monday, May 31, 2010
I shall link to this article here, which I think does a very good job of describing the many joys hiding between the covers of this book. The joys and treasures are indeed hiding, because the beginning of the story is dark, slow and mysterious. The way to read the first few chapters is to be completely open to the not-knowing, what I mean by this is that you have to almost pretend that you understand the intricacies of characters and plot, go with the flow, and have faith that all will become clear. It all eventually becomes miraculously clear, and then you suddenly feel this tremendous surge of love for life which could only have been created through those final revelations.
It's a story about parenting and mothering which actually, really and truly, I swear, captures that painful struggle and those moments of joy. It's a story which I wish I had read a decade ago because I could have used some of its consolation; then again, reading it now is pretty much damn perfect. So many wonderful scenes at the end of this novel, oh boy, so many smiles I smiled. I don't want to give anything away, but there's a scene with a selection of cookie-cutters that simply kills me, and a story told by a little girl after an architect builds her a play-house, and...all right...I'm not going to say anything else. I'll leave it for you to discover.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Miss Cb is enjoying her gap year. Before leaving for a trip overseas she is very busy getting the house in order, which includes sorting through Mister Cb's 367 ties which he no longer wears because his office has a very casual dress code. Blue is pleased, yet still somewhat concerned.
Friday, May 28, 2010
I was invited to attend a meeting between two of the Grad Dip Directing teachers and one of their students. The student was pitching her idea (for a short film), and they all felt that it might be useful to have feedback from a screenwriting student. The student was pitching a very dark story when she was interrupted by her teachers, they felt that the story needed to be much more subversive. The teachers suggested that the characters in her story (teenaged girls) might have sex with each other, or perhaps...cannibalism. At this point I started looking around the room for the candid camera set-up, then I courageously asked what exactly they meant by subversive, they looked at me like I was an idiot. I explained that I knew what it MEANT, but I just didn't understand its use here, in this context...who is the target audience for this film? They answered - Film Festivals, of course, duh. Apparently you won't get a foot in the door to any Film Festival anywhere in the world unless you are subversive. At the end of the meeting they thanked me, and I haven't heard from them since.
My writing teachers are quite the amateur psychologists, and they like to guess why it is each of us chooses a certain genre or theme. My second attempt at a story for a TV pilot involved a detective agency which specialises in debunking supernatural occurrences. My teachers thought it was pretty clear that I had a very strong aversion to the supernatural; I told them that, in fact, I had chosen this topic because I am ambivalent about the supernatural and therefore thought I could be more objective about characterisations and storylines. They were not convinced and felt that I was too close to the premise."Choose something else," they said. The two weeks I had spent laboriously thinking up this story flashed through my head at that moment as a series of moving images - Master Cb with no clean school uniform, no milk or bread in the house, the dog unwalked, my mother's phone messages unanswered, Mister Cb's tentative enquiries as to my wellbeing responded to with sharp shrieks of annoyance, Miss Cb's attempts to help only reminding me that I should be her mother and not the other way around. All this went through my head as they suggested that I "think something new up." The male teacher saw my look of horror and was clearly pondering how best to help me. He then said, "What does your husband do?" Yes.he.did. I responded by laughing. He asked if that offended me. I said that it did indeed offend me. He explained his reasoning - he remembered that I had mentioned that I like "Mad Men," and he thought that perhaps I could use the details I know about my husband's line of work, whatever that may be, to write a similar story to Mad Men. I just kept laughing, really, honestly, I tell you!!! I.KNOW.
Thank goodness for inspiring films, here is the trailer for "Welcome," which I highly recommend:
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I suppose my daily routine has changed to such an extent that all of my energy has gone into my Film School work. I would love to tell you all that it's been an absolute blast, that I'm writing wonderful plots and scenes and revelling in my new life. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different. Learning the craft of screenwriting is extraordinarily difficult, and while there have been many pleasures and discoveries, there have also been dark moments of despair.
The most wonderful aspect of my new studies is getting to know my fellow writers. They are an interesting bunch, each one unique in his or her own way. It's quite thrilling to read the work of these nine other writers, and to try and understand something of their lives, experiences and motivations. It's true that you cannot ever really hide in your writing, you will always reveal something of yourself, and it is this precious kernel of truth which is what makes both reading and writing so very exciting to me.
Blogging has been my saving grace during the last month, in the sense that my experience of writing and reading in this forum of ours has served as a strong foundation. We (bloggers) take for granted that our only form of communication with each other is through the written word, but it really is a wondrous thing. Perhaps we are too eager to dismiss our writing as a type of indulgent "women's work," when it really is an incredibly powerful force. Not many writers are so lucky as to have such a circle of friends.
Our class of writers has been allocated an Internet "forum" within the Film School website, allowing us to share things with each other. I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that I'm the most frequent contributor. I post my little comments and wait impatiently for responses which seldom come; my fellow writers don't have the same blogging habit as I do. Of course, my fellow writers are also almost all much younger than me; they are busy writing super-cool sci-fi TV episodes or mobster-killer action thrillers. Others try to write about love, bravely attempting sex scenes which make me blush and feel much older than I really am. How did I become so mature and old-fashioned? Well...truth be told I was like this since I was a child...when I was 8 years old and living in Israel I remember going to the tailor to ask her to lengthen my skirt and she laughed and said that I was an old lady in a girl's body.
I have found myself dressing for the young women in my class. What I mean by this is that they notice what I wear and they compliment me, so now I'm conscious of the image I'm projecting. Isn't that funny? They are in their late 20s and wonderfully sweet, such slim figures, such shiny hair and such adorable freshness. A couple of them are newly married and make an effort to ask about my family...my kids. As I talk to them I realise how little they know, how naive they are, and how appropriate that is. I feel my age all of a sudden, and I mean that in a very good way, because I love being 41, and I love having grown-up children and a house of my own. I love that I have lived my life the way I wanted to, with all of the hardships and joys which came my way, and that I no longer look back with any regrets. If this course of study does nothing else, it has at least shown me that.
I'm exhausted, my eyes are closing, it's cold and windy and rainy outside. Time for bed.
I shall leave you with the trailer of the best film I have seen this year (so far). It's a thriller with a LOVE STORY - and ADULT love story which will melt...your...heart.....
Good night dear friends xxxx