Wednesday, 31 August 2011

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage..."

"...there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

How true, Thomas Mann, how true. I think Nature should just get a grip and do something about it.

I think tonight at midnight, I'd like a few shooting stars please.

That should do it.

August has been a momentous month for me, not least because for most of it I've been ill - Caroline's Mind-Numbingly Boring Fact Of The Day.

Now I've written myself into a corner where anything I say about what I've done in spite of it all will sound sickenly self-congratulatory.

Here is a sick bag for you, just in case:

...especially should you have any spare baby's excreta you want to throw.

All I WILL say is that I'm very proud and not a little relieved to have finished The Screenplay.

There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Yes, August was momentous, but I'm quite glad it's over.

Tomorrow, September, I'm looking forward to new beginnings.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Editing is the same as quarrelling with writers - same thing exactly.

So I'm from England. How was I to know that Harold Ross, who said that, founded The New Yorker?

One thing about writing this blog - I learn new things every day. I'll be unbeatable at Trivial Pursuit eventually. So it's all been worthwhile.

I digress. Writers and editors...

Today I'm spending a lot of time quarrelling with myself in my schizophrenic existence as both Writer and Editor of The Screenplay. They are mostly lover's quarrels. We have such fun making up.

№ 3 Милые бранятся - только тешатся - Lovers' quarrels are soon mended.

A wonderful image by Lu Kononova.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.

From the movie Finding Forrester.

Where's Sean Connery when you need him, eh?

I'm not that good at using my head when I write. Generally, I favour the three middle fingers on each hand. And you'd need such a large keyboard...

Okay, I admit it. I'm just a teensy bit hysterical.

Put it down to lack of sleep.

I think I always, always write with my heart.

But as an editor, I have quite a different philosophy.

Even with my own work.

(She lied)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Your Screenplay is Not Your Baby

"Never refer to your script as "my baby". If you're guilty of this offence, clearly we know that you're passionate about your story, which is good. But it also makes your ability to be objective with the material suspect. And you must be objective."

So, explain to me why it is that today I'm clearly suffering from post-natal depression?

No, I am NOT clutching the script to my breast. That would simply be SICK.

I am however, deep in a Slough Of Despond that lunch round at my neighbours' house - a very delicious lunch, plus, I think, four glasses of Chardonnay and an Amaretto - thank goodness I only had to crawl twenty yards up the drive - has failed to disperse, dissipate or whatever the right word is, I haven't a clue.

My thoughts and fears, only these:

My screenplay is a load of rubbish.

Perhaps, tomorrow I might see differently?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Watch this space!

This space here:

It's an empty space. The empty space left in this blog because I promised not to mention my screenplay until it was finished.

The empty space now contains...

another completed screenplay.

(Well, the first draft, anyway.)

I have three whole days to re-write! What am I worried about?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead, I'll simply...

Friday, 26 August 2011

A joke is a very serious thing

Guess who said that?


Not the car insurance dog, which is, I'm reliably informed, what most people in the UK think of when the name is mentioned (says she, cleverly perpetuating the superficiality of our nation in one deft stroke!)

THIS Churchill:

Which rather neatly brings me on to the British sense of humour. (You can tell it's British because it has a U in it.)

And who better as an exemplar than Hugh Grant?
The list is quite possibly endless.

Hugh Grant - he of the carefully-coiffured casually fuzzy hair.

Yesterday I read something that he said and I'm still laughing about it today.

"I find it hard to understand why Scorsese has never called. You know, given the natural menace I bring to the screen."

I LOVE IT. That IS British humour in all its finery - at least, the ironic self-deprecation aspect of it. Hugh Grant, you have risen at least three notches in my estimation. Who needs an Oscar, anyway?

I'd be interested to know how many people are thinking 'Uh?' And if they're thinking 'Uh?' where do they come from?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything

But there are meetings and there are meetings, aren't there, Thomas Sowell?

You mean THIS sort of meeting?

In that case, I tend to agree with you. But today I have a meeting that I'm looking forward to.

1. It's in Putney
2. It's in a coffee shop
3. It's with a film director whose work I admire
4. The film director is a woman
5. She is interested in my writing
6. She has her own production company

What's not to enjoy?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

No-one is as deaf as the person who will not listen.

I was thinking...

For a writer, I don't read enough. Somehow, sometimes, wrestling with words all day - researching, writing, editing, reviewing, proof-reading - means that by the time I crawl into bed, the thought of looking at MORE words in a book is the last thing on my mind.

(Just to clear one thing up very quickly - what IS on my mind is sleep!)

Not reading somehow seems wrong. If I think about it, I'm a traitor to my chosen profession, my passion.

By way of mitigation (maybe)...

I still BUY books. You know, those things made of paper, with lots of pages.

As opposed to those sterile, lifeless things one can download onto one's eBook reader in less than three seconds. If one should ever want to do this.

AND, I listen to books on the radio - BBC Radio 4 Extra. Does that count?

At the moment, it's my total delight, every morning at 6.30, to hear Michael Jayston reading Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! (Yes, three times wonderful!)

So perhaps I don't feel quite so bad about myself after all...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Leonardo Da Vinci said this. And not even in code.

I'm not expecting any sympathy, finished or otherwise, not at all. HOWEVER...

I can't lie to you, the screenplay is not quite complete - but neither is it abandoned.

I worked until 11 p.m. last night and then was so completely exhausted that I couldn't even see straight and put my alarm on for 5 a.m. (At least, I think I did, but I couldn't even see straight)


The alarm went off and I...

went back to sleep...

...for so long that Eros Basilio painted this lovely picture.

...not necessarily of me.

I promise faithfully I won't mention my screenplay again.

Not until it is REALLY finished.

Monday, 22 August 2011

"Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

Well, frankly, Dr. Greg Anderson, this is...

...even if you DID start up "The Wellness Place… where your health journey begins!"

I cannot tell you how delighted I'll be when I've finally finished The Screenplay. It's not that I didn't enjoy writing it. Sometimes it was great fun.

But sometimes, it wasn't.

It hung over me like the sword of Damocles.

Truman Capote said this: “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.”

What is WRONG with these people?

I have a list as long as my arm of all the things I haven't been able to do for the last couple of months because every spare minute has been taken up with The Screenplay. Like earning money and similar.

I CAN'T WAIT to be in the position to procrastinate about those things as well.

In the meantime...

Must get on...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot

Image by Gillian McCormick.

Proverb by someone Dutch.

I'm not one to moan but there's always a first time for everything...and I know I undertook to finish my screenplay by NOW.

Remember, I have TWO horses. On Wednesday, they brought sickness. I have been battling on, uncomplaining, like the martyr I am (not)...but swimmy head, earache, swollen glands in neck, sore throat, nausea and fever are NOT conducive to endless hours of writing a screenplay.

In fact, here is a picture of me in my bed of sickness, painted by Vasiliy Polenov (1844-1927) - he could see into the future.

This is not an excuse, it's an EXPLANATION!

HOWEVER, Pete has gone sailing today; I've dosed myself up with Extra Strong Anti-Procrastination Medicine; I've put on my Efficient Music - Bach Violin Concertos, always - and I'm ready to go.

More later.


Saturday, 20 August 2011

“It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves.”

I hardly dare speculate as to what Mrs. Scott Fitzgerald is referring. Come on Zelda, be a little less ambiguous, please!

You made a lovely scrapbook though. I suppose, the early twentieth century equivalent of blogging? Far prettier and such a beautiful keepsake. Note to self: Start scrapbook. (Actually...could I print out all these pages somehow?)

ANYWAY...if you'd like to see a visual representation of my Very Nearly Finished screenplay it is this:

All those secondary plots and characters that have somehow to be tied up...

Today, I'm going to have to take up knitting.

Finishing off a screenplay really ages one.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Could do better...

I don't think I've changed much since my school days, really. I'm wondering what my teachers might say about me now. I don't think it would be much different.

I certainly wouldn't get favourable remarks for I.T. which didn't even EXIST when I was at school. Believe me, I have TRIED to make the scans of my reports larger so you can actually read them.

Me at 11..."Caroline's immature attitude is still affecting her performance."

(I was ELEVEN for goodness' sake! Aren't you allowed to be immature when you're eleven?)

Religious Knowledge: "She can do much better than this."
An immature heathen then?

Geography: "Caroline works with intelligence if not always with neatness."
A reasonably bright, untidy, immature heathen.

English: "Caroline's work is always interesting. Lively and original work."
Well, you can see which subject I put my heart and soul into...

Form teacher's report at 17: "She can be a helpful and cooperative member of the form but must learn to accept constructive criticism graciously."

Not accept constructive criticism graciously? Moi?

P.S Writing screenplay update: "Could do better."

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Horses are only human...

Yep, they have pretty much the same moods, fears and behaviours as we do (although I have yet to gallop down the road when I see a plastic bag in a hedge)

Today, Poppy took on ALL my stubborn, procrastinatory, (Is that a word? It is now!) 'Am I bovvered? Duh! Whatever!' characteristics in our riding lesson.

Here is HER list of excuses, only she called them reasons:

1. It was a bit windy
2. There was a dangerous-looking white plastic bucket by the fence.
3. I had my flu jab on Monday so I should be resting.
4. Someone was emptying a wheelbarrow on the muck heap.
5. Another mare was in the school getting too close to my boyfriend.
6. I had a bit of a cough and everyone ignored it.

I shall bolt and side-step and buck and refuse to go forward when I'm asked.


And THEN when Caroline is completely exhausted and red in the face with the effort and gets off my back, I shall gallop away and have a good laugh about it with my girlfriends.

You know that thing about dog-owners resembling their dogs?

How about horses resembling their owners?

P.S. Writing update: I was almost pleased.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Writus Interruptus or The Person From Porlock.

I thought of the phrase Writus Interruptus my very own self, then discovered that about a zillion others had thought of it already. Oh well...goodbye to original thoughts everywhere.

I love the story of Samuel Taylor Coleridge who, after an opium-induced dream in which lines of verse came to him, began to write the poem Kubla Khan only to be interrupted by 'a person from Porlock' who spoiled his train of thought so the poem was never completed, he claimed.(It looks pretty complete to me!)

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea..."

Well, yesterday afternoon, (NOT after an opium-induced dream, I hasten to add!) I was merrily writing away when the doorbell rang and my 'person from Porlock' arrived. Drat and double drat!

Only, she wasn't from Porlock, but from Uckfield - a very dear friend who had forgotten my birthday and had bought me a HUGE bunch of flowers to say sorry.

I could hardly say 'Actually, just go away, will you? I'm in the middle of writing a Very Significant Scene and I don't want to be disturbed.'

So - we had a cup of tea, a piece of cake and an hour-long natter.

Friends are so very much more important than writing screenplays.

How many pages did I write? 4⅛. That's a lot, for me.

I've just realised that I'll have to stop broadcasting my page count. My screenplay is meant to be anonymous until after judging. You wouldn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to identify a script that was exactly 97⅝ pages long, now would you?


Until the next person from Porlock arrives...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.

Perhaps if I changed the font to extra miniscule nobody would notice my page count for yesterday?

My starting point was 76½ and at the end of the day, it had risen to a MASSIVE 76⅞


Others have excuses. I have reasons. (Well, one reason.)

A bit of a flurry of work popped into my In-Box that had to be done. I didn't think it would take long. I was wrong. I didn't finish until midway through the afternoon, by which time my brain was woolly.

I tried to write after that. Really I did.

Today, don't say it too loudly, I have no pressing work deadlines.

I'm going to write like a mad thing.

(without the cigarette)

THEN we'll see...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Welcome to my world!

Picture by Bam11 Skateboard (What were Mr. and Mrs. Skateboard thinking of, calling their son Bam11?)

My world, by the way, isn't bleak and Goth. I just happened to like the image.

I'm saying welcome to all the people across the world who read my blog. The Blogger function is extraordinarily clever when it comes to stats. (Not that I'm obsessed by stats, of course. Why, I only check them about fifty times a day.)

What interests me is the stat function 'Audience.' It tells me the location of each of my blog viewers. I find it endlessly fascinating.

For many of the countries, I can work out pretty much who it is - my brother in Spain, Rusty in India, Breanna and Jamie in Canada, Jan in the Dominican Republic, Irene's family in Australia and so on...

But there are countries listed there that amaze and excite. Not just ONE view but regular views. I'd love to chat to everyone. If you're willing, please make yourself known to me.

Here's the list: Kenya, Egypt, The Philippines, Latvia, Ukraine, Puerto Rica, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Estonia, New Zealand, South Korea, Denmark, Portugal, Trinidad and Tobago, Belgium, Indonesia, China, Venezuela, Germany, Kuwait, Uruguay, Singapore, Malaysia, Algeria,Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, Mexico, Jordan, Serbia, Argentina, France, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Chile, Mauritius...

(Much later - the list grows every day. I've now started a separate page here which is kept updated, if you're interested)

Rather annoyingly, the countries listed at any one time are only the top ten, visit wise, so there may be others. The list changes on a daily basis.

All you people out there make me very happy!

P.S. Feature writing update. Page 76½. I'm not proud of that. Must do better.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.

-What mood is that?
-Last-minute panic.

For this, thank Calvin and Hobbes.

American-English translation: faucet = tap. For some reason, I think faucet is a particularly UGLY word. I'm going to start a campaign.

And this is me, today:

Last-minute panic is a bit of an exaggeration. I have precisely eighteen days to finish The Screenplay Whose Name Cannot Be Uttered (Working title)

To date, I'm at page 74¾ (You can tell when I'm desperate because I put in fractions of pages) This means that I have something like 25-30¼ pages to go.

Actually, I already feel a bit better. It doesn't seem quite so bad in the cold light of day. HOWEVER, I am going to make a BOLD UNDERTAKING.
A proclamation, no less.

I will have finished the screenplay by this time next week.

In several languages just to make sure.

(The touching wood, not the screenplay)

Not that I'm superstitious or anything.