Thursday, 31 January 2013

“The more Caroline waited, the more the doorbell didn't ring. Or the phone.”

Replace Caroline with Susan and you'd have it - a quote from Douglas Adams - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

 Yes...waiting...and the little girl in the photo looks spookily like me at the same age.

 I'm referring to the sort of waiting I'm doing a lot of at the moment - waiting to hear back from editors, animators, directors, production companies all of whom have pieces of my work.

I'm not very good at waiting. Or rather, I start off being very good at it, all full of gung-ho hope and optimism. Then, as time goes by that little voice in my head gets louder.

By Glenn McCleary
It's strange how the little voice in my head never says anything ENCOURAGING...

Mostly, at the moment, it's saying - "They think your work is crap and they're just taking their time formulating the right words in order to tell you this."

So how I cope with this waiting process is by blocking it out, by composing a mind-bogglingly impossible To Do List and thrashing my way through it at a hundred miles an hour so I don't ever have time to


when if I DID let myself think, I'd realise that the little voice in my head is...

crazy as a soup sandwich.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

A quote from George Carlin. Made me smile!

Okay, so yesterday I finished the script, Creep Like A Rat,  for the New York director. I haven't sent it yet - I want to check it through after a good night's sleep before I do.

Caroline Caterpillar Coxon? I don't know. At the moment, the balance of effort looks like this:

The director and I have a Skype conversation and he tells me the outline of a story and asks if I'd be willing to turn it into a script of up to half an hour. I say yes. We don't discuss pay. I don't assume that pay comes into the equation, to be honest. It's my choice to do it or not do it. I choose to do it.

I don't know how many weeks, days and hours it's taken me. Suffice to say A LOT. A twenty two page script takes time.

I don't underestimate the time and effort that will now be required by the director to bring the script to the screen.

My concern is this. Not that the director will be the butterfly with all the publicity and I get none - but that, after all that work (MY work) nothing will become of it at all...which has happened to me before...

SO - I'm going to lay down some stipulations... 

Then I'm going to send my caterpillar script off to New York so it can take flight.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

My thoughts on Les Miserables and the statement: “Radio is called a medium because it is rare that anything is well done"

I absolutely, utterly and profoundly disagree with that, Fred Allen, whoever you are (and I don't care.) Reading it made me choke on my golden syrup pancake.

Take Les Miserables, as a topical example.

 Well, I haven't seen the stage musical and have yet to see the movie, though I might because I'm always interested in Oscar nominations. Added to that, the child Cosette, Isabelle Allen, lives a few miles away from me and I was fascinated to read how she came by the role. (She DOES bear a remarkable resemblance to the iconic poster image...which was one of the reasons she was spotted in a school play.)

I've read the book. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. (People seem to forget it is a book!) the moment, it's being serialised on BBC Radio4 Extra - again - with the incomparable Roger Allam as Jean Valjean (although he played Javert in the original London stage production.)

So, on Sunday, in bed, very early in the morning, I was revelling in the omnibus edition. I managed to keep listening - just - while Fantine has her teeth pulled in order to raise money to support Cosette, but then, when Jean Valjean (in the persona of Mayor Madeleine) decides to reveal his identity in order to save an innocent man arrested in his place... I got so distressed that I had to turn the radio off.

That was a performance by an actor that tore my soul apart. It happens quite often in radio drama.

"Rare that anything is well done" on the radio?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.

Sometimes, yes, Marilyn vos Savant.

From Arts For Change
 I suppose it depends a bit on your definition of multi-tasking. Sometimes, for sure, mine is as a result of me lacking focus, being too easily distracted.

Sometimes it's a conscious decision which actually proves to be very effective.

When I'm writing, it can be a struggle and sometimes...

Alex and Rienne
I mean MY brain would explode if I tried to coax a single new word out of it.

Battling on can be counter-productive so if I set up alternative tasks - what I call 'brain breaks' - then I can switch quickly from one to another and thus, not waste time. Somebody or other (insert name here) would be proud of me.

This is how, in the last week, I've nearly completed a 15+ page screenplay - Creep Like A Rat - AND managed to redecorate half of the upstairs landing - which, as people who've visited my house will know, is no small task.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

My latest earworm

"Dr Williamson, a memory expert at Goldsmith's College in London, found that scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject of songs that stay in our heads for hours or even days sometimes - stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly "earworm"..."

 Earworms aren't always bad...well, that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

For the past two days, my life has been made sunnier by this tune:

It just makes me smile.

I know I bought it as a single and that must have been when I was about fifteen. I can't think of any particularly happy memories associated with it.

Why did I suddenly think of it, two days ago?

I was mailing a friend and put 'Good Morning, Sunshine' as the title - because that strange yellow globe had appeared in the sky for the first time for weeks...

And that was it. The song came into my head and there it's stayed, ever since.

And it still makes me smile.

Must be those catchy lyrics...

Gliddy glub gloopy
Nibby nabby noopy
La la la lo lo
Sabba sibby sabba
Nooby abba nabba
Le le lo lo
Tooby ooby walla
Nooby abba naba
Early morning singing song

It's my present to you this Sunday. Your own earworm!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sunshine... too dancing and irresponsible a thing for a world which was meant to be taken seriously…”

A slight misquote from Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery.

This morning, at 6.30 when I got up to see to the horses, it was still nearly dark, it was sleeting, foggy and murky and even morning person me had a bit of a joie de vivre by-pass.

Mood not improved by the knee-deep mud in the field to be slogged through when putting the hay out. Not to mention the welly full of icy water...

But then, the sun came out!

Me. Suddenly. All dancing and irresponsible like the sunshine.

A two hour hack across the forest on Alfie with his rain-washed mane dried in the warmth of the sun, flowing silky shiny blackness.


All's well with the world!

Friday, 25 January 2013

To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense!

To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow, the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture.

A wee visual clue to let you know who said this, if you didn't already know.

So, today I MIGHT finish - as in the conventional sense - the first draft of a screenplay for an NYC director. It's called Creep Like A Rat...

That finishing is only the beginning.

I once optioned a script to a producer, for the princely sum of £25. Believe me, for a short film script that IS a princely sum, because usually the amount paid is a...

However, although the contract I signed was twice as long as the script itself - go figure! - nowhere in it, not even in the small print, did it say that because I had been paid I was no longer interested in what happened to it.

The producer seemed to think it did. Or rather, he CHOSE to think that. He even told the director that I was no longer interested. (And, by the way, wouldn't tell me who the director was!) The director, bless him, was so surprised he contacted me in private...and we collaborated happily.

I am NOT completely precious about everything I write. I am more than happy to receive - in fact I seek out - constructive criticism and new ideas and then I'll quite likely amend and rewrite - as long as I can make it organic and not compromise the spirit of the original piece.

But no longer interested? To consider my work is finished just because it's in someone else's hands?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I cannot afford to waste my time making money.

...said Louis Agassiz. Isn't he a tennis player? (Nope - he was a Swiss-American paleontologist!)

That's a noble and artistic sentiment...

The fact of the matter is that I have not earned ANY money since before Christmas - no copywriting or editing work coming in from clients, though I'm assured I'm not forgotten and that 'There is work out there," and "It will pick up."

I truly don't underestimate how lucky I am that Peter earns enough money so that this state of affairs doesn't mean we'll end up in the work house begging for gruel. I cannot thank him enough.

I haven't been wasting my time. Never has there been such creative output. And while I feel fulfilled, in that respect, I can't help that little niggling feeling that I should be making more of a financial contribution to the household.

I do it in other ways, for sure - at the moment in the middle of a huge re-decorating project, aside from all the domestic chores that are my own.

But...I suppose it's my pride and sense of fair play that makes the situation bother me anyway.

I'm holding on to what Pearl Buck said:

"Write a novel if you must, but think of money as an unlikely accident."

If only Peter would stop mentioning J.K. Rowling...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Listen to the mustn'ts.

Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

What a wonderful, wonderful poem, by Shel Silverstein

Wonderful image, too, and I've tried to find the artist, without success.

I love what I do! I'm lost for inspiration for my blog so I think of a theme - and today's was hope - and I look for quotes and discover unexpected magic...

I was thinking about hope because I'm in that sort of phase with my creative work, with so much material out there and me waiting to hear back about it.

The novel, film scripts, animation scripts...

It's a great place to be.

I'm blessed.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

“Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind."

...which all goes to show, Patanjali, that although I GO to yoga I'm not yet a master (mistress?) of the art.

(Actually, I'm quite strong and flexible but not very good at balancing - which just about sums me up.)

Here are the thoughts that were chasing around my mind last night:

I wish that woman would stop cracking jokes and making smart remarks. HONESTLY...I've come here to meditate not listen to a lame version of Live At The Apollo...GRRRRRRR.

Oh good grief, I didn't realise Roly had been asleep on my blanket, I'm sure everyone in the entire room will be able to smell damp doggy smells.

And, worst of all...I think it was a mistake having those baked beans for lunch as I'm not quite sure I'm going to be able to stop myself from...


Monday, 21 January 2013

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things... I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”

Leo F. Buscaglia and me both.

Yesterday I was deliriously happy. For weeks now, I've been meaning to go up into the roof space above our shower room. There, we had put some of the children's toys and also my precious teddy and donkey (a soft toy, not a real one!) given to me when I was born and loved to bits.

We have been having a lot of trouble with mice in the larder, lately. (real ones, not soft toys!)

 Each time I thought about looking in the roof space, I lost my nerve, fearful that my lovely animals would be shredded and, then, so would my heart.

 A leak in the shower meant Peter went up there to see if he could locate the offending pipe.

Joy of joys! The mice were living in the toy farm! The bag of soft toys, miraculously, was untouched and so was Donkey...

and so was Tessie Bear

and I was SOOOOOO happy.

It reminded me of the song by Sigur Ros which absolutely sums up how I want to grow old.

Watch it and smile!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

"What a strange world this would be if we all had the same sense of humor."

Allow me to translate, for my British readers - you know - the ones who can spell.

Humor = humour

Someone called  Bern Williams is attributed with the quote. I think he is probably NOT the Puerto Rican baseball player but that's about the best I can do.

Anyway - there was something on the news last night which really appealed to my sense of the ridiculous - and made Peter boil with a sense of outrage...

An artist in Liverpool (of COURSE it's in Liverpool!) put out huge blank sheets of musical manuscript paper on the ground in parks...

...and waited for pigeons to ...errrm...poo on it.

Then, composer, Jon Hering, used the markings to create a 20-minute musical score.

The result, called 'Bird Sheet Music' is to be performed by an orchestra at the Tate Liverpool today!

I love it!

I haven't heard the music - but I love the crazy inventiveness of her mind.


Although, having said that...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

“The snow doesn't give a soft white damn whom it touches.”

 The resigned and cynical view of snow, from e.e.cummings...

 The magical. joyful view, from Lewis Carroll:
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

Now, just guess which one I share...

Yaay, let's all have a good roll in it, like the horses!

Such fun!

Friday, 18 January 2013

“I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them."

 "I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

I can always count on Mark Twain to make me smile!

Feedback on one's work is sometimes hard to take. Partly because the feedback doesn't very often dwell on the bits that the reviewers like (if any) but only the bits that they want to chew up and spit out...and also because it can show a very limited understanding of what one is (I am!) trying to achieve...

So I've written, following the brief (I think) a quite poignant and gritty drama. I get this feedback: "There is not much humour in it. We think it should start with a joke."

 Oh how I laughed!

But I'm a professional writer. I can take it. I can rewrite according to their wishes.

I'd hate to think that my skull was in danger of being beaten with my own shin bone...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.

I wonder if Sinclair Lewis (American novelist) had horses?

The very same thought about winter was running through my head this morning as I broke the ice on no fewer than seven water tanks across the fields and wondered why I'd chosen to wear fingerless gloves.

The ice was the result of a very heavy overnight frost, not even any snow.

(Please note, I am not AT ALL complaining. With two of my boys living in Canada, the cold season in Sussex is just a pathetic excuse for winter.)

I know how lucky I am.

Beautiful animals. Beautiful scenery.

And beautiful weather!

As Robert Byrne says “Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours.”

Good old nature.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Life is a journey. Choose well those with whom you travel.

An adapted version of something that someone called Lorraine Heath once wrote.(Don't ask. There aren't enough hours in the day...)

By Walter David Pullen

Sometimes, you don't choose but it just happens. More of my synchronicity.

Let me check WAAAAAAAAY back in my blogs...

Yes, Monday, December 12th, 2011. (You need to look at this blog...) (and then click the back arrow on your tool bar to come back here!)

Daria Kudla (look at more of her fantastic work here people) and I have been virtual friends from that day. I bought, from her, a print of my favourite picture. It has pride of place on my stairwell wall.

Last night, we met (actually not virtually) for the first time, since she's moved from Berlin to London - though it didn't feel as though it was the first time.

Following my serendipitous talk with the animator the day before, I handed her the wolf story - working title...(changes by the minute)...Little Red Riding Hood and the Granny Confusion...and she likes it and asks 'How do you want me to illustrate it?'

I'm so honoured.

I've chosen well!