The enchanting monsters

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination — Richard Wright

Last Friday night, looking over my outline for my current writing project (i.e. second novel), I came to the conclusion that the outline is complete. For now, that is. I say that since anything can happen from the time I resume working on the novel to the moment I believe the story is finished.

I decided awhile ago, after having written the rough draft of the novel’s first act, I needed to stop and nail down the second and third acts. I knew what I wanted but I needed to put it down on file cards to see something tangible and moved them around like building blocks. I didn’t want to start writing again until the complete blueprint was laid out in front of me.

Well, I have the blueprint. Yay. Now to steal a couple of hours (or more) a day to spend time with my characters. Preferably in full throttle. Ok, maybe not full throttle all the time. Maybe we can intersperse that with a jaunty but sorta slow run. I think we can manage that. Maybe.

Anyway, I’m excited regardless of what speed me and my boys willing be traveling. Naturally, I’m going to go through the first act again because I’ve made a slight but significant change to the main female character. That requires me going into the first act to alter a few things. And I can’t wait to see how she will pop off the screen/page once I’ve made the change. Her changes will affect my boys significantly. This is going to be interesting. And in a slightly sadistic/masochistic kind of way, it’s going to be fun.

My boys and my badass gal are more than ready to show me how they intend to roll. They’ve been so good about the fact my life has been crazy since February. Didn’t think they had this much patience for me. But they do and I’m pleased they haven’t wandered away from me. They’re sticking with me. And that says a lot.

That being said, I’m rubbing my hands together in great anticipation. They are the enchanting monsters of my imagination. And I am ready to meet them head on and run with them again.

The continuation of my adventures with them awaits.

The mess that is everything

What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications — Nora Ephron

It seems as I get older, I find myself walking down a path that is leading me towards opportunities to do what amounts to as my personal definition of ‘everything’. Everything I’ve wanted to do, everything I daydreamed about or never really considered doing because I never saw it as a real option.

That’s exciting. Occasionally, I find myself envying those who have found what makes them happy at an early age. I’m referring to people in their 20s or younger. They’re the ones who get to live the next 50 or 60 years pursuing and doing what they love. A lifetime of living the dream, as it were.

Every time I find myself envying those folks, I have to remind myself that my journey in this life is tailored specifically for me. There is a reason the opportunities I see in front of me (and the ones I can’t see just yet) are appearing now instead of 20 years ago. Everything that has come before is leading to now and the future. So, yeah, I’m excited where it could all lead to.

I still maintain the right to not reveal everything going in my life in this blog. I wouldn’t call it being mysterious. That’s a romantic notion. Romantic notions make me cringe. I call it being vague. I call it keeping it close to the vest. And some might accuse me of being a horrible tease. I prefer vague.

Ephron was right about doing everything and how it will be messy and complicated but you must embrace it and not shy away from it. Depending on what it is, it isn’t hard to embrace the mess and complicated nature of doing ‘everything’ or at least being prepared to do ‘everything’.

For me, the trick is to organize enough of the mess so that it can be somewhat managed. Or at least keep track of it. I’m used to a little chaos. There is always a way to ground yourself when you find yourself walking into a mess that you’ve created or is not entirely of your own doing.

Now, I’m finding my organizational/time management skills are being challenged because the nature of the mess is a little different than what I’m used to. Or it could be that it’s been that long since I had been challenged in that way. I’ll think about it later.

I suppose a follow-up question to this is ‘Would I be happier if everything wasn’t so damned messy?’ Answer: No. For me (and not everyone would agree), there is a fine line between less messy and boring. I don’t think there is a way to straddle that line comfortably. Either it’s one or the other. I consider messy being the lesser of the two evils.

Boring leads to nothing but trouble. Boring leads to a desire to get yourself into some sort of mess. And sometimes, you don’t get to choose that mess.

Does that mean I have a penchant for trouble? If I’m around certain individuals, yes. Other than that, I would have to say no, I don’t have a penchant for trouble. I just have an aversion to boredom. There’s a difference.

So, for the foreseeable future, boredom looks to be a passing ship in the night. Although, it won’t hesitate to come in to dock for short durations. I can’t tolerate stopovers for any extended length of time. The sooner boredom sets sail the better off I am. Good thing doing a whole lot of everything leaves no time for boredom… just time management issues. I can’t avoid that. Those issues are probably mandatory.

Oh well. That’s the price for doing everything.

Playtime desired

The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection, there is no story to tell — Ben Okri

Because I accepted the challenge of writing my first screenplay, I’ve been slightly obsessed, for the last few weeks, with finding movies — feature and short — to watch. Or at least add them to my ever-growing ‘to-watch’ film list.

I have four feature films I’d like to watch, hopefully, this week, assuming I can find the time. The four films in question are Milk, American Gigolo, Neruda and Lust, Caution. It’s a diverse list. I threw in American Gigolo just because I needed to see what I was missing out on when the film hit theatres and I was only 12 years old. All four films are rentals. If I like them enough, I just might want to own a copy of them.

And then, there is Wong Kar-Wai’s classic In the Mood for Love. From the snippets I’ve seen of the film, it is visually sumptuous and I’m in the mood to be seduced by what the director has to offer and to discover his deftness as a storyteller. I managed to find a copy of the film and I’m looking forward to watching it.

Because of the diversity of the viewpoints of these directors, I’m excited to discover how they spin and weave a story on screen. I’ve already viewed a number of short films online at a site called shortoftheweek.com. There are some beautiful gems on that site. So much to absorb and to think about. The art of storytelling is endless fascinating to me.

And I desperately need to play with my characters. It’s annoying that I’m still so busy. Maybe I can finally start shifting focus onto my boys and girls. I’m somewhat surprised they’re not harassing me every waking moment.

I suppose a reason for this could be I’m already engaged in the silly nonsense of looking longingly at my playmates while I’m doing something I don’t want to do. It’s not one of those hideous lovelorn looks two people give each other. It’s more like ‘You know I’d prefer to spend time with you, getting into all sorts of trouble, rather than doing whatever responsible adult thing I’m doing right now, right?’

All work and no play make for lack of writing bliss. Boo. Yeah, I want regular playtime with my characters. If you met them, you would want to play with them, too. However, it’s an exclusive relationship. We’re all mutually possessive of each other and we’re not particularly concerned with how dysfunctional that sounds.

Gotta make this short. I need to put in my playtime.