Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Films in the afternoon

I just went to see a film. At two o'clock in the afternoon. Doctors should prescribe afternoon films. What a restoratative! It didn't even really matter what the film was (The Prairie Home Companion, very cute) , just the mere fact of sitting in the cinema, with only four other people, when you know that it is daylight outside, a time when other poor drudges are slogging away in offices, making phone-calls, sending emails, drinking coffee... Ahhh, the decadence of the pre-5pm (cheaper tickets) afternoon movie.... When the lights dimmed, every muscle in my body breathed out, my joints loosened, my jaw relaxed, I became like jelly. And for that hour and a half (with a five minute break during which I fought the urge for cheap chocolate) I was tranquil, I was in another world, spirited away.

I walked out into the busy mall, which normally sets my teeth on edge, with a huge grin on my face, as if I had just had a two-hour deep tissue arometherapy Swedish massage, rode down the escalator beaming, bought some not-so-cheap dark chocolate (isn't that what you need, girls, when all is well with the world?) and made my way home, even the asinine drivers on the roads not getting a rise out of me.

I must do this regularly. Under the excuse of "listening to how writers write dialogue". I think that'll fly with the boss (i.e. Me). No?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Two lives - past and present

Just a quick note... I spent today, Shabbat, reading, and what I was mainly reading was Vikram Seth's excellent and moving non-fiction book, Two Lives, about his Indian great-uncle, Shanti, and his German Jewish wife, Henny. I am half way through, absorbing in reading of the letters sent to and from Henny by her German friends, talking about how they had tried to help Henny's mother and sister before they were deported and murdered, and about life in Germany just after the war. It is deeply upsetting, all of it.

And then, just after Shabbat, I get online to check in with the news and I see this on the front page of the BBC: Envoy: 'German Jews feel unsafe' :

The Israeli ambassador to Germany has said he is concerned for Jews in Germany, against the background of what he says is rising anti-semitism there.

In a newspaper interview, Shimon Stein said the number of neo-Nazis in Germany had also increased. The interview appeared as neo-Nazi sympathisers gathered outside Berlin's Tegel Prison to demand the release of a singer jailed for three years. A court ruled that Michael Regener's band was spreading racial hatred. Mr Stein told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung he believed there was a greater willingness on behalf of neo-Nazis to use violence.

"I have the feeling that Jews in Germany do not feel safe. They are not always able to practice their religion freely," he said. "

It is hard to adequately describe my feelings at reading this. It is hard for me to find words for them. I don't think I need even find words. I want to lose myself again in the world of fiction, in my characters and their stories, a world in which, perhaps, I have some measure of control.

Shavua tov to everyone, a good week, a better week.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

funniest thing ever

OK, this is hysterical.
Maybe it's only funny to cat-lovers... but actually I think it's universally side-splitting.

Hmm, I know, should be writing about fiction.



Thursday, October 12, 2006

plays etc..

I've been thinking about plays. I am in a play right now, in rehearsals, me with an American accent. We go up in a month. Now, I won't mention the title of the play but it's award-winning. Yes, fine, but it ain't exactly Arthur Miller or Pinter, know what I mean? And I've been thinking to myself "I can do this. " It helps that I took a short play-writing course (or a short-play writing course). It's liberating to write in a different form. As part of the course, I've tried to adapt one of my short stories, The White Road, into a ten-minute stage play.

It's hard.

First, because the short story is in the first person and it is entirely in her head. Well, that and talking to her dog.

Dogs on stage are not what a director longs for. So the dog has become "virtual". Sorry, Fluff.

Next, you can't just have her talking to the audience all the time, telling us what she's thinking. Ah no. Need a little more subtelty (how do you spell that??). Show, not tell. Hmmm.

And finally, there can be no two-dimensional, un-fleshed-out characters in a ten minute play.

So basically, a total rewrite is called for. Right now my main character is American, hint of a southern accent. I'm thinking of moving the accent to Yorkshire instead. Maybe. I dunno. And how many stage directions can I give? I can't map out her every move, can I? Gotta leave something for the actors to do, eh.

Urgh, this is hard. But fun. I've been thinking that maybe scripts are the way to go. I've applied for a place on Robert "Story" McKee's upcoming three-day screenwriting workshop at the beginning of Nov. I've got an idea for a film. For the beginning of a film. Problem is I can't get to the middle and I have no clue about the end.

Hopefully, Robert will help. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ilkley 2

Well, just discovered I know the person who won the Ilkley Short Story comp - we met at a short story festival a few years ago, so congratulations Frances! If I couldn't win, I'm happy that it's someone I know of, at least.

OK, sore hand, must stop typing.

No, it's not from all the writing I've been doing. More's the pity.