The usual. Sitting in a café—the Rose Café this time—eating a scone, sipping tea, and not quite knowing what to do with myself. I’ve only got an hour ‘cause I took a while getting out of the house—boo was babbling away instead of napping, so I nursed him and put him back to bed a pinch calmer—and I told Harlan I’d swing by Whole Foods on the way home instead of writing for the whole three hours (which is now two). I was going to go with boo earlier, but it’s street-cleaning day and I didn’t want to come home with groceries and the baby only to learn that there’s no parking on our block. It just didn’t seem like a good plan. So, instead I offered to sacrifice an hour of my writing time. Pretty clever, huh? I think Harlan almost bought it being about groceries and parking spaces and boo getting a long enough nap and not an elaborate scheme to avoid writing.
So, the blog entry du jour, about what it’s always about: not writing.
This week my big writing project so far was a list of 25 random things about myself for facebook.
People seemed to like it a lot, mainly because of #25, which was the following (in case you were too lazy to hit the link):
25. My baby’s breath smells like peach pie. I know this because he likes to put his mouth over my whole nose. I think it’s a kiss. He does the same thing to my face and my chest: opens his mouth wide and places it on me very gently. And now he’s begun to do it to his father and our cat, Maggie, too. One day when he was kissing me, Harlan said, “What about me? Don’t I get a kiss?” and he opened his mouth wide and slowly leaned over to plant one on daddy’s cheek. The smell of his breath is my favorite smell in the world, so sweet and warm it makes me dizzy. And while I can take pictures of his face and use video or audiotape to capture his adorable babble, I don’t think there’s a way to bottle that smell. The first year of his life has flown by so quickly, I want to tackle time and tie it up with rope or duct tape so I can be with my baby a little longer, before he can walk and talk, before he stops stroking me and squeezing me with his tiny hands and gazing at me with such love in his eyes. Soon enough, all his teeth will come in and he’ll get bad breath like the rest of us and I’ll have to bake peach pie to remember what my baby used to smell like.
The other thing people were most interested in was the fact that I’m rewriting Audrey Rose, which is hilarious because of course it’s what I’m supposed to be working on when instead I’m writing things like:
23. I am currently writing the script for a remake of the 70s supernatural thriller Audrey Rose for MGM.
Currently is the misleading term there. I am currently making a list of random things about me to post on facebook, while I am supposed to be working on the script for a remake of the 70s supernatural thriller Audrey Rose for MGM would have been more accurate.
On Thursday I went to an all-day workshop taught by screenwriting guru Robert McKee about writing thrillers. I enjoyed it but wish I’d gotten more out of it. I wanted to feel inspired. I wanted to get so carried away by his wisdom that I’d start frantically writing new, fabulous ideas for the script in the margins of my notes. That didn’t happen. Instead I tried to keep up as he recited list after list after list: Types of crime stories, ways to end a thriller, types of possible relationships between the protagonist and the antagonist. And they all made my head hurt because mine doesn’t really fit into any of his formulas.
He said, for example, that in a thriller, the inciting incident is two-part: a crime is committed and then it is discovered. In my current version of Audrey Rose, the crime is committed at the very beginning of the script, but through the entire film, we think it’s an accident. We only learn that a crime was actually committed in the penultimate scene of the movie, so that’s pretty unorthodox. Open the inciting incident in the first five minutes of the film and don’t close it until the last five minutes? At a break, I asked him if I could do this, and he said he couldn’t answer my question because he didn’t know the context. He said he couldn’t answer it without reading all my materials or he might send me in the wrong direction. Fair enough. But he did say: If you can ask “could I…” the answer is always yes, provided it makes sense within the context of your story and your characters. So, can I have the crime be an accident that we only learn was not really an accident in the penultimate scene of the movie? Yes. But is my movie a thriller? Probably not. It’s more of a horror movie, a ghost story in the model of Shutter or What Lies Beneath, only the producers keep telling me they want me to model it after Cape Fear and Pacific Heights, which are textbook thrillers. Herein lies the problem.
Big surprise that I’d rather roll around the bed with my baby or chase him around the kitchen floor than work on the damn thing.