How to even begin, with the world in this kind of state?
I would not know.
Except for one thing. I am furious with a ghost. It was my screenwriting teacher Walter Halsey Davis from the SB Writer’s Conference who passed away last summer not long after the Conference ended.
They say it isn’t right to speak ill of the dead, except, what he did to me was unfathomable, but not if you understand the kind of shit Hollywood can be made of. From 2006 until 2019 he was my teacher, and I waited. Twice when I was published under my nom de plume I handed him the books, so that he could see I was a published writer, so that he would take me seriously. Then I handed him my children’s book Heart of Clouds, which I wrote (as a Depth Psychologist from Pacifica Graduate Institute) to address core woundings and how to heal them. I was taken with his film “Do You Remember Love” that starred Joanne Woodward who is one of my faves as an actress, especially for her films like Rachel, Rachel and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds. Are those links in youtube? They might be.
Never put all your eggs in one basket. That’s something my grandmother used to say, and I did.
The last thing I ever handed him was a copy of my play, Vanilla Suede.
One dirty trick he pulled on me?
At the last night dinner at the Conference the teachers hand out prizes to the writers who have been in the workshops. Well, I handed him the assignment, do a screenplay using cliches. It was a Rom Com, and funny as hell. I thought he actually meant it, as a teacher. I have had many many teachers in my life. He never said ONE WORD to me, about my writing. He never said ONE WORD about my screenplay. He never said ONE WORD about the book to go to film I wrote that was dedicated to him. Here is what he said in class. “Does anyone have something they want to pitch to me?” I was so in awe of him that it took me three years to work up to that.
What a mean, sorry piece of shit he was.
So here is the deal.
The last sentence he ever said to me was “Let’s go to France.” That was by the pool, when I bought him a drink at the Conference and got him a plate of food. “I need red berries,” he said. In two months he would be gone.
I still have a bad taste in my mouth from those berries.
Last summer I asked a priest at the Mission to bless the book, and I handed it to a bookstore owner here, to ask him what he thought. He loved it. He saw it as a film.
So here is what I am going to do. Right here, in WordPress, copyright to me, I am going to rewrite the book as a screenplay. I am finished with writing under noms, forever. The book has themes that are important to children in it. For survival. So you can help me out here if you want because I would love feedback from the global audience that reads WordPress. The kids need a feel good film. They and the audiences need to see HOPE, and I wrote that for them.
“Let it go,” my husband said. “Just let it go.”
He cannot possibly understand the level of hurt Walter inflicted on me. He can’t. Chalk it up to the men in Hollywood being Weinsteinesque.
They aren’t the only men in the world.
I’m still in a bad mood, and we are a summer past last year.
Good thing I have WordPress, huh?
I grew up on the finest films that ever came out of Hollywood. In fact both my uncle Spencer Crilly and my dad Don Brown were both filmmakers. Yeah, they were. You can see pictures of both of them over in FB. Heart of Clouds is a charmer of a story about two kids on a beach, one summer, like the kind of childhood I had, which was sweet and full of good people. I set the place as Summerland, here in California, and so in the book when I refer to “the village” that is the setting for the location.
End scene from the film Rachel, Rachel is here:
Here is the film Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds
(who can go back and even see the notes in my old blog from the years I wrote it, in Nanowrimo)
C.S. Lewis came to me in a dream the last few days of the writing of the novel. It was fab. As I wrote the scenes for the book I had favorite actors in mind for the parts. But there are lots of actors and people in Hollywood who can play them, no? So what I write are called character studies. Those are the kind of classic films about people my generation grew up on.
Who were the actors I had in mind as i wrote the book?
One of them lives here in town. Jeff Bridges. I had the part of Grandpa Jess in mind for him because when I was a little girl, just a teen, I saw one of my favorite films on earth, “The Last Picture Show.” Here it is from youtube:
I have seen nearly every film Jeff Bridges ever made. I wanted to write parts that can win an OSCAR. Walter, my teacher WON THE HUMANITAS PRIZE. It matters. But the really big part in the film goes to the character Mr. Honeygarten, because both these characters are seminal in the story. I was just a kid in High School here in Santa Barbara when I saw The Last Picture Show. I wanted the part of Mr. Honeygarten to go to Robert Duvall. These are two actors that I love, for all the years they have been in film. Both these guys are BELOVED. In fact last night on TCM I watched Duvall in Altman’s MASH. I never saw that as a kid, wow. It was on TV, but what a film. Altman’s “Short Cuts” is one of my all time favorites. So, what the kids are watching in 2020 does not have the innocent beauty of stories like we grew up on, or even films we saw. As kids we grew up on a very different Disney.
I went to school with the Bottoms Boys. In this film. I saw it the year it was made on the big, big screen. What a film. It just so happens I grew up in this town, where SBIFF is. So here is Jeff Bridges a few years ago. Walter should have taken me seriously.
Look what Jeff Bridges is up to!
The character of Grandpa Jess plays a stringed instrument. Check it out!