(for Walter Halsey Davis, of SB Writers Conference, my teacher)
by Adrienne D. Wilson – adapting her novel Heart of Clouds for film.
INT. TEENIE APT BATHROOM. SILVERY LIGHT
Teenie while pie is baking and filling the apt. with scent, goes to the bathroom mirror, thinking of the boy who left her the abalone shell. She recalls the other teen girls at school, talking about pretty, and putting on make-up.
What is pretty? Is it like that abalone shell and all the colors that he left for me?
Devlin is the first boy she has ever thought about, on this cusp of her 14th year.
She goes to her bedroom, after trying on a bit of lipgloss, and wondering. Sitting crosslegged on her bed, she takes out her notebook again and draws a picture of the pie, while waiting.
She writes a note to leave at the driftwood hut, as if Devlin is an imaginary friend.
Close in on her hand and handwriting:
boy of the dunes
boy who was running like a wild horse
boy who wears plaid shirts and flannel
boy who I wish was my friend
what can I do to make you see me like I’m pretty?
Teenie what are you doing in there
Just writing Mom, I’m waiting for the pie to cool
It looks nice honey
Mom, I told Mr. Honeygarten I would take him some
That’s nice of you Teenie
He’s a really nice man
I know he is honey
Can you help me cut him a piece
Come on, let’s cut a piece of that beautiful pie and taste it
Teenie runs to her mother’s side and hugs her tightly
I love you Mom, I really do
(tenderly smoothing back her daughter’s hair)
I know you do
I just want you to feel better Mommy
Teenie and her mother taste the pie, then wrap a piece in waxed paper for Mr. Honeygarten.
EXT. HONEYGARTEN HOUSE. GOLDEN SATURATED LIGHT. DAY.
Teenie rides her bike through the village to his house. Melloman greets her at the fence, tail wagging and barking around, sniffing her hands carrying the pie.
Mello, it’s not for you but maybe you can taste some
Mr. Honeygarten waves at her from a second floor window with old fashioned lace
(calling down to her)
Teenie dear whatever do you have in that basket
(smiling up at him)
The pie! You knew I’d be bringing it
Well, I was hoping so my dear. It isn’t often that I get to have such a wonderful piece of pie, now is it? come in and let’s have a seat in the parlor.
Mr. Honeygarten goes to his special china cabinet and takes out a beautiful tea set with old fashioned flowers and gilded rims. The silver had different fairies carved on the handles, a gift from his grandmother when he had been a boy.
Oh what a lovely piece of pie that is my dear. I’ll just put the kettle on for tea, dear and you serve the pie why don’t you?
Teenie carefully arranges the tea set, and slices the pie.
*this pin from my “pleinairella” storyboard space on Pinterest for Mr. Honeygarten style. Formal, Victorian, a gentleman, the tea set. I have props for the teaspoons.
Teenie and Mr. Honeygarten settle in comfort to have pie and tea.
Yes, my dear
Am I pretty?
Why Teenie whatever makes you ask that?
Why of course you are my dear
Are you sure?
Why, Teenie I do believe what I can see with my own two eyes, dear
(sigh of relief)
(kind eyes, smiling, close in)
Why on earth would you ask such a question?
Well, I just wasn’t sure whether I was or not
Well you are dear, and prettiness is something women grow into. It takes a very long time, by the way. I suppose you are just at the beginning of that rather long journey, yourself.
Mr. Honeygarten and Teenie sit sipping the tea. Silence, as they taste the pie.
Is there a boy, my dear? Is there a boy involved in all of this asking about prettiness?
You know my dear, when I was a boy, there was a certain girl I thought was the most beautiful girl in the world. Her name was Claire.
*the character Claire is based on the looks in the image above. It is from very old Hollywood, Mary Pickford.
*to page 39 in my novel, the chapter is Secret Smile
Teenie sits in the hut, marveling at the abalone shell, and her origami bird, while a seal dips and dives in the waves, watching her. She draws a little puffy cumulus cloud shape with a heart inside, and the words, “Who are you?” for Devlin, thinking of the boy, and that he must have left the beautiful shell. She decides to leave this for him, in a stone stack, and we see her combing the beach to find three stones, then carefully tucking the note and tucking it under the second stone.
EXT. MORNING, VILLAGE. SUNNY
Teenie rides her bike through village on way to Mr. Honeygarten’s Victorian to ask for apples. Mellowman, his Golden Retriever barks and clowns around at the old picket fence in happiness to see her again.
(smiling and petting his head, through the fence)
Mello, Mello, Mello
A jay comes to a screeching landing on the old fence, looking for peanuts near them.
Mr. Honeygarten are you there?
(calls down to her, from a window)
Just a minute dear, let me get my staff
Well hello, Teenie, How very nice to see you again
Mr. Honeygarten I was wondering if I might be able to have some of those apples on your trees. I want to make a pie.
(We close in on his eyes, crinkling at the corners, face breaking into a warm smile)
You do? I see. Well suppose you help me pick them, I seem to have plenty to spare this year.
I want to share it with you Mr. Honeygarten
Oh my, I haven’t had an apple pie for a very long time
Neither have I. Not since Dad left.
You must miss him very much Teenie
I do, every single day
Well let me see, we’ll need a basket and a ladder. How about if you go around to the garden shed and collect those for us and I’ll meet you by the trees.
INT. GARDEN SHED. DIM LIGHT
Teenie enters the shed, full of all the old seed packages and clay pots and tools and almanacs Mr. Honeygarten had collected over the years, brushing cobwebs aside, to get to the trug and ladder. Swallow’s nests cling to the eaves outside. She and Mr. Honeygarten both make their way to the trees, with Mellowman at his side.
(eyes follow a red tail hawk circling overhead, as he makes his way through the tangled grasses to his trees)
(dog’s eyes follow the bird)
EXT. APPLE TREES. DAY – SUNNY
Teenie picks twenty of the apples, and carries the basket to his porch, returns ladder to the shed.
Will you have some tea dear?
Can I make the pie first?
All right. Why don’t you take that old basket with you?
Thank you Mr. Honeygarten, I’ll be back this afternoon. I hope the pie will cheer Mom up.
Teenie’s parents Jax and Christina are seen dancing at a potluck at “The Village Crier” the town’s newspaper, during happy times. We see a “For Sale” sign on the shuttered building. Teenie rides through the village, looking up at her old house.
Mom, I have apples! You should see them.
(pulls blankets up around her, wan smile from the couch. The TV news blaring on and on about climate change and animals going extinct)
I’m going to make pie!
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. MORNING.
Devlin at dunes, approaches the hut, sees Teenie’s footprints on the sand. Sandpipers and gulls flurry along the beach. Pulls harmonica from his pocket and practices blowing out some tunes. A huge gull perches on the seahut.
Too much plastic in the sea right now, it’s not good for you.
Devlin climbs into hut, and sees the Origami bird and the shell, and the three stacked stones Teenie left him. He finds her note.
“Who am I” How am I ever going to explain that to her?
This is the cover I designed from one of my images of the sea, at Summerland.
It’s a children’s book I wrote in 2009, at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference when I was studying under Walter Halsey Davis. I spent the years 2005 to 2019 with him and sadly he has passed. The film is for him. It was a book to film, as Walter told me it could be done that way. So, all the internals for the characters are in the novel, itself. That is available here: https://www.scribd.com/book/267783895/Heart-of-Clouds.
I’m using my WordPress blog, because I can edit easily here, and since I believe in Fine Actors and their craft, and improvisation, we can add or change lines, as needed with great ease. So, the format may not be perfect. It would also be easy for actors to come to the blog with comments. I wrote the film to be shot on a dime, on location here in Summerland and Carpinteria, as the setting for the film, as a young teen story in the era that is 1971. Those areas have not changed much, with time, and many location shots are easily had. So, here goes, and wish me luck. I will go chapter by chapter.
HEART OF CLOUDS
by Adrienne Wilson
for Walter Halsey Davis
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye”
—————— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
EXT. BEACH. MORNING (Sunny, Clear, Fall light)
Sweeping oceanic theme in the sound, piano music, from above, we pan down a long beach, from overhead. A young girl, running, as if away from home. Teenie Alexander is on the cusp of fourteen, she wants to escape from home, plans on running away. Her father has gone away to look for work, she is crying, slowly approaches a massive driftwood hut on the beach and curls up inside it, with her journal, and pen, gifts from her father.
INT. NIGHT. TEENIE’S ROOM (flashback)
Teenie’s father Jax is going to leave in the morning, south to leave for work, he is middle aged, her parents have been fighting since they have both been fired. In low light, we see father and daughter, emotional, tears.
Daddy, don’t go.
Honey, you know I don’t want to, but I have to. We need the money.
(hugging him tightly, as he brushes back her hair, dries her tears with his shirt)
I got you something honey.
(corners of a smile begin)
(pulls from the pocket of his jacket a beautiful paper journal and pen for her)
Teenie you have a heart made of clouds, you know that?
(gruffly, holding back tears)
Never forget that, okay?
Never lose that little twinkle in your eye.
(in awe at the beauty of the journal he picked for her, and the special pen)
Thank you, Daddy.
(exiting her room)
Sleep tight, now.
INT. MORNING. GREY APARTMENT (Blue sad, faded light, grey tones)
Christina Alexander middle aged, sits on a couch surrounded by pill bottles doctors have prescribed to treat her for depression. She is so stoned on the pills that all she can do is huddle wrapped in blankets and watching TV while the news drones on and on about climate change. Scenes play out of a tidal wave over and over and over. She doesn’t even know that Teenie has left the apartment. Her eyes are faded with grief. We close in on the blankness of her face, removed from life, removed from the world. Their house has been sold and the money is gone. She hasn’t heard from Jax in months.
EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT
Teenie curls herself into a ball in the hut, wrapping her sweater around her, pulls her journal and pen from her sweater pocket, to try and write. She is sad, thinking of her father’s absence. It’s been months since she has heard from him. She looks out to sea, and marvels at whoever built the hut. Its strength.
Maybe I could just live here, forever. Maybe whoever built it wouldn’t mind.
She runs the sand over and over like an hourglass through her palm.
(says loudly, to the sea)
I miss you, Dad.
Teenie scans the beach for signs of life, and watches as pelicans appear, in a line over the waves. In the midst of her sad feelings, suddenly on the horizon out over the islands a large cloud appears in the shape of a heart, as if by magic.
I love you, Dad
I love my Dad, I love my Dad,
She says, thinking he must have sent it. Close in on her face with a few salty tears, she watches the cloud and draws it before it dissipates, in the journal her father gave her. A boy has been watching the whole time from behind a dune, as it is Devlin Underwood who has been building it on the beach for himself as a fort. He’s on the cusp of fifteen.
Devlin watches her draw in the journal and then tear a page from it, a heart of clouds. Like a guardian he watches her from afar. He understands sadness, as his mother has passed away recently. He watches Teenie cry too. Devlin wonders if she is sad for the same reason he is. He watches her fold a tiny Origami bird and then she tucks it in the rafters of the hut, the note to her father. He watches as she climbs from the hut and walks the beach back to the village. When she is out of sight behind a fold in the cliffs, he climbs into the hut and sees the tiny bird in the rafters.
I should leave something here for her.
MONTAGE images of Devlin and his father with books, on the shore, building things.
(can be shown with photographs, stills of the actors) as a flashback. Devlin misses his father, he had to drop him off with his grandparents in the village after his mother passed and now he has had to adjust to a new life in a new town, 1000 miles from where he grew up.
We see Devlin combing the beach to look for a shell to leave the girl he saw crying.
(says softly, as he climbs the rocks, close in on his face)
Yesterday in FB I found a very old poem of mine, written when I was being published for my things at ERWA and Cleansheets, so it is genre. I am going to try and use the google translators on it too! I wrote it in 2004, and it was picked up by some friends who were really superb poets who published it in a chapbook they were doing. It’s a poem about women and men. So I was able to find the link, yesterday. http://www.geocities.ws/pj_nights/bonnairehs.html
My editors john e and PJ published it in some chapbooks they were doing. 2004.
here it is, again – copyright 2022 by me, as me.
I am going to try a test using the google translators, even though I think I know WordPress is Open Source and so the page can get run through a translator I think. So, two people I know in FB made comments about this poem and my old friend the poet john e did a version of my voice reading it over in soundcloud, so there is a link here, for that – he is a poet and used to be my editor at ERWA, but this was a totally cool collab to see what he did with it. Poets never know how they sound to others you know? We just don’t. That is over here. https://soundcloud.com/johnjohn_era/homo-spiritualis but it occurred to me that I can do readings and put them in Spotify myself. So this poem is about an era in time that had ancient art. The art can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU1bEmq_pf0 – this scholar was very important to me when I was a grad student at Pacifica.
i went to this lecture & the man said “we just have to evolve, you know” the gist of the whole thing involved the fact that we since caves, have been homo sapiens & that now, faced with war, extinction & floods, food shortages & overpopulation well maybe there is no time like the present
& this is where i need your hand, brother ’cause if i could just lie down next to you like the sort of fertile crescent i once was where i had no thought of harm no thought of exploitation we’d go back a long, long way
we’d move backwards through corridors of time back, back, to the time before the fall to some kind of agrarian meadow ’cause we’re all so tired, so tired
& these roles have gotten just so twisttangled the man said “you know, in 30 years, nobody, nobody is going to be safe from the disaster that is coming, not even those in a monastery”
& he said you know? “we all have to evolve together into a new lifeform” he said the time for homo sapiens was gone & that this was the time for homo spiritualis & i think he was right
& this starts in a bedroom between genders look, look, look there was an age Catal Huyuk before these wars, you just forgot, my brother & so did i
there was a time i planted peacefully it was a time of wheat, of loaves & grain & tribe was what counted, our tribe
this was before the invasions before the burials with coin, this was before the spear & killing hordes the villages were round, they were breast-shaped & in the art, well there were grain goddesses & from their vulvas, sweetly pouring grains. sheaves & you
nestled between flush lips you tell me boy? what happened to our tribe? i want to lie with you on the banks of the ganges again curled inside of arms that were made for safekeeping want the press of that wand, hardcurved up my thigh
want the old gods, the ones plotinus spoke about because you know, he tried to describe that & plotinus was the last philosopher before organized religion & he saw only light
& boy let me tell you i know we have one spirit & that is peaceful lovingkindness you know you’ve got the same thing as mine, same hearts help me boy, help me brother it’s eden i want, the paradise of your arms
& this starts in a bedroom between genders look, look, look there was an age Catal Huyuk before these wars, you just forgot, my brother & so did i
So, I want to talk about the way I am using all I was taught up at Pacifica Graduate Institute in tandem with experiences as an Intern on a case by case basis. But since we are all stuck in this miasma of year 2022, why not do the research and try and figure out a treatment plan that is for the WEB. What I am most interested in, is when kids have access to the WEB itself, so we are using the genogram for that, and then using concepts from Depth and Ecopsychology. So back to the timeline with Academic questions, and proofs.
So from personal experience working at a newspaper, in the 1980’s, by the late 80’s we are all familiar with computer systems and they are part of our jobs. My guess is that the men have them for “toys” at home? That can afford them. Across the entire globe. So in glancing through the above article, for me 1995 is the year I actually buy one. I will use it to learn to write papers and it is pretty simple. This is the first one I ever saw that was “Fun” and in the Art Department of the paper, so 1984, and it was an Apple, with fun fonts and things.
So let’s assume that many Dads work with them, in the year that is 1984, and they are being used at home for “fun” by parents? But what year do the kids start using them.
Let’s talk about the father’s childhood, in say, 1964, versus the child born into this world at 1984. Of course Dad will teach his kids how to use one? How much access to information did they have? Was it too much, for someone so young? That is how we want to think about this. Just as a diagnostic.
From the Wikipedia ”
In 2001, 125 million personal computers were shipped in comparison to 48,000 in 1977. More than 500 million PCs were in use in 2002 and one billion personal computers had been sold worldwide since mid-1970s till this time. Of the latter figure, 75 percent were professional or work related, while the rest sold for personal or home use. About 81.5 percent of PCs shipped had been desktop computers, 16.4 percent laptops and 2.1 percent servers. United States had received 38.8 percent (394 million) of the computers shipped, Europe 25 percent and 11.7 percent had gone to Asia-Pacific region, the fastest-growing market as of 2002. Almost half of all the households in Western Europe had a personal computer and a computer could be found in 40 percent of homes in United Kingdom, compared with only 13 percent in 1985. The third quarter of 2008 marked the first time laptops outsold desktop PCs in the United States.
As of June 2008, the number of personal computers worldwide in use hit one billion. Mature markets like the United States, Western Europe and Japan accounted for 58 percent of the worldwide installed PCs. About 180 million PCs (16 percent of the existing installed base) were expected to be replaced and 35 million to be dumped into landfill in 2008. The whole installed base grew 12 percent annually.
I am very concerned about the kids, so let’s watch a video. This is a mother talking about losing her son in the teen years. I want to trace the timeline of how the DSM changed.
So as I looked at the pictures of the emo heart, and because I was an Art & Narrative modality when working with kids in the years 1996—-2003, at Family Service Agency and other places here in town, and because I have many concerns about what might have happened to an entire generation?
The timeline is prescient, because at WordPress, the founder was born in 1984. The thing for me, is that I was never a tech wizard like all of you. So you are the kids of those fathers, in 1984 and on down the line. I have looked at a few vids of the metaverse concept, and that is the world being created. By your generation. You are really smart, and “logos” is what all of you have in spades.
So the childhoods of 1984, along this line:
1922————————————–1984——1994 (cognition age ten)– 2022
What 1994 looked like, for the little kids who were 10 that year.
So over the course I have been designing something as an intervention, I have looked at news stories, and various other sources to help design something to treat and help people. Using techniques from Art & Narrative Therapy, but for a web application. I suppose I need a patent for that? So I am going to use screenshots to back up my work in the blog, as it is research as I am going. In many of the blog posts where I was doing assessments in my old blog, the links are not there, just “blanks.” I am pretty worried right now for humanity. So I just read an abstract, here, and I am most worried about the kids in this immense amount of isolation they are in. Things I am worried about? Suicidal Ideation (in the youth) and Impulsivity as a reaction to the stress. Let me show you what that looks like via youtubes.
One of the reasons I have the greatest respect for Matt Mullenweg and WordPress is because he built this as a container, for writers. So, I’m going to show a few things today, as relate to what I know from Depth Psychology as relates to the use of a Genogram and Treatment Planner. I also want to talk from a standpoint of Ecopsychology.
So that genogram again, only visually this time:
I don’t want to see broken links, again. The way the web is constantly being scrubbed is not a good thing. I first noticed that when I was writing about politics a few years ago in my old blog. So writing about what i have my MA in? Well you will see me link to the Wikipedia and many other sources, including news stories. My diagnostic skills. When you are becoming a therapist, especially from the school I went to? I was trained by the very best. Gen Z cannot recognize the level of impulsivity it might have. Because it is inside of a generation. When history marches on, as it will, a generation can look “back” at things and know itself.
I want to talk a little about how I came up with my theory. It was in my internship for Family Service Agency. In California, we are to do internships of 3,000 hours. It was really hard to get an internship, in the first place, and so, what we have is a way to discuss cases, around a table. The intern therapists brought in a case study of a client, and there were supervisors, from Clinical Psychology and also Psychiatry who supervised us. So, all of my papers are something I am looking back at now, and also remembering things that happened. But what I want Matt to know, I really mean this, is that I know I can trust him. So, I was “non-paid” for beyond the 3,000 hours that began in 1995 – 2003, and I did my hours while I was working for a newspaper. Those years of my life were so hard, my god. There is more to say about Medical Ethics, out of me, but Senator Grassley went after ethics around Meds, and I really love that, because, once the consulting psychiatrist told me she was putting two year olds on Prozac? Well, we are now many years forward from that time.
As you can see above, the “Criteria For” Impulsivity has changed over time.
I just want to say bless all of you to ma.tt and to WordPress, for what all of you created, for this world.
I think we are going to have to use a reverse medical model to be able to diagnose, and treat. Because if in 1998, two year olds are being put on Prozac and many, many other things? We are looking at Gen Z. My thesis is very simple, and I am very worried for the kids. When I say that? I just mean, I am worried for the era they have lived. So, In a post 9/11 climate they were very, very young. It is very possible that they were overmedicated, so very early. Then they came of age, and all the things available to adults also became available to them. The kinds of news stories that we see about locking dogs and babies in cars under sweltering heat? They might not have the “cognition” to understand what they are doing. So it is very scary. But we are going to make a treatment plan here, and it can be used as a new treatment paradigm. In the web itself. I swore to the oath of Hippocrates when I graduated. I meant that. ❤
In Family Systems Theory, we can use a tool called the Genogram across a time line for assessment. It’s one of the things I learned up at Pacifica Graduate Institute during my training in 1996. We use it as a tool to look into “history” of the client, so, it is a way of looking at the presenting problem and getting back story on the Family. So over the first few sessions we are able to get a really clear picture of who the person is. In this respect, let’s use it to look at kids across a spectrum of child development across time. So, let’s just use 100 years as a timeline.
In 1922, children basically had parents who were watching movies, and they were listening to the radio. They listened to records, as well. For toys the kids didn’t have the kinds of things they have now. We can use an old Warner Brothers clip, to look at say, kids way back when. In my grandparent’s era, and the kids “playing.”
Let’s fast forward, because – how kids are looking at “outside world” or cultural surround, is that they are looking at character studies on film in the movies! In the characters of “live humans” and they were probably taken to the movies, to see this on the big screen, as an amusement, or a treat. Kids depicted way back then would have been many parents of the kids during the post WW2 Baby Boom – who give birth into the late 50’s and early 60’s, across the globe. By 1960, most households have access to a television. In California, there were 13 channels at that time. Let’s break the genogram into segments of time.
Early color television from the 1950’s. We are still looking at the “human figure” – you can also see early Ed Sullivan.
People are going to the movies, and watching shows on TV. It’s 1954. Let’s fast forward to 1974 along the timeline.
Piaget refers in his theories on Child Development, that the child has up to age nine – the period of “imaginal” thinking. We will be looking into what has been in the cultural surround in later decades soon. In the writer’s own childhood, there were cartoons on television in the era that is 1960’s, and we are also watching Disney Films as character studies. For me this began at “Fantasia” so we are looking at TV as “spectacle” and also art. On something like 13 channels. Computers will not become “toys” for my generation, but by 1984, they will be, in the cultural surround. It was Robert Sardello’s work, when I was up at Pacifica, that sparked a paper for Dr. Mary Watkins.
I went to buy a first computer at Circuit City, in 1995, strictly for Graduate School because it would be easier to write papers, and Apple Performa was what I got at a now defunct store then called Circuit City. I was struck by the wall of images presented to me, and I saw my first shooter game? So I wrote about that on child development for Dr. Watlkin’s class. So let’s think of this as “research.”
Let’s take a look at what Fantasia became in that childhood, with birth date 1997 as global.
Let’s use this show, and compare with the first clip of “Spanky and Our Gang” from the top clip. We are looking at the same thing, but, the human figure is shown in the sky as a babyfaced sun. Listen to how the “sounds” are shown, and how the cartoon figures “play” as learning as well as look at the sets. It’s a very different world, isn’t it? Then we are going to fast forward to the “games” they will play in year 2007. Piaget felt that at age 10, children reach “cognition.”
Let’s look at the games the kids play in 2007, based on the next clip. we can see how different the toys became, after 1984.
So, this sort of game? Is what the kids played at ‘cognition” — for my generation, at age 10, it was board games. These had not been invented yet. As we think of the school shootings, such as the one that happened at UCSB, another of my Alma Maters my interest as a scholar is to return to Sardello’s posit. Anyway, what I want to do, is help solve this. If in the top clip here, we have a tele-baby in the sky, as a pre-verbal child “watching” — we are not seeing a human figure. We have “blob’ animations that talk baby talk, in a sense. They present as in a kind of space ship as earth house. When clips are shown of actual children at a beach playing – that is “reality” for the kids. So in the second clip, we are looking at what the kids might play as games, in 2007. At age ten.
Why I used the genogram?
Show differences along a timeline.
Questions might be:
For this generation – Can they hear or see “the natural world.”
Were they diagnosed and put on medications simply because of the world they were born into?
If so, for the child at 2007 who is ten, let’s give a birthdate of 1997, and then insert 9/11 as outer real life cultural surround. They are three to four years old, that year. So, this is me in 2014 talking about a treatment plan we could build, that uses Art and Narrative Therapy using the web itself.
Let me show you some images. I began to be concerned about some of the art I was seeing in the web, because of the three colors in art related to images of the emo heart.
Jung considered colors along a spectrum as indicative of the state of psyche with black and red, along the spectrum as indicators of a very deep depression. But what concerns me most in these, is that I cannot see the eyes or the mouths, so I took some screenshots of the art I was looking at in a post 9/11 climate.
With the recent news stories about people crashing while driving on “auto pilot” in cars, I am wondering if they do not realize they are even driving.
It could be that a generation of children raised on these screens, with the intense focus at the screen, and the prescripted games do not have reality testing. When I say this, what I mean is that they may not be able to differentiate between what is “real” and not real.
For instance, on television, in the advertising, we see animations paired with live people as a kind of cute justaposition. But, we need to consider the cultural surround of a generation raised on games in the box.
Take a look at these images and it is very concerning. Yesterday I took some screen shots of this and wonder is it possible that a generation raised on boxes, could have eye problems and cannot see? When I have searched it is so dark, for them. So I began to try and understand about the eyes. many times the eyes are black holes. My sense of this, “can’t see.”
Now as a therapist working with a client, in Art and Narrative, you ask them, what does this mean? So, I once came up with a concept called The Alchemy Project and I made a blog post on that here in WordPress, but how we might something like a treatment or a cure? Well, we need to see what these things mean, and the only way to do that is to open up a dialogue about that. The blogs are a blank slate, where people might draw, or use collage to create a reality based self, by also using Narrative, or words. I have an idea that we might also be able to use the word collage tools to make an image, Of the words. That they might use when taliking? So I am going to try and find one and run my text in this post through it.
Thank you WordPress and ma.tt for making this tool, I really mean that.
Writing up a continuation of my research published here in WordPress as Valentine Bonnaire. My blog started I think in 2007 and I had an established nom de plume already as the above, in the web, so at first I was really happy to find WordPress, but in the time I was writing, how WordPress has developed has just amazed me. I knew at the time I was researching that Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter could be used. But, now I would not choose Twitter based on censorship issues. I found both Facebook and Twitter because I was here in WordPress, to begin with.
Because I once worked for a Newspaper for 20 years, and am a graduate of The University of California Class of 1984, Art History and Pacifica Graduate Institute, Class of 1995 Counseling Psychology, Emphasis Depth Psychology I have written and developed some interventions to news stories, and problems I have seen from my perspective.
WordPress has been one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen, and ma.tt, to have created something like you have done, it is hard to explain. So 1995 was the year I bought my first “home” computer – an Apple Performa. I had used computers at work for years, but not had one at home. The day I bought it, I was standing in Circuit City here in town and saw something which later developed into a paper I wrote for Dr. Mary Watkins, on child development and pre-scripted games in our first year at school. It was only because I had WordPress, that I was able to write and research on this topic with complete ease in the years post 2007.
So, in the course of the last few days I have been thinking of both you Matt and also Mark and talked about both of you over in Facebook, because, both places are “real” in the sense that in FB I can attach to old colleagues and friends, and here I can speak with so much ease, and also link to things. Then I can cut and paste over in FB, my own link. So the two of you were born in 1984, and what you know about the world of computers is well, a result of what both of you designed?
I had a typewriter when I went to UCSB. That long ago. So, as I can write and illustrate so easily in here, the world of WordPress, well, let’s get going on stopping some problems we are having with Mental Health. I’m going to write up some things here in the blog and take them over to FB, as I go. It is a new treatment paradigm, that I want to give to William at Noozhawk, and I recently was able to watch him speak in Youtube. I loved that he said WordPress had approached him because of his awards, and so the plan has Medical Ethics, just as he has Journalistic Ethics.
I was trained by Dr. Lionel Corbett, and swore to the Oath of Hippocrates that year we graduated, myself. So, since 1995, when so many generations of people have entered the web, use the web, play games on the web and all of that, WordPress is the last free “frontier” as it were, on earth. The plan I am developing can be used across any population or culture across the globe, just as WordPress does that. We do not want to have another tragedy like the one at UCSB or at Columbine, nor have teen girls with Suicidal Ideation because of peer pressure and so forth. Consider this tool, as a modern day version of the old Rorschach test, except this one is a whole new deal, because I am designing it. It uses techniques from Art and Narrative Therapy to help assess and treat.
Why I would hope WordPress would say okay? Because what you provide is a place for it, and not only that, the very fact you let people make a free blog. Schools could use this place? For the kids right now, in this immense isolation.
The landscape opens. He didn’t want to leave you, and he wasn’t mean. This is what you will learn. Last night in the harbor remembering the boat leaving shore, the soft laps of the water. Four girls of 22, arriving wanting to pet your dog.
You tell them, the harbor is safe, the men down here are the best men you will ever meet. One of them is tipsy. You feel you know them, know what comes ahead. Not that you can, just that you want it to be better for them.
I had to learn they were all different.
They will be.
He’s standing holding Alladin in his arms like a baby, and he purrs. The bamboo rustles in the rain outside your tiny world.
He knows you are cold, and he brings a union suit, and a candle.
He builds shelves in your pantry, handy with a hammer.
The girls tell you that they don’t want Botox or butt lifts.
You smile and say don’t follow that road that they might have planned for you.
“We’re not going to,” they say.
They could be grandchildren.
How strange to suddenly be thinking like that, sending warnings across vast expanses like 40 years of time.
They are all just starting in College. You remember.
The freedom comes later.
The freedom is something that you have to carve, because there will be times it’s going to seem impossible to stay with him.
Little pieces of something that was the thing you might have wanted, once.
It might be the thing that you wanted for yourself.
How can you prevent someone from making the same mistakes that you did?
Is it even possible?
My best friend was pregnant at my wedding, something like eight months along. She wasn’t married to him yet, that would come later, as would her second child. Towheads. It’s going to be almost impossible to keep the friendship, they are buying a house in a different town, your lives diverge from being the two best friends on a beach, waves lapping at your skirts, collecting shells and dreams together.
He chose the rings.
“I want these to match,” he said.
Maybe in your mind, like Cinderella, you were expecting the down on one knee, with a flashy diamond.
That’s not how it happened though.
There isn’t going to be a Bridal Registry for you.
Maybe it is the era.
She doesn’t have a wedding either.
She’s just pregnant standing there, and your lives divide in the courthouse tower, that day. You can’t be the mothers that you planned, pushing strollers at the seashore.
She asks how much you make, and you don’t know what to say, because, the path you chose was job, and not hers, and you are afraid of her path. She has to depend on him, and you had tried that the first and second times you were in love.
It’s what she tells you later.
He controls everything.
He tells her, dropping a five dollar bill in the center of the table, that she is supposed to feed the kids on that.
She has a pack of hot dogs, and some milk for them.
You drive her to the store.
You pay for the groceries, thinking of your mother and how she did that for all her friends in the same kind of jam, when you were little. The mother who made you her best friend. The mother who mothered your best friend. Instead of you.
You are quiet driving back home, the roads curving down from Ojai.
You go back into work and realize you have to be strong.
You learn to wriggle away from the arms encircling you at the light table. You learn to stand on your own two feet, with the males at work.
She’s your best friend and the two of you are 30.
“Tell me how much you make,” she says.
“How can you?”
It seems too terrible, to name the figure. It’s not that much, actually. You cannot stand what he is doing to her. Your best friend. The two of you were only fourteen, once, full of dreams about what the future was going to hold.
They like to try and intimidate you at work.
That’s when you become fierce.
Your last act of kindness was another defloration. He’s 36, one of those tech types and he’s a virgin. At twenty nine, you cannot believe this is true, but it is.
He’s madly in love with a co-worker out at the tech place he works. You’re friends, having Thai. He starts asking you how to approach her, he is almost obsessed he is so in love. You try walking him through what to do, what might work, like sending her flowers, just because.
The reason he is in this spot?
He’s not one of the really handsome ones. It will be more difficult for guys like him.
Still, it seems so unfair, and so you offer to show him how.
Perhaps you have spent your life trying to help others.
What is experience for?
You congratulate yourself later. He manages a ten year relationship after that.
Not with her, but you helped him break the ice. He won’t have kids either.
At work in Ad Alley, you learn to perform the simple functions of the job. Taking studio classes will be where you turn. Because you have a job, you can pay for these.
In Benet’s class she has you learn assemblage. Art will be the only way you can express feelings. You learn that, quickly enough, through her.
There is a cardboard box you wrap with fluffy cotton batting, pure white over the red lights you strung inside. They glow pink under the layers. He watches while you wrap it, not understanding what it is like to get crits in Art classes. He drives you in the MGA to class, smiling. You are holding it on your lap, like the day with the Pavlova.
It’s a womb in all purity, emitting a sound you can’t remember. From the Walkman inside. You fill it with cotton balls and q-tips, those for eggs and sperm.
The grey box is set to the side.
You never open it again.
Gold ring on your finger.
You’ve said certain vows.
You’ve gotten another A.
Your best friend leaves him.
She marries another, who will raise the kids.
She begins school. She begins school after the kids are old enough, and she starts up at the lost path. She was raped too, she tells you.
“He raped me,” she says.
Years later you will write it, for the other little 22 year olds.
You don’t want anything bad to happen to them.
It hurts so much to lay it out on the pages, remembering what they had done to the two of you.
It becomes easier to work with sound, those years. You wear the Walkman to work, it gives you silence, while you paste up. You can tune all of it out.
Cardboard flats hold each ad.
There are mountains of them.
Mountains and mountains that have to run the next day or the day after, the work is never ending. So is the loyalty. To him and to this place.
You think work is like a family.
Later you will learn it isn’t.
Don’t avoid it whispers the Muse in your head. Don’t avoid talking about the hardest things, or all the things left unsaid, for the 22 year olds coming up behind you.
You don’t want them to miss having kids.
You don’t want them to miss what everyone calls perfection in this lifetime.
He left her a five dollar bill to feed her kids, on a shabby table, in her well scrubbed kitchen.
“At least you aren’t saddled with kids,” your mother says.
Suddenly you can see how you took to heart all the things she had ever said.
“Washers and Dryers,” he laughs, as the two of you watch them spin. You bought them for Pedregosa, yourself, at Sears. Just minis. You just want things to be clean and perfect. At all times, proving yourself to be a girl, proving yourself to your friends.
The clock going off in your head, banging like a gong.
“Fuck it,” he says.
The thermometer goes cold on the bed.
He doesn’t want the responsibility.
He should have told you, you think.
It takes years to understand.
Years later, learning to become the therapist you will become, one named Don pushes your buttons so hard, the anger wells up as tears.
“Why didn’t you have kids in your twenties?”
He has no concept of what other men are like, in his perfect little ordered world.
He tries with EMDR to get at it. They want you cleaned out, empty of emotion, so that you can cure others.
A scented candle burns.
Birds sing outside.
The sea sings in all her colors, blue into silver, the purple out over the islands. You have managed to write past it. The hardest part. You could not have done what she had done. You could never be that vulnerable. She didn’t have a mom and dad either. You wonder where they all went?
You wonder why they couldn’t be parents.
Generation Warhol had Generation Woodstock.
Generation Warhol had no idea how hard it was going to be for their kids.
It’s easier to put pen to paper.
It’s easier to put paint to canvas.
It’s easier to try and blend it all together into purple.
How can you begin to trust men when you didn’t have a father?
He was supposed to be there, be there, be there, and he wasn’t.
The clock ticks.
The clock ticks until it goes off screaming in your head.
You’ll never be the girl some guy throws down $5 on a table for. Not ever.
You weep for what he put her through that year.
She and those two little towheads, that were so adorable.
Newspaperpeople Memoir by Adrienne Wilson copyright November 12, 2021 all rights reserved
The Pavlova is gorgeous, you’re bringing it to the Christmas Party in the MGA the two of you have, all decorated with flowers from your little garden in the tiny apartment you have behind the Craftsman on Pedregosa. You read the Los Angeles Times too, the Food Section and the Garden Section and suddenly you are pasting up color.
Sharon says, “What’s that?” as you place it on the waxing table, all covered with scratches from the years of Journeymen, and pages. It slid a bit on the floorboards, driving down, the flowers blurring into each other. You had no idea how to be a girlfriend, much less a wife. You buy magazines at the store that are going to explain how, one by one. It’s taken the place of the Winter Fruit Cocktail, you were known for. You will only stay in Grad School for one quarter. You drop when he takes over, the man that is going to be your husband.
“This is a kitchen, not a darkroom,” he says.
Suddenly you are working full time.
The paycheck doubles.
You don’t have any Seniority, though, and through her slitted eyes, she’s laughing, because she is about to move up a rung, with better hours. You are at the bottom. On that Floor. You have the full kit of Printer’s tools now. An Exacto, a Triangle, a Roller, and a Pica Pole. They engrave your initials on it.
Mr. Catamaran is too busy building a giant printing plant, to actually bother you. He’s rarely there, and it is a fun job, 2:30 to 10:00, at night. The level of camaraderie on the Floor, is best when Editorial comes down, with the blue pencils, the excitement growing, knowing that paper is coming out, the Printer’s hands fly all over the pages like birds, cutting in letters if they have to, in 6 point. The Street Final is what all of you are putting out, and Loveton jumps all over the room, wild, sweat flying off of him. The Sports Department is last. They are getting the scores right, no matter what. It’s the same on Political nights. The pages are covered in blue marks, Proof after Proof, until Editorial is satisfied. Bill, in Brooks Bros. Best dressed Newspaperman in the building. “Let’s put this paper to bed,” they smile, finally. Then the Press begins to roll, paper after paper, and we chase down any page, because anything can be fixed that late at night, in the rumble and roar, inking a million letters a day, all the words people in the City clip, for recipes, for obits, for favorite columnists, for everything actually.
They need you on Dayside for TV Week, and you have been taught to string the type. Chuck looks at you, towering over you, watching you make a mistake, and he says nothing. It’s miles and miles of type, miles that you use cotton string on to measure. If there is a mistake? Fixing it will take hours. He knows that. He’s just standing there laughing watching while you make it. The he watches while you tear it apart, and make it up all over again. Actually, that was part of the training. Becoming a Journeyman Printer was one of the hardest jobs I ever had. Ad Alley was going to be easier, somewhat.
Wenke is nicer than Bill had been. Ad Alley has Judy, and their own typists. New people are coming in, one by one. You will float, back and forth, with Joby to do whatever is needed. She had come from Offset, which they closed down.
You ask to learn Mark-Up, but it is too hard. Suddenly there will be the Camex Breeze.
Suddenly all of you will have to learn a new way of doing things.
There are electronic pens attached to huge tables, and a TV set is in front of you.
There are so many new women in the room, sitting at the sets. They’ve come in from outside, but mostly all locals, needing jobs. Many are educated, climbing ladders of their own, wanting to be in charge. Suddenly Wenke and Jed are the last two old timers. In Ad Alley.
You create the ads, and they come out intact.
The machines cost thousands of dollars.
The Printing Plant will also cost millions, it’s being built at the edge of the city. It’s going to be printing everything for miles around. Kim works in Systems, and Thad, and Sturtzenegger, all bearded and plaid, and they are raising the floor and laying in cables and everything is hurtling into the future, very fast. Sales reps come in to put you through trainings, State of the Art.
There are fonts, upon fonts, upon fonts, upon fonts. In the Art Department, they get the Macintosh that has even better fonts. None of the computers can talk to each other. All of them are different systems.
Suddenly it is the era of The Manifests. Hundreds of manifests, for every single thing, every ad. Nightly it prints out, green and white, and sprocketed edges. Everything is checked off against it.
It’s keeping track.
The Press is calling us DINKS, you see that headline “Dual Income No Kids” and it isn’t what you want. Under the floor the wires seethe like snakes, full of venom, we are becoming machines that have to work on software some guy planned.
I was a girl.
I was a female.
I wanted a baby and everything had become science in those years.
I hadn’t extracted my eggs.
The ring slips onto your finger.
My period was so heavy in those years I had to call in sick, sometimes, because of the cramps. They told me a baby would fix that, at 20. Now I was thirty, and I was chained to my job. Don’t make my mistake.
Tarrer comes down, and comes up behind me at the light table.
His hands plant themselves on both sides of me. At the table. I wriggle to escape it.
Do these machines emit radiation? I think to myself.
Planned Parenthood has given me a book on Fertility awareness. I’m going to have to use the thermometer. I want this for the two of us. We need a baby. We are four years together when we decide. But we aren’t on the same schedule anymore, and we are both exhausted most of the time. It’s hard for us to even be together.
I move from the hill down to his place, and because I am now a wife, I take on what I think wives are supposed to do. Magazines are going to be teaching me. At Von’s there are rows and rows of them that I study.
Fashion is leaving me.
I’m being drained dry.
We remodel a place, get our first pups out at Santa Barbara Humane.
We are a family at last.
The four of us and Alladin, and more cats I rescue.
We make a kitchen, and host our first Thanksgiving. We put in skylights.
I’m his third marriage, and Margaux and Carol call all the time wanting to talk to him, and I don’t know what to say.
He’s my third love.
I mean it when I take the vows, at last. “Till Death Do Us Part.”
I’m not going to live my mother’s life.
He’s not going to live his father’s life.
I won’t know this for years.
Cathy sitting on the Camex, she’s the oldest of all of us, always calling in sick, having operations. We have to get the ads out, this team of girls. Lori steps up, taking over. Joan and Lisa and Kirsten. Sheena, the wildest of all of us.
“I throw darts at a map,” she says. “I only work because I want to travel.”
She’s back from Paris, sprawled, making all of us laugh at her freedoms.
Sheena, with a name like that how could you ever go wrong?
Joan’s just graduated from Art Studio, painting massive Abstract Expressionism from her studio, on Ortega. I tell her, “don’t give it up.” She’ll head north, like Lisa and Joan and Judy and Thad. They’re going to Portland, heading to the green places in Oregon soon. The Oregonian. So will Rhonda. She’s on the floor now, cracking jokes, and all of us love her. Her father in law had once run accounting.
“I’m looking for a Yellow Violet man,” she says. Before moving.
“That’s what his aura is going to be.”
Finally we buy ourselves a little nest.
It’s a Craftsman, from the 1930’s.
It’s the place we are going to be able to start our family.
Our bedroom has all the purity in the world. White eyelet curtains, the kind of windows that barely open, because you have to push them up and down. We become Westsiders. It’s all we can afford. We love the house. It’s formidable, and we are close to downtown. Minutes from our jobs.
The guy who does our taxes is an old High School friend of his.
Suddenly, I understand that marriage is going to mean all kinds of new things I hadn’t thought about. Things men knew about, and I did not.
“We want to start a family,” I say. My voice is little and tiny then.
“Children should be seen and not heard” was the rule in my family, growing up.
You will earn that every family has rules.
He’s doing our taxes, and I say this in a friendly way.
“I want to stay home and make pottery, and sell it at the Beach show.”
“You can’t do that,” the accountant says. “It’s going to ruin your retirement.”
I’m the third wife.
I don’t count. The accountant was divorced, too.
From his first wife.
He ran the biggest accountancy firm in town.
Suddenly we have a garden.
Paperwhites for the 1930’s return.
The thermometer is cold.
The bed is warm.
The Jazz thunders through the house.
It’s only at work, or on the street, men will say things like “Nice day for something,” or “When is the baby coming?”
I still plant pansies, the first flower I loved best at 13.
I carry the Roses, from Red Rose Way to the house. In they go.
There is a red rose at our house.
The house of the truest love.
The house that we call home.
My mother loved him so much. She felt he was the perfect man for me. That first Christmas in our new house she sat before the fireplace in what was our formal living room. Sheena and some of the girls from work came over. I baked tons of Christmas cookies that year. In the living room, we had a Batchelder tile and the best fireplace on earth.
“Why don’t you just stay home and work on this place? Sheena perks up.
Little does she understand there are now two mortgages. Two.
Other people will be raising their children, in our old house. We will be having to pay for that. With our souls.
Strapped to a machine, that is possibly emitting radiation at me, I start to get scared.
How am I ever going to get to be a stay at home mom, like I want to be?
Is it even going to be possible?
I was only 30.
He was 45.
The girls around me are all leaving work, heading into marriages, where they are going to get to be mothers.
I’m going to be a girl who has to pay for mortgages.
How come had to be that girl, I ask myself later.
Carol calls all the time, drunk out of her mind, for my husband. She is still in love with him and I keep waiting for him to say something to her, like “These calls might not be a good idea.”
All the men are having vasectomies that year.
They don’t want any kids.
They tell us, in the print magazines, that we need to freeze our eggs, in case we want to have children later, but I don’t want to.
The doctor tells us, we might have to try artificial insemination.
It becomes a science project in those years.
Lying on the table, you realize the world you live in is controlled by men.
“The Old Boy’s Club,” is what we called it then.
Joby lives with Andy. “I don’t think I could have a child, “ she says. “If anything ever happened to my child, I don’t think I could take it.”
She’s a DINK too.
“Why did they do this to us?”
I was a girl.
Not a man.
I was a girl.
I thought men were going to care about me.
Do you know what they wanted?
They wanted to get laid.
They wanted a worker.
They wanted a machine.
So they could have one.
It would take until 2021 when they built the female robots.
They had managed to wipe us from the face of the earth.
Now they really didn’t have to be fathers did they?
They planned on heading up to Mars and Venus. They were no longer even on planet Earth with us. Were they?
I ask myself to keep on pressing these keys, the ones that they designed, for these keyboards. Suddenly I see I am at 19,875. I’m so close now to 20,000 that I might as well go for it. The girl who was taught to never learn to type, the girl whose keyboard is now on fire, because this girl became a writer.
Not only that?
This girl became a writer who knew all about how to write LOVE.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way once.
I was the girl who once believed in Cinderella, just like you.
We take to the mountains, when we can. Into the high snows of Yosemite, and he drives, he knows how to gather the wood, he knows how to catch the trout, he knows how to pitch the tents, he knows the best routes to travel. He’s the man and you are the woman.
He’s the man you married.
Memoir Newspaperpeople by Adrienne Wilson copyright November 11, 2021 all rights reserved
Two years pass, and you are graduating UCSB, not tangled up in love, strongly focused, the proudest day of your young life, donning the cap and gown. In women’s history as an elective, you had been asked a question. “How will your life be different from your mother’s and grandmother’s?”
Years later you know the answer.
It’s going to be sad.
You won’t get to have children.
Men control what we can and cannot do.
I wanted a child. But I knew I never wanted to be like my mother, trying to raise children after a divorce. I wanted a solid, strong father for my children. By 28, that clock was ticking so loudly it screamed in my head. My best friend, and I, at fourteen, down on the beach at Butterfly, talking about how we would be pushing our strollers, wearing all that vintage lace we wore then, lace floating into seafoam, girls wearing periwinkle shells for necklaces just to be different from the puka shell girls.
By then, and I don’t think either of us had marriage as a goal in. High School, we had navigated the shoals of terrible relationships that had broken our hearts. Having fathers might have helped us. We didn’t that summer of 14.
Twenty eight and suddenly Alan is grabbing your jelly sandals at work and tossing them back and forth to Tony on the back dock. He’s so incredibly handsome, with a badger stripe of white down the center of his sandy dark hair. What happens between you begins slowly and flirtatiously. You remember seeing him when you had worked in the cage, once, with the woman he was dating at that time, and thinking it, the handsomeness. On the floor, you’re all just friends, those breaks on the back dock. Flirty. Alan and Cathy. Suddenly, in the cold winter nights, warming up your Audi, the two of you look over at each other in the parking lot, night after night.
You didn’t know he had been married twice before then.
Margaux flirts with him. All the women do. It’s that body he had.
The best looking man in the entire place.
You knew he didn’t love her.
The typists hated her. That night at Wendy’s, after which they call you a food snob for liking the French food at Charlotte, better than their smelly Picadilly burgers, they raked her over their steely coals. Her clothes were too tight and she wiggled and jiggled in all the right places in the way that women do. He had lifted her out of her marriage, I suppose.
You realized then, the power of the women in that typing pool, all that cluck and peck.
After the two of you start dating, the gossip must have gone off the charts, with all of them. Suddenly you have the handsomest man in the whole building.
They didn’t like it.
By then, Harold was gone, and Gabe was dead. He’d had a heart attack, after he was dumped by the plastic pocket protector shortie that came out from Florida to run things. Mr. Catamaran. He likes to make fun of your gorgeous designer clothes, from behind, and he is the first shit you will meet during the years of the newspaper shuffle.
He promotes a machinist into position. Hurtling him to what will be the top with lightning speed.
Sharon, in her masculine chinos, says, “Well, I guess you found somebody to pay off your student loans now.”
The hatred was so pure, out of her. Those slitted eyes. Her angry everything. She must have really hated me, that day they sent me the credit card from American Express and all the guys on the Floor laughed.
“Are you a graduating senior making more that $10,000 a year?”
Suddenly I had the same card my Grandfather and Uncle had.
Little did she know I was responsible for paying off my debts, myself.
No wonder I wanted to be up in Editorial.
I pined for it actually.
For one thing all the women were fashionable especially Cissy. She was married to one of the best photographers who taught at UCSB, and Gary, all leather jacketed and cool. They were hip, and things upstairs were about to change.
Linda was brought in from outside and she pulled Gil the Gardener’s column.
It was tragic.
Suddenly we weren’t a small town paper.
At Robinson’s I ran into Joan in the dressing room, where we were both trying on clothes. She was shaking. That’s how it was in those years, with the kind of meanness that was saturating the entire place. I don’t know how most of us took it.
We formed pockets of friends in corners, those years.
I will say Mr. Catamaran did one good thing. He gave Wenke a gold watch for retirement. Like the Newspapermen were supposed to get.
They broke up the associations by making promises of big money.
It was the era of Wellness.
Suddenly the fantastic insurance we all had?
Was split into plans. There were four to choose from, and the executives had the best one. Suddenly we were in the era of Middle Manager, upon Middle Manager, like tiers. Most of them were pretty stupid and how they got there?
Was by kissing ass.
I was never going to dress like some of the women at the paper who were using their sexuality to climb the corporate ladder.
One of the reporters upstairs, who was a clone looks-wise for Hefner’s Benton, those mini dresses and boobs on parade? The men in Composing nearly fell all over her. All she did was bend over after bend over near them.
All of us watched.
All the women’s eyes collectively rolled.
Most of them had kids, or were single mothers and those were the only women the men actually respected.
“The best thing you could do is marry him,” Joby warned me.
It was three years of push and pull to give up my freedom. I knew that once I said yes, my whole life would change.
Harvey became our boss.
The feelings we had after Gabe was gone, would be impossible to explain, all that Italian charm he had. Harvey was the opposite. His father ran the Camera Department and he was a small town boy. Harold was gone and suddenly his wife Vicky was running Sue’s old job of dummying the paper.
They concentrated on busting up the unions we had in Pre-Press and Press and Camera and Composing. The company back east who bought the paper was very famous in New York. Suddenly they were bringing in people from all over, not Santa Barbara people. It had always been a small town paper and not like big city style. They were buying up papers all over.
Do you know what Harvey did to me?
He ruined my wedding.
One of the first rules was that no two people could be off on the same day in Composing.
So that meant no honeymoon.
Can you even imagine that?
Getting married and you can’t have a honeymoon?
That is how shitty it was.
Suddenly we were being ruled by a machinist who had come up from the dirty, greasy bowls of the building down in the basement.
Of, course, his father was happy.
He was a small town boy, and his dad got him the job.
Again I faced being terrified in a man’s world.
Do you know what he said to me?
I went in to tell him we were going to be married.
“You let me know the date, and I’ll let you know your options,” he said, with a sneer.
I never had any proper wedding pictures. We had one day off, and it was right back to work. I had resisted, at first. How could I have understood what it was going to be at 28?
By then they were selling off the Goss.
George Anton was gone.
George who had made me my Pressman’s hat.
George whose Louisiana rumble and laugh, the best Pressman ever, so warm and so kind, chasing those pages night after night the way we did, never a mistake, we caught them all.
He made me a hat from the cartoon insert, on a Sunday.
All the decency of the paper was gone. Toward the people.
He was in his early 30’s then.
I was 28, and my husband was 42.
After we married the phone calls started coming.
It was Margaux, and Carol his second wife. She worked there upstairs, running the Library. She and Sue.
Most of the time we were on separate schedules, and we didn’t have the same days off.
Joby became my closest friend in those years, and a few of the typists, like Myrna. She would be going to Pacifica, too. Down the road.
Tony had planted himself in my apartment, and he didn’t want to leave, so, I had been taking pottery as an art class down at Schott Center, with all the finest teachers, after UCSB. I went trough a full range of all the Studio Art classes at City College, and he bought me a Brent.
I still have it.
Barbara my teacher, said “he must really love you,” to me.
It would be all the potters in the class who threw me a Bridal shower.
I never had a chance to have a wedding, really. We married standing on the compass rose in the tower at the Courthouse.
Three years from the day he sent me three dozen peach roses at work. When they came into the Composing Room it must have been a first. The gasps and sighs from the women at the sight of them. I married a gentleman. Our first date at Jimmy’s, he ordered a Martini.
You will learn it takes many years in a marriage, to know your husband.
I had married an artist. I had married an intellectual, and he was an Englishman, to boot.
Newspaperpeople Memoir by Adrienne Wilson copyright November 10, 2021 – all rights reserved
Harold must have been 60 then, the Nightside Foreman, on the floor. Everything was based on Seniority, then. To get anything you had to move through the ranks, like days off or weeks off. I only worked four hours a night, so I had a fixed shift. But I wanted, well I hoped, to make it up to the Third Floor where the writers were. That was the coolest place in the building and they had the best desks. The women up there seemed free, as if there was no meanness. Harold was so kind to me, but I was bored just proofreading, and I wanted to learn more. After all, I was a student at UCSB, wasn’t I?
I was being exposed to all the art in the world, at 23, and all the history in the world out at school. I had three jobs that year. In the Arts Library out at school, part time, Work Study, and two at the paper. Proofreader and on weekends, Measurer of all the ads. In those days we climbed the corporate ladder, as women. We knew we would have to do that, to get ahead.
The writers had the best job in the building, and they were the best people you could ever meet. I found myself heading up to the Third Floor all the time, those weekends, where Bill Milton worked. His wife Becky worked there too.
“Can you teach me how to write?” I asked him.
“Here kid, do a rewrite on this hed,” he said, pulling a story off the hook of the City Desk.
That was in my spare time, non-paid, after I finished all the measuring down in Advertising.
Harold was the sweetest boss I ever had, in the early years. It was a combination of sweetness and mean in there, because the old timers had been the last to really do Hot Type, and they had worked for newspapers when it was hot metal lead. In the 70’s, the changeover had been to cold type, and this was done by computers called VDT’s – they were not like the computers of today at all. They had black screens with green letters. I don’t think there was a “systems department” yet. Maybe the guys up in Editorial ran it? At first.
Later, there would be so much tech, the entire job changed.
After that mistake I made, and after that man was out of my life, for good, my life became easier. I was working very hard, to get more money, of course, but to advance on the job. I asked Harold to let me run the Pacesetters, when I finished proofreading for the night.
That was going to be my start, on the Floor. Plus I was with the fun guys, Alan and Tony and Jack Collins. The Nightside paste-up crew was the funnest. Sharon and Jackie worked on the floor at night.
Dayside didn’t have any females on the floor – the women on Dayside had the best schedules, so the rest of us, on Nightside? We missed every holiday, like say Christmas Eve, any old eve of any old Holiday because we had a paper to put out. Daily.
Harold was married, but he had a lover at the paper named Sue who used to dummy the pages. That means, she was responsible for the layout. Her office was above the Advertising Department, that held a sea, a veritable sea of faces, Like Rick Carter and Sarah Sinclair and Joe LaFontaine and Wes Ginther. We had the best Christmas parties in those years.
Not having Seniority?
Made many people’s lives Hell in that place.
It was about to get worse, after the first buy out.
All the sales reps were very loved by the advertisers, and so big gift baskets would arrive out in Advertising, and they always shared with us. Like say, See’s Candy. The biggest boxes. Most of us, were going to meet our partners at work, because of the nature of the place and the hours.
We had the best parking spots in town, because we worked there. We could just pull right in, because we worked there, and it was the year before we had to start wearing badges. Everyone could just walk right in, like going into a market.
The more I think about it now, it was the computers that ruined everything. It was a fun job before that.
You know why we had to wear those badges, after?
At the back dock entrance?
It was locked because the computers were considered more valuable, than us.
If you knew how had it was to put out a daily paper on those computer systems?
You wouldn’t even believe it.
We never saw it coming.
Nor did we expect the heartless bosses.
Our parties were at the Old Miramar for Christmas and Peg was like a shining beam of happiness. Joy was the executive secretary for Mr. Sykes and Mr. Plet. It was like the whole town was under control in those days. Because of what T. M. Storke had built. Every day I walked under his tower at UCSB, and every day I ate lunch at the UCEN. Usually California Health salads, because, well, we are Californians, aren’t we? So I was learning to eat again, after that guy was no longer in my life.
At home I ate things like Oatmeal.
I had to force myself at first, to stay alive after him.
So when Harold used to burst out singing Tangerine from the 1940’s when he saw me wearing that orange arty smock, I burst out laughing.
He had been in WW2 at the beaches in Normandy. Many of the old timers had.
One thing about all of us?
We had great jobs. In those days.
At Christmas, and at Thanksgiving, there were two traditions. We were all given bonuses, and out by the door at the back dock? Everyone got a bag with a complete dinner, with all the fixings on those eves. Because at that time, it was TM’s crew. It was all one big Christmas Party from the minute November started. I don’t think I really realized just how gossipy it was going to be.
It was because there were short timers and long timers.
The long timers held the whole place together, because they had worked there for years. Tony told me he started in 1963, three weeks before JFK was assassinated. He started in the hot type era, himself. He had made the transition to cold type, and he and Alan and Jack and Eddie and Vern ran the floor at night. The only people in the building after 5:00 were the Composing Room, Editorial, the Camera Department, the Pressmen and whoever was the night Switchboard Operator.
That place was ALIVE with News.
Day in and day out.
We were a morning paper at the time, and it was delivered by paperboys.
That is how Gabe Renga started there.
Tony told me he started as a paperboy.
Our Christmas parties on Nightside, were the talk of the whole building. We fed them all, all those Editors on the late shift. Composing’s job was over at 10 p.m. There were three editions, the Valley Edition, The Home Edition, and the Street Final in those years.
Harold had his spiked punch, and all of us, every last one of us, had things to bring, on Nightside. People that had Avocado trees, well, we were never at a loss. Or orange trees, or clementine trees for that matter. Harold’s warm smile is a thing that can never be erased from my mind, not ever.
Or Jack Collins and that Christmas Fudge he was famous for.
At night the editors worked the hardest, because for the Street Final news had been breaking all over the world, all day long, and that had to be put together.
Jack was a member of MENSA, and he was one of the smartest and funniest men I have ever met. He also smoked, and so did Jed, right inside the building. You were allowed to at that time in the early 80’s.
Oh, believe me there is a reason people up in Editorial drank so much.
Most writers do.
Can you even imagine what it is like to produce the news for an entire town?
That’s what we did every single day.
From my desk, in the proofreading room, which only had Margaux in it, during the day, and me in it at night, the whole flux and flow of the place was something we could see whenever we looked up from the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of lines we were reading, then reading again. Over and Over.
Then the guys on the floor, and those night editors were reading everything all over again, and we had Jim Brown come down, those years, with the sweetest face. Another of the kind ones, the Newspapermen.
There isn’t a way to describe exactly, how warm my feelings are for all the people I knew.
It wasn’t just a job to us.
I see Dave Loveton. I see Jack Collins. I see Pat O’Hara.
I see all of us, with all of our Christmas cookies, and Jack and I, those cigs on the back dock with him. Looking up at the stars, because there was a power outtage that night, someplace, and a transformer had blown out. But we had a paper to put out. It wasn’t going to matter how long any of us stayed, to do so.
That’s just who all of us were. The long timers.
I guess I must have felt like that, with only three years under my belt, in 1983.
I can see Joan Crowder and Cissy and Gary and Dewey and Marilyn. I can see Jenny Perry and Mary Every, I can see Lois Sorg.
I can see Harold smiling at me now, That little girl of 23 who he gave a bottle of Glenlivet to, and I must have given a bottle of Bushmills to, that year. We are the Newspaperpeople.
And all over the world, in little towns everywhere there are people just like us.
There always will be.
Newspaperpeople copyright November 9, 2021 by Adrienne Wilson – all rights reserved Nanowrimo 2021
If only I could have predicted the road ahead. In my generation, we fell in and out of so many arms. In 1982, that became dangerous. There was a disease. Suddenly it appeared on the scene. Out of nowhere it came, and I was worried for Stevie B.
To wipe him out of me, there would need to be others.
Dennis Dunn told me to say one sentence. It was, “I can never see you again.”
I said that over the phone. It was going to be the last time I ever said a sentence to him. By that time the grey box of photographs weighed a ton. I would sit on my Murphy bed and look at them sometimes. It was hard not to. My friend Bob at work started to scavenge a darkroom for me. He was finding all the parts for it, all over town, because we had Brooks Institute here in town. He found me a Leica, too. M2.
I said the sentence into the phone.
He didn’t listen.
Hardly anyone listens to girls.
He didn’t listen. Instead, one day when I came home from school he had scaled the balcony of my apartment on Fig, and broken in.
I got home from school and he was sitting in my apartment.
A girl who he was causing to think about driving into a cement pier on the side of the freeway every single day, and he did not give one fuck.
“I hate to think of you sitting up there all alone waiting for me, “ he said.
“Dennis told me I could not see you ever again.”
He didn’t care. He just pushed me down on that Murphy bed.
Then he zipped up and drove home.
Imagine a girl, crumpled into a ball weeping, after what he had done.
You might have to survive all kinds of things in your twenties, just to stay alive, and I want you to be as strong as me. If you need a therapist you can find one. You are going to stay alive no matter what. Dennis Dunn kept me alive. Once a week I went to see him. Maybe for six months. Little did I know, that the next time I saw Dennis, I would be telling him I was going to get married.
“That’s a good idea, “ he said.
I never met a bigger angel than Dennis Dunn.
Hacker was the first I invited to my apartment to spend the night. I broke the spell with him, and I don’t know if I ever told him that. We were only brief together, arms around each other, two artists. He would come over now and again, and we would sleep together. That foam pad made me feel sorry for him. You might feel sorry for some of them, in your life too. So when that 19 year old asked me for help? I was 22. Sure, I said. One night stands had pretty much been the rule in those years according to men. I was already quite experienced in the years past 19, so now that I think of it, I had in in love twice. I decided to be just like men, with their kind of freedoms. Why not?
In that era we all did.
The fact that her wrote me a love poem after that one night?
That’s what mattered.
Because he was sleeping with a poet, that night.
He brought that poem to me at work, at my desk, to say thank you.
Then he was off to medical school. I never saw him again.
Hacker and I palled around a little, like friends. My friends came over, for my vats of things. I was a girl who had her own apartment, just like an adult.
Suddenly one of the works of Hacker’s was up on my wall, next to those framed photographs of the two of us, the photographer had given me.
Hacker made it easier not to think of driving into a cement wall, because I had been so much in love with a total liar.
Imagine a guy running out of a restaurant to ask a girl for a date, and he was the dishwasher at The Paradise.
I was just walking down the street, across the street from the paper.
“You have to be my date,” he said.
He had to be two inches from me, face to face on Anacapa.
People here didn’t really go out clubbing like I had done with all my friends.
There was only one dance place, really.
Because I had my job at the newspaper, I could feed all my friends. The boys I knew then were always hungry. Most of them still lived at home.
Jim and Stevie B. were the two most fun people I knew, because Jim would drive Stevie up. He was Bisexual, and he was one of the handsomest men I would ever meet in life. Ever. So, we were just friends then. Did we ever go out on the town when Stevie was up. We went everywhere together, the three of us. Girls like me did not go out alone. We went on dates, and the guys were either lovers or chaperones. A girl alone in a bar? This was not done.
Stevie was from Pasadena, and so was I.
He was a charmer.
They were gentlemen.
The place where Hacker lived was by the best Theatre in town, for stage plays. Lots of artists lived in the little wooden places there. It was a hotbed for them. Men can get by with less than women need, in many ways. But for them, there was always going to be another woman around, if they needed a bed for the night, for instance.
I was a girl who had her own apartment.
I was a girl who had a job.
Judy worked for one of the meanest men in the Composing Room. He was the nightside boss in Ad Alley and his name was Bill. To say that being the proofreader was one of the hardest jobs in the whole building? It was, because you would not even believe what we had to read, nightly. Not only that, but everything had to be correct. Ever single letter. Every single punctuation mark, every single line of type.
I was that girl.
The only harder job, was going to be the Floor. Judy had the hardest job in Ad Alley, under the meanest boss I ever saw. To say that men gave us a hard time in the early 80’s at work? Is only the beginning.
They had been hardened, working there, because in those days every single town had a newspaper. They had seen it all, the murders, the deaths, the obits, the all in all of a town. Advertising was how the paper was able to print itself.
So there were two parts to the paper.
Editorial & Advertising.
Bill didn’t like me. His eyes were cold and mean.
Sharon didn’t like me. Her eyes were hardened slits.
Maybe it because of the way I dressed, then.
Maybe I worked in the meanest part of the building.
Maybe everyone seemed mean because nothing could go wrong.
Not one letter could be off.
Nothing could be wrong.
And all of us cared.
You think the Reporters had it easy? No.
People like Gil the Gardener, had it easy. The columns he wrote were fun and full of metaphor.
Judy did Mark-Up, and mark up was the hardest job in the world. It was kind of like math, in the Cold Type days.
I made a mistake.
It was the worst mistake anyone could ever make at the paper, and it was humiliating.
It was for a Jewelry store in town, maybe at Christmas, that year. They were having a sale, and somehow, somehow, somehow, the typists had typed the whole thing twice, and I had proofread the whole thing twice and it had been pasted up twice as two columns, and it was the SAME two columns, twice and when it came back to my desk, I read the material twice. The only problem was? It was only supposed to be one column. I had read the identical material twice, when. I was the one who was supposed to catch that kind of thing. I read for both Editorial and Advertising at night, in those four hours.
The ad ran in the paper.
I’ll never forget the day Gabe called me into the office, and Bill was sitting in there.
Bill was glaring at me.
Gabe handed me the paper.
Bill said, “Look at this mistake.”
It was my fault.
Not only was a man terrifying me at my apartment, but now a man was terrifying me at work. I was going to be spending the next 20 years of my life, with bosses who terrified me.
I hope you never get a job like that.
I hope you never get a job where some men can make you feel really small, like I felt that day. Not from Gabe, who was my boss, but from Bill.
After that, he rode me.
Every single night.
I was so scared to proofread after that, as I returned to my desk, that I knew I was never going to let Gabe down again.
I felt like it was all my fault, but it wasn’t. The typists hadn’t noticed they had typed the ad twice, the paste-up person in Ad Alley hadn’t noticed he had pasted up the whole thing, twice, and by the time it got to me? Well, it was in something like 3 point, Times Roman, maybe. Seeing the printed piece?
That I had not caught it?
I would never make a mistake like that ever again.
This was going to be even more important when I got to the Floor.
Can you even imagine how the Publisher felt?
Getting that call from the Advertiser?
Can you imagine how Gabe felt?
I had let Gabe down. I thought I was going to be fired.
It was part of the great learning curve that is life.
All of life is a series of roads you will take. But nobody knows where those might lead at 22.
Judy’s job was one of the hardest in the Composing Room, and she was in a man’s world, just like I was. Most of the women? They were just typists. It didn’t matter. We all had jobs. We had all gone to work.
Now that I think of it?
So was mine.
That was a full page ad.
I will never know how Gabe must have been raked over the coals after it ran.
Then it went down the chain of command, one by one, until it got to the girl who had made the mistake.
I never made a mistake like that again. It was the road to be a Journeyman Printer.
At that time, I didn’t know I would be taking that road.
It was the road of honor, and of duty.
From the littlest paperboy right on up to the top of the Tower, where the Publisher sat.
Memoir Newspaperpeople by Adrienne Wilson copyright November 8th, 2021, all rights reserved #NaNoWriMo2021
Places the heart goes. I wish I could stop you, from getting hurt, like I did, so I will just repeat, don’t be a dumb girl. When you get to college.
The first thing that happened was that TA, who was in charge of all my grades, and he was married too. His wife had just had a baby, and guess who he was following trying to carry her books across the campus? Me.
I was there to study Art History.
After the mess of that first quarter full of D’s and F’s because 1981 was the worst year of my life, I knew it would take years to get my GPA back up. So you never want to let your GPA fall. Just don’t.
Alan helped me find my first little apartment and it was on Figueroa Street, right across from the Police Station. It was behind an old Victorian house from the turn of the century, and it was one in a row of three studio apartments over garages. Like most things in Santa Barbara, every square inch was rented out, to somebody. But I was 22 and I had my own studio apartment at last! I had a tiny little balcony off my kitchen, and I planted my very first garden out there, in pots. I went down to Home Improvement, because that was my first job after High School, that was serious. My mom had gotten me my first job. I was a model for Trunk Shows at Robinson’s. Alan’s girlfriend Cathy had a sister that lived in the front house, and I could walk to work, if I wanted to. Suddenly I had three rooms all to myself, and they were from the 1930’s. I had a Murphy bed, that folded down from the wall, so when it was folded up? I had a living room! Futons didn’t exist yet, at least in America. I had my own kitchen! I had a parking spot! I was becoming grown up at last. I had utility bills to pay.
I was learning how to cook.
There was only one problem.
He followed me.
The post cards kept on coming, and they came to work, too.
I started seeing a therapist, who I met because he was the boyfriend of the man who ran the Arts Library out at UCSB. When I think of all the actual angels who have crossed with me in life? I am probably the luckiest girl on the face of the earth.
The panic attacks had stopped and now I had a plan. A safety plan.
At work, because I was in the Composing Room, I didn’t have to take his calls anymore. If the phone rang at my place at night, I didn’t have to answer it.
My therapist Dennis was like the biggest angel I ever met.
He said one sentence to me.
“You have to get away from this man.”
He was right.
So when that married TA tried with me, I was secretly laughing. No way, not ever, not ever, I thought to myself about him. All he ever talked about was something called “The Snuggery.”
Except that night I threw my first party. I invited everybody.
I began the process of splitting up with him by deciding to date others.
By my second quarter, my grades were going back up. It was so different than working in the cage had been, it really was.
I wasn’t trapped anymore, and the whole Composing Room buzzed and hummed and I guess I looked pretty fashionable because, well, that was all I knew. We didn’t wear much make-up in the years when I was 22, but we wore mascara, blush and lipstick. I guess you could have called us pretty natural that way.
I loved Perfume the most. Lipstick, too.
Your personal style sets in when you are in your early 20’s. You will probably keep that all your life.
I threw my very first party, in that apartment. I had taught myself to cook by getting a few cookbooks. I made a huge vat of Italian Cioppino for everyone. It was “Bring Your Own Bottle” so everyone had stuff they wanted to drink, and some of that was quite fancy, because my generation loved cocktails, but there was also wine and beer. My mom loaned me some huge serving platters and I made canapes, and all kinds of things from my little books. I invited Dennis and Felipe and there were so many bodies packing my little apartment, it looked like that movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The only weird thing was the next morning, when I had kind of a hangover and I woke up with Alladin curled against me, and padding me. I was off that day, and I planned to start the day with the biggest best bubble bath ever, only, when I pulled back the shower curtain, there was a tiny bag slipped over the spout in the tub. Like a muslin bag.
I was wondering what the hell it was, frankly.
I looked inside and saw something really dark red. Red Rose petal red, actually. Ewwww, I thought. Maybe somebody had their period and like, left this here.
I shook it out, and it was a pair of panties, from Dior.
There was a typed note, that said, “You are Very Beautiful, Adrienne.”
I was totally creeped out, because I had like 75 people, that had come and gone all night at that party. So? Who had done that.
The whole thing totally bothered me.
It was the creepiest thing that had ever happened.
It was that TA, who carried my books.
He had been there, too.
All the arty types I knew had been.
“Did you do that?”
I asked him the next time he tried to carry my books.
He was blushing.
Well, he wasn’t my type, anyway. Also he was married with a new baby. Just like that photography teacher, the fact I was a student at college, he thought he could. That’s what it was like in 1982. Just like that Photography teacher, he thought he could. Because they controlled our grades. I don’t even remember his name, but I remember how scared I was that he would give me an F grade, that whole quarter.
He didn’t, and nothing ever happened beyond that because he was never a TA I saw again. Do they still even have TA’s? That was a Teaching Assistant job, because Ph.d’s got a job out at UCSB and they could have Married Student Housing, too. He lived in one of those.
Can you even imagine not being able to call my Dad with a thing like that?
I was only 22, and he was making movies guys like that TA were watching.
How creepy is that?
Walking to all my Art History classes meant, I had to walk by Art Studio classes. And that is where my heart longed to be. It really did. Every time I passed those classes I wished I was in there, instead. Mostly it was guys who were.
They told me I wasn’t going to be able to get a job unless I took Art History. When you are just a young kid, you take advice from just about anyone. Including school counselors. I was around the coolest bunch of teachers, ever, out in the Art History Department, but I was jealous of the people in Studio. So, I started taking art classes in my spare time, just for fun, because in my town almost everyone is an artist. In one form or another. If I had gone to UCSB straight out of High School right after all the art teachers I had, had in town? My whole life would have gone differently.
But the places you will go, the things you will do?
Nobody knows what those are at 22.
You can think you know, but probably not.
The paths we take in life are ever evolving.
That’s how I met Hacker.
Those sculptures of his were the most monumental things I had ever seen. He was older than me, too, and he was living where the Alhecama Theatre was, in some kind of tiny little room where he was sleeping on a foam pad. His face was craggy like a boxer’s, like he had been through everything on earth. He’s the one who was washing dishes at the Paradise. All of us were working our way through college, except Jim. All of us had taken so many paths in life.
I was a girl who was studying Art History with her own studio apartment.
He must have thought it was Paradise.
In those days I cooked for my friends who dropped by, and they were always hungry. Like Jim and Stevie B. My first big pans were speckled enamel, and I got them at the market where they had displays of pans you could get. Mine were black with white speckles.
Spend $30 and you could get a pan for $1.
Something like that.
Suddenly I had my first pans, my first tiny kitchen, and my first herbs, growing on my balcony. Suddenly I planted my first roses. I had four of them in pots out there. I think my place must have been Paradise for the men I let sleep there, in those days.
I was in the process of growing up.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, let me tell you.
During that time, I met a man who couldn’t. It was a first for me, as I thought men were all the same. They aren’t.
They are just as different as women are.
The first time that happened I didn’t know what to do.
I was lying under him, and he apologized.
I remember I put my arms around him and hugged him, and whispered, “It’s okay.”
Then I got up, put on my kimono, and said, “Let’s have dinner.”
I guess for me, feeding people that need it?
Well, that was going to become something I would get to be good at.
Sometimes your life might not have anything to do with what you declare as a major in college.
Maybe your life will be “Cioppino for all.”
Copyight 2021, November 7th by Adrienne Wilson – all rights reserved
You will never know the wounds you are capable of carrying, until you have to. The era comes back to haunt you. The monster that he was.
And then you will think of all the kind men who surrounded you then.
As they prepare you for the anesthesia you whisper, to God, let me die.
Let me go now.
And then you sink.
Everything is gone.
They wake you up.
They wake you up as if you have made some kind of mistake and girls are so disposable anyway.
The pain lives in a vault, in a chamber of your heart, that you learn to bury deep.
You won’t be alone.
They are shaking you.
“Wake up,” they say.
They keep shaking you and shaking you and shaking you.
You wake up.
It wasn’t your time.
It wasn’t time for God to take you. Not yet.
You were only 22.
Now you realize perhaps God himself put you through this.
He keeps driving up, after.
He keeps driving up.
A girl lies next to you in the little room they make you walk to.
There are two beds. So you can recuperate.
She weeps, softly.
There is a list on the table, with hundreds of names on it.
And the names are lined through.
And the names have names to come, after the two of you.
They run them through here like cattle, you think to yourself.
That he never loved you is the hardest lesson you will ever learn.
Your mother, who had always told you, “Come to me with anything,” is going to be no help. She simply tells you her French friend Selima had to have 14 of them, because of the Nazis.
Jim offers to marry you.
In the cold silence of your room, full of beige, full of books, with the money he had thrown down on the table, to pay for it, you stepped into the bathroom, while he slept and photographed yourself in your white Mexican wedding dress, with his Leica.
You had grasped at straws.
There was no way to call your father.
Your uncle was gone.
Your grandfather was tending to your grandmother, who had had a stroke after her son died, suddenly.
“Stand on your own two feet,” he said.
It’s that Christmas, it’s that day, when you know you have no choice.
There will be millions of girls that day, across the country.
Like the girl lying right next to you.
You didn’t die.
Maybe because you had to write a book, that would come many years later, so that no other girl would have to face this kind of thing, ever again.
I drove down to Los Angeles to meet the French sperm who was my father. He had hired detectives to find me at Santa Barbara High School. When I was 16. He said, or his current wife said through the door, “His therapist feels that you need to meet him, now.”
I stood in terror behind the door of our place on Carillo Hill, that day.
I thought maybe my real father, not the man I called Daddy, who was my father, to me anyway. (Since Mother made it so I could never call him) and I actually was that naive, to think that he might be able to give me some direction. I was two weeks late on my period. Student Health at UCSB arranged for me to take a urine test.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way.
I was the girl who had no father.
Not like my mother’s father.
I was also a girl that my mother had no time for.
She made me into her best friend.
So I never even had a chance at being a daughter.
She told my best friend, “The men are going to come for Adrienne.”
My best friend told me that years later, going through her second divorce.
He lived north of Wilshire.
I found him.
I made an appointment to arrive, the last trip I ever took down to Santa Monica in my Audi. I was just a girl of 22, needing help.
There was no man to turn to.
Years later, reading the poem I wrote in Edgar Bower’s class, it’s what I wrote after.
I handed it to him, and he laughed it off. That acid dropping, clown. He laughed at my writing, some stupid little college girl who was getting D’s and F’s Winter Quarter at UCSB. The girl who he came up to rape and keep on raping, time after time, day after day, with that poisoned cock he had, covered in vitiligo. The cock that only knew how to rape, not love. He was like a battering ram, with it. Once he said, “I want to see my cock come out of your throat.”
To this day I remember his favorite position.
I never let another man put me in that position ever again, when I had sex.
The girls at work, the younger ones were having babies, and I made a quilt for Bonnie in Classified, for her baby.
Mine was gone, and I sewed the quilt for hers.
I’ll never forget how happy she was to see it. It was polka dots with an eyelet edge, and I tied it instead of quilting with many colors of embroidery thread.
Rosie had taken me aside.
I told her I needed to take three days off and I was crying.
I loved Rosie.
I also loved her funny boyfriend too.
She told me, she had to have one too.
I don’t know how I survived.
There has been some purpose for me to have survived.
Perhaps it is to write it down.
Never let a man kill your heart and soul.
The clinic was near Cottage Hospital.
Jim, offered to marry me. Years later when we saw each other again, we discussed our lives.
I said, “What if we had married?”
I thanked him for the offer he had made me. His chivalry.
He will forever be in my mind as that.
Not all males are chivalrous.
I think males know other males very well, just as we know other women very well.
It’s in our genes,
I didn’t love Jim.
I was in love with the photographer.
I couldn’t have slept with Jim.
I couldn’t have asked Jim to take something on, that he wasn’t prepared to do.
He was still the cherubic blond baby of his mother’s.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way. The street where there is supposed to be true love.
I was the girl who believed everything men said to me.
He had said he wanted to plant his seed inside me.
He had lied.
“I don’t want you spoiling Christmas for your grandparents,” Mother said.
As far as she was concerned I had taken care of it.
On her deathbed, under the spell of morphine, I said, “You never saw yourself as a grandmother did you?” She said “No.”
My mother was of the generation that had Andy Warhol.
That Christmas in 1981 my little brother and I were to take the train to Cambria, so our family could have Christmas. You will never know how strong you have to be for your family, until it is needed. You will also never understand why you had to put on a happy face as if nothing bad had happened.
As the train rumbled up the coast, I couldn’t say anything to my brother about what I had just gone through. He was too young. To this day, I wish I had had an older brother. This is what the men at work would become for me. Like Big Brothers. That is what Alan was to me.
We think of storks as the things that come with babies like miracles wrapped in swaddling clothes. There are myths we live out. There are also fairytales.
I was the girl on Red Rose Way who walked under Storke’s bells.
Up in his tower, I sat the books that held the millions of words.
They were bound books, every newspaper that had ever run.
I climbed the stairs all the time to see them.
The panic attacks began in my mother’s car, as we drove home to Santa Barbara after that Christmas. A bee flew into her car, and at the time, I was afraid of bees, as I had been stung once, as a very young child. Suddenly I could not breathe. My hands curled into little blue claws as there was no oxygen, coming in. I wasn’t breathing.
He put me through that.
And he still kept driving up.
He kept on sending postcards as if he were making a piece of Performance Art, like Chris Burden.
That’s what he was doing.
He had no plans to give me up and I couldn’t breathe anymore. There was nothing left.
He had killed my heart.
Or so I thought.
Perhaps, my heart did not die, for it is the strongest organ that I have.
It is always with my heart that I have traveled this world.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way, and I was the girl who wore her heart on her sleeve.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way who thought she had met her second Prince Charming. The first one had not been.
I was the 22 year old they gave Xanax to. Harold was on it too.
Harold, the best boss in the world.
I walked between the Pacesetters, under his watch.
They were spitting out film.
They were spitting out thousands of letters, whole alphabets put together out of the people who were busily typing upstairs on the Third Floor, they had come down the pneumatic tubes, and been retyped and marked up in the Composing Room.
I was becoming a Journeyman Printer.
“Harold, I can trim the type.”
“No, you job is to bring the type to the hooks.”
“But I can do more than one thing, Harold.”
“No, you are doing your job.”
And so I had gone from being the girl that came from Fashion, through Classified Accounting, into a Switchboard Operator, to a Proofreader, and finally I was on my way to the Floor.
That’s how important all of us were.
That’s how hard we worked to make everything true and perfect, at the newspaper.
It had won the Pulitzer.
It had belonged to T. M. Storke.
Copyright 2021 Newspaperpeople by Adrienne Wilson – Nanowrimo 2021 – all rights reserved
The problem with letting somebody so close to your heart in the way you might at say 22, is that you don’t know what kinds of wounds they might be carrying. You don’t know if they plan to napalm your soul. Because they had seen it. The Napalm.
Don’t choose somebody older than you if you can help it, although the heart always makes its own path doesn’t it?
This is going to get worse the older you get because you might have to carry a body so filled with the wounds that men might have inflicted, or that women might have inflicted you no longer even know what you might be holding.
It’s a heart.
It’s a heart that once was young and bright and skipped or skipped stones.
A heart that rode bicycles that switched to cars later.
All hearts on earth, have paths.
It’s the path of the heart that you will remember most.
Choose the path filled with flowers.
Choose the path with the least tears.
Choose the path that makes you laugh.
“I always drop acid before I make any important decisions,“ he says, bouncing along the beach at Thousand Steps. Just below Red Rose Way.
That was the day I told him.
“Now what,” he said. “I’ll pay for it.”
A girl, sitting in a beige carpeted empty apartment will have her first lesson. It’s the most painful lesson she will ever learn.
She will have nowhere to turn.
It happened the week he had off.
“We can spend the whole week together,” he said. “She’s going to be in Washington, on business.”
The he had the nerve to treat you like his wife, cooking in your sandy little kitchen. What was it he made then?
You looked out to sea, and the poems began to form, as poems always form. One word after another. You never imagined you would be like Hemingway one day, looking back at hills like white elephants, in the snow capped frost of winter.
He destroyed you that year.
He thought he could take Christmas, but he didn’t.
Maybe he thought you’d just off yourself.
He must have been used to offing people.
The struggle to breathe overtakes you in the doctor’s office out at Student Health. They offer Xanax and teach you how to breathe into a brown paper bag, if the panic attacks start in again.
And the postcards kept coming, daily, and there wasn’t going to be anywhere you could turn, and you realize that even now, some girl is in your position trapped butterfly-like against a wall, with a guy who was just using her as if she was a cotton cloud.
It’s the magic of other hearts that will hold you.
Strangers at work, all smiles, walnut desks, flirtatious males. You weave in and out of a landscape made of words, letters strung together on chains, paper chains, presses rolling, clanks and thumps.
We were the biggest Romantics in the world, once.
We were the ones who didn’t have to go to war at nineteen.
You think that women will be just like you, don’t you?
“Take this fucking thing out,” he said, pulling the diaphragm from inside you. “It’s in my way.”
“Don’t” I said, hands trying to fend off what he was doing.
“I want to plant my seed inside you,” he said.
Over and over all that week.
The week he played house with you in your purple kimono, all curly and pretty and damp and he told you he didn’t love his wife anymore.
Maybe you should have taken it as a warning that day at LACMA, where he showed you Back Seat Dodge.
Years later your breath engulfs you.
You surface, no longer undersea.
The tail of a mermaid has grown, you carry a knife. Your knife is made of letters, thousands. and thousands of letters. Your power? They always have one for you, when you turn your eyes on them.
Then you will smile.
You can use the words to tell him how much you hated him.
Margaux, late 60’s the dayside proofreader. She slips sexily on cork wedgies through the room and you are only 22 when you start as the night proofreader. The other girl quit, and suddenly you are making $10.00 an hour in the Composing Room. It happened so fast that your salary doubled, because you were in a Union. They called them associations in those years. The men you had known as friends out in the tear stained lobby swept you into their world. There were other girls in there, and there were women upstairs who were reporters.
Suddenly it was fun to have all the art tools in your hands, again. You could see the men wearing them. Pica poles and rollers and exacto knives, triangles. It was going to be graphic art, and you had studied that. Font after font. You learned the names of those.
“Come on in here, Andreean,” Gabe says. Margaux will show you what you need to know. On your desk, her desk, there are dictionaries, there are books covering every word you will ever need to know, and there is the AP Stylebook. That’s how important it all was once. There are baskets on your desk. Margaux shows you the marks, and you learn these by heart. Margaux dresses like Flashdance, a tiny little bird, with wicked dancing eyes. She misses nothing in the room full of men. It’s fun for her, you notice.
This is where you will learn not to ever make a mistake.
Because it’s too important.
“Good catch,” the reporters say.
Especially when you, just a college girl, question phrases. Gabe is too important to ever let down.
You loved him as a boss, and you loved Harold. your other boss.
Gabe with a smile like the very best gelato.
Harold and his spiked Christmas punchbowls.
The typists cluck in their corner like hens, pecking the keys. Those are the women, and they are set into roles, most are mothers except one or two strays. Most everyone is married, except for one or two, or you. The difference is that only one of them has gone to college. All of them had gone immediately to work after High School, like you had, because that was all there was going to be for you, right?
Marriage, like a cotton cloud.
We all knew it.
We all wanted it, but just not quite yet.
The romantics were much younger in spirit than most.
That most of us might end up as DINKS was something we did not know yet.
It wasn’t what we had in mind, actually.
We wanted to fall in love. We wanted children.
There were millions of us.
Millions upon millions upon millions and millions.
Millions of our hearts shattered into glass splinters after 1973.
They used that as a back up for their mistakes. All the men who had no intention of being fathers. Men who used women just to get laid. That was that.
That’s all they wanted.
Millions and millions of American girls, hearts felled.
Hearts, the petalled hearts, falling, tears running red, rivers of red, streams of red, oceans of red.
To men we were just a joke,
Just a series of little dishrags.
Sharon was a farm girl, she dressed in chinos just like men. Her eyes were slits, hardened slits from the Valley. She had horses, there, maybe she still lived at home, for all I knew. The women were mean. Not the ones in Editorial, the women who worked int he bowels of the building, down with all the dirty, greasy, men. They took it out on each other, and I watched this with horror, coming from Fashion as I had.
I wonder what they must have thought of me?
Thierry Mugler Jellies.
Kenzo oversized shapeless forms, cueing zen.
Sex wasn’t going to be part of the game with me.
She hated me.
“College girl,” she sneered.
The first night I sat down to proofread.
The first night I made my marks.
The first night I consulted the AP Stylebook.
In the basket, every story in the world passed through.
You will never know the responsibility that all of us had.
My job was to read everything in the baskets, and then, after the typists had typeset the story, to read it again, so that the story was perfect. You did this by compare and contrast.
Line by line, letter by letter.
The terror of making a mistake.
The terror of letting Harold and Gabe down.
The terror of seeing that in print the following day, at the place that I called home, with all the people I worked next to.
Soon he wasn’t going to be able to call me anymore.
Still the postcards came.
“There will never be a last postcard.”
The way he did that one, was write one word on each image, so they came like this:
I never want you to be a girl that has to stand on her own two feet. I want you to find a really sweet boyfriend that is your age.
I want you to choose that shy boy, the one that has poems he knows how to write for you. I want you to choose that pimple covered boy in High School who is going to take you to the prom. I want you to be wearing his corsage. I want you to fumble around making out, but you won’t go all the way unless you have birth control. I want you to know that he loves you. I want you to have a baby.
I want to see you dancing on a cotton cloud, under the moon in all her sweeping starlit curves. When he kisses you, I want to see you surrounded by stardust. I want to see you in the ballgowns, the pretty dresses, with the pimple-faced poet beside you. The one who can hardly speak because he is so taken with everything about you.
Don’t let him go.
Newspaperpeople by Adrienne Wilson copyright November 5th, 2021 – all rights reserved NaNoWriMo 2021
It’s only through the hardest lessons of life that you can be shaped and formed into what you will become. Nobody knows that at 22. It’s all so fresh and fine and full and you are going to go to college because it will be the best time of your life. It’s something you can’t miss, and you must choose the right school. While I am at it, choose the Major you really love, because chances are, that one won’t be the job you get. If you declare the wrong major for you it will be an uphill battle to claim something like Studio Art, at work, especially if you work for a newspaper.
I was a girl who sat in an iron cage in a lobby of a building where things hummed at night because in other parts of the building people were getting the paper out. I think I worked something like 5 – 9 in those times, just part time, but I loved it there so much, after what Mr. Sykes and Mr. Plet had done for me? In retrospect, I should have gone to them with the problem I was having, as they would have known what to do, because he kept calling. Every night. Every day the postcards arrived at Red Rose Way, black and whites that jarred the memory of everywhere we had been in Los Angeles on those shoots we did. Behind my own lens I photographed him. It seemed a way of keeping him at bay, behind my lens. But the arrival every day of those made my heart glassine, like the strips we kept negatives in those years.
He did this to me, and I never want this to happen to you, because you will never get over it. Not ever. That’s how I met Alan and Harold.
I think they heard me crying in that little iron cage, because I did.
After he hung up.
My first relationship had ended for reasons that were different.
Getting out of this new one was going to be one of the hardest things I ever had to do, to break that bond. To this day I cannot stand to look at pictures of myself, because of what he did. Besides, as artists we like self-portraits best anyway.
How can I explain the minefield that men were going to be?
That’s what it was.
They rule the world, they always have and they always will.
You will meet good ones and bad ones.
You will meet cheap ones.
You will meet violent ones.
You will meet poetic types.
You will meet handsome ones.
You will meet ugly ones.
You will meet generous ones.
You will meet sexy ones.
You will meet shy ones.
You will feel sorry for some of them. You will learn that you are a temple and it’s very holy.
You will meet men who have no idea what making love actually is.
You will meet men who can’t last.
You will meet men who can’t get one anymore.
You will meet a whole generation of men who don’t actually want to be fathers.
Perhaps that is the saddest part of this tale.
I only met one with a soul so diseased that sometimes he looked like Satan to me.
I only met pure evil once.
I met some very evil men at that newspaper, but not in the earliest years, and not Alan and not Harold and not Jack and not Eddie and not any of the men in the Pressroom, or any of the Reporters.
Harold’s smile. His wit. His charm.
Alan’s cockiness, his English wit.
Those two must have thought to themselves, how come that girl is crying?
I can’t remember if I told them or not.
Every night it was as if they came to check on me like angels, like Mr. Plet and Mr. Sykes had been. In my darkest moments in that cage, when I did not know what to do, and Winter Quarter 1981 had started, and I, who had been the A student was suddenly getting D’s and F’s on everything, and when I would drive to school, I would think of crashing my card out on Ward Memorial just so I could end it, those two saved me. Just like Henry had.
Alan had the prettiest girlfriend. She was petite and blond and she made the best little Christmas cookies ever. They were mini cheesecakes made with vanilla wafers in the bottom of muffin cups. They had cherries on top. As pretty and delicate as she was. We had worked together in accounting, with Rosie.
Those were the days we were so very young, and we must have both been so very much in love. I know we were, but maybe we were too young to discuss our personal lives yet. That comes later, for women.
I didn’t know how to stop him.
It’s as if he was a secret.
I couldn’t talk to anyone about him, and that was my first mistake.
The panic attacks began with the postcards, and I had no idea what they were. I would get this terrible feeling as I was driving, kind of pins and needles in a way, and it would take over. I wasn’t breathing. The hyperventilation would start in as I was driving to class.
I was so frightened by these I had no idea what was going on.
Do you know what that bastard did to me?
He took away all my sense of control.
He had me pinned to a wall, in a cage I could not escape. The phone kept ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing and I had to answer it, because that was my job.
The postcards kept coming to Red Rose Way like affirmations of love.
It wasn’t love.
It was never love.
To begin to unpack my hatred of him for what he did to me is a secret I have had to hold for forty years.
He was responsible for my having the panic attacks.
There are two types of men in this world.
Good ones, and evil ones.
They will all try to bed you if you are beautiful. So, I decided to become like them.
I decided I would bed them.
I needed to erase him.
It’s a very long process when you are going to erase a man.
Especially one you were madly in love with.
Alan and Harold would come out to check on me, and shoot the breeze with jokes, and I loved them. I sat in that cage and pulled the biggest fanciest Selectric typewriter I could find, (these were all on rolling tables, then, everywhere in the building) because the building was built of words, thousands of words and thousands of fingers typing those words) over to my little cage and began to write my first papers for Arts & Letters, which was what I had declared.
Every day, I read the paper cover to cover.
It had everything in it.
It had stories.
It had the town in its palm, and I belonged to that.
I belonged to something so much bigger than myself. I had made new friends there.
He was going to recede.
I had my little electric typewriter at home. I was taking poetry.
I was learning to compose lines.
The phone never rang at night unless it had been raining and people were full of rage that they had a soggy paper. Otherwise it was him, standing on some cold corner in the city of Lost Angels in a filthy phone booth, dialing.
And I was typing.
I was a girl that lived on a street called Red Rose Way taking poetry from Edgar Bowers who lived in one of the little houses facing the sea at Miramar Beach.
There weren’t too many of us in class.
The girl sitting next to me, I shall never forget the first lines of something she did, a poem on marriage.
This is how she began: “It waited for me like a cotton cloud”
The poem was about a wedding cake, and as I recall she didn’t want that cake.
The again, all of us were only 22, and what did we exactly know about life at that age.
My bed was about to become a cotton cloud for the bodies of the men who wanted to bed me. I did favors for two of them. One a 19 year old who begged me to show him how. He was heading off to medical school that fall and he told me he wanted to know how so he could get a girlfriend. We worked together, there. He wrote me a love letter. I probably still have it around here somewhere, in all these pages and papers and boxes that say “a life was lived, here” that I just happen to have.
“Can I carry your books for you?” begged the TA who tried.
He liked that pretty flowery dress I designed.
He actually used to follow me, and pop up out of thin air.
You think that you know the lives of women if you are a man.
You started with your mother, and she was your template. Then, everyone you ever bedded. Maybe it was just one.
My heart locked itself behind doors made of corten steel.
After what he did to me.
When the sculptor ran after me down the street I turned to look into that rugged face. There was something about his weldings and colors and his pseudo Motherwells that I liked. I had Diebenkorn up on my wall, right next to Klimt’s “The Kiss.”
My generation. The generation who were the most Romantic people in the world, had their hearts broken.
Nearly all of us have had this.
Lucky, the few who escaped alive.
I never want you to be as dumb as I was at 22.
If you ever meet a person who is making you have panic attacks?
No matter what it takes.
Copyright November 4th, 2021 by Adrienne Wilson – all rights reserved
He only wanted one thing. To come up here and fuck me. So, that is what Jim wanted too, and thing is, that is how it was in the late 70’s and 80’s. An entire group of people in my generation got shortchanged on love. I think we all started as the most Romantic generation that ever lived. We were. You have to watch out for your heart, because believe me, you will fall in love.
Not having a father to guide me, or my best friend, or my friend Jim – this happened to millions of us, in the years our parents split up. For girls like that? You have no idea what is going to come next.
That was probably what made me into a man. I had to be as strong as one of them. I decided to act just like they did, which is the total opposite of being a Cinderella. For one thing? I was going to earn my own way, and I had a job. Although, on my job, I would find out later that some women used sex to get ahead. With their clothing. The thing is, I read Vogue, just like my mother did, by the time I was 22.
My clothes became my armor.
Our mothers were on The Pill, starting in the 1960’s.
We had options for birth control, because doctors prescribed them. You could have an IUD, The Pill, or you could choose a Diaphragm. That is what I chose. Student Health taught me that. Because before Student Health, I depended on men to know everything about sex. I also knew they could wear rubbers. I had only been with two men at 21.
“Take that thing out,” he said. “I don’t like the way it feels.”
“I don’t want to wear this thing,” he said. “I can’t feel you.”
If you knew how much I hate him as I write these words, you would not imagine me capable of that much hate. Nobody that knows me, anyway.
I’m not going to hate myself, or the millions of other women who knew a guy like this, because there are millions of guys like that. But not all guys are like that. We are capable of falling in love so hard when we do? That we listen to everything he says, and we do what he says, and so I do not want you to be a really dumb 22 year old. Because there are going to be lots of chances for you to fall in love with the kind of guy that really will love you. He’s out there.
“Stand on your own two feet,” he said.
Looking around at the cockroach filled apartment and my cat Alladin, trying to get to his can, with them streaming from the walls as they did? As I drove downtown yesterday to vote, I was on the street where that place is. Right downtown. Still there.
Thus began the period, when he drove up.
He had no intention of giving me up. None.
His camera was like a gun, a barrage of bullets every time he turned it on me.
“I just want to be with you,” he said.
He had a can of cockroach spray in his hands, when he arrived. I don’t care where we sleep, he said. I just want to be with you, be with you be with you be with you just throw down a pile of coats and we can do it. He was 36 to my 22. He was married, and he was the biggest liar I have ever had to live through. Ever, Ever. Ever. Ever.
He threw a bunch of coats down on the floor.
He started up with that kiss he had, and suddenly, I was back in his arms all over again.
But it was Henry who would save me. My boss at work. He was slight, and Hispanic, and he moved through the office with a dancer’s grace and power. Of course, at work, we weren’t exactly discussing our relationships at that time. Just a pool of office girls, working, sorting through piles and piles of paperwork, Pink pages like pink ruffles, pink pages like pink tears. We were in a man’s world and we knew it. Navigating those shoals? This will take you a lifetime of experience.
Henry was so kind to me. Because he was something like head of all the advertising billing, and the people who owned that slum had a store on State Street, and I told him I had spent my last dime on the first and last and a deposit, that they weren’t going to refund, he simply made one phone call. “You’ll never advertise with us again,” he must have said. Something like that. He was like the dancers at Fiesta, the Flamenco dancers, when he moved. We saw them every year in the Plaza.
“What am I going to do Henry?”
“We’ll get your money back, “ he said. “You need to call Roommate Referrals up across from Danica House. They are in that big Craftsman and we run their ads.”
That money came back so fast my head spun. In fact it was delivered in the form of a cashier’s check to my desk at work.
Men can be really good guys. Henry was. That was the power of the place. Men with power had begun it, and men with power worked there, and in the beginning they were good men. They were some of the greatest men I have ever met in my whole life.
He had pushed me down onto the filthy floor of a place filled with cockroaches and called that “making love.”
I’m letting you know, because, I don’t want that to ever happen to you ever. Not ever.
Two hundred billion roses will not make up for what he did to me.
That is how I came to live on Red Rose Way in a beachy apartment with a girl who was older than me. Maybe she was 31. Together we could rent it. She was blonde and petite and she had just broken up with a guy in the harbor. She moved in with one suitcase, full of clothes that were like costumes. She was a legal secretary. Neither of us had beds.
In fact, neither of us had anything to furnish that place with. I had books, my books, and a blender, and a wooden spoon, and my record player so we had music. I got that at Creative Stereo. Morning Glory Music is where we all went to buy records. I bought a first measuring cup at Thrifty’s, and some towels for the bathroom. I had lots of clothes, though. I loved clothes. With my paycheck from the paper, I was able to pay the rent and fill the place with food. I could feed Alladin. When my first student aid came, in the form of a small grant and a largeish student loan, but not that large because, really at the end of UCSB, I was only about $10,000 in debt. Because of my job I could afford to eat in the UCEN which had really great food, and I was going to be walking under TM Storke’s massive bell tower, very soon.
My roommate was like this chameleon. All she did was go on dates with guys and she had a costume change for every single one of them. I was full of hope in those years, about what was going to lie ahead for me. UCSB is huge now, like a gigantic city. Back then it was huge as well, so giant that to get around people had to have bikes. Or run to get to class.
Once he said, “I want to go to class with you,” and he drove up and sat in the lecture hall, as if he were a student again. Like me.
It was going to be impossible to make the postcards stop. They came every single day to Red Rose Way, and for years I would not drive down that street here in town, because of what happened. What happened is one of the most painful secrets of my life. As you get older you realize that everyone has painful things happen to them. And this is what you will learn. Other people are your angels, because good always wins. It always does. Henry was one of those angels, for me.
In my earliest years at the paper I was surrounded by nothing but gentlemen, and all of them never trespassed any boundaries. They were kind, like Gabe, who would eventually be my boss. But first I had to face Mr. Plat and Mr. Sykes and tell them I was going to have to quit because it was Winter Quarter and I had to go to school. On the day I did that, they said, “We can’t lose you.” It was that simple. “I think we have the perfect position for you they said. “Night Switchboard Operator.”
“You’re going to be able to go to school, that way,” they said.
And that is how I went from being an adding machine style girl, to a telephone answering style girl, almost overnight, it seemed.
I was a girl who lived on Red Rose Way, and I sat in an iron cage, in a deserted lobby four hours a day.
I was a girl who was going to go to UCSB.
I couldn’t ask my mother or my father for help.
I couldn’t ask my grandparents.
I had to learn to stand on my own two feet.
I think the first thing I bought for the place was a can of paint at Standard Brands. It was sandy beige, and it was going to make that kitchen look like a beach. I bought some grass mats that looked beachy and covered over the flocked 60’s kitchen wallpaper by taking that up. Then I painted all those empty cabinets golden beige, just like the sand I loved down at Thousand Steps. I think I got a couple of pans at Thrifty too, or I went junking for some, at the Alpha. In the living room I had a pine mirror, my mother gave me, and a marble topped sewing machine base. I didn’t have much time to sew things anymore, not with school starting. My roommate never bought a thing for that apartment, isn’t that funny? Most of the time I was eating out just like my mother had brought me up in restaurants here in town, so lots of the food, was tossed.
I’ll never forget my roommate digging through the trash, for things, telling me, “This is still good.”
No it wasn’t.
We were white wine girls at 22.
I was Mouton Cadet.
copyright Adrienne Wilson, November 3, 2021 – all rights reserved
On the phone you cried to Jim, over and over about what a mistake you had made. He was a friend, leftover from what was the dawn of adulthood. He had rescued you once before, the night after your first relationship ended, and you had come home.
Pam lived with Carlos at his mother’s house down on Bath, she was in love so madly those years, with his Aztec everything. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other in that little living room and she had told you you could spend the night there. It never crossed your mind that that wouldn’t be possible, but after the double date, you looked over at Jim and he said, “I’ve got a place we can go.”
That night I took a chance.
We slept together, two 21 year olds, in an empty apartment where he had been crashing with Jeffy. Two party boys, on the cusp of growing up. The condo was totally empty, only a mattress on the floor. I can’t remember the bedding, just that there was sea of red carpet, and the two of us fell into each other’s arms that night. Students.
Jeffy bounced in – that morning after. He was a Montecito party boy, Jim’s best friend. So was Carlos.
“Hey you two,” he bounced. All the spiral curls he had. I pulled the sheets up over my head. I was the girl who was adult before my time. My first boyfriend was a grown man. Jim was safe. It was because of the second boyfriend that I called him again. We’d been talking ever since we both started college, he at UCSB, and I Santa Monica College. I was embarrassed that morning with Jeffy. I was the kind of girl who only liked one man at a time. I’m still that way.
Friends are people who stay friends across years falling in and out of touch. The next day, he taught me to drive a stick, in that glamorous green Triumph he drove, down in the parking lots by the harbor. When I think of that smiling blond face, even across years, I see us then, just starting off. Just kids, just two fatherless kids trying to navigate our futures.
“Let’s go out for breakfast,” he said.
“Get out of here,” he said to Jeffy.
Jim’s mother was a real estate agent, and her husband was gone. Her squat ranch on the Mesa had to house all her kids, four of them, and they were all leaving for their own lives. She rented out rooms to college kids, and Jim said, “You can live up here and go to UCSB, with me.”
I handed his mother a check for $300.
I was leaving Los Angeles, I was leaving all my teachers, I was leaving him. That man I was in love with. My married Art teacher. The one who handed the roses off to me, nearly daily. I was accepted into UCSB. I told my mother. And then I was going. I was leaving into the unknown future that awaited me back in the town where I grew up. I had friends there, like Jim and Pam and Carlos, and by then I knew Stevie B, and I knew it was going to be fun, and I was going to be a grown up at last. I was smart enough to know I had to leave that relationship.
I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next though.
“Mark and I will move you up. Start packing,” Jim said.
What did I actually have then?
Very little. I was living in my mother’s house.
Mark was Jim’s mechanic. He only worked on English cars, like Jim’s. The day I left Los Angeles for good, the day they were putting my very few adult-to-be girlboxes in the back of Mark’s Land Rover, I put my cat Alladin in the car in his little cage, on top of my clothes. I had him, my little rescue Persian, with the watery magnificent eyes. So, I had the most important thing. Something to love, who could love me back with his purrs, and moods. Perhaps I have always been a rescuer of sorts. Maybe that is what my life has been about. All I can tell you now is to be very careful if you plan to rescue people. The rescuer always becomes a victim. I guess I had to learn that the hard way, and I don’t want it to happen to you.
My Art teacher walked by us that day. He dropped a long stemmed red rose into one of the boxes, as he passed.
I saw the flash of his brown leather jacket go by, down Barrington. I ran after him to say goodbye.
“Is that the guy?” Jim said, frowning.
I had tears in my eyes. You are only going to actually fall in love a few times in life. I say this now, so you won’t make mistakes like I did. Years later I remember the day I told him I was leaving. He photographed me, my eyes full of tears, hands full of all his dried roses.
Then we were gone. Jim and Mark and I, heading north, only about 100 miles, but the safety I felt. I had escaped with the help of a chivalrous friend. I had left all of my friends, all of my teachers, and even my mother in the swirling eddy that is the city of Los Angeles. I had also left my job and I was about to get a new one. The first thing I did was apply for a job at the paper, I did that the very next morning. For my generation, jobs were our identities, and so was going to college.
I met Jim’s mother that night, in all her billowing Aussie caftan. She was large and harsh and in the middle of a hard part of her life as a single parent. Jim was her baby, the last of her children, daughters already married or moved on.
“You can use this shelf for your food,” she said. Her arms sweeping the air. “I know girls like you. Your hair is going to clog up all my plumbing.”
“I’ll try not to,” I said.
I went to my room, and I called my mother.
How many times will you need to call your mother? Millions.
I did. That night, when Jim knocked at my door, I knew I had to go. He expected that he had a built in girlfriend, under his mother’s roof. We had already slept together once, hadn’t we? We had been telephone friends since that year of 21, only. Maybe, because for men it is different, when it comes to sex, he thought, well I saved her didn’t I?
But that isn’t how it goes for girls. We fall in love so hard, or at least I did, that when I was in love there is only that man. It would have been impossible that night. I was too sad. I don’t think I was ever that lonely for someone in my life. Because he was an artist and so was I. Modotti and Weston. Steiglitz and O’Keefe. By then, I had my own Nikon. I bought it myself.
I was so in love that all I could think about was him.
But I couldn’t call him.
That was one of the rules.
Never call his house.
He called me from pay phones in little booths all over Los Angeles.
This was going to get worse after I had my job, because I gave him my number there.
Four dozen long stemmed roses arrived at Jim’s mother’s house. She thought they were for her. The first of the postcards was attached.
“He thought of her.”
I decided to move that night.
I could not let Jim in.
I probably cried all night that night holding Alladin.
What had I done?
I was so in love with that man it is hard to write it even now.
Because we were artists.
The bond of love with someone is very hard to break. Very hard.
My best friend Pam was in love and living with Carlos at his mother’s. She intended it to last. Jim was single. He was in his sowing wild oats phase, so young just 22. I was in love with a married Art teacher and he was 100 miles south of me, and I looked up into the night stars, hunting for the moon in any slim curve she might take. The scent of Jim’s mothers Hawaiian Ginger wafted in from the garden behind her tract house by the sea. I held Alladin in my arms, tightly after getting off the phone, and I told Jim, “No.”
I had a job!
“Mom, I got a job, “ I said. My first week back home and I had a new job. In the biggest place in town. The most imposing place in town, and I was going to be walking under Storke Tower. I was going to start UCSB Winter Quarter 1981. I had transferred up, and I was going to one of the finest Universities in California.
I had the simplest job in mind, so I had applied for Cashier. In the lobby full of Walnut desks, the sea of faces who greeted me, smiling.
“You have too much experience to be only a cashier, “ said Mr. Plet.
“We want you in Classified Accounting.”
That’s how I met Rosie and Cathy and Toni, and all the other girls who had desks in offices in 1981, and maybe by then we had all been in love for the first time and all of us had jobs.
Rosie smiled at me and led me to my desk, which was huge and antique, in the way all the desks were. Imposing, as was the paper itself. I was taken on a tour to see all the different departments and I was a very small cog in a very large wheel that kept tabs on everything. I knew how to use an adding machine, from my job in Fashion. Rosie told me about the five girls who had had the job before and they had all walked out. I was determined not to fail them, so I sat down to a mountain of pink pages. The billing hadn’t been done for something like five months. It took me several weeks to catch it all up, working nine to five, and all of us had weekends off. I have never met so much kindness on the job as I met in all those people in the sea of faces at the newspaper. They saved my life, once. How can I ever thank them for those years, of Mr. Plet and Mr. Sykes and the way they helped a young college girl begin at UCSB? How can I ever thank what was once the throbbing heartbeat of a town?
*author note – copyright Adrienne Wilson November 22, 2021 all rights reserved
ps: thank you Matt of WP and Nanowrimo for making the two best places for writers ever.
Be careful with the sugar shell that is your heart, for you will find the world can be full of evil. I did. I was a girl who lived on Red Rose Way, once upon a time. I was a girl who believed in Cinderella and that men would love me, as if they were Prince Charming.
The first man that breaks your heart will be the worst, for you will never be able to love again. Not the way you love in your twenties. I would rather not see you make the mistakes that I did, because I don’t want you to have to carry the thorns. I suppose that was my father. Or what was supposed to be my father. Instead there was only a blank that ended at thirteen, when my mother said, “I’m stronger than any man, and I am both mother and father to you.”
Maybe she had to say that, as women have to say many things to their daughters. He broke my heart, that is all I can say. He cracked the sugar shell into a thousand tiny pieces and she wasn’t even watching me by then, in the way that mothers have to let their daughters go.
I wanted to study art as I had always studied it, all my young life, in college. I thought that my life would be about making art, as growing up all my mother’s friends did that. My Dad did that, and my Uncle did that, as men are free to do whatever they want, most of the time. How light their lives are, compared to ours.
You open to them in a series of petals that they plunge into.
Choose the right one.
Choose the one who actually does love you.
It’s not easy to be a Muse.
He called it Documentary Photography.
I called it love with a capital L, only it wasn’t love. He was married. I didn’t know that at first. I didn’t know I would be an amusement he planned on using, not just to make some art. He thought I was beautiful, and so he hatched a plan.
On a low stone wall I sat fiddling with a camera my Uncle had left me, a Russian Leica from the years he was abroad on his films. It was all I had left of him, in the years after he passed. People took stills then, all the time. Daddy took them, my grandfather took them, my uncle took them and you learn to trust the lens with men that you love. He didn’t take pictures that way. He took them like secrets, like snares.
If only my father had known. That’s what I thought then. Didn’t he care about me either? He was the biggest pornographer in Hollywood at that time. Way past the era he made surfing films.
It was 1980 in Los Angeles, at Santa Monica College.
“Let me see that camera,” my teacher said. He had plopped himself down next to me on the low wall where I was trying to load Tri-X. He was tall, and too thin, and his clothes were stupid, like a square’s. He wasn’t even handsome. He had intentions. He wanted to grab a girl. He did this from a position of power, because he controlled her grades. That is how things worked then. Have we always been lesser than? Or is that what they think, trying to scale the walls Romeo once did. The solid stone, the slipping steps, a girl high on a balcony, looking down. Maybe it was like that. It isn’t something I will ever understand or know.
I wasn’t an object. I was an Artist. I was there to study Art.
I should have known when he took a 16 x 20 of the class and gave it to me. On the back he wrote everyone’s student number, and on me, he wrote my name. Girls on Film. I was an object, or maybe a subject, to a half rate teacher. It’s not like he was Ivy League.
Maybe I was just younger. Too young to understand him. Some girl who was fresh, some girl who was pretty. Some girl he didn’t really care about. Some girl he planned on fucking. As I say it, I want to tear his heart out. I want to cut his heart into shreds with my pen for you, so that this will never happen to another girl.
Maybe there are many who I want to tear to shreds. For they did that to me.
I walked in their worlds. The world of men. All of us did, in 1980. There were so many dreams for all of us, then. Our mother’s had them. That we wouldn’t have their lives. Our mothers never wanted us to have their lives. Perhaps they ruined ours, because of who they married. I never got to ask my mother things like that. How can it be possible for any mother to let her daughter go? When she already knows what might happen.
She was the only place you could always call, in tears.
She was always the place you could come home.
You had to look at her from a distance, not knowing.
There must have been thousands of kisses, thousands of kisses on film as he set it up. I reach back into corridors of memory to a forgotten style, a forgotten touch, a forgotten start that had seemed gentle. Not the battering ram he became.
Roses mean true love.
That’s what we were taught.
Poets compared us to them all the time.
His roses would become my downfall.
The petals became my tears.
It was months before we went to bed together, in a cheap squalid little hotel in the middle of Los Angeles called “TheBack Motel” and I remember the large purple dahlia I saw growing by the door to the room. He must have been thrilled at what he had done. He had gotten the girl.
By then I knew he was married and miserable, at least that’s how he framed it. I had already been in love once, and it hadn’t lasted. He was my second.
I would never fall so hard again in my life.
My heart hardened into a steel door.
I ran away from the city of Lost Angels, where everyone dies a slow death under the sun which weeps, daily. Friends brought me home into the clean light by the sea. My old friend Jim, who in High School had given me a rose once. Long stemmed, a red bud. He and his friend Mark packed me up one day, after I cried to him that I needed to end it, that I need to come home.
“My mom rents out rooms,” he said. “You can go to UCSB.”
I thought that would solve things, and it would be childhood’s exit. It’s just that I wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
I was in love.
I was in love and I was leaving that love. Behind.
Jim didn’t get to have his father either. None of us did. They pulled massive acts of disappearance, they slipped away unnoticed into the night. All the marriages shattered themselves into tight shards of bitter glass in our childhoods. We became the fatherless kind, and our mothers hated men.
I hope that doesn’t happen to you.
Dad was probably screwing young actresses my age. The ones from Blue Movies he was making a fortune off of. It’s so hard to even talk about it I want to turn the page.
I missed everything after age thirteen. I missed being able to have Father’s Day. I missed Dad getting me a first corsage. Mother decided I should never see him again. It was worse for my little brother. It was worse for my best friend. It was worse for Jim, who was still a baby, wanting to marry me. At that time I thought men my age were babies. We were all just babies learning to navigate as adults.
Never give the flower of True Love to a woman you don’t intend to love.
Never give a rose to a woman if you don’t mean it.
If you don’t mean it, you will break her heart. If you break her heart into a thousand pieces she will never be able to love again. Neither will you.
In August of 1981, I came home to the little town by the sea where I grew up. I got a job at the biggest place in town, a place filled to the brim with Newspaperpeople. Maybe some of them saved my life. At least I had a job. I was like my mother that way. I wasn’t going to have to depend upon a man to leave me crumbs. Maybe that is who all of us were, then. The women of the Second Wave. We knew that we would be going to work, and we knew that we were going to go to school, and we knew we wanted marriage and a family. It’s just that, none of us knew how hard all of that was going to be.
I can tell you I was in love with the man who brought me roses and photographed me endlessly. Maybe he saw me like a model, or maybe he was just documenting his life as an artist. Maybe he saw me like a Muse in a time that he hated his wife, or was bored with his wife, and he needed something clean and fresh like petals in a many petalled heart. Maybe I was a fantasy he knew he could never actually have. Maybe I was somebody he just wanted to fuck. He used to tell me I was Tina Modotti to his Edward Weston, a thousand frames an hour, as he spun around me with that camera, snapping. Maybe I was his jump and leap like a fish out of water from some small Indiana town who had made it out to Los Angeles after Vietnam, barely intact, out of the Haight where on some kind of Military scholarship he got to get an MFA. At the San Francisco Institute of the Arts. Little did he know, I had intended Cal Art for myself, at fourteen. I thought I wanted that then.
Maybe I was just another Cinderella, in his long line of those.
I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way, once upon a time.
I was the reddest bloom he would ever pluck.
I was the girl who took all his cheap tinfoil wrapped roses stolen one by one, from is own married garden, and those petals were my tears.
Copyright November 2021, Adrienne Wilson all rights reserved
*author note – I always write to music and so the pieces I chose, today were these
Girls on Film, Once in a Lifetime, Pictures of You, What I Like About You – those were all songs on the radio 1980’s. – where the novel starts. It covers 20 years of working at a newspaper. I was at UCSB when I started working for one. WC = 1855 but I pasted the music links into my Bean Version. So – over 1667 forst day and it feels fantastic. Been awhile since I have had the Muse hit. ❤
So I am looking at this memoir, as a small slice of time, and inciting incident. I was really a stupid girl in 1980. I was in college at Santa Monica College as an Art Student. My art teacher wanted me for a muse, and then he got me. There is only one problem. It was one of the #MeToo horror stories. For what he did. So I was looking at a link yesterday, and since I am so many years away from this experience, now, and can write this book – the inciting incident is used to explain how one survives a breakup.
At UCSB Edgar Bowers was my poetry teacher. I wrote a lot of poetry around this relationship, and I don’t think I still have many of those, especially one that was my favorite called “Hyacinth Gaze” — but, they were all poems because I was deeply in love, at 22. I’ll be writing the novel live, into WP. So, I am going to use the Spotify Anchor deal to record! As in like yay and thank you to WordPress and Spotify. Come to think if it, there are many poems in my old blog Valentine Bonnaire I can record along with lots of Depth and Ecopsychology things I wrote over there, but anyway, two more poems from the time I was in a terrible relationship in my twenties. The kind that scars your heart very deeply. Sears the soul actually. So that link is here: https://valentinebonnaire.com/2015/05/10/pieces-of-silver/ for the poems I will read today.
Being in Ravelry, where you can find me as Adrienne101.
The Bella is my first design and you can download it free there for a time.
Going to provide support here on my blog for those who might want to make it and thinking about making a place in FB as well.
You can find me at this link, I am going to be doing some pattern design. You can also get the PDF, for the pattern. I’m working with gorgeous yarns from Scheepjes in both the Catona and Stonewashed ranges. The colors are so stunning, and making it up has been a dream, on a 3mm. It’s very lacy and charming. My first mock-up was in berry shades and the second is called “Aegean” so you can see how it works up.
copyright 2009 by Adrienne D. Wilson, all rights reserved
Screenplay by Adrienne D. Wilson
copyright 2020 WordPress.com all rights reserved
for Walter Halsey Davis
of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference
from a little trailer I made as Valentine Bonnaire in 2012 in youtube…..
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. Bright SUN, MORNING
DEVLIN is squatting on a sand due (Padaro Lane location) DUNES watching as TEENIE leaves the HUT.
I wonder what she did in there
Devlin walks casually toward the hut, playing the harmonica Grandpa Jess gave him. A gull, flying. Devlin spots a dead gull on the beach, plastic wrapped around it’s neck. It’s dead. He begins to bury it.
Too much plastic in the sea, it’s not good for you
A gull perches on top of the driftwood hut, flapping its wings. Devlin enters the hut and sees what Teenie left for him, under three stacked stones.
copyright 2009 by Adrienne D. Wilson, all rights reserved
Screenplay by Adrienne D. Wilson
copyright 2020 WordPress.com all rights reserved
for Walter Halsey Davis
of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BEACH MORNING PEARLED LIGHT
Teenie leaves Devlin a note, under three beach stones, she has walked beach, dreamlike, to gather them. Close in on her drawing him a heart surrounded by clouds, with “Who are you?” then a seal’s head pops up from the waves as she walks away, smiling.
EXT. MR. HONEYGARTEN’S HOUSE. BRIGHT SUN, DAY
Teenie parks her bike by the old fence. MELLOMAN his dog is so happy to see her, clowns at fence, wagging and jumping. Birdsounds, Bluejay with peanut, landing.
Mr. Honeygarten are you there?
Just a minute, dear, let me get my staff. Well, hello Teenie dear how very nice to see you again
Mr. Honeygarten, I was wondering if I might be able to have some of those apples on your trees. I want to make a pie
Mr. Honeygarten smiles dearly at Teenie and begins to pick some flowers for her. Close in on his aged face, smiling eyes and warm smile, as Teenie pets Melloman.
You do? I see. Well suppose you help me pick them, and of course you can. I seem to have plenty to spare this year.
I want to share it with you Mr. Honeygarten
Oh my, I haven’t had an apple pie for a very long time
Neither have I, not since Dad left
You must miss him very much Teenie
I do. Every single day.
(old hips aching, puzzles)
Well let me see, we’ll need a basket and the ladder. How about if you go around to the garden shed and collect those for us and I’ll meet you by the trees.
Melloman and Teenie meander through English garden style flowers to the old shed, Honeygarten limps with staff toward the trees- lilting music, uplift close in on her hands picking apples, while he watches, Mellowman by his side
MONTAGE FLASHBACK – ESTABLISHING
Close in on a FOR SALE sign, Teenie’s parents working for a newspaper, bustling business – The Village Crier. Teenie’s parents at work, secretary and reporter. Out of business signs along streets. Teenie’s old house FOR SALE SIGN. Teenie in beautiful bedroom, packing, overhears her parents
INT. NIGHT, TEENIE’S BEDROOM
They closed it, everything. Lock, stock and barrel.
Walter Halsey Davis taught me about sound in film. Let me play this one for you.
HEART OF CLOUDS
by Adrienne D. Wilson
copyright 2009 by Adrienne D. Wilson, all rights reserved
Screenplay by Adrienne D. Wilson
copyright 2020 WordPress.com all rights reserved
for Walter Halsey Davis
of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference
INT. BATHROOM. MORNING
Teenie stands in the bathroom in pajamas, brushing her teeth. It’s as if it is the first time she has really seen herself. Focus on her hair, trying a bun, a ponytail. Lipgloss.
(walks by catches her daughter at mirror, being girlish, sternly)
Pretty is as pretty does, Teenie. Don’t be vain.
(in silence looks at her mother’s face)
Close in on Teenie’s hands at her closet, choosing her favorite jeans and sweater, slipping her journal and pen into the pocket. At door, leaving, close in on her face
Bye, Mom. I’ll be back with the apples and then we can do the pie.
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. TEENIE MORNING BEACH, PEARLED LIGHT
Teenie rides her bike through the village on the way down to the beach to get back to the driftwood hut.
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BEACH, PEARLED LIGHT
Teenie falls to knees at the sight of her origami bird in the shell, looks around quizzically to see if someone else is there, suddenly she sees Devlin standing on the top of the dunes. Wind ruffles in his sandy blond hair. He bolts, she realizes he left the shell for her.
He must have done this. He must have left this here for me.
novel copyright 2009 Adrienne D. Wilson all rights reserved
Screenplay copyright 2020 WordPress by Adrienne D. Wilson all rights reserved
INT. GRANDPA AND GRANDMA JESS KITCHEN. EARLY EVENING, GOLDEN LIGHT
The kitchen, in the old brown shingled Craftsman exudes a glow. The warmth and beauty of GRANDPA JESS (70’s) and GRANDMA JESS (70’s) beams like light rays. They are an old fashioned California couple who grew up together and married early, in the 1960’s. The kitchen walls are hung with old cast iron pans and copper cooking pots, there is whimsy, and homey charm, houseplants. Dinnertime, and Grandma is cooking, Devlin’s favorite meal, in simple style. Though they are both worried for the boy, they don’t show it. He is enfolded in their loving arms. They are his father’s parents.
(lounging on a comfy overstuffed sofa, inhaling the scents of the dinner, as his wife cooks, he watches her, smiling eyes)
What did you do today son?
Worked on the hut
How’s it coming along?
Your father called, he wondered how you were getting along
Tell him I’m fine
Are you Devlin?
Devlin busies himself helping his grandmother set the table, and tasting the baked beans and cornbread.
I miss my mom
I know you do, son
Grandpa Jess reaches behind the sofa and pulls out an old ukulele he had hidden, starts to strum, then hands it to Devlin
You played this?
I think that’s how I won your grandmother’s heart. That or my old harmonica.
(rich sounds of her warm laughter fill the room)
I really don’t think you need to give that boy any ideas, Jess
(practices playing both instruments, smiles)
(pulls out a special cake made just for Devlin)
Practice makes perfect, and we all know that – the two of you ought to come have supper now.
Sighs, smiling as he looks at the cake
No reason every day can’t be a celebration, Devlin
A simple pine coffin, with flowers. DEVLIN and his FATHER standing near it, his arm is around the boy, who stands in silence. Mute. Close in on father’s face, we see the streaks of tears. His father is a big city architect, now he is lost at the death of his wife. Devlin is to be sent to his grandparents in California. GRANDPA JESS and GRANDMA.
INT. DAY. AIRPLANE DEVLIN’S FLIGHT
DEVLIN is taking a plane alone. We see him in profile at a window seat, as the land moves away underneath him, giving way to the land below as it recedes, until clouds.
EXT. BEACH – DEVLIN – DRIFTWOOD HUT
Devlin has found an abalone shell to leave for Teenie, He scoops some sand at the rear of the structure and carefully places her little orgami bird inside it. Late afternoon in golden light.
EXT. VILLAGE – TEENIE – MR. HONEYGARTEN’S HOUSE (establishing)
Teenie walks home, and passes MR. HONEYGARTEN’S (90) old Victorian house, with a tangle of brambles and old roses along the picket fence. All his apple trees are laden with fruit, sound of birdsongs, in golden afternoon light.
INT. TEENIE’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM
Teenie enters the grey light atmosphere, her mother Christina has not moved from the couch, TV droning on with the news. She wants to try and cheer her mother up.
Mom, remember that pie I made one time?
Can I make another one someday?
MR. HONEYGARTEN’S garden has all kinds of apples, Mom. Maybe I could help him pick some?
Okay, but you be careful if you go up on the ladder
I could ask him Mom, tomorrow. We could share the pie with him.
My character TEENIE in Heart of Clouds – this is a twinned hero journey, of Boy and Girl – you will see how she emerges as strong, and so does he. One of the things I wrote about was climate change, in terms of the ice melting. That is what THE WAVE is. So, the children such as Greta all over the world need to see HOPE. They absorb from the adults around them. The feelings and so forth. So on we go. I may put that page thing to take a donation, just not sure how. I am posting the images that are the actual pages in my book as I do the rewrite. So, I show the mother as antagonist. She was my hardest character to write, but, we will soon see her. Like all people, we face things in life, not just in childhood, but all our lives, as we look back across our lives we can see how we coped, this gives us empathy for others.
Your feedback as comments right here in my blog means everything to me. That you also would understand these characters, and the themes.
Copyright WordPress September 2020 by Adrienne Wilson, all rights reserved.
SCENE THREE – INT. MORNING. LIVING ROOM – TEENIE’S HOUSE
In gray light, grey and drab, the living room is quiet. Teenie’s mother CHRISTINA is sitting wrapped in grey light, drab old comforters watching TV. The news drones on about the melting Icecaps at the North and South poles, we close in on the footage. Close up to her mothers face, expressionless, somber. Her father is gone. They do not speak. Teenie silently lets herself out. On the side table by the couch are pill bottles, for depression. A sense of complete hopelessness.
SCENE FOUR – EXT. MORNING. DRIFTWOOD HUT – BEACH
Teenie approaches the Driftwood structure as if it is a marvel. No one is on the beach. She throws herself inside it, finding it has been grace. Close-up on her face, as she watches the sea, then tears.
(sadly watching the sea, whispers)
Maybe I could just live here forever. Maybe whoever built it wouldn’t mind.
Teenie watches the sea and a line of brown pelicans appear. She reaches for the book and pen her father gave her, and begins to draw. Suddenly a heart appears in the sky as a cloud.
(drawing a cloud, shaped like a heart in her book, tears the page out and folds it into an Origami bird, tucks it in the rafters of the driftwood hut)
I love you, Dad
EXT. MORNING BEACH. CLIFFS. DRIFTWOOD HUT
High on a cliff stands a boy 14. DEVLIN UNDERWOOD. He has been watching a girl cry, in the driftwood hut he has been building, close in on his face, puzzling why she is there. He watches as she tucks something in the rafters of his structure, watches as she exits down the beach. Devlin makes for his seahut, to see what she has done. He finds her note and puzzles at the bird shape but doesn’t open it. We see him climbing in and out of tidepools on the hunt to leave something of the sea for her. An abalone shell.
I wouldn’t know where to begin to talk about my happiness with this company, and I have lots of reasons for that. Number one for me is that they make yarns with natural fibres, added.
Yarn has changed a great deal since I was a little girl who could walk into a yarn store and get some. Many of the brands I used to love are gone. They no longer exist, and these yarns are for the European and British markets.
I had seen Janie’s designs a few years ago, and I found them in the youtubes. By accident!
Well let me show you what I have been making. It’s called Fruit Garden CAL!
I am madly in love with this yarn!
I am also madly in love with her designs, and this is where it begins. I had sort of seen these things called CALS in the youtubes, but then I went to the yarn company itself and I saw what Janie had designed. The first thing I saw of hers was Frida’s Flowers. I did not know we could get the sorts of cottons they make over in England and other places. Well, let me show you how I began on Frida. I had the wrong quality in the cotton! Still though, I was a determined American. I rushed out so fast to try and get some cotton yarn you would not believe it. To a big box store, because that is pretty much all we have. Over a two year period, I practiced with it. It takes me a few tries, you know?
Had I known there was a Stylecraft?
Well now I do.
I cannot tell you how much I love the Stylecraft DK “Life” series. I would choose that over anything, right now. The hand on this yarn in a project is superb.
What I love is the Batik series. I am not kidding. Wow.
This yarn has been such an inspiration to me I am going to design things with it.
This is how much I wanted to make Frida’s Flowers the minute I saw it. Frida Khalo!
I love the stunning bright flowers she designed, and it is the spirit of Frida in that design.
So let me show you what I was trying two years ago.
I think I did pretty well, but I didn’t have THE COLORS! Nor did I know there was a yarn kit?
That’s how badly I wanted to make it over a two year period. I’m serious.
Well, guess what?
This was box two from the Stylecraft ranges.
I guess you could say, never use the wrong yarn unless for practice?
I have the right yarn now, from the right company, and the color ranges are superb.
I’m currently testing it, for another CAL, and this is how it works up on a 4mm hook.
As a member of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I expected the book to go through traditional channels in publishing, for instance a Literary Agent, but since that did not happen, the rewrite as a screenplay is in the live web. If you are interested, leave me a comment here. The book was just over 50,000 words, and won in NanoWrimo that year. It was a first novel.
The cover is an image of mine, a scene of clouds from Summerland Beach.
HEART OF CLOUDS – SCREENPLAY
by Adrienne D. Wilson
for Walter Halsey Davis
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
————————— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
LOGLINE: “Love, it’s the only thing that really matters.”
CAST OF CHARACTERS
TEENIE ALEXANDER – a girl of thirteen (seen as a child, then as adult)
DEVLIN UNDERWOOD – a boy of fourteen (seen as a child, then as an adult)
MR. HONEYGARTEN – a very old man, perhaps 90
GRANDPA JESS – Devlin’s Grandfather – perhaps age 70’s
CHRISTINA ALEXANDER (Teenie’s mother) a woman of 40’s
JAX ALEXANDER (Teenie’s father) a man – late 40’s
GRANDMA – Devlin’s Grandmother – perhaps age 70’s
CLAIRE – Mr. Honeygarten’s first love, the love of his life – she is seen as a young girl, and again as a ghost in his old age.
DEVLIN UNDERWOOD’s FATHER – a man 40’s
DEVLIN UNDERWOOD’s MOTHER – a woman 30’s
MELLOMAN – a Golden Retriever (about six years old)
BROWNIE – a Chocolate Lab (puppy)
GENRE – DRAMA – This is a FAMILY FILM, the ratings would be G along that scale. It’s the story of a young boy and girl who meet on a beach one summer, maybe the worst summer of their lives. It’s a story of memory, and the sea, and the very first crush one has, and so it is a story of great innocence, for all ages. It has a happy Hollywood ending.
LOCATION – I wrote the film to be shot in a small village along the Pacific Coast, such as Summerland and Carpinteria, which retain the images of “villages” from another time. They are still old-fashioned enough to be timeless.
OPENING SCENE ONE EXT. BEACH. EARLY MORNING
The camera pans across the vastness of the sea, on a crisp morning, in the clear light of the Pacific, blue skies, shimmering waves. We see TEENIE ALEXANDER (age 13) running away, as if running from home down the empty beach, in glimmering light. A dolphin’s fin emerges, and it leaps – to the sound of classical oceanic sweeping music. Pan to a structure ahead of her, a sea hut made of driftwood like the kind that surfers build along the beaches here. It’s early Autumn, in the magic light along the Pacific. She sees the structure off in the distance and makes for it, In her pocket she carries a small journal embossed with flowers and a Waterman pen, both gifts from her father.
SCENE TWO INTERIOR NIGHT TEENIE’S ROOM (flashback)
Teenie is sitting on her bed trying to block out her parents JAX (40’s) and CHRISTINA (40’s). Their voices are getting louder and louder as another fight over money begins.
Honey can I come in? I have something for you.
(nods her head, as door opens)
(holding embossed journal and pen, her gift, squats down to hand them to his daughter, cups her face)
I have to leave tomorrow, honey. I wanted you to have these.
You have a heart made of clouds, you know that?
(gruffly, hugs her)
Never forget that okay? Never lose that little twinkle in your eye.
Working with this fabulous yarn from Scheepjes has taken my mind way into a land of special beauty.
But I am writing screenplay and I don’t understand why I got this message behind the scenes from WordPress? So I took a screenshot. I could crochet right now, or I could write. I am writing an adaptation of a novel I wrote back in 2009 in Nanowrimo that I worked very hard on. The rewrite to a screenplay is something I want to use my blog for?
I am not clear about Gutenberg?
Is this artificial intelligence?
I have never seen a message like this until the other day.
For writers WordPress is the best thing that was EVER invented. Not kidding.
I bought the premium version so I could write here?
In November I may write a novel here, when Nano starts again. I used my WP blog endlessly as my nom de plume Valentine Bonnaire, but this is the real me. I designed the book cover for Heart of Clouds myself, and the image is a shot of the clouds off Summerland Beach. WP would not allow me to link it from my old blog and I don’t know why!
This is what a screenplay looks like:
EXT. DAY. Summerland Beach
We see a giant thin cloud rolling across the sky, then a close up to a dolphin jumping.
That is what I was about to start writing.
I got this:
I have loved WP since 2007.
So I never mind talking to them right here in my blog.
here is a screenshot of behind the scenes just now:
It doesn’t want me to link to my OWN BOOK COVER. So I will crop it in Preview and try again. You know I love WordPress, because it has been so seamless since 2007. Everything was always easy and that is because of Ma.tt and all the people who work on this out of their hearts. Anyway tries again. What you are going to see is TEXT that I wrote, from a book I wrote in 2009, translated into what a screenplay looks like.
Here is what the book cover looks like.
I just went to check the news and took a screenshot and saw these. Just know I ❤ WordPress.
I also TRUST WORDPRESS more than any other site. I trust two companies. Firefox and WordPress. The others? Nope.
That is a portrait of my self, and my dog Odin. If you want to see the last thing I wrote in my blog Valentine Bonnaire, you can. I adopted him. These are the beaches we walk all the time and this is what SoCal looks like!
That is Summerland beach, the location for my novel Heart of Clouds.
So there you have it, you see?
Now I can retype the whole thing as I write the screenplay, or just photograph each page.
I’m debating putting a donate dealie on my page in here, and just yesterday I read about that? In the WP Reader. Because this is going to be one of the most beautiful books you have ever read, you see?
It will also be one of the most beautiful films EVER MADE.
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!
I just got a box of beautiful yarn. Two, actually. Three, actually.
I have wanted to participate in a CAL since I became aware of them a few years ago, but didn’t think I was talented enough to do the kind of complexity that is required to crochet one of them. The yarn is gorgeous, a cotton string, but it is the colors that are so fantastic.
One thing that makes this one really special is that a writer is being honored for his book and you can see that here, he won the Pulitzer for the book, which takes place in WW2. I picked up my copy at the SB Writer’s Conference a couple of years ago, but didn’t have the time to look.
Your work as a writer spinning off into such glorious directions. I chose Herbarium for my colorway on this. I had wanted to try the yarns from Scheepjes for some time, and now I am.
I got the little artist’s sampler box as well, for their Stonewashed and Riverwashed colors.
Practiced using it.
This design came from Bianca, of Bianca’s Crochet Palace in Youtube. Her “Say it With Flowers” and you can see that here:
If you aren’t writing, use a crochet hook. That is what all of us know as writers.
We leave a yarn, and we stud it with hooks.
The yarn has been amazing to look at, and to work with. Really looking forward to making this one. It starts in a few days, and there are several colorways you can read about at the Scheepjes website. These yarns come from The Netherlands, and so they have them in Europe, but not here.
It’s always important how the writer chose to open and end a book, on a sentence.
Here is the first sentence, and the last sentence.
“At dusk they pour from the sky.” — Anthony Doerr
“Until all she can hear are the sighs of cars and the rumble of trains and the sounds of everyone hurrying through the cold.” — Anthony Doerr
Imagine the Pulitzer, or the Booker. Or the Nobel.
(file under things writers want)
What lies between those two sentences is about to take crocheters all over the world into his book and a design they can craft.
I have much to say about work in America, and the very most to say about American Newspapers, like say the one I spent 20 years working for. You will never guess who owned it, and this won’t be genre by a long shot for me.
I seem to have many people from China reading my blog. Well since you don’t like what Disney did with Mulan perhaps you might like my Heart of Clouds better. Personally I grew up on the original Walt Disney and all the great films that came out of Hollywood at that time, saw when Disney had built the original Disneyland here in California.
So Nanowrimo is on the horizon once again and it helps to have deadlines, like we used to in the newspaper industry. I’ll just give you a sneak peak about what it’s been like in American companies, no? In this little shorty I wrote once called Human Resources. It’s at my old blog, and I can’t believe I wrote that back in 2009. I did. https://valentinebonnaire.com/2009/03/09/human-resources-a-short-story/
That is where I will begin the book, and we’ll just go from there. What it will be about is how women were treated by corporations here in America, in the years 1981 to 2001. Many of the characters you are about to meet have died, so when you see them as characters, they will be UNIVERSAL as writers like myself grew up on the finest Literary writers there are.
Do universal people share universal traits?
Oh hell, yes.
You know it.
Anyway, I’m sick of the selfish greedy bastard who owns the multibillionaire “outlet” that sells books so I didn’t put my Heart of Clouds anyplace near him. NOPE. You can buy a copy of it here and learn something of American life for yourselves.
$3.99 in American dollars is 6.84 in your yuan. That seems right.
Did I tell you that one of my bosses sold the printing press we had to China in the late 80’s?
It seems to me we all saw Tianamen Square on TV in those years.
I am ready to do the stripey border, very soon now….
So in the months I haven’t been writing, I started to crochet.
I am loving the Stylecraft yarns, and I know I am going to love Sheepjes as well. Yarn on the way, gorgeous things to create.
The complexity of this pattern is so gorgeous and since I joined Ravelry I have found all my fave designers. In a lockdown of misery what else can we do?
It’s been sheer hell on earth, and boring as hell, but there is YARN, and where there is fab yarn there is beauty! Here you can see what the edging is all about. This blanket is so gorgeous. So I am a bit nervous about the edging, but have a great teacher, in the designer!
The unexpected magic yesterday of being down on Summerland beach. The last time I was there was at this time last year, after Walter Davis, my screenwriting teacher at the SB Writers Conference passed. Two writers who were important to me passed last year, he and Kate Braverman.
The last thing Walter ever said to me, was, “Let’s go to France.”
I spent a great deal of time last year at the end of summer on the beach there, with the driftwood structures, as those are a main theme in the book I have written for children. Well guess what? I met the artist on those, and is there ever a fantastic one there now.
Funny how life works, the passage of one year. The Conference wasn’t on this year because of the Covid.
I feel better in Summerland.
So Odin and I went, after a whole year almost, at Sunset. Today I am taking the book down to them, to see what they think of the themes. It is great to meet people like that, in such a sacred, sacred place to me. Most of my location shots last year were down in that area all the way to Loon point.
It was written to go to film and in scenes. I may just write that right here in WordPress, like I did the play before the Conference last year. I took a short story and simply converted it over into a play. From Walter I learned to write character studies, as that is what he did, and my book was an answer piece to his film “Do You Remember Love.”
Well, I know those guys I met on the beach are going to love it, because it is the local childhood I wrote that exists here. My heart went into that book, and all my training as a therapist, as well. The thing is Walter didn’t even care. Well? I may put that book for sale right here in WordPress I am so angry that he couldn’t even bother to get back to me. My opinion of Hollywood isn’t that great. Anyway, my best year at the Conference was a few years ago when I got to meet Janet Fitch who studied with Kate Braverman. Her “White Oleander” went to film and is one of the classics.
There is more to life than crochet, perhaps. Or anger. Seeing that driftwood structure made my day yesterday, it really did. I shot the cover for the book right off the beach there.
I said, “You can design Devlin’s hut. My god look what you have built here.”
I asked him if he did the ones last year and he had.
How incredible is that?
On the crochet front I am working on something called the Fruit Garden CAL that reminds me of Brideshead Revisited, a series I loved very much once, back in college years. The character of Sebastian and his Teddy. I love Waugh and other English writers. Always have. CS Lewis came to me in a dream that last few pages of my book.
All the pix of what I saw on the beach last year are over in FB and I’m not. I’m giving it a wide berth. The other day an old friend called and said the rumor on FB was that I was dead. Not yet.
Here is some crochet. I have not done things like this since I was 13 with my best friend, not kidding. I had to work in corporate hell, and maybe the next book will be about the newspaper years and what it was like for women on the job. Today is going to be fun.
If this isn’t the most gorgeous design what is?
I didn’t have one of her kits, with her colors, drat.
I am going to finish this, yep.
I plan to.
Hope all of you are well. This virus thing is so hard on us. To be at the empty beach yesterday was fabulous, and Odin my dog loves that beach.
So the fantastic first package of yarn arrived yesterday, bursting with Stylecraft and the Janie Crow colors to make her design for The Fruit Garden CAL. I joined Ravelry a few days ago, am Adrienne101 there. It amazes me that all the designers from around the world that I had been looking at in Youtube are in there. Crocheting sort of saved me during the last two years. I’m not sure how that worked exactly, but it did.
Anyway, it had been years and years and years since I picked up any yarn or thread to do anything. I practiced and practiced by watching videos of all kinds of women and people around the world in all of their different languages.
This morning I thought, wow, you know? I did this instead of writing. But writers do many things if the words aren’t there. They will be again. Walter’s death really was heavy for me at last year’s conference. I learned much from him about writing scenes. It’s not that much different from crochet. So my best friend and I at 13. That is in my memoir. We started off crocheting to escape in those years. We were escaping everything, I expect. You are on such a cusp at 13, you know? So this is a chapter called “Strings” https://valentinebonnaire.com/2010/12/29/strings-from-memoir-whitegirrrl-short-chapter/ that I was working on in 2010 – that whole book needs an edit, ooof. Some of the chapters make me cry they are so hard to look back on.
Anyway, the two of us would go downtown to a place called The Yarn Mart in those years. We would wander through, after school. It’s long gone now. But I love to get lost with yarn and fabrics. It takes me so far back I’m practically in childhood, as in “FUN” so this morning I finished off a little heart by a South African designer called Jen Tyler.
So, one of the boxes of the new yarn arrived, yesterday!
OMG. It puts the Big Box yarn I had to shame. I think this yarn and I are going to be beloved friends.
Check it out!
That’s the little Forget-Me-Not flower from the Fruit Garden CAL. My best friend Pam at 13 grew up loving the Pre-Raphaelites. Funny, this pattern – the colors.
Her grandmother had made her a classic blanket, that was in her room when we were so little. I started one of those blankets where you keep going around and around the square, you know?
Well, who knew that I was going to grow up and attempt something as gorgeous as what Janie Crow has designed. Neither my mother or my grandmother did anything like this. I did hear that my Irish great grandmother used to make lace, but I have never seen it.
Focus on color. This is going to work for me. So I should be getting the cartons of the yarns soon, to start Janie Crow’s gorgeous Fruit Garden CAL. I have been practicing the squares, and so here are some images. Yesterday I realized I will have to order yarn, and this is new, in order to get a higher quality than what the big box has.
Also, I think I want to design a little myself, and so yesterday I began to think about that.
Focus on joy.
Focus each day on a thing that can make you happy. This can be anything, and right now for me it is color.
It is getting harder and harder to absorb the news, to watch the news.
So here is the first little flower, the Forget me not. Done in blue, from some scrap yarns I have:
I love how Janie has made the designs from easy to hard in a kind of production mode. You can follow her hands:
This is what I came up with for the clementine square – I only had a bit of melon colored yarn and for the other bits I had to use Lily cotton to get semi near the shades she used. The thing is, I really wish I had gotten the kit. The reason being, the yarns are so much prettier. So I went back to the Stylecraft site and looked at what I ordered. Some of the colors jumped off the page at me, and it may be that I try and do parts of this with something different, when the yarn comes. I had to do that when I started her pattern for Frida’s Flowers, too. I didn’t have the colors. So it was trips and trips back to the yarn store.
This time I plan to FINISH.
So in my basket, yarn for a knitted really cush blanket I began a year ago.
It’s so soft and I made a tweed by using big box style.
But I have some Italian yarn! I fell in love with that, and yesterday I was able to get a bit more. They are closing it out, oh no.
I guess I could say I am designing a blanket, then.
The yarn makes me really happy and so this is the time for doing things by hand.
Even looking at the colors for the soup I made that day…
They seem to be helping, a little. So I am waiting on some boxes of actual yarn that the designer Janie Crow used for her magnificent Fruit Garden CAL. Not having the actual yarn has been strange because I can’t do the colors? She uses yarns from Stylecraft for this in a mix.
I have been practicing. The Acanthus motif is the most fantastic, I mean, just to do that one.
So I have almost made all the flowers, with scraps of different kinds of yarn. I can see why Hollyhock was her favorite, it is gorgeous. She has such a signature style on the leaves and all the picots. Last summer I was in the big box and saw a magazine – Crochet and the scarf on the cover. I knew it was her! So there you have it.
The Maltese Cross in the center of Acanthus is such a stunner. The kits were sold out, so trying to find the yarn was maddening. I can’t get Parchment so I had to settle for Cream. So this is Hollyhock.
I had some Caron Cakes in blues. I think this will be the type of yarn I will be receiving. So I didn’t have any pink, drat. Winging it in blue. The main thing is to try for each.
The main thing is to say no matter how terrible everything seems, keep going. At the end, you will have this gorgeous thing.
Waiting on the yarn boxes is like kid in a candy store. In the UK they have DK weight, and these yarns are called DK Life, and Batik. Both are wool blends. The Caron Cake is also that mixture and so I was really happy to shade with the blue.
I couldn’t get Blue Haze and it is killing me, anyway, we shall see, soon.
Strings of yarn as solace, in this time.
I’m trying to remember the colors that I ordered, and just wow. I have way more than the ones in the kit coming, because I knew I would have to make substitutes.
I was drawn immediately to Janie Crow’s design for Frida’s Flowers on account of the complexity. I mean, at first I thought, oh my god, the beauty. It’s the same thing with the new one for Fruit Garden. The only trouble is the yarn I could get. It had been years since I had shopped for yarn and I wanted natural fibers, which we cannot get here in town anymore. The boutiques are long gone, and the only craft place is a big box that took over. So, I gave it a start but? Garish. As you can see. Still though, I gave it a start. My feeling is, if you are going to put that much work into something, have the yarn be great. On this new one, there is a Bamboo/Cotton blend, and if the colors? Well, that or, my fave Mercerized, but from where? It is not to be had. Not in stores. I found it! So, some of Frida’s Flowers and the various passes.
I have no idea how any of us will get through this time.
Maybe by making some art.
So, I am drawn to natural fibers, and the only trouble with this yarn is that it is for things like dishcloths or something. It does not have the “hand” or the tight twist, or the shades or? Dunno.
That image is from a fave Mexican Restaurant here, that I miss so much. If they closed it would be hell.
Life as we have known it is over.
Hope you are having an easier time of it where you are.
I’m keeping my old Teddy near me. Watching lots of film. It’s as if all the fun is gone, here in California.
So, yesterday, while I was waiting, am waiting, for the yarn to arrive from overseas, I began. I crocheted a little square for Fruit Garden. I was able to do it! The first square is called “Forget Me Not” and let me show you the vid she has done. The shades she has chosen are gorgeous. I just used some yarn I had hanging around, and it is pure cotton. I found it in a box. That children’s book I wrote has a theme in it about the plastic problem in the ocean. So, age 13 was all about crochet for me, and we used to have a thing called Speed Cro-Sheen that was brilliant spun cotton on a ball. This would be fantastic in that. Thirteen was also all about Mucha for me. Anyway, triumph. I did it! We need the small victories, in the middle of so much sad.
So, just practice, until the gorgeous yarn arrives. I made it blue, and what I love is the intricacy of how she changes the colors. One thing I did, was use some white and the red. I used three single crochets to stuff that area with color. The yarn is made by a company called Takhi – it comes from Greece and is so gorgeous. I actually crave the colors, as if they are paints.
So, both the red and the blue, are mercerized style cotton.
Look at these colors!!!!!!!!!!!! The red is from here, Tahki, ages ago. I love, love, love the color ranges. So maybe I can get that for the Frida’s Flowers pattern, down the road.
Looking back over the heaps of squares and things I made, I can see that with the Frida pattern, I was able to put even the most garish of colors together, on my own. So this one was a fave from that time. It’ s funny how much the design changes given how the colors work. In this one I had to unravel parts of yarn balls to get to the beige, or the red, or even some of the greens. This will be so much easier with higher quality yarns. It really will. Still though, I have a tendency to not like things, and these took so much effort, I can see that now.
Two years ago I decided to pick up crochet again and knitting, after years. Since childhood, actually. My husband wasn’t well that year and I was watching over him, so I was sitting around with tons of time on my hands, and I started to watch videos in Youtube of different women all over the world crocheting things, in their own languages. I had no idea there was something called a CAL, which is a crochet-along with others, but I started to see these. They are nothing like what we knew in my childhood – these new mandalas and so forth are total works of art. So these flowers date from that very autumn, in my life two years ago now.
The colors and the patterns, the intricacy and delicacy of the designers. But I met a kindred spirit in Janie’s designs. For one thing, the gorgeous homages to people like Monet, and now May Morris. Best was Frida though, one of my favorites, just because.
So, a woman in Youtube was doing the stitches in a video and I sat for hours with her hands, “teaching me” – those videos are here.
Then I searched for Janie and found that she does patterns for a yarn company called Stylecraft in the UK, so I saw the originals. I was just swept away by how exquisite her things are. The flowers and the leaves. The only yarn I could buy here is not the kinds of colorways they have over in the UK. So, I made each square, just to see if I could. I guess there had been kits for these things, once. It’s a bit like doing a paint by number, except, you want to pay homage to the designer herself? The work that goes into designing to begin with.
One of Frida’s Flowers, that I crocheted, using American cotton yarn, as you can see, the colors are not the same…
The colors! They reminded me of a time years ago when I was up in the Sur and getting books by Kaffe who does things with Rowan Yarns. Well, it has been ages since I was so inspired, that it is almost like using oils.
Some of her patterns are over in Stylecraft, you can see that here, and I just was able to find some of that special yarn and it will be here in seven to ten days! Yay!
Because, the new blanket is total Arts & Crafts, both versions. So gorgeous, omg. You can watch her talking about the design here.
(who is going to make these, while we are going through so much of a nightmare with the coronavirus situation)
The yarn will arrive and I can start on Fruit Garden, even though I was not able to match all the colors exactly.
I am writing from Southern California, in the midst of the biggest crisis the world has ever seen. The only way I can get the news is via Google, then Twitter, then Youtube as it breaks. Local news here in America has not reported on other countries for some time. My husband watches the television for his news. He gets it much slower than I do. Maybe because our minds work differently.
I am watching what the president has to say along his Twitter feed. One of the worst aspects of this crisis is to watch all the lesser politicians scramble to get in line for their potential shot at the JOB, because this is what they are doing. Trying to make themselves look good. In this I refer to Cuomo and Newsom along their footage. What the President said yesterday or so is that he is LEAVING IT UP TO THE STATES. The message from both Cuomo and Newsom is that millions will die, so it isn’t very comforting at all.
I think what I will write you now in this diary, is a part of the experience of being “here,” in this region, as the days roll by like waves. From what they released about “flattening the curve” we are all told to stay in. People for the most part have obeyed this. Everyone is very frightened and this panic is not going to subside anytime soon. Before I look at any more news ledes today, or read any more editorials, I just want to take a breath.
We cannot go out for anything except essentials. This means stores that we love and frequented will go out of business. It’s been three weeks of the hoarding. First it was toilet paper and now it is food, so I can tell you about yesterday and going to a small sized chain supermarket. THE SHELVES WERE EMPTY. I wish I had taken my camera out, to document it. Perhaps next time I will. The only way that I can describe it? What we saw in Russia, in the late 80’s on the news. As everything FELL.
We don’t have reportage like that anymore, on TELEVISION. We no longer have a PRESS in America that can do the reporting city to city. It’s all broken. This post will be long, today. I want to talk about yesterday.
I have to go backward in my mind to think about the first time I went to a store, after hearing about this. I was still using my FACEBOOK account, at that time and so I had begun to process news stories that were breaking around the world. I went to what we call a drugstore, or a pharmacy here in California, maybe four weeks ago? It is hard to remember. I was looking for the hand sanitizer as the stories began to break about “WASHING YOUR HANDS” and we were seeing news on China suddenly. There was NO SANITIZER and I asked a store clerk maybe a week later if they had masks, because suddenly on the news everyone seemed to be wearing a mask. This is maybe a month ago. The next time I went to the market, maybe two weeks ago, there was no paper to be had. NONE. I thought I would venture out again, to try and find some and so these are my last FB posts. I did find some in a little import store in a poorer part of the town I live in. For $7.99 I was able to get some toilet paper from Vietnam, and at a Mexican market here I was able to get some chamomile scented Charmin, not the sort you would expect. It was $2.99 for four rolls.
It was when I went back to the store for food, though, perhaps two weeks ago? I was scared. I had begun to see the shelves be emptied. First it was staple things, like rice and beans, potatoes and so forth. They simply were not there, along with the non-existent paper. Yesterday, and the last time I was in that store I spoke with clerks who are working valiantly, and not wearing masks or gloves. What was said to me yesterday? “This will pass by the end of April” the meat and fish counter which has fresh fish was CLOSED. He told me it was a matter of “social distancing” – on the part of the corporation. I said, “In our lifetimes we have never seen anything like this,” and he said, “No, we haven’t.” To see an American store EMPTY? I have.
I’m going to see what the President has tweeted. There was a positive story about the company Hanes on manufacturing the masks here. It would be good to see all the American companies rise to the fore and come home, not just for Economic Nationalism, but because THEY WERE AMERICAN COMPANIES. Most Americans are aware of what has been sold down the river over the last 30 years by very crooked politicians running the country.
Here is that story on Hanes: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/hanes-start-making-masks-health-care-professionals-treating/story?id=69729931 from ABC. Hanes was like this fantastic company that made cotton clothing, T-Shirts and underwear and so forth al my life. Hanes was the sort of thing you could fall back on? I am so glad to see this news. See this COMPANY come to the fore. There will be others I am sure. I think, Americans would like to be known as the ones who produced the things the world needed, at this time. This is a great story, and when the President talks about “it is a beautiful thing to see” this is what he means. He is talking about “the American Spirit” – which is to come to the fore, versus the ‘you didn’t build that spirit” of the previous President.
Frankly there are many questions about this VIRUS and those can be had over in Twitter in terms of who was working on it as far back as 2015, and who is working on the antidote just now. Twitter is pretty admirable that way, and there are some very curious things if you search things like Gates on that right now. The President may be part of the billionaires club in America but he isn’t evil.
LISTENING TO THE REPORTERS and our President at this link: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump it is important to listen to what is said, by the reporters and the President himself. He has just acted as an AMERICAN, in this latest press release. In that, the AMERICAN SPIRIT. So he is talking about himself, he is also talking through the lens that is the AMERICAN spirit in terms of helping other countries as well, because all of them are facing the same thing.
HOT SPOTS: State of Washington, NY, California – President DT
Something I want to say as an American around what the news is calling “racist” – the term CHINESE VIRUS – this is being used because as the President said – “it came from there”meaning it started (as much as any of us know, in a place called Wuhan) – this is what we saw in the news. Now, Americans also say this – “Let’s go get some Chinese Food” – this is true. I’m not sure if in other countries American Food is called this same thing? Here in CA we would say, “Let’s go get Thai Food and so forth. This is a reality, not racist. Where I live in Southern California, we have many cultures all coexisting together. All of my life. So, it’s the same thing for Japanese Food. We would say, let’s go get some Japanese Food. Here in CA, in our markets, there is food from all over the world. Except now the shelves are EMPTY. We would say the same thing about Mexican Food, French Food, and so forth. Here we also have Greek Food and Greek Festivals. Many people live in America from all over the world and from all the different cultures IN THE WORLD. The only thing I haven’t seen is CANADIAN restaurants in Southern California. They might exist but I have never seen them. This is the way Americans SPEAK about things. It would not be different in other countries I am sure, so a matter of Semantics.
“President Trump said Sunday he has activated the National Guard to New York, California and Washington, states that so far have been hit hardest by the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will fund the deployment of the Guard, Trump said.
“This action will give them maximum flexibility to use the Guard against the virus without having to worry about costs and liability,” Trump said. “And [it frees] up state resources to protect the health and safety of the people in their state.”
I am watching a video on how New York is coping. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4iZLfiK3rk I have never seen New York, but I know that many many people live there. They are very strong having gone through 9/11. These are New Yorkers speaking.
Like many other Americans we are watching news from Italy. Here from Sky News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdx4Jo0GCRU It is so tragic. In the rains today, tears cring over the whole world. We had studied things in history, like the Black Plague, but to see this, in terms of the way we are all on the Internet in this era? There is not a way to process what the whole world is going through.
On the local news they are reporting today that the cases are up to 18 in this county. I am grateful that today we had food to eat. I was able to get it the other day. Life as we know it in California has SHUT DOWN. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. I know that we have enough food, for tomorrow. I have a dog and a cat. I need to feed them too. Tonight the dog had to eat dry cat kibble as he had nothing in the store. I will have to go out to get his food. if I cannot find anything for him, I will feed him meat, if I can find some. This is the TERROR of life shutting down, after the governor has said what he has said. I want to show a picture of my dog and cat and the news has made me feel so nervous I cannot remember the tools I have to use here in WordPress to do that.
You could see them in Facebook if you knew me. My dog is named Odin, and my Cat is called Hemingway. They were both rescues from the local shelter.
Today, I heard planes still overhead, and I listen for the sound of the cars. I can hear some cars racing, in the distance. We are self-isolating, because we have been told to. But tomorrow I have to find food for my dog.
Of an old year going out, and a new year rushing in, and the redesign of myself as a writer. I do wish all of you the best.
I was looking at what F. Scott Fitzgerald had to say, earlier this morning and it fits so I had that up over in Facebook, and again here. 2019 was a very crummy year, and so… this was a conjunction the other night, very massive, of Venus and the Moon hanging low over my city.
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the SB Writers Conference, my teacher)
INT. PRESENT TEENIE KITCHEN. DISMAL BLUE LIGHT.
(Teenie sighs in frustration)
Takes apples from the basket one by one, thinking of her father and better times. She rummages through the kitchen trying to find what she needs for the pie. Draws a list up, in her notebook. Close in on her hands with the apples, startling red and green. She shines one on her jeans, it glistens like a ruby.
we close in on her handwriting what she needs for the pie
FLASHBACK. JAX. OLD HOUSE KITCHEN. MAGIC HOUR LIGHT
(we see Teenie and Jax baking a pie together, he teaches her to cut the apples, they fall into flower shapes, smiling and laughing. Close in on his face, full of love for his daughter.
Mom do you feel like helping me?
No, honey, I don’t
Teenie I am trying to watch the news
Another species just went extinct, Teenie
The Wave is on its way now
Mom can we just make this pie together
FLASHBACK. TEENIE’S OLD HOUSE. DAY
Teenie and her parents having to move, throwing everything out, including all her childhood toys, FOR SALE sign on the house
What are we going to do, Jax
INT. PRESENT. TEENIE KITCHEN. DISMAL LIGHT
(Teenie whispers to the apples)
I just want to make the pie Mom. I just want things to be normal again.
Teenie begins to cut the apples into flowers, while her mother sits wrapped in grey on the sofa, eyes glued to the television, she makes the pie, rolling out the crust, shaping it for Mr. Honeygarten. The apartment kitchen has such a sad atmosphere she can barely breathe. She touches a golden locket, her father’s picture inside. Close in as her hand opens it, heart shaped. Smiles at his face.
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. MORNING. SATURATED LIGHT.
(Devlin, puzzled, at her note, wonders how he can answer)
Devlin and his father, and his grandparents at the funeral for his mother.
*location SB Cemetary at Butterfly Beach
A plain pine coffin, flowers. Close in on all their faces. Devlin’s father with his arm around the boy. Tears. Devin stoic.
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. PRESENT.
How am I supposed to answer a question like that
Maybe she cries in private like I do
Devlin takes off down the beach running – long shot as we pan, seabirds scattering before him. His arms are outstreched like a birds wings, almost a dance against the waves near his castles, where the red tails roost. We see them against the sky twirling and gliding, riding the currents.
(Devlin finds a feather)
(screams into the wind)
This is who I am. I’m going to leave this for her.
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BRIGHT SATURATED LIGHT
He pockets her note, and the origami bird, smooths the sand around the abalone shell, and replaces the stones in a stack. He scoops sand in the shell, and places the feather there for her. We see him walking through the waves, in his jeans pant legs wet to the knees, in the seafoam.
Devlin Underwood is seen combing the beach looking for a shell. He finds the perfect abalone wedged in the rocks to leave for Teenie, hoping she will come back. He scoops a tiny hollow in the sand, and places her origami bird inside, as if it is swimming in a sea of beauty.
Maybe she’ll be back.
EXT. VILLAGE. AFTERNOON (Fall light, golden)
Teenie is seen walking home through the village, back to the dismal apartment. She passes ripening apples, the turning leaves of sycamores, passes Mr. Honeygarden’s old Victorian house and sees all the ripening apples hanging like jewels from the trees. She wants to cheer her mother up, by making a pie.
INT. APARTMENT KITCHEN. TEENIES.
Teenie enters through a rickety kitchen door.
Mom remember that pie I made one time?
Christina Alexander answers wanly from her tired perch in the living room, soaked in blue grey light. She hasn’t moved all day.
Can I make another one someday?
Mr. Honeygarten’s garden has lots of apples, Mom. Maybe I could help him pick some.
Okay, but you be careful if you go up on the ladder.
Mr. Honeygarten is a very old man that lives at the end of a lane in a Victorian surrounded by ancient apple trees he planted. Tumbling roses line his picket fence. Teenie knows him as a friend in passing, as he always gives her little bunches of flowers from his tangled garden. His has a formality that dates from the early 1900’s, style is antiques from that period. He is a father figure, filling in for her absentee father. *Importance of character is here.
Devlin’s grandmother is bustling about the warm kitchen fixing Dev’s favorite dinner. The kitchen is large, very old fashioned in a Craftsman type atmosphere, full of pots and pans and pottery vessels. Think stained glass warmth in the design, houseplants. Devlin’s grandparents are 1971 era grandparents, not hippies, just the warmth of the era. Stricken with grief over the loss of their daughter in law, and for their son and his child, they are determined to help the boy in this time of great loss. Making his favorite meal, barbecued chicken and baked beans with cornbread and a big salad. His grandmother has made a giant chocolate cake. The salad greens are from Devlin’s grandfather’s garden. Naturalism and simplicity.
*Importance of characters Grandma and Grandpa Jess is here
What did you do today, son?
Worked on the hut.
How’s it coming along?
Your dad called.
He wondered how you were getting along.
Tell him I’m fine, Grandpa.
Are you Devlin?
I miss mom a lot.
I know you do, son.
JESS pulls an old ukulele out from a pine hutch and begins to strum it. He hands it to Devlin.
I found this old thing out in the garage. It was mine when I was a boy.
You played that?
(his eyes are twinkling and smiling)
I think that’s how I won your grandmother’s heart. That, or my old harmonica.
(peals of rich laughter float from her)
I really don’t think you need to give that boy any ideas, Jess.
JESS hands DEVLIN an old HOHNER harmonica, as he smiles at his wife. DEVLIN blows into it, but it just squeaks a little.
(smiles warmly at her grandson)
Practice makes perfect, Devlin. Practice makes perfect, and we all know that. The two of you ought to have supper now.
The old oval pine dining table groans with the largesse of the dinner, and we see the centerpiece made of pumpkins and russet fall leaves, as they move to light the candles, Devlin smiles.
No reason every day can’t be a celebration, Devlin
Teenie washes face and brushes teeth before the mirror, looks at herself, on the cusp of fourteen wondering if she is pretty. She tries different hairstyles, getting ready to ask Mr. Honeygarten for the apples. Her mother comes by the opened door, and sees Teenie applying a little tube of lip gloss.
Don’t be vain, Teenie. Pretty is as pretty does.
Teenie’s face falls, from smile to sadness. Her mother had given her the lipgloss not long before. Other girls at school discuss prettiness at bathroom mirrors. She had wanted to be like them. We see her choosing what to wear, baggy faded jeans and a sweater from her closet. Her mother returns to her perch on the couch in from of the TV.
Bye Mom. I’ll be back with the apples, and then we can do the pie.
Teenie rides a bike through the village, a rusty fat tire girl’s bike with a basket. She is heading back to the beach and the sea hut. She parks it and walks down to a brilliant morning full of fresh seaweed. A seal bobs and drifts in the waves barking at her, the driftwood hut in the distance. Teenie falls to her knees in the sand at the sight of her origami bird inside the abalone shell, wondering who might have done that. Devlin is standing watching her high on a dune, and she sees him, the wind ruffling his sandy curls. She calls out to him, but he bolts. Teenie holds the shell to the sunlight, like a brilliant jewel.
(whispering to herself)
He must have done this. he must have left this here for me.
Looking back at old work, poems written as my nom de plume, because i may start writing again, maybe… been some time since this one from 2016.
I was thinking how much is in my old blog, and I have no idea why I can only see it in Google, not duck duck. There are thousands of words and things in that blog. When I first entered the web I did that under a nom de plume, because I was established as that all the way back to 2002.
I want to record the poems for Spotify because WordPress will let me do that. I used to do readings on Soundcloud but this makes it really easy to just record. ❤ I can no longer see behind the scenes of my old blog Valentine Bonnaire, and I wish WordPress would understand that it is me!