(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the SB Writers Conference)
*note on sound for Christina, scene in bath with too many pills –
INT. CHRISTINA BATHROOM. TUB. Ghastly Brittle White Light
Christina slumps in the tub, she has swallowed so many pills, she is senseless. Memories of Jax and she, happy, at work, the absence of Jax. She does not know how to go on. She manages to get up, and stumbles to her bedroom. Looks at her wedding dress. Camera lingers on her hands smoothing the fabric, symbolism of the lace. She holds it up to the mirror, studies her face, fallen, all hope gone. Everything gone.
Christina and Jax eloping, her mother’s face a mask of cruelty.
Don’t expect any help from us, Christina
You made your bed and now you have to lie in it
Christina manages to fold the wedding dress, replaces it in layers of tissue paper, before she collapses on the bed. She swallows the last of the pills.
Finds her mother passed out, in bed. Teenie is scared, when she cannot rouse her.
Mom wake up.
(whispers in her mother’s ear)
Mom wake up.
Takes her mother’s hand and notices a tiny freckle. Christina’s hand is ice cold.
Mom wake up, please
(close in on Teenie’s tears falling on her mother’s hand)
Please mommy don’t leave me alone
Teenie places on of her hands on her own heart, and another on her mother’s heart, barely beating under the thin bathrobe.
Heart I need you to speak to Mommy
I need your heart to talk to my heart, Mom
Please talk to my heart Mom
Mom I was so worried
(tears, seeing her daughter, blurred as through gauze)
I love you so much Mom
I love you too
You’re my little girl
You’ll always be my little girl Teenie
Always and forever
You mean everything in the world to me
(wraps her arms around her mother)
The two of them lie quietly in the brilliant white light, no longer garish, we pull back until two small figures, in the light
INT. GRANDPA/GRANDMA JESS. KITCHEN. WARM GOLDEN LIGHT.
Grandma Jess, bustles in her old fashioned kitchen cracking eggs for omlettes. She is making three different kinds, their favorites. She’s been so worried about Devlin, and so glad to see the pup and effect it has had on the boy.
He has such a sweet soul Jess. The dearest boy in all the world.
(reading the paper)
How’s that pup doing this morning, son?
(smiling and laughing, cuddles pup)
He’s great. I think he’s going to chew up everything I own though. All my shirts.
(bursts out laughing at the antics of pup squiggling)
Guess what I named him?
I knew you’d figure out a name pretty soon Dev
Well son, I don’t think I could have come up with a better one myself. He does resemble a brownie doesn’t he?
(hands the pup to his grandfather)
(pup squiggling and licking his face, chews his shirt collar)
A pup is a pup is a pup. And this pup has all the energy in the world
Today is going to be his first day at the beach. Grandpa
Guess you have to get him used to it, son
(brings out a little red collar and leash for Brownie)
I thought red would make a good contrast to his fur. Think he’ll like it?
It looks great Grandma. Your first little collar Brownie
(Devlin tries it on him, while Grandma Jess finds two dishes for water and the pup’s food)
He’s such a little dear isn’t he?
All right my dears, what sort of omlette would you like this morning. We have spinach and cheese or mushrooms and cheese or just plain cheese, or nothing at all except egg. What shall it be?
Cheese for me
Spinach and cheese
(secretly teaching Devlin how to cook)
Devlin will you help me with the spinach?
(uplift, happy music, as the two of them make the omlettes, a golden sizzle)
(begins to tell his grandparents about Teenie)
I met a girl on the beach the other day
A really special girl
(hugs Brownie on his lap)
I can’t wait to show Brownie to her because I think she might love him too
Why Devlin, that’s wonderful
What is she like son?
I think she might be an artist. Or a writer. She was crying the first day I saw her
Do you know why?
Sort of. She sort of told me how sad she was since her dad had been gone
Where did he go?
She said he had to leave the village to search for a job
He used to be a reporter for the paper, Grandpa
I’m surprised that industry is still in business in America, after what they have done to all those poor people. I’m sorry to hear that son.
(shakes his head back and forth)
Making a little girl cry because her father had to leave town to look for another job
I’m glad you met a new friend Devlin. What else have you found out about her?
Not too many things so far, she has beautiful hair, though
You should see the way it looks when the sun shines on it
(smiling ear to ear looking at Grandma Jess, twinkling)
It sounds like the day I first saw your grandmother, Devlin. I had my harmonica with me that day, though. I thought she had the prettiest smile I had ever seen.
Oh Jess, let the boy finish his breakfast now
She sounds like a very nice girl, Devlin. I’d love to get the chance to meet her.
(winks at Devlin)
When you get to know her a little better maybe she’d like to come for dinner?
Okay Grandma. One of these days maybe I’ll ask her. I want her to meet the two of you, too. But first I just want her to meet Brownie.
You go on then son
(cradling the squiggling pup, pulling on Dev’s collar)
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the SB Writers Conference)
INT. DEVLIN DREAMING. NIGHT
Devlin cuddles his new puppy, sleeping peacefully, not fitfully as other nights. A quiet and beautiful dream of Tut and Teenie on the beach, montage clear blue sky, hawk circling, exquisite ocean waves, clean beauty of the sea
Stands watching him at the door to his bedroom, her face soft, she has been concerned, tonight different, she is grateful for the pup calming his sleep, no nightmares
INT. CHRISTINA BEDROOM. DIM BLUE LIGHT
(to the ceiling)
Jax why did you have to leave me?
(runs a bath, swallows the first of what will be many pills)
(looks at self in mirror, as if she can’t recognize herself, close in, pasty white face, lost eyes)
Why is life so hard?
Jax, why did you leave?
Christina in her male Doctors Office, he sits listening to her.
My nerves are like glass
(pulling out many random samples, writing prescriptions, no care to take a proper history)
Let me give you some of these, and these
(close in on pill bottle after pill bottle)
Sometimes I feel like a window that has shattered into a million tiny pieces and no one will ever be able to put me back together again.
Take these, you’ll feel better in a day or two
INT. PRESENT. BATH. GHASTLY WHITE LIGHT
(in the bath, memories)
Montage of Jax asking her to marry him, slipping ring on her finger, her wedding dress
Christina, I will love you forever and ever
(effects of pills taking hold, she slips under the water several times)
If something happens to me who will take care of Teenie?
Who will take care of my little girl?
(she swallows more pills)
INT. DEVLIN BEDROOM. MORNING. HAPPY LIGHT
Wake up sleepyhead
(smiling, to puppy, cuddling him, laughing)
Hey little guy are you okay?
(puppy licking his chin, pulling collar of his pajamas)
Hey quit that
Hey cut that out
(puppy barking and lunging, full of life)
What am I going to do with you?
(smiling at the antics)
Come on downstairs, Devlin. I’ll get breakfast ready. Have you decided what to name him yet?
I’m working on it, Grandma.
You little monster
Brownie. i think I’ll name you after my favorite dessert because that’s what you look like that to me.
(yelling and happy)
He’s Brownie, Grandma!
(Devlin hugging puppy, heads downstairs to breakfast)
(for Walter Halsey Davis of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*adaptation of my novel to screenplay p. 125, Chapter “Lost Worlds”
INT. HONEYGARTEN HOUSE. AFTERNOON LIGHT
Mr. Honeygarten climbs the stairs to his attic where an old trunk resides. It’s full of all his earliest sketchbooks, and letters from Claire. He intends to explain feelings to Teenie, by showing her some of the love letters. Stairs creak, as he moves slowly up to the top. He sits on an old chair and opens the trunk full of memories.
(tears, looking at her picture)
My dearest Claire
(shudders with emotion)
My dearest, dearest Claire
(his hands tremble as he opens a poem he wrote to her, and an ancient dried rose petal falls to the floor)
Images of Claire and Mr. Honeygarten very young, walking by a rose bower, and she places a rose in his lapel
A love letter is the most important letter any person can ever receive because they are the most beautiful sorts of letters in the world. A love letter can never, ever die. Not ever. Once you open a love letter that has been written in handwriting it will live forever just as it was penned, by the person who wrote it.
(slowly looking at all their teenage letters, lost in memories, speaking to Claire’s ghost)
What do you think Teenie will say, Claire?
I was so shy as a boy I could barely ask you to take my hand
EXT. BEACH. AFTERNOON
Teenie and Devlin sit cross legged on the sand, talking, Teenie listening to every word Devlin says, while holding hands. Devlin speaks about all the plastic in the sea, and that he is concerned with what girls seem to be doing, injecting themselves with plastic.
I can’t figure out why they keep trying to change themselves. They looked fine to me just the way they were.
(looks away shyly, but likes the warmth of his hand holding hers)
(walking her home, hand in hand)
When can I see you again?
(walking backward down the street, not wanting to say goodbye)
See you tomorrow
INT. TEENIE APT. DIM LIGHT
Teenie passes Christina asleep on the couch, to the endless drone of the newscasters, decides to go back to Mr. Honeygartens, he is alive to her, not the dim silence of her mother
EXT. AFTERNOON. GRANDPA JESS TRUCK.
Grandpa Jess has gone to town and come back with a surprise for Devlin, a tiny Chocolate lab puppy, curled in a cardboard box.
(beaming and smiling at her husband)
Oh Jess, what are we going to name him?
That’s Devlin’s job sweetheart
Oh Jess, look at him
Isn’t he cute?
He looks like a chocolate malt ball
He does doesn’t he. He’ll be good for the boy. I think he really needs a companion to help him get through this time, sweetheart.
I’ve been so worried about him Jess
(enfolds her in a hug)
I know sweetheart, he doesn’t say much
(comes into kitchen where his grandparents are smiling and giggling)
Got something for you son
(beaming with mirth)
Devlin why don’t you go out to the truck and take a look
What is it?
You’ll see son
Oh Devlin, wait til you
(takes her hand)
Go on now Devlin. Go see
(races out to truck, and finds the pup curled up in an old towel in the cardboard box)
Look at you
(cuddles squiggling pup in his arms)
(the two of them stand watching, eyes twinkling)
Well son, you’d best be thinking up a name for that little fellow, don’t you think?
Oh thank you, thank you. I could never have a puppy in the city
Well you can now. Labradors love the beach
You can teach him to swim with you, Dev
(chewing on the plaid shirt collar of Devlin’s)
You little devil
He’s going to be a handful, son
The best kind of handful
(embracing the puppy)
I love him already, Grandpa
I don’t even know what to call him
It’ll come to you Devlin
Did I ever tell you about my first dog?
No, grandpa I don’t think you ever did
I don’t think there was ever a better friend than old Tobias. My dad got him for me when I was about your age. Old Toby.
*screenplay adaptation of my novel, Heart of Clouds for kids
*Chapter “Lost Worlds” p. 119
EXT. BEACH. MORNING.
Devlin makes his way down the beach crying at all the plastic waste, while Tut watches.
INT. TEENIES APT. BLUE DIM LIGHT.
Christina lies on the couch in a ball surrounded by her prescriptions, watching the news of The Wave. Newscasters show images of all the plastic inside the stomachs of birds and fish eating microplastics. She cries feeling powerless, looks at all her bottles.
(whispers to ceiling)
I don’t want to really be on all of these pills
EXT. BEACH. MORNING.
Devlin kicks at the mound of plastic bottles.
Why is everyone so lost? Why is everyone taking all of these pills anyway?
Devlin and his father at the doctor’s office, as the doctor wants to prescribe something for him after his mother’s death.
I don’t need those. I can get through this alone Dad
(Devlin skateboarding, wipes away tears)
(watching Devlin through the cracks in the driftwood hut)
Devlin parts the seaweed curtain, and stands in doorway
It’s you isn’t it?
So do want to go for a walk?
(they step out into the sun)
Is it okay?
It’s so beautiful
I wish you could see it the way I can, backlit against the sun like that
(reaches to hold her hand, close in on fingers curling)
Come on. I want to show yout he place i found the abalone. All the best shells wash up there.
(a cacophony as they say)
He found her Tut!
He found her Tut!
VOICEOVER BLUE WHALE
(whale sounding, tail flapping)
The whales began to sound all over the world and all the penguins were dancing too, they spread the message to the polar bears, who spread the message to the eagles, who spread the message to the wolves, who carried the message to the deer, who carried the message to the cattle, who carried the message across the prairies, who sent it to the swallows, who flew it to the tadpoles, who carried it to a trout, who told the butterflies.
(we see all the animals resound with happiness that Devlin and Teenie have met)
(lands on Tut’s shell)
He found her Tut. He’ll save us.
And so will she, for she carries the language of the heart, and the whole world would go dark without it
The world almost forgot that language, didn’t it?
(near to Tut, eye to eye, Tut brushes him with his flipper)
It almost did, my friend
They speak our language now
Tut and the oceanic squadron watch Teenie and Devlin running down the beach hand in hand
*to page 125, in the novel of mine – adaptation is for FILM
As Teenie Alexander made her way to the sea hut, she had no idea that she was part of something much much larger. How could she have known that eons ago an ancient turtle had foretold her birth. That she would be the last girl on the planet who could speak the Language of the Heart. The thing of it is, we just never know what we are going to grow up into, do we?
EXT. BEACH. MORNING. SUNNY
Teenie walks down the beach to the sea hut as the ocean brims with sea creatures dipping and diving, alive. She stops to collect shells along the way, marvelling at the sea glass.
Teenie parts the seaweed curtain, climbs in and sees that Devlin has left her a red rose on top of the abalone shell.
(opens Dev’s note)
He wrote the word LOVE, just like I did
(presses the rose to her heart)
Close in on her hand writing these words:
If I thought of something that could show the language of the heart what would it look like?
Teenie begins to draw in her journal, and decides to write Devlin a special poem
(floating offshore watching)
(Close in on his ancient eye and flippers moving, as he watches Devlin walking down the beach)
They are the last two humans who know the secrets of the heart
(flies near Tut)
Tut, he’s getting closer
(walking down the beach skipping stones)
I wonder what she will say?
Grandfather, I kept my promise, as I told you I would
(notices all the plastic bottles on the sand)
This is just like my dream. It’s so ugly I can’t stand it.
(ancient eyes fill with tears at the sight of Devlin)
(watches Devlin skipping stones as he pauses on the beach)
Out to sea, the ocean is alive with dolphins swimming toward the two of them, and flying fish, and sparrows watching to see the two of them meet
Tut and his grandfather swim the depths. Tut is a baby, his grandfather very old.
One day my Tut, humans will forget the Language of the Heart, and it will be your job to remind them of what that is.
(turtles swim to an ancient grotto)
Many years from now Tut, you will have the most important task in the world. You will meet a boy who can understand the language of the air. And he will meet a young girl who can understand the language of the heart. He will be meeting her at a time when the world has lost a love of humankind and the planet Earth. It will be a very dark time, Tut.
You will be the last of our kind, and the last guardian of the language in the grotto, with the ancient scrolls. Our language is the language of the sea, my Tut.
(turtles swim to a giant clam shell, Tut sits atop it)
It will be a time, my Tut when the world will be in grave danger because the sea has been poisoned by things humans have thrown into her. It will be your task to show this to the boy. It shall be on the darkest day for the world, that you my Tut will speak to the boy named Devlin in his dreams.
(nodding at his grandfather)
You must promise me that you shall never forget, little Tut
I won’t grandfather
You must tell Devlin you are one his guardians and that there are others
EXT. TEENIE and JAX. FOREST. DAY
Jax teaches Teenie the language of the heart, from trees, old redwoods at the Sur
EXT. REDWOOD FOREST. DAY
The forest creatures sleep inside it, Teenie
See the little burrow, just here?
And the birds make their nests high in the branches
(looking up into the cavernous interior of the old redwood)
Teenie if you ever need to know if all is right with the world just ask a tree. Ask the heart of a tree.
(Jax teaches Teenie how to count tree rings)
(pressing his heart to the tree)
You must always love the trees, Teenie
If you need a place to take your heart, take it to a tree
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*adaptation of of my Novel Heart of Clouds, to go to film – page 101, chapter is “Hearts”
INT. TEENIE BEDROOM. EARLY MORNING.
Teenie wakes up to the scent of Mr. Honeygarten’s roses nodding in a vase next to her bed. Switches on a nightlight, and takes Devlin’s note from her pillowcase, reading it over and over again. In her pajamas, goes to her window, watching the clouds. She exhales, warm breath against the glass and draws a heart, with the letter D inside it.
INT. TEENIE APT KITCHEN. EARLY MORNING.
Teenie slowly stirs hot chocolate as Christina comes into the kitchen.
Want some Mom?
No honey, I’m going to have coffee
Mom you fell asleep so early last night
I know. I’m just so tired Teenie. I don’t think I ever felt this tired before, honey.
Guess what Mr. Honeygarten told me?
He used to know a girl named Claire when he was my age.
He told me she stole his heart
He’s such a sweet old gentleman, Teenie
We had tea again
That’s nice honey
Christina moves to switch the TV back on again, to the news.
Wanting to keep talking to her mother. No use.
FLASHBACK – HONEYGARTEN and TEENIE
Teenie and Mr. Honeygarten discuss Claire, and look at pictures of her.
She was beautiful Mr. Honeygarten. I wish I had known her.
I once kissed her hand. She was a romantic.
What does that mean?
(pulling an ancient dusty gilded leather-bound book from the shelf)
Teenie, the only way a person can understand romantics is to read them, my dear. Let me recite one of Keats. Claire loved it.
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*page 94, in my novel Heart of Clouds
EXT. VILLAGE. SUNSET
Teenie leaves Mr. Honeygartens, walking her bike home, watching the sunset. Sad at what Mr. Honeygarten told her, about Claire.
VOICEOVER as Teenie looks out to the island, Honeygarten
She is with me every single day, Teenie. Every single day. And you see my dear, this is why I use her spoons as I do. I feel that when I stir the tea, it’s almost like she is here with me.
*establishing, love lives forever, even after loss
INT. TEENIE APT. COLD DIM LIGHT.
Teenie wants to talk to her mother, but she is passed out, rolled into a ball on the couch. Teenie spends a long time looking at her mother’s face, which is relaxed and beautiful in sleep.
It’s been so long since I have seen you smile, Mom.
INT. DEVLIN BEDROOM. NIGHT.
Devlin kisses her note to him as he falls asleep with it tucked safely in his breast pocket, against his heart.
Devlin tosses and turns in sleep, dreaming of a squadron of sea turtles who have come to take him to the sea kingdom. Tut, the largest of these, is weeping. Devlin sees the tears in his eyes.
You will ride me, Devlin. I shall take you to the source of the Wave.
Tut moves so that Devlin can climb aboard his giant ancient shell, as the other turtles in the squadron watch. Devlin hold’s Tut’s ancient flippers as the other turtles form a giant flotilla that the whales and dolphins also join.
One of the blue whales swims up close to TUT, with Devlin aboard. He communicates with his eyes, to Devlin, Devlin can understand through the looks in their eyes to each other.
BLUE WHALE VOICEOVER
The sea gods are angry Devlin because people have not shown them respect.
INT. DEVLIN BEDROOM. MORNING. DREAM SEQUENCE.
Devlin awakes again with a start from his dream. He thinks he sees Tut in the tree limbs outside his window, he’s tired and wants to go back to sleep again, but he is back in the seadream. Tut awaits him, beckoning with a flipper. They press on through the sea, and the Orcas have joined them. The sea turns a sickening color of green, purple yellow and magenta. Devlin sees hundreds of the plastic shoes floating in a vortex. Tut halts the other sea animals with his flipper, as Devlin sits up, astride him. The Orcas swim away in disgust as the sea turned blackish green.
(Devlin wakes up and feels for Teenies note. Sigh of relief. Rubs his chest at his heart.)
Devlin you are the last boy on earth who can understand the sea gods wrath, because you know the language of the air
Does Teenie know how to speak my language?
You could teach her Devlin Underwood. She knows how to speak the language of the heart Devlin.
TUT VOICEOVER continues
The language of the heart is a very, very old language Devlin. Some people said that the trees taught it to the human race, or the clouds, or the sun and moon. Some say it comes from walking alone for miles in the mountains and others say it comes from gazing into a flower, or sometimes the eyes of another human being.
Tut why didn’t the Orcas speak?
Their hearts are broken
INT. GRANDMA JESS KITCHEN. MORNING GOLDEN LIGHT
Grandma Jess bustles in the kitchen cooking breakfast for Devlin, Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar.
Did you sleep well Devlin?
Not exactly Grandma
I had a very strange dream about the Wave
Your grandfather is still asleep, Devlin, but I’m sure he’d like to hear about it when he wakes up.
(eating the oatmeal)
I’m going to the beach today, right after I finish this. I want to work on the seahut some more.
How has it been coming along?
It’s getting there slowly Grandma
Well, you run along then, Dev.
(carries bowl to sink, and washes it off, then kisses his grandmother on the cheek)
(eyes twinkling at her grandson)
I think Grandpa Jess has a surprise in mind for you, Devlin
(smiling as Devlin leaves, warmly)
*chapter “Hearts” in my novel Heart of Clouds, to page 101. Adaptation of book to film.
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*chapter FIRST KISS p. 89 in my novel
EXT. DEVLIN’S CASTLES. LOON POINT. SUNNY
Devlin watches Teenie walking by the sea, she is the first girl he has ever thought of as pretty.
*establishing first feelings for a girl
Shakes his head, to and fro. He runs down the beach like a race horse to get back to the driftwood hut, finds her note hidden in the abalone shell.
Teenie kissing her note to him with an invisible kiss. Then pocketing his note to her.
*establishing first feelings for a boy
Devlin has paper and pen in his uke case. Scribbles a next note, in all CAPS.
MEET ME HERE TOMORROW AT TEN O’CLOCK
EXT. HONEYGARTEN HOUSE. GARDEN GATE. MELLOWMAN
Teenie rides her bike to Mr. Honeygartens, and Melloman has been waiting for her at the gate. Her feelings for Devlin make her want to ask Mr. Honeygarten about Claire. She stops to inhale one of his exquisite old red rambler roses along the picket fence.
(calls up to his upper windows)
Mr. Honeygarten are you home?
(his face appears smiling down at her, from the high window)
Hello, my dear
Would you like some tea?
Yes I would Mr. Honeygarten
Why don’t you go and get the shears and bring some of those roses in, my dear. Take Mellowman along with you.
(Mellowman leaping and clowning around, tail wagging, garden scenes, tangled English garden look)
(Teenie moving along the fence picking the lush red roses)
INT. HONEYGARTEN HOUSE. PARLOR
Mr. Honeygarten has made tea and is arranging his delicate cups and saucers for the two of them, as well as petits fours.
Aren’t they the loveliest?
(arranging roses in a vase)
They are, Mr. Honeygarten
Sit down my dear. Tell me how you have been?
Any wild adventures?
(looks away shyly thinking of Devlin)
Yes my dear
Who was Claire?
Ah, Claire. Why Claire was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen
Yes my dear. She was.
When did you know her?
When I was fifteen
Yes my dear, and I have never, ever forgotten her. Not once in all these years.
*image of Mary Pickford in Stella Maris — Mr. Honeygarten’s “Claire”
(eyes, dreamily remembering Claire, he takes a sip of tea and reaches for a petits four)
She must have been very special Mr. Honeygarten
She was my dear. In fact she stole my heart.
(puzzling over what Mr. Honeygarten has just said)
Claire was the love of my life, my dear
Yes, Teenie she was
Well how did she. I mean
How did I fall in love with her?
(smiling at Mr. Honeygarten, while secretly thinking of Devlin)
Oh my dear, where shall I begin?
(pauses, close in on kind eyes smiling at Teenie)
I suppose my dear, she was a bit like you
Yes, she was. I suppose I shall just have to tell you that story, won’t I?
I don’t suppose you might bake another apple pie for me once I finish?
Mr. Honeygarten if you tell me about Claire, I’ll make you an entire pie. Just for you.
(Fire crackling in the hearth, Mr. Honeygarten and Teenie savor the petits fours and cakes, while sipping tea, as Teenie pours, watching the little elf on the teaspoon, it seems to smile at her)
Where did you get these little teaspoons, Mr. Honeygarten
Claire gave them to me, my dear. I’ve had them all these years.
Yes, in fact we had tea together almost every day as children
All these little spoons were given to me by her. I have four. For the four birthdays we shared together.
You saved them all these years?
Nothing in the world would ever make me part from these spoons
You must have loved her very much Mr. Honeygarten
I did my dear. More than anything in the whole world.
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*chapter “Seadreams” p. 81
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. MORNING. SUNNY.
Teenie is amazed to see that there is a seaweed curtain like a door. She parts the curtains and enters, captivated. Finds Devlin’s note in the abalone shell after shaking it to and fro. She hugs the note to her heart, rocking back and forth, listening to the sounds of the ocean.
(speaking softly to horizon, out to sea, to islands)
Dad I think you would like this boy
(Jax and Teenie the day he told her about writers and hats and they had shopped for one)
Every writer needs a hat Teenie
Teenie pulls the hat down, smiling and remembering her father. Unfolds Devlin’s note carefully, sees his signature, marvels at how much he said on paper. Close in on her face, reading intently, absorbing each word.
Pulls her journal and pen from pocket and begins to write back to him
Teenie answers each line he has written we close in on his words, then hers.
I’m really glad you left me this letter, because I really wanted to meet you
thank you for writing this really long letter back to me. I really wanted to meet you too from the minute I saw you that day on the dunes, but it was like you ran away before I could say hi.
That day I saw you on the beach you were crying and so I didn’t want to bother you, even though you were in my secret driftwood castle.
I totally wondered if you built this sea hut, ever since I saw you. Nobody here ever built one of those like you did. I didn’t realize it was a castle though, until today when you added the door!
I’ve been really missing my old friends and that’s how come I wanted to be friends with you. I’ve only been here about two months and school is going to start pretty soon. I’m going to be in eighth.
I’m going to be in eighth, too! Maybe we’ll be in the same classes and stuff. I’m sorry that you miss your friends from back home. Do you like living with your grandparents? It must have been really hard at first, Devlin. It must have been really hard to move here and then have to start all over and make new friends. Right before school starts too.
I was like thinking you were my age too – but I wasn’t sure. It looks like you really miss your Dad a lot.
I do really miss my Dad, Devlin. He’s been gone for a really long time now and that day you saw me crying it was about him. I just missed him so much and it seems like nothing is any fun without him. He and my mom lost their jobs and he used to be a reporter for the newspaper in the Village. He worked there my whole life. He’s gone because he had to go south and try and find a new job. We had to sell our house too, and move. Sometimes I look up at my old house and I just get so sad walking by it. It’s that big white one on the hill. That pretty house.
Your mom sounds kind of cool – like she cares about the ocean a lot. It’s my favorite place too.
My Mom totally cares about the ocean, Devlin. She keeps on watching the news though and she is so worried about The Wave coming that she just sits there most of the time all day long in front of the TV. The doctor told me she had something called a “depression” and they gave her a whole bunch of pills to take. She doesn’t even seem like my Mom anymore, sometimes.
I hope we can meet again sometime
I hope we can really meet each other, too.
Sometimes it’s really hard to talk to anyone about how I really feel. Do you ever feel like that?
Sometimes I do feel like it is pretty hard to explain my feelings to people, Devlin. It was like this summer when it got the hardest. My Dad was the one I talked to most. I could tell him anything and it was like he just understood me. It’s totally easy to talk to you though in a letter and I don’t know why, even. It just is.
Love, Teenie Alexander
(sits looking at what she has written to Devlin for a long time, exhales softly)
Dad you told me writers were always outsiders. Remember when you got me this hat?
EXT. DEVLIN’S CASTLES. LOON POINT. SUNNY.
*Images from location at Loon in magic hour light
EXT. DEVLINS CASTLES. GOLDEN LIGHT. ATOP BLUFFS AT LOON.
Devlin has been watching Teenie from above, sitting crosslegged atop the bluffs, in his castle, unbeknownst to her, watching. He has his uke and harmonica with him.
*core musical theme plays, sweeping sound
Devlin watches Teenie leave the driftwood hut, and walk in the waves with her pant legs rolled, until she rounds the bend out of sight.
(softly out to sea)
Maybe we can really meet each other soon, Teenie
Close in on his hand drawing a heart in the sandy blufftop. He draws the letter T inside it.
(picks up his uke and plays a song his grandfather taught him)
(hawks circling, images of dolphins out to sea, seals)
*adapting my novel Heart of Clouds – p.72 Chapter is EMOTIONS
HEART OF CLOUDS
by Adrienne Wilson
(for Walter Halsey Davis of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
INT. DEVLIN BEDROOM. EARLY MORNING
Devlin awakes from a strange dream about a giant’s hand rearranging his seahut)
(tosses and turns, sits up bolt awake)
(rushes to dress, checks to see if Teenies notes are in his wizard box, sighs with relief, races down the stairs)
EXT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BEACH. MORNING
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. MORNING
Devlin scans the rafters for a note hoping she left one for him, when a gull lands on the peak of the shelter and screeches at him, cocking its head.
(glances and sees she put a shell near the feathers he left, frantic to find her note)
Oh no. Maybe I’m too late or maybe she didn’t write anything, or?
(shakes head back and forth, defeated)
(cocking head and looking him right in the eye, shrieks and flapping its wings)
Well gull what happened
(brazenly walks inside hut and riffles through the sand in the abalone shell, and extracts Teenies note)
Hey wait a minute, that’s mine
Hey come back here
(a giant flock of gulls arrives)
Hey come back here, you
Give that back
(cockily teases him by running down the beach carrying note in its beak)
Two red tails arrive and scare the gulls away. Devlin reaches to grab it before the wave washes in
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. MORNING. SUNNY.
Devlin carefully unfolds her note and marvels at her handwriting.
I know her name now. Teenie.
Teenie Alexander. Wow.
(he cannot believe how much attention she put into her note back to him, begins to read in her handwriting)
I think you have a really cool name. I don’t think I’ve met anyone with that name before.
You said I was a sad girl, but I’m not all the time. You know how you said your Mom died? Well that day you saw me crying it was because of my Dad. He’s gone away and I really really miss him. So, I guess like, I can understand a bit about how you feel. Sometimes I just feel really alone since he has been gone and most of the time it is really hard to talk to my Mom.
She is just always watching TV and she always talks about the Wave and the extinctions and about the tuna fish sandwiches she used to eat when she was little and stuff and about how people have ruined the planet and there aren’t going to be any more fish in the sea and stuff like that.
Anyway I just wanted to thank you for that feather and for this beautiful shell because that was a totally bad day for me. Remember that day I saw you running up the beach dunes? I wanted to say Hi but then you were just gone.
Wow, she said she liked my name, and it was a cool name, and she wanted to talk to me too, that day she saw me on the dunes.
Devlin races back home, while a giant flock of gulls watch him.
INT. DEVLINS HOUSE. GOLDEN LIGHT, FIRE CRACKLING
(sitting with Grandma Jess before a crackling warm fire full of the pine cones they had collected)
You look you are in quite a hurry, son
(Devlin nods, and takes the stairs two at a time, to his room)
INT. DEVLINS ROOM. GOLDEN LIGHT.
*establishing first feelings for a girl
Devlin locks his door, and puts all her notes on the floor before him. He feels like he can say anything to Teenie, and takes pen and paper to compose an answer. He practices signing his name, over and over and over, until he feels it looks perfect.
He begins to write back to Teenie.
I’m really glad you left me this letter because I really wanted to meet you. That day I saw you on the beach you were crying and so I didn’t want to bother you even though you were in my secret driftwood castle. I’ve been really missing my old friends and that’s how come I wanted to be friends with you. I’ve only been here about two months and school is going to start soon. I’m going to be in 8th grade. I was thinking you were my age too, but I wasn’t sure. It looks like you really miss your Dad a lot. Your Mom sounds kind of cool, like she cares about the ocean a lot. It’s my favorite place too. I hope we can meet again sometime. Sometimes it’s really hard to talk to anyone about how I really feel. Do you ever feel like that?
Devlin signs his note with his signature in a fantastic flourish, then carries the note back down to the beach to the driftwood hut.
EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT. SUNNY, GOLDEN LIGHT
Devlin scans the beach, and decides to make a seaweed curtain for the hut, just in case that gull might come back and steal his note to Teenie.
*to page 79 in novel Heart of Clouds
*establishing how two teens can be friends, in letters
You take the wheel son. It’s high time you learned to drive
(face lights up in sheer shock at this offer, smiles broadly at his grandfather, can’t believe it, moves into driver’s seat)
I get to drive?
(laughing as Devlin grinds the gears a little, til he manages, they take off up the road)
You’ll get the hang of it son. Why I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the day
(braking suddenly at the wonder of seeing a Bobcat with huge golden eyes in the road)
We’ll be to the top in no time
EXT. PICNIC. BIG ROCK MOUNTAIN. DAY, SUNNY
Devlin and Grandpa Jess sit at Big Rock Mountain and open the picnic basket which overflows with all the things packed inside.
Your grandmother sure loves herself a nice fire, Dev
She told me it warms her spirit
(the two of them enjoy the lunch, while we pan on the wildlife and flowers of location)
*sound quiet winds on the mountain
Devlin and Grandpa Jess collect the cones all day in burlap sacks, as evening falls, dusk light. Thoughts of Teenie at the beach float through his mind like butterflies, he realizes they won’t be home before dark, so he will miss being able to get to the driftwood hut.
INT. CHRISTINA’S KITCHEN. DISMAL BLUE LIGHT. MORNING.
Christina in her kitchen, opening the cabinets, frustrated by the lack of food, missing her husband Jax, She can hardly cope. Nothing in cabinets except for a jar of peanut butter and macaroni and cheese, boxed. She closes cabinets, rests her head against them. Realizes she has to find the strength to go shopping. Decides to make Teenie soup they can share.
(says to ceiling)
All the fun has gone out of my life. All the fun is gone.
(comes from the beach)
Honey where were you. I was worried, you didn’t leave a note. I got up and the house was just empty this morning.
I just went down to the beach Mom
Do you want some lunch
I made you some soup
It’s on the stove. Want to sit down together?
That would be nice Mom. You weren’t watching TV today?
No honey. I wanted a day off from it.
Mom how come the news is always so bad
It’s just how the world is now, Teenie
What was it like when you were a girl?
Well, it was the same world, just different. People had problems then too, Teenie, but it didn’t seem quite as hard as it is now.
(Teenie watches her mother at the stove stirring the soup. She is happy they will be sitting together, even if her father isn’t with them.)
I missed Jax a lot today, Teenie
(she ladles two bowls of the fragrant soup, and we close in on the colors she is putting into the bowls. Sudden life in the dismal blue light.)
*Teenie and Jax fave soup, Christina has made it, scratch
I really missed him Teenie
I miss him too, Mom
(smiles, as she takes her first spoonful, warmth filling her)
*chapter 9, “Landscapes” p. 63 in my novel Heart of Clouds for film
INT. GRANDPA JESS HOUSE. GARAGE. MORNING
Grandpa Jess lovingly waxes the curves of his old truck, knowing later, he will be teaching Devlin to drive as a surprise. He backs into the drive.
Hop in, son.
Wait til you see what Grandma Jess fixed up for us
(nodding at the giant wicker picnic basket)
*image for the style of old fashioned picnic basket Grandpa Jess and Devlin take up into the mountains
Grandpa Jess and Devlin drive the windy roads down to the village, then head up to Big Rock Mountain to collect pine cones for the fireplace together
EXT. TRUCK RIDE. SUNNY DAY
Steer for me a minute will you Dev?
(smiling, shock of surprise, taking the wheel for the first time)
Son, I’ve been meaning to have a talk with you for quite some time
Grandpa Jess takes the wheel back, serious, but smiling, holding all the weight of the moment, and his own son in his mind, careful to be the best strongest grandfather he can be
(looking out window at scenery of the mountains)
I know how hard it has been for you to lose your mother
Grandma Jess doesn’t like to bring it up, so I thought we could have a man-to-man about it
I don’t really feel like talking Grandpa
(Devlin fidgets in his seat, uncomfortable having to discuss feelings)
All right then, we’ll let it go for now son, but I want you to know you can always come to me, if you want to talk
(close in on his serious eyes, looking at his grandfather)
Always, Dev. Any time okay?
Panning through the landscape scenes of the hills, hawks, stones, roads, as they drive up out of the fog into the sun.
INT. GRANDMA JESS KITCHEN. NIGHT. GOLDEN LIGHT.
(worried over the boy, Grandpa and Grandma Jess, cooking up a big picnic for the next day)
Jess do you think he will like these cookies?
nodding as he packs the picnic basket with care
(close in on her hands wrapping cookies in wax paper)
(broadly smiling at her)
Think we need all those?
(close in on the two of them hugging in the kitchen)
Just in case, Jess.
INT. TRUCK. DAY. COUNTRY ROAD, BIG ROCK MOUNTAIN
(Grandpa Jess pulls over on the dusty dirt road high in the mountains)
Are you looking forward to school son?
It’s hard to believe you are going to be in the 8th grade
I know. I just wish I knew a few people before it starts, though, Grandpa
(sighs, looks out window)
I knew a lot of people back home in the city
Small towns are different, Devlin
It takes a while
(they both look at the puffy white cumulus clouds banking up against the hills)
Want something to eat or do you want to wait a bit?
Grandpa, those were a lot of pancakes this morning
(laughing heartily, pushes his old straw hat back and wipes his forehead with a red bandana)
Yes, son, I guess we did do justice to those little pancakes didn’t we?
(Grandpa Jess exits his seat, and makes hand gesture at the driver’s seat)
INT. TEENIE’S APARTMENT. FOGGY MORNING, BLUE GREY SAD LIGHT
(Close in on Christina as she wakes up, in bed, sad, and reaches for one of her many pill bottles on the nightstand, swallows the one for depression she has been precribed, dozens of bottles)
(moving as if underwater, to the door of Teenie’s room)
Maybe she’s down at Mr. Honeygarten’s again. It’s good for her to be able to play with Melloman.
(Christina sees a pile of clean laundry on Teenie’s little twin bed. She begins to fold it, tenderly, smoothing out the little shirts and jeans.)
(She speaks to the ceiling)
You monster. How could you have ruined our lives like you have. My little girl’s life.
In a montage, scenes of her marriage to JAX, when they are working, buying the white Victorian high on the hill where Teenie was conceived, happiness. The Village Crier, where they had worked until the firings. Rocking Teenie to sleep as a baby, smiling at JAX.
*image Teenie’s old house, that white Victorian high on hill at Summerland
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*page 55 – Chapter “Fog Banks”
EXT. MORNING, CREEKBED/BEACH. FOGGY LIGHT
Teenie wanders down the creek edges, a secret path to the beach, plucking Nasturtiums, that she tucks into the breast pocket of her jacket, like bright suns. Excited to see what Devlin has done, but shy. The fog is so thick she worries she won’t be able to find the driftwood hut.
(softly, into the mist)
I wonder what he did after he read my note. What if I can’t find it? What if it got washed away?
Teenie makes her way down the beach over the rocks, keeping to the edges of the cliffs, high tide. Excited she finds the hut, climbs inside, sees the two feathers Devlin left, and his note peeking out from under the stacked stones. She pauses staring at it, before opening. Unfolds, marveling at his handwriting.
This is his handwriting, so different from mine
His name is Devlin
Devlin your Mom died
*establishing sound for Devlin
(pondering how difficult life must be for him, having lost his mother)
(lets out a long sigh)
Devlin your Mom died. You must be so sad. Maybe that’s why you didn’t say anything the other day. Maybe you were too sad to talk or something. I can’t believe you are my age
(embarrassed he had seen her crying)
A gull lands on the top of the seahut, screeching loudly
*gull and wave sounds
I’m totally embarrassed you saw me crying Devlin
(rubs her hands together and blows on them to warm up)
You left me a magic feather
Teenie lies down on the sand in the hut, cups her face, thinks about what she will write next.
INT. DEVLIN. BEDROOM. MORNING. Foggy light.
Devlin wakes to the sound of a crow’s harsh calling, just outside his window.
Hello crow, what are you up to?
(tips head and looks at Devlin seeming to say)
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Devlin remembers Teenie’s notes in his pillowcase, and decides to move them to a box he keeps talismans in. He hides the box in the back of his dresser.
(his voice floats up the stairs)
Devlin are you awake son? Come on down we’ve got pancakes this morning
Here I come. Just give me maybe five minutes
I’m filling in for Grandma. She’s going to town with some of those Ladies Society friends of hers. I’m never sure what they have in mind on their jaunts but more than likely she’ll be gone all day, so it’s just you and me Dev.
INT. KITCHEN. GRANDPA JESS HOUSE (Warm golden light)
Grandpa Jess is cooking stacks of pancakes in the golden light and close in on drizzle of maple syrup and butter on stacks of them. He flourishes the spatula, grinning to himself about the day he has planned for Devlin and himself.
Isn’t this a swell little spatula?
Breakfasts for pioneers, my boy
(secretly thinking about seeing Teenie again)
Grandpa do you mind if I go to the beach today?
(carries two mountainous plates of steaming pancakes to dining room table)
Eat up now
(fiddles with his pancakes)
Well Devlin, I thought we could spend the day together what with your Grandma gone and all
(lost in thoughts about what he would rather do, head to beach)
It seems like you spend every minute down on that beach, son. I thought we might take the truck up into the hills, get out of this fog. It’s warm in the backcountry and besides I wanted to show you something special
(heart not really in it)
Okay Grandpa. When are we going?
Right after you finish those pancakes, son
*establishing Devlin as a young teen, in a warm Family System who will do anything to try and help him – but expressing true feelings not okay, Devlin feels he can’t really talk, as with Teenie he can, in the little letters they have left for each other – (not okay for boys to cry)
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BEACH (sun, breaking through fog)
Teenie has been in the hut, trying to think of a way to answer Devlin. She begins to write to him, close in on her hand writing this long letter:
I really think you have a cool name. I don’t think I ever met anyone with that name before.
You said I was a sad girl, but I’m not all the time. You know how you said your mom died? Well that day you saw me crying it was because of my dad.
He’s gone away and I really, really miss him.
So I guess, like, I can understand a little bit about how you feel.
Sometimes, I just feel really alone since he’s been gone and most of the time it’s really hard to talk to my mom. She is just always watching TV and she always talks about the Wave and the extinctions and about tuna fish sandwiches she used to eat when she was little and stuff and about how people have ruined the planet and there aren’t going to be any more fish in the sea and stuff like that.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for that feather and for this beautiful shell because that was like a totally bad day for me.
Remember that day I saw you running up the dunes? I wanted to say “hi” but then you were just gone.
Bye, Teenie Alexander
Teenie sighs at the close of the writing, feeling as if the words just poured out of her. She hunts down the beach until she finds a turret shell, to weight the note down. As she leaves, she whispers on the wind, close in on her face
Bye, Devlin. I’m glad I met you.
*to page 61, in the novel Heart of Clouds
*establishing the kids can communicate through written word and by hand, also teen years of breakaway into puberty, innocence.
(for Walter Halsey Davis, my teacher, at the SB Writers Conference)
*page 39 in my book Heart of Clouds
Chapter “Secret Smile”
EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT. (Sunny to Fog light)
Teenie runs down the beach to get back to the driftwood hut. She is surprised to see that Devlin has left a red tailed hawk feather in front of the abalone shell, and that her note to him is gone, the stones rearranged. She climbs out and scans the dunes for him, but he is nowhere in sight. She picks some sandflowers along the dunes.
He took my note, but he didn’t leave me a note back.
Teenie watches as the fog rolls in over the islands, smoothing the feather, and running it through her fingers.
Maybe he left this for me because he wanted to tell me he was a bird
Teenie places the feather in her journal, and decides to draw it, as a note for Devlin.
Close in, on her hand beginning to draw the feather, and under the feather’s picture, she writes:
boy of the dunes who left a feather
who are you and what is your name?
Teenie folds the note carefully into a paper airplane shape, places it in the abalone shell and weights it down with a stone. She doesn’t realize Devlin has been standing on the high cliffs watching her.
Devlin watches Teenie running down the beach, until out of sight, around the bends in the cliffs. Then he squats down and traces a little heart in the sand at the clifftops. He pulls the harmonica from his pocket his grandfather gave him, and blows out a little tune, practicing. Close in on the hawks circling overhead turning pinwheels in the sky, and their cries as the fog rolls in.
Devlin makes his way down to the driftwood hut, two hawk feathers in his hands, arms outstretched, and sees that Teenie has taken the feather he left for her. Quickly he reads her note, and runs back to the village, to craft an answer. He runs so fast he bangs his knee against the door to his bedroom at his grandparent’s house. Grabbing a pen and paper he runs back to the hut as a thick fog rolls in. Close in on his hand as he begins to write the note for Teenie.
I am Devlin,
boy of the dunes and boy of the air who left you the magic feather and you are the sad girl I saw crying. I am the boy who built this driftwood shelter. I am fourteen years old and my mom died and so this summer my dad left me here with my grandparents, do you want to be friends?
INT. TEENIE’S APT. DAY.
Teenie passes her mother on the couch and heads to her bedroom with her notebook, Devlin’s feather safely tucked inside. Her first feelings for a boy. Curiosity, wondering what will happen next. She tucks the feather in her little jewelry box, looking at the things her father had given her. Slips a tiny turquoise ring on her finger. Wonders if the pie had cheered her mother up, even the smallest bit.
Christina sits before the television watching the news roll on about extinctions in the sea, of the fish.
it’s so awful Teenie. When I was little tuna fish sandwiches were my favorite
Mom did you like the pie?
It was great Teenie
Mr. Honeygarten loved it
I’m glad honey
You should have seen Melloman today
How was he?
Barking as usual, I wish we could have a dog, Mom
I know, Teenie. Maybe when the economy gets better we can.
(noticing the ring Teenie has on)
Teenie you are wearing that little ring
(takes Teenie’s hand in hers, and holds it, staring as if remembering her daughter at age five)
It only fits on my little finger now, Mom
You are growing up so fast sometimes I don’t know what to make of it
I miss dad, Mom
I know honey
I really miss him
I know you do sweetheart. I wish there was something I could do to help you, but I can’t.
Teenie’s mother’s eyes return to the TV set. Blankly staring. She retracts her hand which suddenly feels so cold., putting it in her pocket
Those poor fish. All those poor, poor little tuna fish. Extinct.
A pause as Teenie realizes she cannot connect with her mother. She feels invisible.
School’s going to be starting soon
I know Mom
Do you need anything?
No Mom, I’m okay
All right, sweetie. Why don’t you go see what we have for dinner
*to page 50 in my book Heart of Clouds – in this scene establishing the antagonist, in the mother. This is a “Cold” Family system, with the father gone, and so forth. Character arcs forthcoming. Both Teenie and Devlin have “problems” – they are beginning to reach puberty, first feelings of “liking” someone, also the innocent ways of that liking, and the notes explained here.
(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.
Row 11 – Into center of 4 SC’s previous round, work 4 DC’s in same stitch, then around spoke Petal, as for beginning flower, YO 4 times, chain one to close. Repeat around 16 petals, 16 groups of 4 DC’s
Row 12 – Picot edge – join in any single crochet after petal, SC, in next stitch 2 HDCS, next stitch 3 DCs, picot at center DC, in same stitch. 2 HDC’s 1 SC, FPSC around petal. Repeat around. 16 times.
Designing a new block, for Bam Cal 2023 in Ravelry – for testing purposes in my group. The Final pattern will be a downloadable PDF. Copyright by Adrienne Wilson
tester code for Rav – TEST-AW-9ELMSF Summer Garden
Summer Garden is a textured square with a raised flower. Round by round images follow each row. The square can be made as a 6″‘ or larger. I used a 4″ hook, and primarily yarn from Stylecraft on these first samples, but, I loved the color ranges in Wool of the Andes as well.
Summer Garden Flower Crochet Square
Design by Adrienne Wilson – copyright Adrienne Wilson – all rights reserved.
Row 1 – chain 6 and join with slip stitch to close.
Row 2 – chain 5 (acts as first DC, chain 2) 7 more DC chain 2’s in ring, gives you 8 spokes. Slip stitch to close.
Row 3 – around each DC, yarn over and pull up a loop 4 times, chain one to close, chain one. Repeat until each spoke has a petal top. Slip stitch to close. (8 petals, 8 chain one spaces)
Row 4 – add new color, in any SC space, two SC’s, FPSC around each flower petal. Repeat 7 times. Slip stitch into first SC to close. (16 SC’s 8 FPSC)
Row 5 – SC in all SC’s. Slip stitch to close (25 SC’s)
Row 6 – In any SC, with new color join with an SC. Chain 3, skip one, SC. Repeat around circle. 12 or 13 chain 3 spaces. Slip stitch into first SC to join – Keep yarn same for round 7. (Use 13 if making larger square)
Row 7 – 3 DC’s into each chain three space from previous round, chain one between each group. (12 or 13 groups of 3 DC’s)
Row 8 – In first DC of a 3 DC group, SC in next three DC’s. FPTC and catch SC from round 6, SC in next three DC’s. Repeat around (13 FPTC – 13 3 SC)
Row 9 – Join new color at top of FPSC, Chain 3 as first DC, 3 DC’s in same space,skip to middle stitch and repeat 4 DC groups around. (12 DC groups) or 13 for larger square.
Row 10 – Join new color in any SC row 9 between two DC Clusters — chain three (as DC) chain 2, SC in space between the two DC’s chain two and make FPDC around spoke, repeat around. (12 DC’s total). (or 13 for larger square)
Row 11 — Join new color, SC around any DC spoke, proceed to make petals, as you did in round three –yarn over 4 times, close with chain 1, in next SC space atop DC clusters, make DC chain one DC. Repeat around — 12 petals, 12 V stitches.
Row 12 – Join new color, in any 2 DC cluster, in one chain space between with a SC. Chain 5 and skip to next chain one space – repeat around. Slip stitch into first SC, do not change yarn for next round.
Row 13 – Chain one, in next chain space, one SC, two HDC, two DC, two HDC, one SC – repeat around. (12 Petals) Join to first SC with slip stitch to close round.
Row 14 — Flip work, you are working on wrong side. SC around and SC from previous round. Chain 5, continue around anchoring stitches with an SC, and chain 5 all around.
Next rows will begin to build the square, behind the circle, and create our corners.
Row 16 — working with wrong side facing, slip stitch into the first chain five space. In each space make 6 DC’s around. (12 DC groups) (13 for larger) You will be crocheting looking at the right side, but don’t worry! The row is well hidden, when we flip work back.
Row 17 – First corners.
For small square – use strips of yarn to mark for corners, each group of three 6 DC’s. 2 DCs 1 SC, 2 DC’s – FPHDC in all stiches until next corner. Repeat around.
This pattern will give you the 6 inch block. For the larger block, which has a fancy new edge and embroidery, that will be going into the PDF. The small square is for testing purposes.
ROW 10 — PETAL — V stitch — PETAL – no spaces (18 petals) V stitch between, no spaces except chain one in V stitch between DC’s.
Writing to, Little Eva – “Locomotion” and song “Born to be Alive”
Natalie waved goodbye to the Cafe, and decided to go shopping. A little retail therapy never hurts anyone, now does it?
If life opens up new doors on a daily basis, sometimes a person just has to walk on through. She was staying in a hotel room, because Leo had moved Priscilla into their old homeplace. That’s how mean he was. The more Natalie thought about it, the angrier she got. But it was anger that was going to move her forward.
She doubted that she would ever marry again. She was free, but what does freedom actually mean. There is no freedom when you live in a small town like she did. Why the whole Outer Banks was just a gossip realm, if you understand things like that. The Blue Ribbon Sisters had even ejected her, so baking was going to out of the picture. Besides, without a kitchen how was she going to?
The Jolly Pirate was just up the road.
I think I’ll go in, she thought. Why not?
The bar was packed with people, body to body, and all of them were quaffing the cocktails so quickly that one by one, they managed to get the liquid courage up to climb up on the stage and sing a song karaoke style.
Some of Natalie’s oldest friends were in there. Including the handsome guy on the stage. In fact, he was singing to old Rod Stewart songs, as she ordered her drink from the bartender. The little tables were almost all taken but she found one in the corner, letting her eyes slide around the room slowly, to see who was there. It wasn’t long before a man asked her to dance.
“Want to?” he asked, extending his hand.
It was not going to be possible to think about men yet, Natalie had been so burned by what Leo had done. Even dancing with another man was not something she cared to do. But the Jolly Pirate was full of warmth and enough loudness to drown out whatever feelings she had been holding. She’d gone for the biggest tiki cocktail ever.
Benjamin snuggled into the covers as the early dawn light swept over the sea, the winds had made him wake time and time again in the night, but he was warm, even with the storm like a gale. Coffee sounded good. He looked at the pretty flowers he had gotten at Super Tigers. Just coffee, half and half and sugar, he thought. Then a really long hot bath. The wooden walls of the cottage gleamed in Autumnal hues. The bathtub was a giant claw foot, so old fashioned and large, two people could have fit in it. Pearly pink light over the Sound.
Speck was outside waiting.
Benjamin sighed, a long sigh, a sigh that was releasing everything trapped inside.
For the first time in a long time he felt better. He didn’t have to do anything. Just be in the silence.
Do you know what it’s like to finally find a totally comfortable atmosphere? That’s what Benjamin had found. No rules, no phones, no constancy. He was adrift with nothing but a fishing pole. Life sets people on courses and we never know where those will lead or take us.
“I can’t believe we were here, Dad,” he whispered. “I wish you could have met Beth.”
Natalie awoke in the giant lonely King sized bed she had in the hotel. A little fire glimmered in the corner of her room. She sighed.
Her world had cracked apart, but she felt stronger.
Okracoke Island seemed like she could live there. Get away from Kitty Hawk and all the people she had always known. The thoughts began to jell in her mind, moving around slowly like wisps of thought. She had picked the hotel that was closest to the wild ponies. They reminded her of childhood, and herself as a little girl with her own parents, the pony she had had then. Winky had the best mane, riding bareback along the dunes.
I think I’ll get a horse, she thought. Leo never gave a damn about anything I wanted exactly, it was always about him.