HEART OF CLOUDS – Screenplay

I loved the sound, and the images of the wildflowers, in this.

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.

TEENIE

Daddy, don’t go.

JAX

Honey, you know I don’t want to, but I have to. We need the money.

TEENIE

(hugging him tightly, as he brushes back her hair, dries her tears with his shirt)

JAX

I got you something honey.

TEENIE

(corners of a smile begin)

JAX

(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?

TEENIE

I do?

JAX

(gruffly, holding back tears)

Never forget that, okay?

Never lose that little twinkle in your eye.

TEENIE

(in awe at the beauty of the journal he picked for her, and the special pen)

Thank you, Daddy.

JAX

(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.

TEENIE

(whispers)

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.

TEENIE

(sighs)

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.

DEVLIN

(says softly)

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)

Maybe she could be a friend.

MEMOIR NEWSPAPERPEOPLE Chapter four Day 6 NANOWRIMO 2021

Newspaperpeople

  1. Storkes

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.

“Nooooo.”

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.

You weep.

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.

Cattle.

Chattel.
Cattle.

Chattel.

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.

Never.

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

Newspaperpeople #Memoir #nanowrimo2021 Day Two

“Lightline” by Adrienne Wilson

Day 2 Nanowrimo Newspaperpeople

  1. Cockroaches

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.

Heart of Clouds, Summerland magic

The unexpected magic yesterday of being down on Summerland beach. The last time I was there was at this time last year, after Walter Davis, my screenwriting teacher at the SB Writers Conference passed. Two writers who were important to me passed last year, he and Kate Braverman.

The last thing Walter ever said to me, was, “Let’s go to France.”

I spent a great deal of time last year at the end of summer on the beach there, with the driftwood structures, as those are a main theme in the book I have written for children. Well guess what? I met the artist on those, and is there ever a fantastic one there now.

Funny how life works, the passage of one year. The Conference wasn’t on this year because of the Covid.

I feel better in Summerland.

So Odin and I went, after a whole year almost, at Sunset. Today I am taking the book down to them, to see what they think of the themes. It is great to meet people like that, in such a sacred, sacred place to me. Most of my location shots last year were down in that area all the way to Loon point.

It was written to go to film and in scenes. I may just write that right here in WordPress, like I did the play before the Conference last year. I took a short story and simply converted it over into a play. From Walter I learned to write character studies, as that is what he did, and my book was an answer piece to his film “Do You Remember Love.”

Well, I know those guys I met on the beach are going to love it, because it is the local childhood I wrote that exists here. My heart went into that book, and all my training as a therapist, as well. The thing is Walter didn’t even care. Well? I may put that book for sale right here in WordPress I am so angry that he couldn’t even bother to get back to me. My opinion of Hollywood isn’t that great. Anyway, my best year at the Conference was a few years ago when I got to meet Janet Fitch who studied with Kate Braverman. Her “White Oleander” went to film and is one of the classics.

There is more to life than crochet, perhaps. Or anger. Seeing that driftwood structure made my day yesterday, it really did. I shot the cover for the book right off the beach there.

I said, “You can design Devlin’s hut. My god look what you have built here.”

I asked him if he did the ones last year and he had.

How incredible is that?

xxoo!

On the crochet front I am working on something called the Fruit Garden CAL that reminds me of Brideshead Revisited, a series I loved very much once, back in college years. The character of Sebastian and his Teddy. I love Waugh and other English writers. Always have. CS Lewis came to me in a dream that last few pages of my book.

All the pix of what I saw on the beach last year are over in FB and I’m not. I’m giving it a wide berth. The other day an old friend called and said the rumor on FB was that I was dead. Not yet.

Here is some crochet. I have not done things like this since I was 13 with my best friend, not kidding. I had to work in corporate hell, and maybe the next book will be about the newspaper years and what it was like for women on the job. Today is going to be fun.

If this isn’t the most gorgeous design what is?

Janie Crow’s Fruit Garden CAL in Ravelry and Youtube

I didn’t have one of her kits, with her colors, drat.

I am going to finish this, yep.

I plan to.

Hope all of you are well. This virus thing is so hard on us. To be at the empty beach yesterday was fabulous, and Odin my dog loves that beach.

Today, again.

Seeing people who will love the book.

The Fairy Garden

fairygarden:cover2Really happy about Nano this year.

I think I might write the book here in WP on my blog.

It’s just easier!

Anyway I made a cover for it and found a really beautiful quote for the frontspiece by a

writer I read as a little girl.

That was “The Secret Garden” – so this is going to be for 8 year olds, or the child in all of us.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

AngelChristmasGraphicsFairy1

NaNo-2018-Writer-Facebook-Cover

Good morning to friends

Good morning to my friends around the world.  I am trying a test to see if you can translate this message into your languages around the world.  Your help means everything to me at this juncture, for it means that my books can be translated.  If I were to tell you how happy I am about that?

Thank you so very much for trying this.

All my best to you,

Adrienne

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