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?
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
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
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 am looking at this, and will try and use WP to do it, then get printed. I don’t have a way to “create” this style of formatting, what a drag, oh well. Consider me a rank beginner, but I am doing this for Walter and all I can think of is the way he taught me to move time using Lawrence of Arabia and the match scene. I have the dialogue, so now it is a matter of fleshing out what that looks like as a temporal art form. I am so excited about this omg. Becoming a playwright before your and my very eyes. It’s like a long forgotten dream.
The LIGHTING in this play is EVERYTHING, because the settings are STARK and MINIMALISTIC. The play will be shown by the movements of the actors with ACTION and the SHOWING OF EMOTION via THE BODY ACTIONS, so this is VERY DRAMATIC LOOKING.
I will try to write it showing the sorts of actions, except I know that the ACTORS themselves will KNOW the parts of TRENT and MARINA and can access these feeling states through the body. I will do my best to write the bodily actions today.
SCENE ONE, ACT ONE
SETTING: We are at a funeral attended by several mourners. They are all friends who have known the deceased. The stage is PITCH DARK BLACK. These are the MOURNERS and all of them form a circle around a capstone laid flat on the floor. ONE WHITE CANDLE sits near the capstone on the grave. Each MOURNER carries a FLOWER to represent taking flowers to a grave. EACH MOURNER PRESENTS THE EMOTION OF SADNESS IN DEAD SILENCE almost as a PANTOMIME.
AT RISE: We see the lights slowly come on to illuminate a group of people. In silence and slowly one by one while doing a pantomime style set of grief actions similar to Marcel Marceau audience watches them each in turn place a flower near the candle. They will show grief as EXPRESSION on faces and BODY. At the LAST MOURNER we hear the words, “TAKEN TOO SOON.” THE MOURNERS HAVE WALKED SLOWLY UPSTAGE INTO COMPLETE DARKNESS TO EXIT IN TURN STAGE RIGHT AND LEFT. Characters TRENT and Marina are the only two left on stage. The LIGHTS move to their faces and TRENT is the first to speak, after a long audible sigh.
(I can use psychodrama techniques to help teach this) – GESTALT via Modern Dance)
(note- use circular space to pull emotions from mourners as dance/experiential)
(letting out long and deep sad sigh)
Sometimes you just need to be held.
(he looks at MARINA, as he says this – lights illuminate their faces only)
(looking sadly up at him)
What do you mean?
It helps, especially when life throws you curve balls
Maybe you’re right
What about the ghosts of the past
(she moves away from him, looks off into space as if she is remembering all the ghosts of people and her marriage, that ended very sadly)
What if I can’t?
(she looks back at him across a great void on the black dark stage, light illuminates her expression, which is of a lost thing)
You have to
You have to
(he looks off into distance, across the great black void of space and we see him turn back to face her)
Going to that Halloween Party tomorrow?
Let’s go together
(he puts his arm around her, as a friend would, after the sadness of the funeral – not romantically, as a friend. They begin to walk a little, lights are on the two of them, as full bodies now)
What are you going to wear?
I thought I might go like the 1920’s. I saw some shoes.
(says this wistfully)
(he perks up out of sadness, gives a little smile at her)
Vanilla suede with a tiny strap,. My grandmother would have worn shoes like that, while the moon shimmered off the surface of the lake. My grandfather would have taken her in his arms.
A different time I guess
People fell in love
I guess they did
END SCENE – STAGE FADES TO DARKNESS AGAIN
Scene two will take place at TRENT’S APT.
This will be DANCE SCENE and this is not Tennessee William’s Glass Menagerie by a long shot.
Omg I DID IT, I have figured out where to break it.
Okay so like I do not have the time to learn to use Pages, and my WP Blog has served me well, so well and for so long that, this is just easiest.
Fed Ex can handle the print out.
So I am adapting a short story that I wrote in 2013 for ERWA called Vanilla Suede that they put in the Treasure Chest. It’s a real little shorty and totally dialogue but as I was writing it, and now that I think about it, that might have been the year that Walter Dallenbach had passed away and so the PLAY “Vanilla Suede” is FOR Walter, just as Heart of Clouds was writ for Walter Davis based on the title of his “Do You Remember Love” which won a Humanitas. In 2006 when I saw that prize on his mantel at a party I almost keeled over. Well I was a therapist you know? That is HUGE. So anyway, Vanilla Suede is just dialogue, that my editor Bob Buckley taught me to write and I was able to do as he did, with all his dialogue pieces as Flash Fiction. He is so very dear to me. Always. So anyway I am breaking my words into three scenes and all morning I grasped a new understanding of “spectacle” and what that means for set design. So this is really simple in some ways.
— I am breaking up the story into three distinct scenes. The first scene starts at a funeral where two old friends who have known each other for years meet up at the death of a mutual friend. These are my MC’s Trent and Marina – they are older – mid 50s or? But the essence of these two characters is that they have lived in long marriages and are now divorced, but, hesitant to get involved with anyone else. So I know that I wrote the shorty with Aristotle’s Poetics. Even as thinly as the dialogue is! — we used to write to 1200 words sometimes in my genre at ERWA so this is one of those shortys. And I want to use a very minimalist style to present this. Painting the props myself and I only need like three. It’s set to Glenn Miller “Moonlight Serenade, and that will be the second part of the scene.and I am just going to do this here because can access right at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.
So where I am going to break the text and how that will look.
The PLAY VANILLA SUEDE = three scenes.
There is a dark stage and as the lights come on dimly lit, “DARK” we see maybe seven people standing in a circle the mourners are EXTRAS in a sense because this is the only line ONE OF THEM will say.
EVERYONE IS HOLDING A FLOWER to symbolize putting a flower on a GRAVE. ONE BY ONE silently and with great care, EACH MOURNER places A FLOWER at the base of the tombstone until we hear “GONE TOO SOON” by the last mourner, who shakes his head, sadly and slowly back and forth. The mourner’s FACES all hold the sadness one sees at the loss of someone dear.
The mourners recede into darkness, BY ONE BY ONE WALKING BACKWARDS AND UPSTAGE until THEY EXIT STAGE LEFT ONE BY ONE, and the LIGHTS now move to a spotlight on the faces of my two MC’s. TRENT AND MARINA.
SO, NEW LINE = “TAKEN TOO SOON” as said by one of the mourners.
Now we hear TRENT say to MARINA the next part. This is a play for TWO PEOPLE.
We see TRENT and MARINA as the last of the mourners, when he says: “Sometimes you just need to be held,” ——– This line is where my shorty started.
TRENT and MARINA are now the last mourners left at the site of the grave but we DO NOT NEED TO SEE TOMBSTONE, so lights are just ON THEM.
In this part the conversation between them is about the 1920’s, as in the shorty. However I am going to make another break in the action here so – I have to move them from Marina talking about the Halloween Party and her grandparents to the TWO OF THEM deciding they are going to go to the party together. Also work in the EE and I have thought how to do that. TRENT can have a book of EE’s poems on the set on a table. In this part, MARINA can say, “Oh, you have read ee, and Trent will say, “YES.” Then she will say, “Oh I have a fave poem of his.” So what has happened here is that there is going to be a LOVE SCENE with the BALCONY involved. They have decided to go to the Halloween Party together. But we never see the Halloween party.
SCENE TWO is at TRENT’S APT and in this scene is where we will see the DANCE SCENE so this goes in where he says, “HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THIS” —- enter the Miller SOUNTRACK on Moonlight S.
This is also the part where MARINA will read EE poem.
SCENE THREE IS BALCONY LOVE SCENE I AM EDITING.
I think this is a one act play in two scenes? Not sure what to call it but Walter and Carmen will know.
SETS #1 TOMBSTONE AND MOURNERS
SET #2 TRENT APT DANCE SCENE
SET #3 LOVE SCENE ON BALCONY BEHIND BALUSTRADE (hidden from aud) just hear the voices and the lines.
FINALE- the lights turn into the stars! ❤ How is that for a spectacle!!! ha!
*author note, sadly Walter passed in 2014, so I wrote this before that but, the play Vanilla Suede that is SBWC 2019 is dedicated to my screenwriting teacher, the magnificent Walter Dallenbach. The match scene in the film Lawrence of Arabia.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden“
The night was so dark it seemed all the light was gone, except for the little moon like a lantern that hung in a small corner of the sky. Everything was gone. Every last dream.
It was on nights like this that Francoise felt she had lost all ability to cope. She took a sip of the brandy Pierre had loved. Sleep was impossible. If only Pierre were with me, I’d feel safe, she thought. He was gone. He was gone in the way that death takes all things that we love eventually. In life the moon is the only constant thing, or the sun, or the tides on the sea, or the waves of grass that glint and shimmer. The songs of birds, the flowers pushing up and open from the dank earth. All things return to this in the end, like the great hum or the great silence as the clock ticks round and round.
Courage, she thought. I will need courage to go on, in this darkness.
Little did she know that it would be the face of a child that would give her that.
Abigail LeNotre was the most curious child Francoise had ever seen. She was only eight, and she was in a part of life that Francoise had long forgotten. The part where everything is still to be discovered and learned. The part where magic still exists. Francoise was in her eightieth year, and you can imagine all that she had seen and known of life by that time.
Francoise had forgotten about fairies. Or perhaps she had forgotten the time she had known about them as a child, herself. It’s just that she hadn’t thought of them in so very long. The brandy calmed her. In the morning she would have to begin the process of dealing with all of Pierre’s things. The funeral was past. His garden had died. These were things of the adult world, not the world of Abigail.
It seemed to Francoise that her heart was as fragile as a petal in the way that time and love soften one. All of the things that she and Pierre had done together. Memories across years of time. Abigail hadn’t known loneliness yet. But she was lonely.
“My parents are allergic to animals,” she had said to Francoise, over the garden gate.