Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ever wonder why you do things?

I do -- all the time.  And I rarely have an answer that really sticks.  Like...joining the Y and not making full use of it.  Or eating twice as many cookies as I tell myself I will...despite the fact that I'm trying to lose some weight.  Hell, a lot of weight.  Or swearing I'll get that story completed by a certain time and then blowing off my schedule to let my mind do its wandering.

And then there's posting a photo of this guy -- my idea of Noah in "Coby O'..."(AKA: Simon Dexter).  He's beautiful, yes...but I know I'll never even get to know him let alone be interesting to him.
Still that's what seems to be taking me over, right now...and I wonder if that's Coby talking?  Setting up his character in the book.  He's not like that in the screenplay; he's jokier and self-assured and charming, in many ways.  I wonder if that's why it never quite came together?  That I hadn't heard his whispers of who he really is and what he's really about?

You know, it took me years...and listen to Brendan.  When I first conceived of "Place of Safety" I was going to have him become an architect, my brutally obvious metaphor for a lad caught in the midst of destruction trying to build a life and career and future in creating something.  But it never really fit.  Always felt obvious and fake.

Then I visited Derry for the first time and became so overwhelmed by the history and emotion of the place, I had to get out.  I was told about Griannan Aileach by the woman who ran the B&B I was staying in, so headed for it via the bus.  And walked up the neverending hill to get to it.  And sat there till I'd missed the last bus back and had to walk.  In the beautiful solitude of the rolling hills and deep green grass and partitioned little farms and hundreds of Spring lambs dancing about, so recently born they still had their umbilical cords dangling from their bellies.  And that silence is what allowed me to finally hear Brendan's whispers of revelation...and the story began to come together.

I know I've spoken of that in an earlier post, and I don't really want to repeat myself.  Yet here I am, again...and I'm finding the silence and solitude of Buffalo is helping me hear my characters speak.  I sit here and drift and soft words come to say, "You could work on me."  "You could tell my story, now."  "I'm ready to be heard."  Even the tangle between Brendan and myself over the directions of the story added to the awareness I have of others.

Prime example -- I couldn't figure out how to deal with BC-3 while in San Antonio; there were too many ways the noise of the world intruded.  Same for LA, really; I knew people there and had organizations I belonged to...and I was deeply focused on my screenwriting...which by default is minimalist storytelling.  So I was thinking of just dropping book 3 or splitting it up or putting it away till I was done with so many other things.  But up here it suddenly came together and I slammed it out in about 5-6 weeks.  And Nazca Plains says they put it at the front of the queue of writers ready to be sacrificed to the commercial gods.

I moved to this place for work.  It was the only job I could find.  And it's been hard to deal with, in many ways...but now I think it was the right decision.  One I undertook in my deepest subconscious mind.  I needed the solitude to hear my stories.  To follow the paths they lead me down.  Like a monk, of sorts.

I wonder if I was one in a previous life?  It so easily fits me.

Problem means being alone.  I can look at someone as lovely as Simon Dexter, but I can't touch.  That might break the spell.  And I feel comfortable with it, right now.

Does that mean I'm crazy?  Probably.  No...definitely.  Only a madman (or a writer) would admit to hearing voices in his head telling him stories.  But I like to think that means I'm truly creative, for aren't all creative people just a bit on the side of nuts?  I think of Michelangelo's response when asked how he worked out his statues, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

You are now free to make comments about my ego and arrogance in comparing myself to Michelangelo.

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