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Friday, May 29, 2009

Screenplay Status

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

I promise, I've been busy.

This week I completed work on the first draft of the beat sheet for the Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind screenplay and delivered it to my producer.

As to my other writing projects, I have decided it is best to see how things play out with the screenplay before turning my focus onto anything else. It is a simple, unfortunate truth that between my job, my commitment to CONFRONT Magazine and life, itself, I just don't have time, energy or the capacity to focus very well on multiple projects; at least, not at this juncture.

I'm exploring options that may eventually lead to me being able to write professionally full time, but that is still very, very much up in the air.

I continue to be amazed at this journey. Nothing ever goes as expected, and the things that do happen are wholly surprising. But, I'm beginning to ramble, now, so time to cut it short.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Vault in Limbo


Limbo is neither a graveyard nor a gaol. It is a place of waiting. In Christian myth, Limbo is where the souls of the unbaptized babies go. Tainted by Original Sin, the sin of desiring knowledge of Good and Evil, yet innocent of actual transgression, these creatures are not pure enough to enter God’s presence, nor tainted enough to be exiled in Hell.

Where am I going with this, you may wonder.

I believe Limbo, as described above perfectly describes the condition of all the stories, either lost or incomplete, from all the storytellers, poets, bards, minstrels, writers and dreamers of the world. Each storyteller has a vault there, where we each keep our own lost and abandoned tales.

Throughout our lives we continue to fill this vault. Sometimes, we withdraw stories from within, bring them to life anew or reinvent them. More often than not, we consign stories to this place, and leave them here.

But I don’t believe anyone ever forgets a story that they send here.

Whenever I send a project here, I take the time to go through the inventory of my vault in Limbo. Everything I ever wrote is here. The high flying adventures of Captain Jock Stone and the crew of his best friend’s spaceship; the story of mutated children of a government experiment escaping and evolving into something else; the man who steals a time machine in an attempt to change his destiny; the tortured, unromantic life of street-urchin vampires. They were among the first residents of my vault. They came here in the decade between my thirteenth and twenty-third birthdays, and more and more have joined their ranks in the decade and a half since.

Three and a half years of poor sales have seen my publishers decide to pull “The Unearthing” from production. That means that the other four volumes of the story, “Through Darkness and Stars”, “The Aeons War”, “The Destroyer of Worlds” and “Artifacts of Forgotten Gods” have been shipped there, as well.

I was certain that the “Nevermind” screenplay would soon be counted among the residents of this vault. I was so convinced, in fact, that I had begun my grim tour of its contents. Several weeks had passed, during which time I heard nothing from the filmmaker to whom “Nevermind” was to have been optioned. Like so much of my work since I was laid off from my old job in 2006, I found that the project was running out of steam: self-doubt eclipsed my ability to write; anxiety and worry usurped my imagination. I couldn’t maintain my writing.

Likewise, my work with CONFRONT Magazine and my ongoing work with Anglo rights groups in Quebec began taking up more and more of my free time. I wasn’t sleeping properly (no surprise there) and I was continually exhausted at and by my job.

Since 2006, several projects have gone into my vault: a fiction piece about the events leading up to and the aftermath of a school shooting; a retelling of the Frankenstein’s Monster story; the constantly-promised revival of “Crossroads”, which keeps rolling over and going back into hibernation after every unsuccessful attempt to revive it; a story about a daughter who seduces her father, just to see if she can; a “ghost ship” story set in space; a military coup d’etat in the United States; a spy story about a plot to bankrupt Cuba, and several others that never made it past page One.

Never in my life have I gone through the kind of creative agony that I faced from 2006 to 2008. Five months in, I have to admit that 2009 hasn’t been much easier. I had plans to publish two novels; I was supposed to have had one or both of them ready to go, by now. Unfortunately, “Through Darkness and Stars” is on indefinite hold (though I hope to revive it as an ebook) and “Nevermind” got side-tracked into the aforementioned screenplay project.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

However, this past week I heard back from my filmmaker partner-to-be. We have settled on a draft agreement for the option to produce “Nevermind”, and I am back at work on the project, crafting a beat sheet while continuing to peck away at the screenplay. I’m still keeping a light load with CONFRONT so I can concentrate on the script, and if things go well, I’ll hopefully be done with it before the fall.

I will continue to post my regular, if intermittent, updates to this weblog, Twitter and elsewhere. Best thing would be for you, readers, to subscribe to the RSS feed; that’s your best tool, I think, to keep track of those updates.

Until next time!