Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 22: Abracadabra!!

The Hungry Screenwriter’s budget leaves little room for the purchasing of monogrammed slippers, footwear I’ve oft coveted when browsing the fine clothing on offer in Fortnum & Mason’s menswear department (surely they must have another name other than “menswear”, it sounds so Are You Being Served?). Sometimes I wonder where I get my taste in clothing from - the Duke of Windsor (England’s King that chose not to be) or Barry Humphries (Dame Edna’s alter-ego, who is a very natty dresser)? I mention this because my eye lingers most on Prince of Wales check suits, bespoke shirts from Jermyn Street and anything in Harris Tweed (I do own a fine tie, gifted me in Edinburgh, by a close friend, a few years ago).

“Clothes maketh the man” is a well-known quip, as is “cleanliness is next to Godliness”.

Which brings me back to my budget. One of the purposes of this Blog, from the outset, was for me to share with others - maybe fellow-travellers, maybe not - that the paucity of funds needn’t dictate the absence of abundance in a life. Personally, The Secret, is not an elixir that I can subscribe to...I have no quarrel if it works for you, but there’s something rather “do nothing, get lots” about it that doesn’t sit well with me.

I prefer to find bountifulness in the rich-pickings of that which surrounds me, the jewels of life in my everyday; which brings me on to Dr Bronner.

A couple of years ago I read an article by Maggie Alderson, in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine, about the perils of Sodium Laurel Sulphate. Sodium Laurel Sulphate is the chemical found in most “soap” products that gives your skin that silky feeling, but at the same time actually drys it out. This was a revelation to me and from that point on I would study labels of “soap” products and eradicate this unwanted compound from my life.

Just before Christmas past, on the trail of inexpensive festive presents that would, however, be richly prized, I stumbled upon my soapy Xanadu: Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap.

Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap contains no harmful ingredients and, ironically, no harmful “soap”. The good doctor's soap is made with Fair Trade organic oils, comes in a range of flavours - Eucalyptus, Almond and Tea Tree being my favourites - is a Castile Soap (it’s place of origin being Castile, Spain), but wait, there’s more. Dr Bronner’s comes in a nice, small’ brick‘ size and has “Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap” engraved on one side and “All One” one the other? The packaging is a triumph and lured me from the outset, making the soap look as though it’s been delivered fresh from the late Dr Bronner’s apothecary by horse, cart or hand. Do yourself a favour today and hunt it down in your local health store.

Dr Bronners is $6.95 a go, making it a veritable King of soap pricing if not of soaps per se. I get two week’s worth of showers out of the one bar, which works out at about 49 cents a day, but everything that surrounds my soap purchasing - even the trip to the store - is a magnificent reward in, and of, itself.

Day #22 Tip: Find The Gold In The Day-To-Day Of Your Writing

In the early days of my screenwriting apprenticeship, when blood, sweat and tears mussed up my computer’s keyboard, moments of writer’s pain and angst would be leavened by me thinking about my acceptance speech on that glorious day when a golden statuette would be placed in my hand.

Such folly....but my folly, nonetheless.

I have since learnt that such thinking is meagre reward, thin sustenance, flimsy nutrition for the screenwriter. It was then explained to me, where the real writer’s nourishment may come from. Let me pass on this wisdom.

When I’m working on my Index Cards, with an uncensured mind, occasionally, I will be sent, by the writing Gods, the gift of a scintillating idea: “...what if this happened to my character here, what if he did this which led to this...”. As the, often outlandish, idea grows and flourishes, as I entertain the idea, my next thought is “can I make this play, dare I employ this idea?” Once every now and then, the gift, the idea, is very, very special and brings that wonderful turn of events to my plot that completely opens up the story and the screenplay. At such moments, I want to leap out of my chair and hug the world.

This is real screenwriter’s reward stuff and it can hardly be shared with anyone else, for who, apart from me, understands the import of such a wonderful leap of imagination?

Imagine then, M. Night Shyamalan, beavering away on The Sixth Sense, which in early incarnations was probably just an alright script, when (there’s a film spoiler coming here, in case you haven’t seen The Sixth Sense), suddenly this idea pops into M.Night’s head: “He’s dead. What if the protagonist is dead...he’s dead, he’s been f**king dead the whole time. Can I pull this off? Would this work? Can I make it play?...........EUREKA!!!!!!!!!”. I reckon that he would have leapt out of his writer’s chair and run down his local Hollywood boulevard naked when he got that gift. And d’you know what? A possibly mediocre screenplay just got catapulted to a rarified screenwriting stratosphere the likes of which, well, the success of that film is known to all.

Let me clear about this though: M.Night Shyamalan made his first film seven years before The Sixth Sense, which means that he was probably practicing his craft for quite a few years before that; in fact, I’ve read a bit about him and know he'd been working away at it for some time (I've yet to meet the "overnight success").

I sometimes get “eureka” moments and I too, feel like running down the street naked. Fortunately, I would be wafting, fragrantly of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soap as I sprinted past in celebration of that moment in my writing day.

1 comment: