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Showing posts from February, 2018

Once Upon a Time . . . There Lived . . .

I love movies with well-told stories, interesting characters, and realistic endings. When Rhett Butler walks away from Scarlett in the last scene of Gone with the Wind, my heart breaks for her but I go with him.Though his character changes in the story, hers doesn’t.She will continue to be who she is, while he learned, though painfully, from their experience together. In Something’s Gotta Give, an aging playboy, who has always dated young women barely old enough to vote, wonders if he can settle down with one woman, especially one more his age, one eligible for AARP benefits. Harry Sanborn spends the better part of Act II facing and atoning for his past before trying to reunite with Erica Barry.As the credits roll, I wonder how long before his eyes start roaming again, but more importantly, what happens to Dr. Julian Mercer? I suggest a sequel.Since he seems to go for older women, I picture the following: he treats me for the H3N2 flu and sees past my runny nose, watery eyes, and comma…

Story without Structure/Costello without Abbott

“Story without structure is like . . . Abbott without Costello,” says James Scott Bell in his book Story Structure: The Key to Understanding the Power of Story.              Who didn’t love the famous vaudevillian comedy duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello where Abbott played the straight man and Costello played the comic foil?  I suggest story without structure is more likely Costello without Abbott. Without the straight man feeding jokes to Costello, they would not be the team we remember. A good story is nothing without good structure.           Extending the analogy of their memorable skit of Who’s on First, let’s look at what Mr. Bell says about story and structure. ·Who’s on first? The writer starts with an idea so meaty it merits a story, but the writer needs a playbook - work out a plan, a strategy, a smattering of ideas - before taking the field. ·What’s on second? Next, the writer brainstorms scenes, fleshes out characters, studies emotions, and lists problems with possible solution…

Forming Something from Nothing

My father tucked us into bed at night when we were children with stories – memories of his childhood, both funny or poignant; fairy tales passed down from parent to child; or fables he created to teach us life lessons. We never tired of the stories he repeated night after night, but sometimes he would beg us to let him come up with something new.  He would ask us to name a main character, choose a problem to be faced, and call out whether the story should be funny or serious. Within minutes, he would have us entranced with a new nighttime favorite. His credited his mother for his skill as a storyteller. He said he looked forward to bedtime as a child after a long, hard day eking a living on the “rancho” in deep south Texas, because she would regale him and his siblings with the most wonderful, pleasurable “cuentos” and “fantasias.” She would sweep him away from the hard life they lived into fabulous places where everything always ended happily.
Maybe that is where I get my intrinsic n…

In the Movie of my Life

If my life were a movie, I would be the quirky sidekick, the nerdy friend, the sage mentor in the background who offers a shoulder, advice, and a mug of cocoa or a glass of wine to the lead character.  I am Ally Sheedy, Mary Stuart Masterson, or Lee Sobieski in every movie they ever made before fading into obscurity.           The roles they played made them seen more clumsy than cool, more pokey than popular, more bookish than beautiful, but without them the lead would never find herself.  They stood firm and sure of themselves while the lead floundered and struggled and got top billing.  Without them there would not be a movie.           In retrospection, they are the true heroes of the movie.  Without them, the lead would continue to whine and lose or allow herself to be bullied.            In the movie of my life, I push my way to the front and make the camera focus on me; after all, it is My movie and not theirs.           We carefully nourish our bodies with healthy foo…