writing as the dawn comes up.

darlings

we saw the sunrise today – and we’ll probably be around to watch it set because we’re off to the movies (and we’re VERY EXCITED because it’ll be the first time we’ve seen THIS on the big screen – well – let’s see – it must be – *looksfarawayintomiddledistance* a Very Long Time Ago).

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so very excited.

when the opening scene unfolds to the haunting strains of King Curtis playing Procul Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale we shall probably start weeping for our mis-spent (and yet highly cinematic in its own right) Youth.

if you can see this transmission in your territory, we highly recommend turning off all the lights and gathering around the screen.

*tears_optional* depending on your history of course.

so what else?

*attemptstocomebacktoReality* (not always easy, or even preferable to be honest).

well – lots, actually.

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in order to stay awake and Alert during the day we’ve been getting up very early and taking a nice walk and then sitting with our toes in the swimming pool, taking a moment to feel grateful and alive and empty our head of thoughts (yes, meditating – of sorts). 41e0af600a7511e397fd22000ae912c9_7

and admiring roses along the way. 244b1a300a7011e3b85a22000ab6855b_7

and drinking an awful lot of caffeine. 917291280b2a11e39da122000a9e28e0_7

and watching the sunrise (this was 05:45AM this morning)c16266400b2c11e3ae8022000a1fc41a_7

this was 06:00AM.

almost a Cezanne, non?

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and then we Get Down To Work.

and there’s lots of it (which is such a pleasant thing to say – who-we-are-in-RL has been Very Busy out there in the World)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and she’s been having important meetings (and shining her shoes ever so nicely before heading out the door). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and driving up into the Hills and taking time to turn around and just *gasp* at the View (well, wouldn’t you? #divine).

and the work is going very well (nope, not allowed to Say Anything About It At All).

we just have one Tiny complaint request.

we miss writing.

although we DID write this which came out today –

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but we want to be writing This too (this is our dream cast – it helps to imagine actors, don’t you agree?) Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 4.46.39 PMwe’d started to re-write the screenplay again – while we do the novel version too (not New as in Novel but Book as in novel).

we know we’ve shown you this before but we’ve made a few Tweaks and it helps to put it out into the Universe because then we’re One step nearer to seeing it at the Cinema – you understand, don’t you? when we’re tired, it keeps us going…..

The Goddess, The Writer And The Eternal Soul

by sophia stuart

It was one of those really rainy nights in London where umbrellas are all but useless. It had been pouring down for hours and people ducked into doorways or crowded into bus shelters and generally looked damp and careworn.

Everyone that is apart from one glitteringly beautiful goddess who walked down the center of Charing Cross Road without an umbrella or a hat or even a coat. But nobody saw her because she was an invisible being, in fact the leader of the Muses (and thus a real goddess).

Calliope did not feel at all goddess-like this evening. She was enraged by a headline on the evening newspaper. It said, “ARE LIFE COACHES THE NEW MUSES?”

She walked on further almost towards Trafalgar Square, which was now crammed bumper to bumper with cars, cabs and buses all stuck in the rush hour, horns blaring. She took a sharp right, sweeping regally past the guards and into the depths of the National Portrait Gallery.

Rushing through the galleries (blowing a kiss to the young Queen Victoria’s portrait) she sped up to the next floor flying through the Tudors, Stuarts and through the late eighteenth century to the nineteenth galleries. She stopped as soon as she reached The Romantics room with Blake, Shelley and Keats.

“I’ve missed you,” she said, catching her breath. The portraits, of course, stayed silent. But she knew something of their spirits was contained in the paint. “Nobody believes in us anymore.” The portraits did not reply. “They have replaced us with humans they call Life Coaches.”

A young male student wandered into the gallery and sat down in front of the Keats painting. He opened up a slim volume of poetry and started to read, looking up at the portrait from time to time with tears in his eyes. Calliope watched him for a while in wonder. Then she drifted over to his chair and stood behind him, stroking his hair gently and kissing the back of his neck. The young man was astonished. He could feel something but there was no one there. Calliope put her hands on the book and turned the page out of interest, to see which poem was next. The young man dropped the book in fright and ran away.

Calliope sat on the chair and read from the book.

“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching…….”

She looked up at Keats and smiled. “Now that one was glorious, I remember it so well.” Leaving the book carefully on the chair, she raised her arms towards the tips of the gold frames and said, “Find me a so-called Life Coach who could inspire such beauty, darlings.”

And with that she laughed and ran out of the gallery and caught the next celestial transporter to a small town just outside of Los Angeles. According to the magazine articles, that was where they trained these new Life Coaches in their bid to become Muses.

There is a place in southern California called Donal Bay. It’s a few miles down the coastal road from Santa Monica on the way to Venice Beach and you would miss it if you didn’t slow down and turn left just five minutes (in mellow traffic) as soon as you spot the pier on the ocean side.

There are twinkle lights entwined between all the palm trees down Main Street, an Irish bar, 1940s era eggs and coffee breakfast place, a newsstand with all the Italian and Parisian fashion magazines next to surfing and boating news. There are also several tiny cafes with small round tables in between all the yoga studios and alternative healing emporia. These cafes are the sort of places you could easily imagine eating lemon gelato mid-morning with fizzy mineral water in sky blue tall glasses.

Calliope strokes her arm.

                          CALLIOPE
                Let it go. I’ll talk to you.

Lily suddenly relaxes and pulls the car out of the garage.
Calliope moves her hand over Lily’s arm to “read” her.

                     CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
 Just turned thirty-five? Your eternal soul must be coming
             down to meet you. Who do you have?

She flicks her right hand and pulls up a screen.

                     CALLIOPE (CONT’D)
               Liam McCann. Give me strength.

EXT. DONAL BAY BEACH - AFTERNOON
Liam and Cornelius emerge from the surf. Liam is grumpy

                            LIAM
        It’s not exactly the South of France is it?

This just in ———

21:38 hours (in a random deli, waiting for a bowl of chicken matzo ball noodle soup)

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It was sublime.

*sighs*

Mr. Bruce Robinson writes and directs like the twisted dark angel heir to the tossed nights of fervid imagination of yeats and blake….

Oh yes.

setting the scene in donal bay….(aka #oceanPark California)

darlings

we went to interview someone for next week’s column in Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and after it was done (and fascinating and lovely an interview it was too) we decided it was going to be too crazy on the freeway (rush hour) so we took a different turning and went to watch the sunset on the beach before heading home……..and took a lot of pictures

mainly because we want You to have a Visual of this fictitious place we called DONAL BAY in the screenplay-being-turned-into-a-novel (in reality, it’s Ocean Park, California and yes, we used to live There)

ready to read?

it’s just a little bit tonight – but a few pictures too, so a cup of tea or something sweet might be nice, depending on your time zone/desire:

we’ll wait……….

*pauses*

you’re back – lovely – here we go.

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There is a place in southern California called Donal Bay. It’s a few miles down the coastal road from Santa Monica on the way to Venice Beach and you would miss it if you did not slow down and turn left just five minutes (in mellow traffic) as soon as you spot the pier on the ocean side.

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There are twinkle lights entwined between all the palm trees down Main Street, an Irish bar, 1940s era eggs and coffee breakfast place and a newsstand with all the Italian and Parisian fashion magazines next to surfing and boating news. There are also several tiny cafes with small round tables in between all the yoga studios and alternative healing emporia.

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Late at night, strange mists of water can be seen at the intersection. As you get closer, you’ll see people in wet suits, just back from the beach, washing the sand off their cars in the outdoor hand car wash. They then gather at the Mexican place and sit at the counter to eat three dollar fish tacos and swig from lurid candy-colored soda bottles.

The homeless men and women in black shuffle into formation to sleep outside the old Carnegie Library, just down the street from the seafood restaurant with fishing nets above the door, a mermaid’s torso and the sound of live fiddle music floating out into the night air.

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If you turn left from the Ocean road and find yourself in Donal Bay, you will probably never want to leave.  Livy Brennan took that turning last year to see about an apartment share and knew she was here for good.

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The apartment was four blocks from the beach and part of a duplex owned by an entertainment attorney called John Mahoney. Several years earlier, John had been visiting a faded rock star client in Malibu who needed yet another divorce, and taken the Ocean road back towards Beverly Hills. He got lost, couldn’t find the I-10 freeway and ended up in Donal Bay. It was exactly the place he had been looking for. He sold his house in Hancock Park and bought the duplex as soon as he could, moving into the first floor apartment on the left and renting out the other units to various creative types who liked to surf.

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Livy Brennan did not surf. But she did love to sit at the water’s edge with her shoes in her hand, her jeans rolled up to mid calf and watch the sun slip behind the Ferris wheel on the pleasure Pier.

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She was so enchanted by the sunset that she did not see Calliope emerge from the waves.

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oh yes – we are Most Excited about writing this one.

bless you for reading along thus far……….more soon.

 

movie nights and screenwriting days #LifeInLosAngeles.

darlings

los angeles is lovely at twilight.

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even when it’s a strip mall.

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better when it’s an apartment building with neon and naughtiness (in yesteryears, perhaps now – who knows…….)

talking of plots:

we’ve seen three movies in the past *looksvaguelytocamera* day or so.

because we’ve been writing a LOT and needed a break (well, one doesn’t need an excuse for a moment of celluloid dreaming, darlings).

one of them we’re going to skip over swiftly because we were heartbreakingly disappointed (the only thing worse than having a row with someone once loved is watching two people one has loved through both of the earlier movies bicker non stop for 108 minutes – devastating).

moving swiftly on ——

now THIS was Astonishing.

bravo Mr. Douglas and Mr. Damon.

thank you from all of us in West Hollywood and Crenshaw Adjacent (and Palm Springs and Chelsea, NYC and Old Compton Street, London and probably a small Via Glorioso near Versace’s Atelier in Milano where that tiny perfect cafe resides where you stand with all the male models at the bar and knock back a darkly rich espresso).

George had Movie Night chez 1904 towers for the Candelabra One with a little light brie and a sumptuous bowl of antioxidant-bursting-berries and we laughed, cried and whooped over the Outfits.

and now to the third film (actually this was the first one we saw…..) – breathtaking – BREATHTAKING – the acting, the premise, the Humanity, the longing, the pain – oh – OH!

a fine piece of theatre rendered onto film stock (or was it digital – it looked gorgeous anyway, talent was most definitely involved behind, in front and to the side of that film).

but you’ll never look at a naughty site or give out your information on-the-interweb again.

not that You would.

but we’re just saying……..

d a n g e r o u s.

talking of movies and Hollywood – we’ve been reading a FINE MANUSCRIPT (oh, tis good) – a page-turner – and thoroughly enjoying lounging on the sofa chaise or lying back against the pillows in a little Elizabeth Taylor slip (very Tennessee Williams but only sipping a weak tea with lemon) – letting the pages fall onto the small rug as we race Eagerly through the story. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe can’t possibly tell you who wrote it.

it’s not yet published.

but we promised to write a small blurb for the author’s site – so exciting.

also talking of Hollywood – we’re starting to plot too – and work out where our 4 x female characters from 1929 might have lived. 
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there’s a Very Clever (or horrifying, depending on your view of privacy) site-on-the-interweb called The Movieland Directory which has “triangulated” (geek/word) data sets encompassing Los Angeles (public) telephone directories from the 1930s+, Travel Manifests from Atlantic-crossing-great-ships, the Census (which becomes public – what – *looksvaguelytothemiddledistance* at some Point, clearly) and mapping software – voila!

you can find out all the places where Louise Brooks, for instance, once resided.

isn’t that astonishing?

especially if you live here and always felt strange tingling feelings outside Certain Blocks on disparate streets………

*significantlook*

one. might. have. done.

talking of Louise Brooks (as we were) – we were back at the Academy of Motion Pictures Library with the LETTERS of Louise Brooks.

yes.

the actual letters.

astonishing to hold them in one’s modern day hand and experience the thrill of opening a portal into a former Time.

she was awfully naughty.

lots of terrifying gossip about hollywood and the Mob and what men-with-money-and-zero-skills used to demand of Talent.

she was also Very Witty:

(writing in advanced age by this point)

7 North Goodman Street                 10 March 1977
Rochester, NY 14607

My darling Herman Mankiewicz who once (1925) assigned me to review No No Nanette (lousy) while he slept in the next seat….

When I was in Paris in 1958 for a month of homage by the Cinematheque Francaise and wouldn’t leave my bed and gin and tomatoe (sic) juice to go anyway, Lotte Eisner came every day to see me……………Returning to Paris one night Lotti and I went to Man Ray’s where he was entertaining a strange couple who had come to look at his paintings.

……..My last visitor was Christopher Isherwood on a friendly call combined with film watching at Eastman House (8 Feb). I hope you get more nourishing stuff out of me on Keaton and Schenck than I got out of Ish-Ish on Auden and Vidal.

Then we Returned that File to the Special Collections Desk and took the next Manilla folder – the correspondence of a certain Kate Hepburn. Sadly it was mostly Correspondence Received by K. Hepburn but there were a few scrawled notes, probably to her faithful secretary, on how to Respond. We whooped (silently, as it was the Library) to hold in our hands a letter from Someone We Have Met (in Palm Springs – the director and writer Gerald Ayres who directed this which we Adored) to K. Hepburn (such fun!)

Gerald Ayres                July 2, 1981

“I pretend to be a writer and I paused over the keys, debating what qualifying adjective to put in front of ‘pleasure’, and like most writers, I wanted all the words, so I let it stand, pleasure. for that is what it was.

It seems that Mr. Ayres met Kate in the Library at Mr. Cukor’s house – which is where Ms. Dorothy Arzner wrote to K. Hepburn in this note (below).

Dorothy Arzer                         Nov 11 1976 PM        13c stamp
Box F
La Quinta, CAL 92253

Katherine Hepburn
c/o George Cukor
9166 Cordell Drive
Hollywood, California 90069

PLEASE FORWARD

“Do come if you are of a mind to, I’d love having you.”

“I love knowing you are in my world and my time”

The final Manilla Envelope contained two sheafs of yellowing paper from the Screen Directors Guild – one was called:

Suggestions for Writing A Film Play
from the notebook of Dorothy Arzner

sadly this was not dated.

but she had some Excellent Advice:

A knowledge of human character is the bed rock on which the higher form of drama rest.

But more than this: the dramatist must have a philosophy of life.

Contrast Helps Movement
If one nature strikes fire from another than the air is tingling with movement.

The test of a dramatic theme is that it can be expressed in no way so well as in visible action on film.

There was something so Wondrous about holding these materials close and making pencil marks in one’s notebook (No Pens Allowed at the Library) and reaching back into the past to get saturated in ideas for something-to-write-in-the-near-future (before we have to get a Proper Job – which might be fun actually – we sort of miss it).

talking of ideas.

we really want to find an agent on This Coast who sells screenplays to Movie Studios – because we have written several (although we noticed that we haven’t written one for a little while because when we went to open Final Draft it gave us a nasty scary notice about the Version we Have not being Compatible with the Upgrade of the OS we just did *sighs* and there was an activation code but the Automated Telephony Service did not have that Option Available *sighs* – thank goodness we are Calm and can call the Helpdesk at Final Draft tomorrow (it’s Memorial Day in the United States today) and then Fix the Situation.

thank goodness that we also save everything as in Portable Document Format or we couldn’t share this with you now.

The Goddess of Donal Bay | 

The head of the Muses freaks out when she finds out “life coaches”, have replaced them in modern life. She comes to earth to restore her reputation. But she has no idea that the eternal soul, Liam, is now in possession of a hot new television writer as his latest incarnation and is determined to thwart her plans and take over L.A for his own heady desires.

INT – VIRTUAL COPY OF ST. PANCRAS STATION, LONDON DAY

Steam blows into the Victorian rafters. An eternal soul, LIAM, 45, unshaven, unkempt and deeply sexy, is irritated.

LIAM
I was promised I could be a man.

A GUIDE, an ethereal being, checks her clipboard. She hands Liam a slip. He does not read it. The guide swings a globe round to the USA and points to Los Angeles.

LIAM (CONT’D)
There was nothing there last time I went down.

Another soul, CORNELIUS, 70, very elegant, takes the Guide’s clipboard and reads.

CORNELIUS
Donal Bay, beautiful place.

He consults the clipboard.

CORNELIUS (CONT’D)
You are terrible at being female.

LIAM What are you?

CORNELIUS
An entertainment attorney. I can’t wait. All power offices, sharp suits and fast cars. Divine.

LIAM
I’m going to decline this mission.

The first guide stabs his hand with the information slip.

CORNELIUS
You can’t – until you read your extra information slip.

Liam glances at the piece of paper. A slow, sexy grin appears on his face. He drops it to the floor and saunters to catch the train that just pulled in.

INT. OLD-FASHIONED STEAM TRAIN CARRIAGE – MOMENTS LATER Brown leather seats, luggage racks overhead. Liam grins.

LIAM
I’ve never been a lesbian.

He looks around at the others on the train.

LIAM (CONT’D)
I wonder who else is a lesbian on this trip. Apparently it’s so hard to tell these days.

Cornelius looks amused.

LIAM (CONT’D) You’re not one are you?

CORNELIUS
No, I’m a straight man this time around. I took all the right lessons on buying electronics.

LIAM
I never take the classes.

CORNELIUS
You’re going to be a lesbian without any training at all?

LIAM
As if I need classes on dating women.

GUIDES enter the train carriage and sit down next to each eternal soul and the carriage fills with white light.

we LOVED writing this one.

at the time of writing *looksvaguelytotheOtherCoast* we thought of This Actor for Liam and This man for Cornelius – still keen on Terence – but who would you cast as Liam?

need a bit more dialogue?

*blush*

you are Most Kind.

here you go —–

EXT. BODHI TREE ANNEX – EVENING

A line is forming round the block for the life coach speech. Liam and Cornelius walk past. Liam taps his finger on a flyer featuring Calliope stuck to the wall.

LIAM
What’s the ice maiden doing now?

CORNELIUS Oh. How clever!

Liam rips the flyer off the wall to read.

LIAM
What’s a “life coach”?

CORNELIUS
An inspirational speaker and personal advisor who helps you move towards your goals.

LIAM
Not one word of that sentence made sense to me.

CORNELIUS
They are calling life coaches the modern muses. (beat) So an ancient muse just became a modern muse! She is super smart.

Gina is in line. Liam looks curiously at Gina.

LIAM Why is Gina here?

CORNELIUS
I told you. Calliope is your competition.

LIAM
Then she better be prepared for a fight.

CORNELIUS
I had no idea you cared about Gina.

LIAM
I don’t want that muse making my life complicated.

CORNELIUS
I’m going inside to hear her speak.

LIAM
Public lectures remind me of the Victorian era – not my favorite period.

Cornelius exits into the annex. Liam spots a gorgeous sports car being parked by a valet.

LIAM (CONT’D) Now that’s more like it.

Liam takes the keys from the valet’s hands. He slides into the seat, turns on the engine. It purrs. So does he. He blasts on loud rock music and screeches off, fast.

so – actors for Liam ideas please.

two more quick scenes – just to give you a broader reach of character (although he’s an open book and Such Fun to write):

EXT. MULLHOLLAND DRIVE – MOMENTS LATER

Gina and Calliope are parked at the spot where you can see all the lights of Los Angeles below. The car’s retractable roof is back. Liam is sprawled on the back seat with a beer and his feet over the side of the car.

LIAM
This is a glorious place.

CALLIOPE
When did you stop writing fiction?

GINA
When I had to start paying rent and eating.

CALLIOPE
Not all novelists are poor.

GINA
The benevolence of wealthy patrons supporting writers and poets died out years ago.

CALLIOPE
It did?

LIAM
That was a racket anyway.

Liam looks around and suddenly notices the couples in other cars making out.

and a bit more with Terence Stamp, we mean, Cornelius (but couldn’t you just see Terence being delicious in this?)

LIAM
So where’s your work?

He opens a few cupboard drawers.

CORNELIUS
They are still using actual hardware, curious.

Liam walks over to her desk.

LIAM
What is this machine?

CORNELIUS
We used to have these. Let me see if I can remember how it works.

LIAM
Move over. It can’t be hard if they use it.

He taps randomly until he finds the On button and opens folders in quick succession until he sees a new short story.

LIAM (CONT’D)
Now it’s all making sense.

Cornelius peers at the screen.

CORNELIUS
What did you find?

LIAM
A new story – and just guess who it is about.

CORNELIUS
Her job is to inspire.

LIAM
She’s highly manipulative.

Cornelius slaps him playfully.

LIAM (CONT’D)
As well as being unbelievably sexy.

Liam points to the screen.

LIAM (CONT’D)
An opinion that my incarnation shares. This is hot.

Liam finds the Calliope story engaging.

LIAM (CONT’D)
At least she’s good. I hate it when the incarnations turn out to be stupid.

Liam looks around her room. It’s spare, lacking in charm, a make-shift life.

CORNELIUS
You like her! You never like your incarnations!

LIAM
Not yet I don’t. But after I’ve finished with her, it’ll be fun. And I’m not letting that goddess ruin it.

Liam rifles through her closet.

LIAM (CONT’D)
We are going for an upgrade. Let’s kick this life up a gear. Tomorrow – we shop.

and if you know any agents (nobody is going to return our call until the Book Comes Out – that’s how this town works – although CAA sent a lovely vermillion logo embossed Rejection Letter which was chilling and yet fun) – do let us know ;-)