What a month May has been. The writers’ retreat at Gregynog Hall came and went, leaving me in a state of perplexion. It was a wonderful weekend and I truly learnt a lot but it took me a while to process it all (and I probably still am). My short script was at the fore for most of the retreat, which centres around a rural Irish manor house and its somewhat supernatural occupants. Needless to say, the lecture on short scripts (and viewing some short films) was of huge benefit, as were my one-to-one tutorials with Wyn. Overall, I wasn’t particularly happy with the work I produced over the weekend itself but in the week that followed I made many changes and was a lot happier with the script I submitted. What I really took away from it was that subtle changes can make all the difference- a change in point of view, an extra line of dialogue, a swap from morning to night. A bit like bairín breac and bara brith; two very similar (and delicious) traditional bracks/cakes but it’s the subtle differences that make them both unique. And both are improved by slathering them in butter. This latter approach, however, doesn’t work so well with scripts. I’ve tried.
The submission of the short script means that I’ve just got my adaptation to complete and then I’m done with the first year of the MA. This might sound straight forward enough but alas, no. Obviously, I’m the one at fault here. I need to knuckle down and refocus on the adaptation but it’s hard to motivate myself at the moment. I’ve already received loads of valuable feedback from my tutor, Sian, which I’m happy with and has given me a clearer route to take. Now all I need to do is sit down and write. So I tried that. And then I tried that again. So I took a break from it- I deserved a little rest after all. Bad idea! The feeling of rest has turned into laziness, bordering on sloth. Add to the mix a very recent break up with the lovely man who bought me the book I’m adapting and it makes dealing with the story on a daily basis all the more difficult. Not to mention that the concept of a man looking for love but failing at it now seems all the more poignant. My head says “use the emotion to write” but my heart is having none of it. For no particular reason, except perhaps a sense of melancholy, I’m reminded of a naturalistic poem I wrote some years ago:
Distant cries of gulls and children.
A mother’s unheard warning
not to go too close.
Yellow grass that leaps to life
in the momentary breeze.
A dusty spider web
Blue stones scattered
and in piles
expelled by the sea.
I put one in my pocket
and caress it with care,
absorbing its beauty
when my own seems not enough.
I found some really similar things with the short script. Changed some minor things, completely different story now. Makes me wonder if I should save every draft in case I destroy something worthwhile!
I think saving every draft isn’t a bad idea- some of my earlier drafts could be changed in a different direction to become totally new stories. Saves having to think too much also!