I write a novel after making a plan. The initial work includes list of scenes I want to put my list of characters into. I want them to have to go through some things on the way through the story.
I knew that planning a novel about saving 2500 acres of oak woodlands was going to be based on readers caring about the characters that have found themselves joined to the struggle.
I wanted two very intense people try to grapple with how their greatness has been the cause of so much interpersonal failure.
Each scene adds another building block to this effort to hook readers into caring. And of all the things worth caring for, the characters may be the most important.
This is not a sex scene, this is a surrender your heart scene, to a complete stranger, a pair having some kind of love at first sight experience, both having been not so much unlucky in love but more a bit too clever and professionally pressured to make room for love.
The novel can’t work unless this scene works. This is a clash between two immensely talented, proud, vulnerable, successful, competitive people who more than anything else can’t quite admit out loud how much they both crave the possibility of creating a durable intimate life with a partner.
Here is their first meeting. Shocked, blown away, struggling to make their way in, both stumble from start to end trying to figure out what it is they have found.
If I hadn’t gotten all drunk and stubborn and insisted on putting a down payment on that double wide I fell in love with there would not be that much in my life to be ashamed of.
End of my show I use some musical tracks mixed down. I do my own editing. I’ve got plenty more mixing to do. Then, there is synchronizing the musical tracks with the volunteers who’ll be caught up in the show’s ending. None of this can be rehearsed. You just go out and try it on a crowd to see how it fits.
This musical closer is pure street theater. It belongs to the street, and is a form of group improvisation perhaps singularly suited to the here and now.
I find love a particularly salient theme, but you have to
handle the conveyance of a loving theme with a certain cold disdain so as to
not overshoot your audiences appetite for such intimate insights. Sneaking up
on the powers of heart with a good laugh is close enough.
However it works in your life- in a relationship, not in a relationship, single, married, lifelong bachelor, married once but never again, never married but suddenly head over heels, these things are not choices, we are not in control, our heart sees the world through its own eyes and makes its own decisions. We are along for the ride.
Some busking types might say it is all laughs, that it’s how
much you make in the hat, how big a crowd you can draw. My goal is to touch the
four year old, the eighty-five year old and everyone in between with the notion
that our loving one another is where everything begins and ends. Imagine having
a show that works on that level every time? I’m such the romantic
When I work in Mexico there’s this guy that pushes a cart through the neighborhood selling bottled water. Well, it turns out he’s got a sister that sells hot water that a married man can never get out of.
Here at work is the Left Coast Lifter. Left Coast a right wing epithet coined to characterize the voting habits of California, Oregon and Washington. We are reliably Liberal. Yesterday was a classic Indian summer day on the San Francisco Bay. This gigantic crane is preparing to hoist into position the last piece of the new Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. It is a two million pound piece of steel fabricated in Shanghai, China. Ironically the largest public works project in California history turns out to be not quite what it seems. Yes, it will be the largest finished public works project, but it is the largest public works project ever fabricated in another country. I am not sure how that decision was made, but it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that if we had fabricated within the United States we might well have employed more people and had more revenue flowing into the community where this fabrication was taking place, paying workers and the factory, and then the workers and the factory would have revenue to pay taxes with and as they say a virtuous cycle might have been enjoyed by the cities, counties and states that all of this activity might have taken place. This is what we our supposed to be electing and appointing leadership to do. In downtown Oakland last night there was a candlelight vigil for Scott Olsen the Iraqi War veteran injured earlier this week when Oakland’s Mayor Jean Quan ordered the Occupy Oakland protestors removed from the park they had been encamped in. Here is life, this rich, complex, diverse, multi-faceted stew of all of us mixed up all together and trying to build something that will work better for all of us. I have a suggestion. First, if you are a Mayor forget about removing protestors from your parks. Embrace our right to free speech, to peaceful assembly. Second, if you want to empty the parks of the protestor’s maybe get the big things right, like policy, for example building bridges. Maybe, the cheapest possible price for a bridge part built in China isn’t really the bargain it seems. Perhaps making those bridge parts here might have put food on the table and kept roofs over the heads of our own citizens. Yeah, I’m all for the Left Coast Lifter, I just want it to be lifting the right thing, like the people in this country who need a hand up.
BANKRUPT HEART THE SECOND NOVEL
Ry walked a footpath out to the edge of the bay, a jetty jutted first south then turned hard to the west forming a breakwater for the marina. Ry hiked on the trail above the rip-rap. Out on the point where the jetty turned a woman stood alone in front of an easel. Ry took in the brisk cool air of morning from behind the watercolorist. She faced the cracking sun rising from behind the hills in the East Bay. Next to her was a portable folding table, sponge, tubes of paint, vase of water, and an assortment of brushes. She was in no hurry. She stood motionless watching the horizon. Then, as if coming out of a trance she turned and smiled at Ry. She had a kindness in her eyes. She was silent, focused. She turned her attention back to her watercolor.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you out on the jetty before.”
“I’ve never been here before.”
“I know the old Cambodian fisherman, I call him Bok Choy. He calls me his little pain in the ass.”