Monday, 28 July 2014

It Was a Dark and Stormy night... by Enid Richemont

Weather, drama and emotions seem to go together, so whichever unfortunate would-be author who first wrote these infamous words did have some idea of what he/she was doing. Rain and tears seem to go together. I remember seeing a film in which a disastrous marriage played a major part, where the camera focussed, during the wedding scene, not on the bridal couple, but on the raindrops 'weeping' down the stained glass windows of the church.

For the last few days, we've had heat and humidity in London, but only one dramatic storm. It's felt like being around someone who bears me a grudge, but won't come out and say so. The sky is sullen, and there are distant rumbles of thunder, but nothing happens. Later, there might be a storm when we can really sort things out - scream, yell and hit each other - oh the relief! But in the meantime, there's this grey, silent, endless, hot, debilitating SULK. And while I often cringe at  forecasts that anthropomorphise the weather - fronts 'trying' to edge their way further south etc. etc. - I do it myself, and I think most writers do.


A couple of weeks ago, I submitted my first screenplay to the BBC. It's a screen adaptation of my first published novel, THE TIME TREE (Walker Books), and writing it was an enormous challenge. Writing for the screen or for the theatre is so very different from straightforwardly writing a novel, and where the admonition 'Show, not tell' really comes into its own. You can't get inside character's heads in a screenplay - it has to be shown via dialogue, physical movement, and setting. You have to visualise your plot like you never did before! The story is a time-slip one, focussing on the relationship between a profoundly deaf Elizabethan ten year old, and a couple of contemporary girls facing the transition between Primary school and Secondary (or whatever terms you use to describe that). Please wish it luck - it was a much-loved book, and stayed in print for ages.

I went to the National Portrait Gallery not long ago, because I never miss the annual BP Award exhibition - I love it. This time I bought, not the catalogue (as always, I wanted the real paintings, not reproductions), but a delightful book by Andrew Marr - A Short Book about Drawing. I simply couldn't resist it. I draw so infrequently these days, and should do it more often. Just before I lost my beloved David, he came in one day bearing one of his many presents to me - a small sketchbook, AND I HAVE NEVER USED IT! I write better than I draw, so in spite of my Fine Arts background, I stopped doing it. But really, it's not about 'better than' - it's about another way of being, and Andrew Marr expresses this so wonderfully. This is the last drawing I made of David, VERY badly photographed - sorry. In it, he looks sad, but he wasn't - he was reading (you have to do something to occupy your mind if you're being drawn.

8 comments:

Kathleen Jones said...

The most beautiful drawing Enid - yes, you should definitely do more! Good luck with the screenplay too. I hope it's successful.

madwippitt said...

As Kathleen says - you are too modest - that is a terrific drawing - more! And ditto re: the screenplay

CallyPhillips said...

Aye, best of luck with the screenplay! I submitted my first in 1992 and got my first broadcast in 1999... so there's a target to beat eh?! (did get 'paid' for writing screenplays fairly regularly from 1993 BUT getting them on screen is another beast entirely!) Don't give up the day job HA HA. And hearing of your weather reminds me of one of the many reasons I left London! Here in the summer when it's hot and sunny it's lovely not oppressive. We've had over a week of it now and it's playing havoc with the ability to work inside. But we're all sporting good tans and reading is the activity of the day! Keep cool in the sun!

Lee said...

What a sensitive drawing! It's lovely.

Lydia Bennet said...

yes good luck with your screenplay, you can always turn it into a stage play if you want to as well - and you are clearly a good artist so drawing is part of your creative life. The 'pathetic fallacy' I think it's called, where weather in fiction/art mimics the emotions of the characters, is an enduring technique.

Susan Price said...

You've heard the verdict of the crowd, Enid - get drawing! (And it is a beautiful drawing, and a better memento than a photograph.)

Good luck with everything!

Dennis Hamley said...

Yes, Enid, Sue's right. A beautiful drawing is far better than a photograph. Sitting still for an hour is a small price to pay. Best of luck with the TV play.

Enid Richemont said...

I'm really touched by your responses - thank you. And I'm NOT holding my breath re-the screenplay - submitting to the Beeb is a bit like submitting to a publisher, plus a few decades to respond, so I shall eventually watch it (or not) from on High, or in my case, from on Low, if the demons will let me.