The following entry was written April 19. With my series of recent technological challenges, I neglected to post it in a timely fashion.
As I began a new comedy screenplay, I decided to set the story in a charming small town in the
I told myself that spending a weekend at a planned setting for my new screenplay would help. I’d have a better visual. I’d be inspired. Gosh, the words would fall onto the page (laptop). In forty-eight hours, I’d have thirty, maybe forty pages—lively, authentic, maybe even magical.
I had such high hopes. When I went through the check at the border, the customs officer said, “Reason for your trip?” and I keenly answered, “A writing retreat.” She looked at me quizzically. A what?! “A personal writing retreat.” I could read her mind. In
The only thing that could ruin the scenario was actually going. Yep, complete demolition of a dream. Pages of screenplay written: one. Sure I’ve got notes, some lovely tourist brochures, a few bad pics snapped on my digital. Oh, and of course there are those memories that will last a lifetime. My first Domino’s pizza (cheeseless!) in twenty years. Hanging out in Walmart to get a better feel for the locals. (Bonus: They stock these adorable mini Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, comparable to the teensy liquor bottles on airplanes. Not that I bought one. Just a little freezer window shopping.)
As for the bookstore in the old brick building, it had gone out of business, a beautiful yet sad empty space. Yet another casualty to big box book businesses and online ordering sites.
Yes, I was disheartened, but that was not excuse for a single page of writing. Was it writer’s block? No. I don’t believe in such a thing. There is always something to write. But I was trying to take in the local atmosphere, looking for the perfect settings. Part of the problem was that my main character lives in a decrepit mobile home in a rural area. He frequents the kind of bars I wouldn’t dare go in. (Just imagine the hush as I asked for a glass of the house white!) I drove down enough country roads to have me humming John Denver songs. (And speaking of the ’70s singer, his look-alike was one of the highlights at the Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair. I’m guessing the Elvis and Michael Jackson impersonators had bigger gigs in
Despite my field research, I couldn’t find any inspiration as to locations or people. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the expedition was a bust.
For my next writing project—assuming I ever get through the current one—I’m setting the story in