Deadline

Each life converges to some centre
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
A goal,

Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be,
Too fair
For credibility’s temerity
To dare.

Adored with caution, as a brittle heaven,
To reach
Were hopeless as the rainbow’s raiment
To touch,

Yet persevered toward, surer for the distance;
How high
Unto the saints’ slow diligence
The sky!

Ungained, it may be, by a life’s low venture,
But then,
Eternity enables the endeavoring
Again.

Emily Dickinson

ventanaI had set a deadline of 31 January to finish a screenplay I’d been working on for almost two years, since I lived in Chicago.  The work went through so many drafts and versions, characters came and went, characters went through name changes, some gained partners along the way while others lost partners.  Sections of the screenplay moved around so many times, from front to back and vice versa or got shuffled somewhere in the interior that I lost track of who went where when – I was able to keep the why in sight, though.  Cities came and went, locales were inserted and discarded.  The story that a few people read in 2011 had very little to do with the version that I sent off to the copyright office and the writers’ guild of America.  The deadline was somewhat artificial:  there’s a competition in Toronto (The Female Eye Film Festival) and I thought I’d aim for that.

Towards the end, with just a few days to go, I needed the real title.  I’d had various working titles, but it finally came time to give a the work its true title.  I was stuck.  I used any number of words and phrases that I thought fit, and lo and behold, they’d all been used before as titles of movies or books.  So I turned to music, a tool that I often use to spark my writing.  I listened to a lot of Herbie Hancock and then the McGarrigle Sisters.  The McGarrigles came close to providing me with the spark, but in the end it was Emily Dickinson who gave me the title, a far better title than any I had come up with.

So now I hope to get to writing those I’ve neglected.

These Days

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