Sunday, April 24, 2005

Second Pass: Par Deux

I'm at page 129.  40 pages of editing to go.

The overall page count of the first 3/5 of the script has dropped from 233 pages to 140. 

I'll lose another 13 pages on this pass, putting the page count at 127 pages.  Then my third and final pass will land it at 90 pages. 

Then it goes to my co-writer for development, while I continue with the last 2/5 of the script.

                         *     *     *

My co-writer should complete the extended treatment just as I finish the third pass.  That's good.  That makes me happy.

                         *     *     *

One of the places I've been editing the script is at the 50's Cafe on Santa Monica and Barrington Avenues.  It's a vintage restaurant with a great breakfast bar. 

If you like simple food, it's a fine place to eat.  Their cheeseburger and fries combo is excellent. 

The music all comes out of the 1950s.  I don't get tired of it.  Maybe I really am as old as my students think.

The coffee ain't Starbucks.  It's more like the stuff yo Mama made when I was young.

                         *     *     *

Sometimes my job just wastes me.  And then, no matter how how much "free time" I have, I can't find the energy to write. 

After last week, it took me until Saturday evening to recover my energy.

So what killed me?  Let's see.

Progress reports were due.  I had two parent/student conferences.  An event for fathers.  Plus two story conferences to help a writer prepare a pitch.  Then I had papers to edit and grade.  And student officers who needed my attention.  And a Friday-night dance to chaperone. 

Oh.  Don't forget my normal teaching load.

All this could have had something to do with my exhaustion.  Yeah.

Oh well.  A few hours -- okay, a lot of hours -- of reading and watching DVD's cured me and put me back to work.

                         *     *     *

I haven't been able to get Chaim Potok out of my head.  Specifically, his novel, My Name Is Asher Lev.

I spent a really wonderful evening this week rereading some key passages.  I've found this novel inspiring ever since I heard it on tape about 15 years ago. 

It was the first time my life made sense.

So I'm including a rather long clip below.

It's safe to say that no novel has had more of an impact on the way I see myself as a writer.

Perhaps it's one of the reasons I moved to Los Angeles.

You could probably read a lot into that comment.

Oh well.  So be it. 


                         *     *     *

I remember the Rebbe's long burning gaze and the silence that filled the space between us.  He had read everything.  He had followed the papers and the magazines.  He understood everything.  He sat behind his desk, gazing at me out of dark, sad eyes.  The brim of his ordinary hat threw a shadow across his forehead.

                         *     *     *

Then he said, "I will ask you not to continue living here, Asher Lev.  I will ask you to go away."

I felt a cold trembling inside me.

"You are too close here to people you love.  You are hurting them and making them angry.  They are good people.  They do not understand you.  It is not good for you to remain here.

I said nothing.

                         *     *     *

"Asher Lev," the Rebbe said softly.  "You have crossed a boundary.  I cannot help you.  You are alone now.  I give you my blessings."

I came out of the Rebbe's office and walked past Rav Dorochoff's angry gaze and out of the building.  I walked for hours then beneath the naked trees of the parkway along streets that had once been my world but were now cold and gone from me.  Sometime during the walking, I stopped in front of a mound of snow and with my finger drew in one continuous line the contour of my face.

                         *     *     *

I looked at my right hand, the hand with which I painted.  There was power in that hand.  Power to create and destroy.  Power to bring pleasure and pain.  Power to amuse and horrify.  There was in that hand the demonic and the divine at one and the same time.  the demonic and the divine were two aspects of the same force.  Creation was demonic and divine.  Creativity was demonic and divine.  Art was demonic and divine.  The solitary vision that put new eyes into gouged-out sockets was demonic and divine.  I was demonic and divine.

                         *     *     *

Master of the Universe, will I live this way all the rest of my life?  Yes, came the whispers from the branches of the trees.  Now journey with me, my Asher.  Paint the anguish of all the world.  Let people see the pain.  But create your own molds and your own play of forms for the pain.  We must give a balance to the universe.

                         *     *     *

I came out of the apartment house.  It was cold and dark.  I looked up.  My parents stood framed in the living-room window.  I hailed a cab and climbed inside.  It pulled slowly away from the curb.  I turned in the seat and looked out the rear window of the cab.  My parents were still watching me through our living-room window.

                  - Excepts above taken from My Name Is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok 

1 comment:

marlin3m said...

God you write!  Amazes me just the sheer volume of letters you put down on paper.  That's not a compliment or critic.  You know, I still haven't found this book; I chalk it up to living in a damn foreign land, but truth is I never seem to have it in my memory when I do end up at 'Barns & Noble' or wherever...
I will pick it up before I leave Binghamton.  Promise.

Slow time here - Binghamton.  It's becoming...a barren land to me, a land of memory but not of the present.  It is so with many of the grauduates of TCO, sadly.  There's no place to really focus activitys, no way to incorporate 'the new you' who has developed elsewhere, the area (the new authorities) are not open to...most of those who have left and returned.  It's ironic and sad.  

Would like to talk in the next days.  Will call.  How late you up?