“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” ― Emily Dickinson
Lusiana Lukman and I started to work together, not just on Lavender put on the possibility of some other projects, too. Including her memoirs, she has a very interesting life. I did some interviews with her and notes. But it didn’t get any further. The main focus and work remained on Lavender.
She sent me a Toronto Arts Council grant application to fill out. I looked it over and contacted her telling her that it was for a book and not a screenplay. She admitted that she’d only had a chance to glance at it and would look for more. I tossed it in a drawer.
I went to see Literary Agent Peter Miller of PMA Literary & Film Management Inc. of New York (now Global Lion Intellectual Property Management, Inc.) give a lecture in Toronto. One of the things he said was, if you have a gift for prose, it is actually easier to get a book published than a screenplay produced due to the economics. It costs thousands to publish a book and millions to produce a film.
I talked to him after and he was very gracious. He invited me to send in a script to his agency. I sent in another one of mine called, The Garden. It was rejected. In hindsight I realized that is was a work-in-progress. I continued to work on it, but as a novel, using the screenplay as an outline.
Still, Peter Miller’s attitude and openness were encouraging.
At home after, sorting my office out, I found the grant application that Lusiana had sent me. I decided to read it over more closely. They had a category that you could apply to as an aspiring writer without any previous works in publication (my story, Prairie Dogs, published by East of the Web, wouldn’t count since it was a webzine and not a traditional publisher).
I thought of what Peter Miller had said, about having a gift for prose and getting a book published. I thought about my story Rain, written it the voice of a 13 year-old girl on the way to her mother’s funeral. It’d always felt less like a short story to me and more like the beginning of something larger.
The grant required word count for a writing sample was very close to the the word count of Rain.
I started rewriting the story and filling out the grant application. The deadline was two days away. It was going to be a push.
I got it finished on the day the grant was due, about 1/2 and hour before the deadline. But it had to be dropped off. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I went running out the front door as my future mother-in-law was pulling up. I asked her if she could give me a lift to the Toronto Arts Council‘s office. We got there with almost 5 whole minutes to spare.
Lusiana invited Jordy and I to a party thrown by Szonja Jakovits. Szonja had read Lavender and was very excited about it, as was her boyfriend, Carl. I believe it was that night when I met Aaron Poole who was also very keen on the project. It was a good night of meeting people and talking shop and hints that there was parts of the script that they felt needed tweaking or changing. But we would cover that later.
One of the things that I learned in Radio Broadcasting was that when doing constructive criticism, start out with what you like about the piece or project first and then make your way into what you feel can be improved. That practice was being followed.
There would be more writing, more meetings, more planning, more lectures by industry professionals, in my future. There’s always room to learn and grow.
Jordy and I decided to have a small Canada Day weekend party of our own, since we’d never gotten a chance to have a house warming. After the weekend I had planned to head down to the county for a week to help out on the farm and spend some quality time with Mom and Dad.
The best laid plains . . .