‘Lavender’, Seed to Screen: One Writer’s Journey

July 11th, 2015

Lavender has wrapped. My first feature length script is becoming a film. It’s a tremendous feeling. Humbling to see so many people investing time and money to bring a story I created to the big screen. It feels surreal. I’m immensely grateful. And it was a quite journey get to this point.

As a kid I loved scary stories. I would get them from the Picton Public Library children’s section. But those stories weren’t scary enough. I got a book of ghost stories from the adult section in the library, once, but couldn’t read it so I asked my older brother to read a story to me. He and I didn’t get along but I really wanted to hear the story and I think my parents and sister were worried about it giving me nightmares, which I’m sure it did.

At home in Cressy, a hamlet in Prince Edward County, where I grew up, there were old Alfred Hitchcock Presents magazines lying about. As I got older I read many of them. I also enjoyed the Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Hitchcock has always been one of my favourites) television shows, as well as Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories.

Then came VHS. I recall watching Poltergeist at a friend’s birthday party. For my twelfth birthday I was allowed to rent American Werewolf in London. My friends came over and we watched it with all the lights out. That is until the family dog, Duke, howled and frightened us all half out of our wits, then the lights came on for the remainder of the movie. Everyone got a thrill out of being scared, or wouldn’t admit otherwise.

We kept renting scary films and would try to make them scarier by doing things like walking through the corn after Children of the Corn, or we’d hop on our bicycles after watching ghosts, werewolves, witches, demons or vampires, and we’d cycle a couple of miles in the dark to sleep in the middle of the woods in an old bus that was converted into a camper.

We’d tell ghosts stories around a campfire fire. Most of those stories were local stories, about things that had happened to people we knew, or things we, ourselves, had seen and experienced. There was no shortage of ghosts in Cressy; real or imagined, it all depends on your point of view.

So when I decided to write a feature script it had to be a thriller. The idea developed over time. I re-watched all the films that had frightened me, and rented others that were well-known but I had neglected to see. The Haunting (1963 version), The InnocentsThe ExorcistThe ShinningThe ThingSomething Wicked this Way Comes; the first Friday the 13thNightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, the list goes on.

One of the common factors in all the films that I enjoyed, and by enjoyed I mean that frightened me the most and that stuck with me, was that there were children involved. That was a starting point. The ideas formed and I decided to research certain psychological conditions. I spent a lot of time in the Toronto Reference Library—still one of my favourite places in the world.

All of this was done when I was taking film at Humber College and working at Roy Thomson Hall. But I never actually put pen to paper until I was in Belfast.
I had just finished my first job in film working as a trainee assistant director on the film Divorcing Jack, written by Colin Bateman, directed by David Caffrey, starring David Thewlis and Rachel Griffiths. After that film wrapped I sat at the end of my bed, in front of an electric fire place, and started making notes. The real writing wouldn’t be done until I returned to Canada and to the farm in Cressy. The rewriting wouldn’t be done until I was back in Toronto and back at Roy Thomson Hall. That was in 1999.

Part 2

The story of Lavender, from seed to screen, takes place over the span of 15 plus years, so I can’t recall all the details. And some of the timelines might also be off. But I’ll do the best I can. We will be jumping around. There’s lots being left out.

I didn’t finish the film course at Humber. I’d already graduated from Radio Broadcating and done a year of television at Loyalist College of Art and Technology. So, after a year and a half at Humber, and a student film shot, it was time to move on.

I decided to move to Ireland and continued my education through other means. Aside from watching a lot of films I also read a lot of books and magazines on screenwriting and film, watched programs on the industry and industry professionals. While living in Belfast I took in a Quebec film festival.

I got the job on Divorcing Jack by calling the Northern Ireland Film Council every Tuesday at 10:00 am. I had read that that was one of the best times to call people when looking for work. I was working at Roscoff’s at the time, a Michelin Star restaurant in Belfast. I got that job because someone in the film industry in Belfast, who I’d talked to about work, said I’d need something else in the midterm and wanted to know if I’d done any serving. I said yes, so he called his wife who was in charge of hiring at Roscoff.

I went over there, had a quick interview, and was hired on the spot. One of the owners, Jeanne Rankinwas Canadian, and that didn’t hurt. She owned the restaurant with her husband, Chef Paul Rankin, they also had the television show, Gourmet Ireland. While working at Roscoff I served Adam Clayton from U2 an espresso and also got to see Bono as he was leaving. But, that’s another story.

When I got the job as trainee assistant director I was informed that I’d be a driver as well. I had no driving experience in Northern Ireland. But, they didn’t ask so I didn’t tell. However, when I showed up to pick up the vehicle the night before I found out that I was going to be driving the director, first assistant director, and director of photography in a minivan. That made me nervous. Fortunately my housemate, Siobhan, had a cousin who was a driving instructor. She called him up and he came over and gave me a lesson.
I made it through the shoot without killing or injuring anyone. However, I did scare the hell out them a couple times by turning into the wrong lane. People tend to not like oncoming traffic. They told me that it was a good thing I was a good AD because I was a shite driver.

“I was worried about that,” I said. “So, I took a driving lesson the night before I started.”

“A driving lesson!” the director David Caffrey said. “You mean you’d never driving over here before?”

“No. No,” I said. “I took that driving lesson that I just told you about.”

David was taken aback, but found the humour in it.

I bought a copy of the book, Divorcing Jack right after I was hired. I read it and then got a copy of the script, which I also read. After filming, while working on my notes for a script of my own, at the end of my bed in front of that electric fire, I decided to migrate to the south in hopes of more finding more film work, and because I didn’t see the sun once in Belfast during the month of November and that was a bit much for me to take. Give me minus twenty and sunshine any day.

When in Dublin, which offered more sunshine than Belfast, I often went to the Irish Film Institute, which had a great little bookstore in the back. When still travelling back and forth from Belfast I managed to, with the help of Konrad Jay, the first assistant director on Divorcing Jack, get two out of the necessary three signatures to get into the film union in Ireland.

After spending Christmas in Portstewart with one set of cousins and New Years in Portglenone with another, I moved to Dublin and started looking for a place. Then I had all my stuff stolen from the hostel I was staying at. Life looks different when you have almost nothing so my plans, again, changed.

 

Part 3

All my clothes, but the suit I was wearing while job hunting, were gone. Fortunately I’d been wearing my money belt with my passport in it. I bought some more clothes, that sort of fit, from the local charity shop. I got a gym bag there, to put them in. I took a job tending bar in Tullfaris Hotel & Golf Resort, in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, which provided me with a uniform, room and board.

I wrote in that room, and read, when I wasn’t involved in an all-night card game with the other staff—from all over Europe and one Canadian— that were working and staying there. On my days off I travelled to different parts of Ireland.

I went for an interview for a film editing position in Dublin, but after watching my short, student film they weren’t sure if I’d be happy in entry level. I tried to assure them that if it paid, I’d be happy. But I didn’t get the job.

Then I visited Galway City. I fell in love with the place. I’d saved enough money that I could at least afford to rent a room. When I returned to Wicklow I gave my two weeks’ notice at the hotel.

This was in the days of the Celtic Tiger and jobs were aplenty. I found a place to stay and worked at two full-times jobs to replenish my funds further: from 8:30 am to 5 pm at APC (American Power Conversion), shipping promotional material throughout Europe; from, 10:30 to 8:00 as a night porter at Jury’s Inn, Hotel; where I got all the sheets, towels, shampoos and soap I needed.

I settled in and started making friends. I left the night porter job and kept the one at APC. I stopped looking for work in film though. I later heard that Galway is known as town that killed ambition. I can understand this—it’s an easy place to settle into.

But, I was still collecting stories, watching films and reading. I was a regular at both the book and video store, and every Saturday I’d walk over the bridge, look down the river to the ocean, and continue to the Galway Market near St. Nicholas Church. There I’d get a sundried tomato and feta crepe and small tub of seasoned olives before heading to the cinema. I also got to take in some live Irish theatre and a lot of live musical performances.

Some of my cousins from Milwaukee came for a short visit. Two of them, Spike and Emmy, were a little tired. If I recall the story correctly, they had been kept awake most of the night by a weeping women in the next room. They informed the staff but found out that the room was empty. They went on to discover that the guest house they were staying in was once a place where unwed mothers were sent to, to have their babies. That’s how I remember the story, anyway. The story’s a good one so we won’t let ourselves get hung up on the details.

My sister and Mom came for a visit. I drove with them around the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. I stayed on the correct side of the road the whole time. They said I was driving like the Irish. I don’t think it was meant as a compliment. More stories were collected.

Some of the best stories I heard, and lived, came from two of my house mates, Joe and Daffy. A friend from home, Cole Jackson, came to visit during the Galway Races. All of Galway became a party as the factories gave people the week off and pubs extended their hours.

One day, during race week, all of us sat down by the ocean, near the Spanish Arch, drank Buckfast, and told jokes for at least 10 hrs straight. Even a stray dog got in on the action. After we watched the dog play a practical joke on an unsuspecting tourist we decided it was time to move to the pub and switch from tonic wine to beer. The jokes stopped after Daffy told one that was so bad we realized we’d reached the bottom of the barrel, and probably scrapped through it.

It was the combination of a letter from my father, one of the family cats, Blinkin, going missing, and my sister moving to England that made me decide to move back to Canada. My parents were older and I thought someone should be close. I didn’t tell anyone that though, Mom and Dad would have told me to stay wherever I was most happy.

Before returning to Ontario I went back to Belfast and took a course in editing using Avid software. While in the North, again, I saw Don And Jakki and we said a farewell for now. I stayed with my old Belfast housemates for a couple nights and had a good catch-up.

Then I continued to Edinburgh for a couple days where I ate fresh fudge, developed a taste for Scotch and did a City of the Dead ghost tour. The tour started in the square where they used to have the public executions, continued through the abandon underground city, and finished in a graveyard behind an old church. The Scottish accent adds great deal to stories of ghosts and torture. The final story our guild told us was shared while we stood amongst the tombstones. It was a story of about two grave robbers who got the fright of their lives when the corpse of the woman whose fingers they were cutting off to get her rings, woke up. They were so terrified they ran directly to the police station. The police went to the graveyard, found the woman and took her to get medical attention. Aside from the 2 missing fingers she was in otherwise good health and lived a happy full life after that. The men, however, did not. They were hanged for grave robbing.

I don’t recall why I went to Edinburgh, I think it was partly because I remembered its beauty from when I was there at 15, with my mom, and wanted to see it, again. And partly because of my love of the film Shallow Grave which was set, if not filmed, there.
After Edinburgh I stopped in and saw my sister in Tunbridge Wells before flying out of London.

I flew over Ireland, the land of saints and scholars, and got to say one last good-bye. I later read how Ireland changes the people it touches and it certainly touched me, and I was changed in indescribable ways. The land, its people, the love of stories and the written word, why it was almost as if wanting to be a writer wasn’t a shameful thing. Perhaps it was time to get on with it.

Part 4

I moved back in to the family farm, which has been in the family for three generations. It was good to be home and see Mom and Dad. It’s been said that the two most important things a parent can give a child is roots and wings, and I am grateful that mine gave me both of those. I received the willingness to take risks, go places, and try new things, by knowing that whatever happened there was always be a place to come home to. It’s strange how much surer your step becomes when you know it’s okay to fall.

That being said, trying to become a filmmaker/writer still wasn’t a practical dream to have in a rural area. And work in the Arts was scarce. But old friends called and offered me work in other fields and I took it. I was there for winter, spring and a summer. Time enough for a rough draft of, Lavender.

But, before devoting myself to the time necessary to really get serious about writing a feature script, I read Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. It helped me find courage, and give myself permission, to write. I highly recommended it for overcoming creative blocks.
I also read may other books on writing and film making, like Screenwriting From the Soul: Letters to an Aspiring Screenwriter by Richard Krevolin and Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut.

After coming to the spectacular conclusion that making connections in the film industry in Prince Edward County wasn’t going to work, I returned to Toronto and got my old job back at Roy Thomson Hall.

I was back in time to work the Toronto International Film Festival, which was great. It was nice to be back surrounded by other people who were trying to make it in creative fields, made me feel a little less insane for giving it a go, myself. Though, I’ve always been blessed with supportive friends.

One of them, Cole, the one that came to see me in Ireland, I believe was the first to read the script. Cole and I had been reading each other’s work since we were 12. We know most of each other’s stories in life, too, and will never repeat many of them, living under the threat of mutually assured destruction if we did.

Cole liked it enough to give me notes on mistakes I’d made. Some writers say you shouldn’t give your work to friends because they won’t give you an honest opinion. That all depends on the kind of friends you have. His wife, Cindy, is even nice enough to send me text messages when I make mistakes on this blog. Honesty and kindness are great combination in any friendship. That and sarcasm and drinking ability.

So, while I wouldn’t be home, Toronto was a lot closer than Ireland and could come down often and be there for Mom and Dad if they needed me. So, I packed my books, my script, a desk, my stereo, and I was off to Toronto in an old Ford pick-up. I’d return to the farm after I dropped my stuff off and then return via, well, Via.

Part 5

I rented a room in downtown, Toronto, near Maple Leaf Gardens. The rent was reasonable since it was in the house of friends, Dorothy and Tony Hammond, both of whom I’d met in The County. The farmhouse in Lavender was based on the Hammond family farmhouse, which is just down the road from the Frizzell family farmhouse.

In Toronto I slept on an air mattress and had yet to purchase a computer. Lavender was written on my mom’s computer and the rewrites were being done in libraries and the computer lab at Ryerson, which I snuck into. I can’t recall how I got access to the computers there. I took a poetry class at the University before I left for Ireland, so perhaps that had something to do with it.

I joined the Film Reference Library. I also joined LIFT (The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto) and took some of their workshops. I finished high school. Seriously. I was one credit short.

When I enrolled in Radio Broadcast, at Loyalist, it was as an adult student, after I took a year off and worked in carpentry for British tradesperson, Roger McCarthy. The carpentry skills I learned have come in handy throughout my life. To quote Red Green, “If the woman don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” Some of the things I learned about renovation also made it into, Just J.

But beyond knowing my way around a hammer and saw,  Roger taught me many things about pride in workmanship and attention to detail, which were transferable to writing, or, perhaps more importantly, rewriting.

Roger passed in February, 2013. Even though he was bedridden for some time before going, he kept working, renovating the home he was in to turn it into a guesthouse, with the help of a childhood friend of mine, Steven Powers. Steven would do the work, take photos, and bring the photos to Roger. Roger would look them over and then tell Steven what he wanted done next. It was admirable behavior on both sides. There are many stories that came out of my friendship with Roger, and Steven, but this isn’t the time.

Despite having already graduated from college, not having finished high school had always bothered me. I signed up for a night class in OAC English, around the corner, at Jarvis Collegiate. It was a free course, whereas University courses weren’t, so that was great, too. For my final essay, I did a paper on turning a novel into a screenplay. I choose John Irvings’The Cider House Rules a film I’d seen at the Toronto International Film Festival. I enjoyed both the film and novel, as well as, My Movie Business, the book John Irving wrote on the process and the experience.

I also went to see John Irving, as well as David Cronenberg, speak on turning a books into films, at University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. It was a great night. One of the main things I took from it was something which David Cronenberg said, that when turning a novel into a feature film you have to stay true to the spirit of the book. I found a great deal of truth in that statement in regards to the page to screen adaptions that I enjoyed. Just offering the viewer an abridged version isn’t enough. The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life—as it were.

I finished OAC English with top marks. I admit it, I still felt I had something to prove—to myself, if no one else. For the final exam, on King Lear, I managed to memorize 15 quotes from the play. At the time I thought that was a pretty amazing feat. I also manage to forget all of them the moment the exam was finished, which, in its own way, is also pretty amazing. I later got to see Christopher Plummer preform King Lear at the Stratford Festival. His brilliant performance aside, and it was brilliant, I found the fact that he was able to remember all those lines, night after night, while in his 70’s, to be awe inspiring.

As for Lavender, it was time to move onto the next step. A read-through with a cast. I went looking for volunteers.

Roy Thomson Hall had a great many musicians, writers, artists and actors working there. One of the original readers, Anthony Lemke, went on to amass a very impressive resume acting in film and television. Another actor friend, Jason Leighfield, who was in my Radio Broadcasting course, drove up from Tillsonburg (he’s still heavily involved in the film and theatre community, there) just for it. There was an aspiring actress from Roy Thomson Hall who cam out, a great person who’s face I can clearly see, who hosted a wonderful Chinese New Year party at her apartment, the only Chinese New Year party I’ve had the privileged to attend, and who’s name, for the life of me, I shamefully, can’t recall. Now you see why I’m so in awe of Christopher Plummer.

Also, other non-actor friends, Martin Sneath, and my girlfriend at the time, Jordy, came out for the fun of it and to lend their voice, and encouragement. I hope I didn’t forget anyone.

The scripts were printed (no memorization required), the chairs were set up around the dining room table, the snacks were in place, and I was appropriately nervous. It was time for the reading to commence.

Part 6

The read-through went well. There were enough readers that I could sit with my notepad and listen, and spot many of the flaws for myself. It also allowed me to watch for reactions to see if people had the right ones at the right time.

Afterward, I stood in front of everyone, they placed the blindfold on me, allowed me one last cigarette, and opened fire. And that’s the secret to getting a screenplay made into a film. You have to let them kill you. Bet you didn’t see that coming!

The added twist is that somehow, I lived. And in living answered a lot of questions and took down many comments. There was a lot of honest feedback. Martin commented after how well I took criticism, I told him that I’d been well-trained.

In the Radio Broadcast class at Loyalist we’d have our commercials, and other projects, played in front of the class. They would then be critiqued by the professor and all our fellow students. With radio being the theatre of the mind, everyone tried to keep theirs shape, and, sometimes, our tongues as well.

To improve, I had to take, and learn from, criticism. Well, constructive criticism. They’ll always be arses who just want to put you down, sometimes just to try to make themselves feel clever. With them I try to smile, thank them enormously and then toss everything they say. Unless there is a rose amongst the manure, then I pick it. The arses are the few—though they seem plentiful online. There were no arses at the read-through.

I tried not to interrupt and to only ask questions to clarify. Later, on my own, I sifted through everything and made the necessary changes and improvements. The more people criticize often means the more they like it. If it’s total garbage, that can’t be fixed, there’s no point in saying anything. Which is why, in certain cases, being silent can do more damage than criticizing. If there’s something in it you like, you become more emotionally invested in the story and want to see it improve.

One of the things I was happy about was that after the criticisms were made the discussion that the story provoked was a long one about . . . wait. Perhaps I shouldn’t say. Does it give away too much of the story? It might. Best err on the side of caution with this one. We can always talk more after you’ve seen the film.

So with rewriting, the problems that there was a consensus on was where my focus went first. Trying to fix what I now knew absolutely needed fixing.

It was also important for me to know what parts people liked so I could expand on what needed expanding.

After taking care of the things everyone agreed with I went through the individual criticisms to determine if it was an actual problems with the script, or just individual taste.

Fortunately, I had a computer (and a second job tending bar at Bar Volo, then Café Volo, to pay for it), by then so I could make the changes in my room. It’s especially fortunate since I sometimes read parts out loud, or act them out. People sure do give you funny looks when you do that in public places—even in Toronto.

After the rewrite was done, more friends read it, including my sister and other friends from radio like Mark Garrah, who also gave it to his wife, Trina, since she was a big fan of thrillers. I’d later appropriate (with their permission) one of their stories (well sort of) for some of my characters, in a novel I’m working on.

Having friends from a course that trained people in the proper way to give constructive criticism was damned handy. I still needed of more practice, study and rewrites. And to discover that just because I had training and experience in taking criticism, that didn’t mean I was immune to its sometimes adverse effects; when it becomes more destructive than constructive. Especially, when it’s focused more on the writer, or writing method, than what’s written. And when it comes from a person of authority.

While always looking to improve, as a person and a writer, and always wanting to improve scripts and stories, I also try to balance that with the advise of Georgia O’Keeffe who said, “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” 

Part 7

I decided to work on another screenplay. I enrolled in a screenwriting course at George Brown College. That didn’t work so well. Instead of inspiring me to write, it stopped me from writing all together.  Perhaps the professor had read the Flannery O’Conner quote, “Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.” and took it to heart.

I’m not sure why it affected me so much. Perhaps, it was because the teacher was a professional screenwriter and I was supposed to get notes on the script from another professional screenwriter who made promises but never followed through. A bit of a one-two punch. Or it could have been memories from my past haunting my present. Or, a combination of the two. Or just my own insecurities and the course may have worked brilliantly for others.

In the class, every student had to bring a portion of their screenplay and have it read aloud by other students. I brought my new screenplay, which I’d only written about 10 pages of, rather than Lavender.

This one was a comedy. I was as nervous as a cat in a dog pound. With a thriller, people can politely say, after reading it, how much they liked it, even if they thought it was crap. With comedy they can go for the false compliment, too, but if they didn’t laugh when they were supposed to, then you know it’s shite they’re spouting. Polite shite, but shite.

My fellow students laughed when they were supposed to.

Hallelujah.

But then the professor had a go. It didn’t matter if they laughed I wasn’t following format to the letter—or number, since certain things have to happen on certain pages. Which wasn’t so bad, I could do that in the editing process if need be. But she went onto say that I needed to have an outline of the whole story done before writing began and that I should go no further until the outline was complete. Also, no one, under any circumstances, should ever start a screenplay unless they already know the ending. If a person can’t do these things, then they have no business writing.

It was like high school math class, it didn’t matter if you got the right answer you had to show you followed the formula you were given.

The comments caused a flashback to my first week of high school when I said I wanted to be a writer and was told that I was a poor speller and therefore would never be able to be a writer. And another one from grade six when I wrote a story about my cat, Tootsie, that died. My teacher said I could go to the county finals and read it out in the competition but only if I changed the ending so that the cat lived. If it was a fictional story changing the ending wouldn’t have been that big a deal, but it was my beloved Tootsie who used to sleep above my head when I was sick.

“But she died,” I said. “I can’t bring her back to life.”

“You think about it,” the teacher said. “But if you don’t change the ending, you won’t be going to the competition. And I think you could win.”

I let Tootsie rest in peace. The teacher let me go to the competition but not to compete. She wanted me to see what I was missing out on. I believe, in hindsight, that that teacher may have been a bit of a sadist.

The professor at George Brown hit a trigger, and I, again, took it to heart.

I tried to turn the negative into a positive, years later, when I found myself in the position to help and encourage young writers. I was more giving than, perhaps, I would have been otherwise. I was honest, but I careful not to do anything to discourage—especially when I was a writer-in-residence with secondary school students.  Double especially with kids at risk since, while often putting on a tough front, I knew were more fragile. Words are powerful things. So is silence. I did the best I could at the time. I hope I didn’t let any of them down, too badly.

I also tried to let the students create in the way that worked best for them, rather than trying to follow a formula or mould them into my image. There are structures, and formula’s that make screenplays more marketable, and there is a craft and rules to writing, but the actual writing method, the evoking of the creative spirit and how it manifests itself, varies wildly from writer to writer.

As for outlines and always having to know the ending before you start, or you won’t get anywhere, I later read that Neil Simon never plans any of his plays and often what brings him back to the pen and page is wanting to know how the story will end. And he’s done all right for himself—for years being the most produced playwright after Shakespeare. Not that I’m comparing myself, or my students, to Neil Simon. I’m only saying that there is no one sure-fire way, and if Neil Simon had taken that course as a young man, and listened, we wouldn’t have The Odd Couple, or Brighten Beach Memories, or any of his other multitude of works.

Single method philosophies, and stringent rules, come in handy more for writing How to books and teaching classes than they do for the actual writing process.

I had no idea where I was going with Just J, but just tried to let J lead me and not to get in her way. She was not someone who you’d want to get in the way of, anyway, so that made it a little easier.

With Chill I didn’t know the ending until I was in the office with Sean and Chill and I thought, okay, how am I going to get them out of this one? With another novel I’m working on, I saw the ending first and worked backwards. With Lavender, I knew somethings ahead of time and had a vague notion of others, but trying to stick to the notes I’d made too closely was more of a detriment than an asset.

However, before I found out about every writer having their own individual way of doing things, being told, by a professional, that mine wouldn’t work, even if I was producing (though not yet produced), left me discouraged. The screenplay that made my fellow students laugh when they were supposed to, still sits, unfinished, in a drawer. I’ve never shared anything before completion, again. Until now, I guess, since this is still a work-in-progress. But I lived the rough draft, so I don’t know if this counts.

With fiction, even with an extremely rough draft, I can see it in my head and it’s fully grown and able to defend itself. It just grew wild and needs to be trimmed and tended so that, hopefully, there’ll be fruits for my labour. But, it’s easy to kill something when it’s budding, a good frost will do it. That’s why I prefer to feel, and try to relay, a certain amount of warmth.

But at the time the effect of the criticism of method, which I didn’t know how to change, was enough that along with my unfinished my new screenplay, Lavender also went into a drawer.

And my life, again, was about to go through some pretty major changes.