Daily Archives: October 10, 2006

Writing challenge, again!

Okay, with the One Page Challenge 2006 (which in a burst of overachieving frenzy I did twice, first page and interior page) came some followups from other screenwriters.

In the comments on her One Page Challenge, Deborah upped the ante.

“Maybe the better challenge would be to put up the first page of the first draft of the first screenplay we wrote.”

I notice she hasn’t done it yet. Ahem.

However, Cynthia posted her virgin effort.

Who else has the noive?

I would do it — I swear I would. I wish I still had it. And if I run across it, I’ll post it still. Because as awful as it may have been, I think it might not have been as awful as I was told it was….

It started off pitch black. All you can hear is gentle splashing, water against skin, against the side of a tin washtub. Through a small window, a red line of sunrise glows over the mountains on the horizon, and the very soft glow starts to fill the room, and a slender woman rises from the washtub, dripping water, and begins drying herself off. Mostly in dark shadow, her curves and angles softly dusted with light… and then she slowly dresses. I did the research but don’t remember the details now — the under garments, the chemise, the knickers, the iron-clamp of a corset, the stockings, the petticoat, the dress, buttoned up to her chin, sleeves down to her wrists, and by the time she’s dressed perspiration dots her upper lip, the sun is up, and the kitchen is filled with light. Her husband comes in, and you realize her pre-dawn bath and dressing routine is to avoid him when she’s naked. He’s not a nice guy.

And that’s the end of page one.

I still think it could be a dynamite opening under credits. A repressed Victorian woman at her barest and most vulnerable and most free, shackling herself into the layers of clothes required of a Victorian woman, no matter how hot the summer — layers of protection from the bad guy she’s married to. (There was a bookend scene later in the script where the garments come off, one by one, at sunset. I like bookending scenes that way.)

I wish I had that page.

I do have the first page I ever wrote of a novel. Now THAT is embarrassing.

So come on, post your first page of your first script or novel.

And let us know you did.

P.S. Another challenge is out there. I’m taking it on next.

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louise brooks

brooks.jpg

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Cycling as Environmental and Spiritual Practice

I stumbled across yet another blog post that deals with cycling on a spiritual level, this time from the Friends (Quakers). So I offer for your consideration:

5. Riding a bicycle is impractical and too dangerous. Because of the limited public transit where I live, bicycling is a cornerstone of my and my family’s sustainable transportation. Admittedly, this is not an option for those in poor health or with certain physical limitations. However, bicycling is an option for everyone else, and is quite practical and safe, once you’ve put the time and effort into learning how to ride safely. You can also learn to equip yourself so that your travel is most efficient for your purpose.

Let me use myself as an example of the practicality of bicycling. I live in an area of the country that is hilly and sees considerable seasonal temperature variation and wet conditions. I work in a profession that often requires me to dress in suits, sometimes to work long hours, and frequently to carry a briefcase and case files between home and office. I have a husband, children, a house, and a full religious, civic, and social existence. And yet I use my car infrequently, a few times each month. I notice that to many people who learn that I travel by bicycle, I might as well have three heads. These are the questions I am asked most frequently: Aren’t you afraid of getting run over? (No, I follow well-researched safety guidelines for riding in traffic, and I’ve been riding for many years without injury.) What if your tire goes flat? (I’ll fix it; it takes about five minutes and is much easier than changing a car tire.) What if it rains or snows? (I’ll get wet, but I usually carry a rain jacket if the weather threatens to rain.) What if you’re not home yet when it gets dark? (I’ll turn on my lights, front and rear, so I can see and be seen.)

With the benefits of modern bicycle design, a person doesn’t need to be in great shape to start bicycling, though riding frequently will undoubtedly aid one’s health. If you find yourself huffing and puffing, put the bicycle into a lower gear and peddle slowly. You will become more efficient with greater practice.

As for getting the riding skills you need, pay attention to this. You didn’t go out and operate a car on the roads without learning how to do so first. The same is true for bicycling. Contact the League of American Bicyclists ((202) 822-1333 or bikeleague@bikeleague.org) and get a reference to the nearest league-certified instructor of the safe cycling course. Take the course. Join in, or if it doesn’t already exist, start your region’s Bike to Work program. Find cyclists who look like they know what they’re doing and ask questions.

One final point about bicycling: it is fun. Years ago, when I was still car-bound, the few times I saw a bicyclist out in wet winter weather, I thought, “That person must be miserable.” Now, even on the darkest and wettest of winter mornings, I am on my bicycle and I can assure you, I’m not miserable. I warm up a lot more quickly than I ever did in my car, and any immediate physical discomfort is an acceptable tradeoff for the contentment I find in knowing that this effort is just what it takes for moving myself across the face of the Earth. I’m usually quite pleased to be out and about under my own steam, so to speak.

Read more: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive

For people who take bike-errands very seriously, the xtracycle in one of its incarnations:

townie-7d.jpg

Also known as an SUB — Sports Utitlity Bike.

Thanks to Geonz for the links.

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Cycling as a religious and political practice.

Dula was at Duke University to defend his dissertation and give a lecture about his time with the Mennonite Central Committee in Iraq. He went to the Middle East to teach theology at a Christian college and to write about what he saw and experienced. What my ethics class expected the day he walked to the podium was a message of hope sprinkled with MCC recruitment talk. What we got was the face of war.

Dula was ashen when he addressed us with his typed speech. His voice and his words conveyed the bitterness of the present-day situation in the Middle East, the Iraqi hatred for Americans, and his powerlessness to distinguish himself from the occupying military forces and contractors. He told us how he had recently been evacuated to Jordan after a rash of expatriate kidnappings, leaving behind new friends whose futures were unknown. Everything about Dula spoke to us of the horrors of seeing one’s neighbors’ children kidnapped, of walking with fear along a deserted street, of seeing churches exploding in the night.

By the end, our ethics class sat in stunned silence. The least we could hope for was some way to respond. Should we go to Iraq and do the same? Is it time to picket the White House? Write letters? What do we do? Dula’s answer was clear and emphatic.

“Ride your bike.”

He repeated this short phrase twice but the second time it sounded more like a plea than a suggestion. Then he walked from the lectern and left a befuddled crowd to ponder his words and, hopefully, to act upon them….

So I guess, as spiritual disciplines go, this one certainly fits the bill. But, while riding is considered “morally correct” and financially wise for Oregonians, many of us who are Christians ride for different reasons. Rising gas prices posted on placards on many corners are consistent reminders of the world at war, a war fueled by oil. As a Christian I have a responsibility to respond to the imitation of Christ not only with my interior life but with the ways I use the resources of God’s creation and in how I think about war. There is no simpler gesture of Christ’s peace than to stop purchasing from the gas station.

more here

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Now then, wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people rode bikes? (And to buy this wonderful print or many other bike prints check out art.com.)

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Filed under Bicycles, Cycling, Environment, Individual Posts of Merit, Politics, Religion, War