And Washed the Spider

The magnificent chestnut tree fanning pale golden and chartruse leaves before our windows is now heavily soaked with rainwater. From the dry warmth of my kitchen, I see evergreens and half-shorn trees wagging rusty leaves all over Cezanne country. I haven’t seen Fall like this in many, many years.

We saw Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BABEL last night. The Frenchman didn’t think it was as good as 21 GRAMS but we still thought it was great, despite some minor flaws. Some of the story was a bit thin or not explained sufficiently. In one place there was a dilemma that didn’t appear necessary, and in another place a character was surprisingly short-sighted and low on resources. This same character appeared initially to be so much more intelligent if not more resourceful than that. Still, the weaving of the stories about humanity’s inability to communicate was captivatingly complex and realistic. Not only was the acting superb but Iñárritu is a genius at building tension. I found myself sitting halfway off my seat a few times, I was so caught up in the drama.

Writing like mad today, but I realized a few days ago as I was re-reading the screenplay that the last quarter of the script just doesn’t work for me anymore. The story I’m writing about the cons and thieves is so much richer now, taking inspiration from true crime. What I wrote so many years ago now feels goofy and totally unsatisfactory. One of the producers who wanted to option the script once told me that the black characters were “too black.” She was entirely wrong. The problem was that the white characters were “too white.” So when a brother had something to say, of course the language was strong. Nobody else had interesting dialogue or backgrounds except the dead Brit. Now that the detective from Robbery is a haunted Italian Catholic rugby fan and the protagonist is an anal-retentive, analytical atheist Jew, the characters all jump off the page in colorful ways.

I’m not good at blasting out words. I spend a lot of time crafting both prose and plot. So, this might take longer than I had hoped. But not too much longer, methinks.

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