A Little Story Goes a Long Way
Around 2013, I took a break from the 1860s. Using the word “break” is kind of laughable. I only had written the first Saint Maggie novel and was doing research for Walk by Faith. Now, I’ve got four full-length novels, two short stories, and a novella out there. I suspect my recent blogging about the 1700s is a sign that I need to take another breather. But I digress.
My 2013 break consisted of writing a script called “Heart Soul & Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which was built around: 1) feeling a bit burned out vocationally (this happens off and on in parish ministry and is completely normal); 2) some of my actual experiences in parish ministry; and 3) my love of rock.
The story was fun to write, but the script went nowhere. Later, I turned it into a novel, because at heart I am a novelist.
But lately, I’ve been noticing that this little story has amazing longevity and is sparking some creativity. My partner Dan is convinced that Heart Soul will be my breakthrough work, and I’m inclined to believe him. Two recent developments make me suspect that.
First, we’re polishing the script again. Dan is a retired art teacher, who spent the last ten years of his career developing and teaching classes on media arts (aka, film). A dedicated student of film, he has become my “script doctor.”
This past weekend, we spent a sizable chunk of time reading the script out loud at the table, tweaking and rewriting. We are about half-way through. A typical script can run between 90-120 pages, and we are at page 61. It’s looking good. The dialog is tight. And we’re cruising our way to the crisis.
Once we get a finished product, we will need to pitch it. Since we both are rather introverted, we’re going to have to find an extrovert who knows the film business to be our spokesperson. In other words, we need an agent. Good luck to us. (That comment is both sarcastic and realistic on my part.)
Meanwhile, Heart Soul is involved in a project my social media marketing manager, Stephanie Moore Hopkins, has been curating with graphic novel artist Lee Davis. You can guess what format the story might be taking. Let me clarify thought that it will not be the complete story. Stephanie wants to see what happens when an author’s words are interpreted by an artist. We had hoped to have someone working with the project in another media (like photography), but sadly that did not happen.
I don’t know when we’ll get to the “finished” stage but hope it will be sooner rather than later. Because it is seriously COOL. Stay tuned.
Interpretation of an author’s work can happen so many ways. The photo at the top of the blog is Dan Bush’s vision of the Flying Fish Club, the dive of a bar in which Neil Gardner’s band plays.
One of the two locations found in the Heart Soul's film and the book is Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. I know the place well. I lived there for a year and was nearby for another year or so. And Point only about an hour from where I live now so it was easy for us to pop down for a visit.
Of course, anything in New Jersey is only about two hours away from anything else. Without traffic, that is. I read somewhere that New Jersey’s state motto should be “Hope you like traffic.” Don’t even think about getting on the Garden State Parkway on a Friday night during the summer. Not unless, of course, you like traffic.
So, one day last spring, Dan and I traveled to Point Pleasant Beach and walked around town, looking for a likely building that would inspire him. We were on Arnold Street, the main drag, when I said, “The Flying Fish Club is located on a side street in the story. Why don’t we check those out?” Dan agreed, and we turned down the first side street we came to.
Both of us stopped in our tracks.
“It’s perfect,” Dan breathed.
And we proceeded to take photographs.
In my mind, the club is in a more contemporary, brick building, possibly built in the 1950's and has big glass windows. However, although the glass windows are still in Dan’s vision, the building itself is an old, rather tired, Victorian building.
I don’t know why Heart Soul keeps popping up as an opportunity for art and film, but something must be there. It would be amazing if this little story traveled even further, because I think it has things to say. That, however, remains to be seen and I’ll just have to be patient.
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Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder