Friday, February 06, 2004
The pain of experience makes us wise. For example, the experience of having eaten half a cold, day-old pineapple jerk chicken burrito at 11:30 p.m. last night and inciting a proper stomach ache. It's the sort of thing you only have to do once (even if it's also the sort of thing you should have had enough sense never to have done at all).
Yesterday, I finally took a very deep breath and stepped away from my two-year involvement in the effort to see Threshold made into film. The most recent development, you may recall, began about a year ago when my film agent at UTA was approached by a prominent screenwriter who offered to act as my mentor on the project and then act as producer to try to attract the necessary studio attention to actually get the film made. It was a very good opportunity for which I am grateful, but, after all these months I finally forced myself to face the fact that I'm just not the person to adapt Threshold to the screen. I thought that I was. I thought surely if anyone was, it was me. I outlined. I did story breakdowns. I cut scenes and characters, combined scenes and characters, created new scenes better suited to film. But it just wasn't happening and I'd begun to feel as if I was stringing said screenwriter along. It was time for me to move on. I've told my film agent that, instead, I will write an original screenplay, not an adaptation from a very complex novel, and then we'll take it from there. I very much want to be involved in film. I've always seen my writing as a consolation prize, something I do because I'd never have the opportunity to work in film. But now I do have that opportunity and I intend to do this thing, one way or another.
Finding the courage to step away from the Threshold screenplay, I think it's the most difficult thing I've had to do in a long time. It'll be a longer time before I know if I've done the right thing. I remain passionate, perhaps to a fault, about seeing Threshold made, and perhaps I'll come back to it after I've done other screenplays, and perhaps someone else will do a screenplay.
So, today I have a righteous case of shell shock.
But as long as I'm down here, and speaking of experience, now I know how it feels to have finally written a novel that I truly believed in unreservedly, said novel being Low Red Moon, and to watch so many of the people who loved the novels about which I had so many doubts all but ignore it. I'm not sure what that teaches me. Nothing I couldn't have lived without. I don't mean to sound bitter. In the end, it simply leaves me baffled.