Sundays are typically quiet in the city, or so I believed prior to last weekend as we attempted to record the voices for White. Now my ears seem to pick up every minute little noise from the street which gets amplified by the vacuum left by the weekday commuting hoards on the QEW.
With this new awareness, I can sit in the stillness of my condo (yay for quiet neighbours!) and be inspired by whoever is walking down the street having a conversation, not that I’m dropping any eaves of course.
As a writer, inspiration comes in many forms and unannounced. The street talkers are a great source for smarty-pants pieces of dialogue to mould into a character’s personality quirk. A quick “All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” disclaimer will keep any lawsuits at bay.
The propeller planes flying overhead every two minutes— another realization that struck last week is that I am on the Island Airport flight path— conjures up images of Tattoo from Fantasy Island screaming “Boss, da plane, da plane” and the dreams that arrive as stowaways in the passengers’ minds.
Even the little submarine bleep when an e-mail lands gets the brain cells jiggling with stories of creatures from the deep.
And let’s not forget The Ducking Hour for those really dark sources of inspiration. muahahaha.
The thing is, you never know what will trigger a creative thought and where that creative though will take you. But the real magic happens when the noise falls away on the inside and you hear the pitter-patter of little webbed feet.
The moment you actually notice that The Ducks Are Quacking it’s cause for celebration. It means a golden egg is about to plop on your lap and in it you will find a message that will start a fire under your buns. Just be careful that you don’t roast the duck though, unless it’s one of those pesky little self-deprecating ducks that come from high school hell. Shudder. That kind of duck you should immediately pluck! Yes. With no exception, when one such duck appears it’s Time To Pluck The Duck.
“But I am not a writer,” you say. “I don’t even work in a creative field. The most creative thing I do is put together my outfit for work. To that, I declare:
When you look at clouds what do you see? A cloud? OK. Think back to when you were a child and lay on the grass staring up at the sky wondering: “Is that a dragon?” And your friend said. “Yeah! I see it! And the princess is the one with the sword.” So you replied. “Youpee! I saw my first graceful warrior!”
It’s like when I look outside at the Porter Airline plane lining up for a landing. It looks like a plane, it flies like a plane, and unfortunately for me it also smells like a plane…but is it a plane? This particular one flying dangerously close to my front window looks more like a duck.
Hey…hang a sec. It IS a duck!
Whoaaaaa! Crash! Well, I always wanted windows that opened wider. What a mess!
This feathered pilot looks like the Red Baron with her goggles and gas mask. She stares at me and quacks (which I will translate): “Red Baron? Hmmf! Don’t you recognize steam punk when you see it, Ms. ‘PSI-FI’ writer?”
Ah yes! A “sisteren” species of writer. “My apologies,” I reply. “It’s not in my repertoire.”
She looks at me indignantly, pointing at the word “repertoire” as if to say, so you think you’re so erudite? and rebuts: “…yet.”
I wonder what she means by that? I think I’ll call upon the wisdom of the Curious Duckler and see what happens When Ducks Get Curious. So I prod her, metaphorically speaking of course. I wouldn’t recommend taising a duck that can survive a plane crash through a window pane.
“May I remind you that I’ve been waddling around your brain Gangnam style for almost 3 months now? I think I know you and what you are capable of better than anyone else, including you.” She removes her mask and goggles, fly-hops over to me, and butt-checks me off the chair.
She then proceeds to beak her way through my computer looking for my Scrivener program. She opens it, selects “Scriptwriting” then “Screenplay” and gives it the title: “The Golden Hatchery”.
Now stop right there Ms Rogue Psi-fi Duck. You can’t—
“—Didn’t you just praise the wisdom of sister Curious Duckler just now?” She turns to me and holds her wingtip up to her beak in a “zip-it” motion and gives me that beady-eyed stare.
Once she has my attention, she spreads her wings face-up to the sky, closes her eyes, and repeats “Ohm” over and over again. Hmmm. The duck has a point so I keep my mouth shut and so does Lola, my prey-driven poodle.
After about 5 minutes of intense meditation, my yellow Sunday crasher starts winging her way along the keyboard at jet speed. The words fly up on the screen faster than I can follow them, but I can still manage to piece together what she is creating.
The frenzy continues for another 5 minutes and then as if drained by the intensity of a massive Volcan mind melt, she falls off the chair onto the floor, legs up in the air, and starts snoring.
I roll the chair back to the computer and start reading.
WOW! All this is just 5 minutes? It’s an exciting futuristic story of courage, transformation, and incredible success in such exquisite detail that it seems so real! What a fulfilling life this character has. I can totally visualize this as a fantastic movie. I immediately start thinking up a list of actors that would be perfect for the starring role.
Ouch! I’m off the chair again. Psi-fi Duck is back in the present and at the computer. She had forgotten a few lines apparently.
I lean over and reread the title page: “The Golden Hatchery, written/directed/produced by Karen Lefave, starring Karen Lefave”. She hits the sleep button, and a shower of golden eggs takes over my computer screen, spelling out the following message as they drift down and collect on my table.
“Never cast someone else in the starring role of your life’s screenplay. You write it. You direct it. You produce it. And be the star.”
Are you the star of your own screenplay? Did you write it? If not…