Monday, January 23, 2023

Talent + Discipline

 

"Talent without hard work doesn't get you very far... The most important thing is to work very hard and if you have the talent, it will show. You can do something by working hard—that's discipline. If you keep at it long enough, sooner or later you get lucky and get your break." 

George Lucas

On My Current Work-in-Progress

 

The original concept of my current work-in-progress, Dystopia, took place sometime in 1964 or 1965.

At that time its title was Woman and concerned the story of seven women who were left alive following a nuclear holocaust, each woman living in a different country of the world.

For the next 15 years or so, the story sat around collecting dust until somewhere along the line, with other projects, it got thrown out in the garbage.

I have regretted that happening ever since. I feel a lot of good idea material got hurled that could have been rewritten in better form.

The motion picture idea next surfaced in an embryonic state as The Saga of Man which in very rough edition was made on 8mm film, of which I still have the original that was created in the summer of 1968.

About the same time, I wrote several other scripts with storyboards, one of which I remember being a boat ancient Vikings called Daughter of Loneliness (also the title of a song I wrote) and which had Valkyries and other gods and goddesses of Norse mythology.

I have noticed that much of my material features female lead characters. Why this is so, I hadn't yet discerned.

In 1973, I became a Christian and, in accordance with what was being taught at that time, I threw out everything that had to do with my “old life”. That's when all my creative stuff went in the garbage. Except my 1000-odd songs. Those I kept. Who knows why? Who knows why I didn't keep everything else?

But although I abandoned the physical material, the ideas still bubbled around in my head so that later, in 1979 or 80, they began to boil again and the concept for Crucified Rose took a new form.

At that time, there was talk of a dictatorship in Canada mostly from opponents of Pierre Trudeau. But I felt that the idea was a good one, so I set about writing down a possible plot line. The result was complicated, with various plots and subplots and information borrowed from the New Testament book of Revelation.

I soon had three file folders of material, about 5 inches thick of first drafts, rewrites, and background material so that by January 1985, I felt I should begin organizing it into some coherent whole.

I had always envisioned Crucified Rose as a trilogy— a beginning, middle and end, as it were—but each section complete in itself.

So I started by setting down the three sections:

1. PARALYTICUM—which would concern itself mainly with the young inventor and designer, Cornelius Enoch Quintin, who is conned by the dictator-to-be, Boden Thanatos.

2. CURFEW—which would follow the exploits of a member of Thanatos’ Anubis Corps, Nebula McBride.

3. REQUIEM—which would focus on the final battle between Thanatos’ forces and those of the ‘new human’, Magnus Warman.

I began to have trouble setting things down in a logical, forward progression, so I decided to go backwards—by starting with the end of Requiem and working back towards how everything began.

This was done on a large board on which I used easy-rub felt pens so I could change whatever I felt was not placed right.

 

From My Journal:-

17 June 1985

Monday

There has been a long period of about two months in which I haven't touched the project. Now I'm getting back to it. I'm going to try for a novel form, first, before attempting the screenplay (or perhaps both may come side-by-side, though I don't know yet).

I've spent a few days trying to readjust the plot line and characters in order to figure out where everybody's going, how they're going to get there, and who's going to get there.

I first started to date the action (1990, 1991, etc) but as my plot line began to unfold I found that this wasn't exactly feasible. Nor, for that matter, specific chapter delineations. Consequently, I decided upon the use of place name headings. Not only will this work well with the novel but will also make it easier to write the location headings for the screenplay.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

My Creative Journey

 My interest in creativity began at the age of 6 in 1953 when I had a part in a play about Damon and Pythias during a summer camp (the same one, coincidentally, in which the camp counselor molested me and ignited my interest in sexuality).

That winter, I played and sang the part of ‘The Page’ in the United Church’s production of Good King Wenceslas.

When I was 10 or 11, some friends and I strung up a blanket between two trees and performed a skit I wrote called Ghost Story.

At age 13, I wrote ‘The Mummy’ which my school drama class performed.

During the next seven years, I acted in an assortment of high school plays, followed by acting and singing in the Musical Theatre of Calgary’s productions of Oliver!, Where’s Charlie?, and The Wizard of Oz. In 1985, I played the part of 'Harry' in Theatre 80's production of Stephen Sondheim's Company.

In the mid- to late-1960s, I tried my hand at drawing, at first using tracing paper and then carbon paper to outline characters from Marvel Comics, nude women I found it men’s magazines, and fairies. Later, I began drawing things freehand, but haven’t been too pleased with the results. Although I tried two correspondence art courses , I eventually gave up on both. I found the repetitive courses tedious.Fashion design also caught my attention, but I only produced a few designs before I gave up on that, too.

In January 1964, after I heard The Beatles sing I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I started to write lyrics and composed music for them. I wrote the majority of my songs in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

During that time, I also attempted to land a recording contract, but the record companies always replied with, “We really like your stuff, but it's not what we're looking for at the present time. Please keep in touch.”

Unfortunately, I never did resubmit.

I grew frustrated, and despondent.

Gradually, my songwriting skills would segue to developing novels and screenplays.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, I tried my hand at photographing several amateur models whom I acquired by giving them my business card. I thoroughly enjoyed that time.

My first short novels—Zorab, The Hidden City of A-Ten, Return to A-Ten, and The Female Commandoes—I no longer have in my possession. However, although I have have terrible photocopies of my first screenplays, the originals might still be found in Calgary’s W R Castell library.

The 1990s and early 2000s saw me writing a plethora of erotic vignettes, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons® role-playing adventures, as well as embryonic versions of several other novels and screenplays that I wouldn’t be able to self-publish until 2020.

It was during the Covid pandemic that I retired from 40+ years working as an offset printer and determined that I would finish off many of the projects I had started years earlier.

Today, I'm still in the process of doing that.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

My Sexual Journey

M

This particular journey has always been a difficult subject about which to talk or write.

Although I have spoken with three or four psychologists and therapists, I still have difficulty coming to terms with, or even understanding, my sexual identity.

My quandary began at age 6 when a teenage counselor at a United Church summer camp molested me. He introduced me to what the male body could do although, at that age, I don’t think I fully comprehended. However, the experience ignited in me a continued fascination with sexuality.

I've always had problems accepting that experience as molestation. To me, even then, I didn’t do anything I didn't want to do.

Between that time and puberty, I would look for opportunities to discover the differences between boys and girls. 

One time, after another boy compared our penises, it brought me into very painful contact with my father's belt when he found out.

At age 13, I experienced my first orgasm while drying myself after a bath. That event also began an 11-year ritual of daily masturbation, and a form of escapism I would turn to whenever I felt depressed, ill, or lonely.

My mid-teen years saw me begin to write short stories and, of course, sexual fantasies made their way into my notepads and on typewriter paper.

Adolescence also brought with it the beginning of a continual struggle with gender identity. Because I didn't think I was ‘man’ enough, I believed I should have been born a woman.

I seemed drawn to ‘feminine’ interests—music, art, fashion, make-up, etc. ‘Masculine’ interests such as cars, planes, trains, sports—these held no interest for me.

I would dress up in my mother's clothes. Later, after picking up a magazine in a bookstore and looking at it, I thought I might also be a transvestite.

Later, after seeing The Christine Jorgensen Story, I wanted to get an operation to become a woman. But the means to do so and the necessary finances were way out of my reach.

I would always wish I could have hung out with the girls in school, even though I was extremely shy at the time. And they always treated me like a boy.

I would ‘fall in love’ with almost any girl who showed an interest in me; hence the number of songs about some of them in my EarthGirls songbook.

I lost my virginity at age 23. 

I met a young woman in the laundry department of Calgary General Hospital. We became fast friends, and one night in her apartment, she asked me how many women I’d had sex with.

“None,” I replied sheepishly. “I'm a virgin.”

She looked rather surprised, and then exclaimed, “This is too good of an opportunity to pass up!”

She subsequently dragged me into her bedroom.

That night fulfilled the fantasies of my teen years in more ways than one.

Getting married in 1974 at the age of 27 didn't quell any of my quandaries regarding my sexuality.

Certainly it gave me an outlet for my desires for sexual pleasure, but even that was not enough to satiate the desire.

I ended up having extramarital sex a couple of times, and soon discovered that I had bisexual tendencies.

Now, at age 75, although the yearnings still manifest themselves, physically, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to fulfill them.

However, many of my past experiences proved to be an inspiration for (or occasionally find themselves represented in) my writing.

This is how it is now.

Talent + Discipline

  "Talent without hard work doesn't get you very far... The most important thing is to work very hard and if you have the talent,...