The emotional roller coaster of writing

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So it’s been quite a two-week period. Carol and I left two weeks ago tomorrow for the filming of Chasing AllieCat the movie in Columbia, MO. It was surreal to see the kids–the characters and the scenes I had created come to life before the camera.

Here’s 3 bikesAllie and Sadie and Joe as they appear in the movie.

 

 

 

Here’s the camera crew in the woods, preparing for the scene where Sadie, Joe, and Allie find Father Malcolm. ALL the students working on crews were amazing. I loved hanging out with the entire group of Stephens Film Institute women!

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This is  the set-up before Father Malcolm is planted in the woods. steph&Becky bikes shop

 

 

 

 

 

Steph and I confer, trying to figure out a scene in the bike shop.

 

 

So all of this was a whirlwind, but delightful and exciting and exhilirating!

Then I got home with enough time to do laundry and repack and head north to St. Joseph, MN for the YAYA (Young Authors/Young Artists) Conference at the College of Saint Benedict.

I’m the keynote speaker for all three days of the conference (different group of kids each day). Each day, the auditorium is filled with 500-some kids! I have to keep them paying attention!

I do my schpiel about 5 rules for writers

1. Read

2. Live

3. Pay attention

4. Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair

5. Write!

And I talk about animal metaphors for writing to completion (all of this can be applied to doing art, too). I use how I came up with the story  Chasing AllieCat by “prairie-dogging” it together–using random unrelated weird things I’d noticed in life and tying them together as if digging a prairie dog town to connect them underneath–to make them all fit together into a story.

The copies of Chasing AllieCat sold out the first day. Luckily, I had ordered a box of 60 books before the movie shoot. I had 50 left, which the bookstore took on–and they sold all but the 15 they reserved for tomorrow’s crowd!

So…all of this should make me VERY happy. This is what writing success is, right? It’s the kind of thing you dream of when you want to write and when you spend long hours alone in front of the computer in the basement. I was flying high.

THEN the bookstore called FLUX–Chasing AllieCat’s publisher–to ask if they could get another 50 books in a hurry. Second choice: to buy the 50 books to replace mine rather than trying to pay me for them. Today FLUX answered that they only have 2 copies in stock, and  they aren’t sure they are going to print any more!!!! So finally all this good stuff happens, and the book that made it happen is going out of PRINT!???? That’s a writer’s nightmare. There’s still hope, but slim.

From the highest high to the most depressed low. Such is the emotional life of a writer! (My mother would have said, “Pride cometh before fall.”)

Good thing we write because we love stories. If we wrote for some modicum of “Success,” It would be the most depressing career in the world!

 

Chasing AllieCat Screenplay, recovering, Freya, and Medical Leave

Kitchen w FreyaThe good things about being on medical leave this semester:

1. Not grading papers

2. Getting to visit my kids and grandkids on my own schedule instead of the school schedule

3. Spending tons of time with Freya

4. I get more time to WRITE than I do during the school year. Even with rest time built into every day, I can write at least some time, which doesn’t happen during the busy school year. This year that’s more important than ever because Steph Borklund and the SFI (Stephens Film Institute) at Stephens College in Columbia, MO are indeed working on the short film of Chasing AllieCat. My time away from school allowed me to:

1. Write the screenplay

2. Work with Steph and her students to edit, edit, edit, and tweak the screenplay

3. Be available so Steph and I can brainstorm about details (wardrobe, bike race, location, PR, and tons more) for the film. She’s doing all that work, of course. I just find out what’s happening and I’m lucky that she asks me for my opinion on lots of decisions. Many authors whose books become films don’t get that opportunity.

4. Get to go to Missouri for the week of actual shooting. I’m taking my bikes, too!

5. Meet her students–online, at least–and through a Facetime classroom visit! They students are awesome, and these young women are full of passion for this project. I’m so excited, I feel like a little kid!

I’m also editing another novel, but the film project is front and center right now. It’s much FUN!