Saturday, April 25, 2009

Groundhog Sunday 4/19/09

Today was the hottest April 19th in Downtown LA since 1914. In all other local areas, bar one, it was the hottest April 19th for over 50 years. The Americans are just as obsessed with the weather as the Brits, and apparently there is more heat to come tomorrow, but rain on Tuesday, and cooler weather mid-week. You see? You can take the girl out of the UK, but . . .

The weather didn't stop Sunday from being the usual kind of day that it has always been back home: waking late (after a dream about Ian Lavender, who played Pauline Fowler's lodger in EastEnders - where on earth did that one come from?), drinking four mugs of tea, reading (Alice Munro at the moment - she really is wonderful), doing the washing, and debating whether to go to the gym or eat a plate of spaghetti (the pasta won, at least for a few hours).

At home, I would normally trek down to the Cameo Club in Pontcanna at this point and have a couple of glasses of Rose with friends, but as I am not drinking, I tend to avoid bars. Instead, I downloaded some software to sync my i-Phone's contacts with my Blackberry and then decided to do some work on my screenplay.

Well, I say work: I unwrapped a lot of cards (some lined, some plain, and three different sizes) I bought in Staples, laid them out in piles and rows, rearranged them, decided which colour pens to use for different characters' stories, changed my mind, decided that Post-Its are hopeless, ripped them up, positioned my storyboard on a chair, stuck in four rows of coloured pins in preparation for the 40 scenes Blake Snyder's Save the Cat recommends, rearranged the four rows of coloured pins . . . It was the most productive writing afternoon I have had in years. I was so exhausted, I had to have a carrot juice.

I finally got to writing some things on the cards and, by early evening, had turned the board into a sort of mobile Staples store. I decided that I really didn't like one character, and on page 85 she is therefore gone. Terminee. Exterminated. Banished, Falstaff-like, from the lead character's life. What was it Henry IV said when he decided that it was time to put away such foolish things as his friendship with old Fatso. "I can; I will", I think it was, as Falstaff begged him, bewildered, not to let him go. I haven't quite decided how Miss Green Ink (for it is she) will meet her end, although in the library, with the lead piping, seems as good a place as any.

Finally, I made it to the gym, only to find that it was closed (funny, that) and so went to the Beverly Wilshire for a "regular water" (cheap). The music was too loud, so I checked out the new Thompson Hotel at the bottom of my road. Dark? You need a miner's lamp just to find the staircase. You can use the bar at the top of the hotel only if you are a resident, but that may be because no one coming in from street level would be able to adjust their eyesight sufficiently in order to find it.

I suspect that should you be so lucky as to find the bar in the first place, the only way you could successfully orchestrate your way out would be to abseil down the side of the building - certainly it would be safer than trying to navigate yourself back to the foyer in an environment that has clearly been designed with bat conventions in mind.

I always feel a bit sorry for myself when conducting the repetitiveness of Sunday life, but at least it's only one day a week, and at least in the US there is great telly on all day, every day. Today, I tried to resist watching any House or Law and Order: Criminal Intent, but the gym was open in my apartment block when I returned from the hotel, and so I watched a couple of episodes then, feeling less guilty about my TV addiction as I was burning calories at the same time. I also learned that the gym is open 24 hours a day, so envisage my new size zero jeans hanging off me by Friday.

Incredibly, I also managed a whole day without going to Wholefoods and spending about 80$ on little more than a pint of milk and a packet of beansprouts (my supper for the next month).

Gradually, I am getting the hang of things, albeit slowly, in my new life, although I feel like a child starting school: trying to stick to a routine, feeling proud of every new achievement, getting a bit weepy when it all seems a bit overwhelming, finding out who the real friends are, and, of course, playing with coloured pens and sticking pins into bits of paper, all in the name of creativity.

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