molly's game

I love Aaron Sorkin's writing. I  have a friend who takes me to a movie for my birthday.This year I chose Molly's Game because, as I say, I love Aaron Sorkin's writing.  

This time he directed as well as wrote the screenplay,  based on the eponymous book. He has done biography before: The Social Network - about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook (Oscar, 2011);  Steve Jobs - about Steve Jobs and Apple (Golden Globe winner, 2016); Charlie Wlson's War, (2000), The American President (1996),  A Few Good Men  (1993) - all three Golden Globe nominees.  If you want to write a factual, fascinating story about a real-life person or situation, take a look at Sorkin's methods.  He packs a lot of information into breathless dialogue. You could say his writing is screenplay heavy but he lures you on with effective techniques: attack and counter-attack, praise, threats, inappropriate behaviour, questions (huge questions), distractions, jokes, misdirection and change of direction and of course, always, sub-text.  One is forced to pay very close attention, which pays off later. Heaven help you if you weren't listening.  Plus: he's entertaining. And he stays with you (me).

I woke at three in the morning writing scenes in the screenplay I'm working on, seeing and hearing things I didn't know I knew until Sorkin jarred them out of me.  Now i know I'm better, happy to be clear.

The game is afoot.



i can see it now

Kurt Vonnegut had a  story in his first collection of stories, "Welcome to the Monkey House",  that I think of often and more so  recently. I'll tell you why.

The story is told by a  first person/narrator, friend of a woman who has great plans for redecorating her house when she has enough money and time and energy to do it. The woman keeps a workbook with swatches of material and paint samples and designs for everything she plans to do "some day" in her dream redecorating plans. Before some day happens, the woman has a bad fall, breaking a lot of bones and requiiring long-term care before she can return home. Her husband enlists the narrator's help to take on the task of redecorating the house before his wife returns, according to her long, detailed design as outlined in her workbook..

It's a complicated job, tracking down the materials and paints and material and getting it all finished  before "homecoming."  The narrator says they were lucky in finding everything except one item.  The material for the living room curtains was no longer available.  There was, however, a similar fabric in a slightly paler yellow than the sample in her friend's workbook. That was the only obstacle they encountered and they were satisfied that they had compensated for it.

So - home coming. Together the husband and the friend collected his wife and brought her home, anticipating her pleasure at seeing the fruition of her dreams.  They brought her in the front door and led her into the living room, freshly painted , with newly recovered,  reupholstered furniture and lavish new curtains across the front window, pale and richly glowing yellow.  

The wife looked around the room with pleasure but no obvious surprise, which puzzled her benefactors.  The husband couldn't help himself.  "Don't you notice anything, dear?" he asked his wife.  "aren't you pleased?"

"Oh, yes,"she said.   "You took care of everything very nicely. You couldn't help it if the sun faded the curtains."

Her plans were so clear in her head that it was as if they already existed.

I'm going through something like that kind of illusion now.  I have very clear plans for a magic tidying (according to Marie Kondo and me). In my mind I have already tossed out things and re-filed and organised everything.  Each day when I come across an awkward arrangement, I am a little annoyed because it's not as I picture it in my mind.  Soon, soon - well, as soon as I can manage it with everything else I have to do - I will make it all come true. In the meantime, it is as I imagine it will be.