I’m declaring this WPW: Wylie Paper Week. I will begin to catch up with my backlog of neglected papers. I must sort through the various drafts, outlines and scenes of my lovely new screenplay, forged over six almost seven months of dazzling insights and demanding assignments in the Screenwriting U course by Hal Croasmun. (Move over, Robert McKee!) There should be a whole screenplay in there somewhere. I thin kI’ve solved almost all the problems but I must see what It looks like as a “finished” script
Then I have the whole course to collate and bind and keep – and study again and again. – and use it for the fourth draft of the screenplay I was working on when I took a sabbatical for it. I’ll make a separate binder with the Skill Mastery Sheets, to use as worksheets as I press on with The Accidental Captives (title of the book by Carolyn Gosssage that I am adapting to a movie).
The Archives of the University of Manitoba takes my files – perhaps in the hope that I will be famous some day. However, as a file-keeper and diarist myself , I know how valuable seemingly unimportant records are, even from unimportant people like me.
I used to be a snob about diaries. That was before I wrote my book about women’s diaries (Reading Between the Lines: The Diaries of Women, Key Porter Books, 19--). I was a voyeur. I wanted secrets, salacious material and stunning insights. Fortunately, Shelley Sweeney, the archivist at the University of Manitoba, set me straight before it was too late. She taught me about the importance of social history and one of its most valuable sources – personal diaries. They reveal the daily lives of ‘ordinary’ people (no one is ordinary!) and tell us what we need to know about seemingly routine events and chores, the days and weeks and months and years that comprise a life, the one we all live through without paying much attention till it’s over.
So, every six years or so I collate my correspondence, tear sheets, reviews, essays, notes and files and send them off to the Archives. I don’t get paid for them. As I said, I’m not famous, not well enough known to be compensated for living, but I get a tax break and I make so little money that it is much appreciated. What I really appreciate is getting organized and getting a pile of paper out of the office (and locker). I will feel light-headed when I finish, not that I ever finish.
But it’s a start. And think of the fiddley work I’m relieving my children from doing. Actually, I think they’d simplify the job by filing my papers in large green garbage bags. I’ll use a few myself.
It will be a good week. You have one, too.