"What are you doing over the break?" one of my students asked me. (She's writing a screenplay about vampires). "Revising," I told her.
She smirked. "Really?"
"Yeah. Just like class."
Only now it's just me and my agent's notes. I flip through page after page and squint at her handwriting. "Huh?" she'll scribble in the margins. "Not clear."
When my head needs clearing, I hop on my bike and cruise. The royal poinciana trees have smeared the sidewalks with their lava-colored blossoms. I cruise over the Chinese Bridge, down to the People's Dock.
"Beware of Alligators," reads a sign tagged with crablike graffiti. It's low tide and the air smells like rain. When I peer over the water, I spot a pair of puffer fish nosing through the seaweed.
I turn and head back toward the road. As I hit the brakes, a truck swerves around me and parks in the dirt. A boy in a Marlins hat jumps out. He sets a metal cage on the ground, slides open the trapdoor, and a possum waddles into a thicket of ferns.
Once in a while, I'll spot a guy in pleated shorts and a golf shirt, practicing the bag pipes (it sounds like a flock of geese slowly dying). Or the middle-aged man who performs tai chi in the grass. Or the box turtle who nibbles dandelion weeds (I always think of him as Tea Biscuit, my childhood pet who ran...or crawled...away. I haven't seen him since the brushfire a month ago. I hope he scooted off with the peacocks). Someday I'll write about these mental postcards. For now, I'm taking notes in my head.
I haven't bonded with my bike in ages, thanks to the rain. Instead of daydreaming on my wheels, I hid inside a movie theatre. I caught a stunning film that my students have been drooling over. It's called The Fall and it's a story about storytelling...the way we recreate events in our minds and how every person sees it from a different angle.
A little girl listens to a bedside fable and creates a fantastical world in her imagination, at times pausing to correct the details ("He doesn't talk like that!") or casting real life people in her fictional universe. The narrative skillfully weaves between the adult and child's perspective of key events, allowing the audience to play along as they connect the threads.
As I watched, wide-eyed, I couldn't help thinking, "Isn't this just like writing...or reading...a book?"
Watch the trailer here