Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on July 5, 2002

Fireworks, the postscript

Well this week was fun. Somewhat like having a second weekend.

Wednesday’s plans to meet friends for the Chicago July 3rd fireworks went off very well – the group all met at the designated time (well a few stragglers arrived 15 minutes late – but they called and warned us they were running late) – we were then able to get a great picnic spot right in the middle – perfect sweet spot for the concert, just far enough from the pathway that we were not annoyed by the crowds, and everyone brought good ford and drink to share. It was a crowd of some old friends and some new – a nice mix and a wonderful evening.

Thursday, the actual 4th, I spent much of the day not doing anything – very relaxing and something I needed.

I then was invited by a friend (female even, imagine that) to join her and friends at Summerdance – which is a dance series put on by the City of Chicago – live music, dance lessons, and then dancing outdoors in Grant Park. Last night was Agentinian Tanggo night. Unfortunately we arrived just as the lessons were ending – so I didn’t actually get to dance (my friend and I tried, but she came to the conclusion that we need refresher lessons before trying to dance – at least something as complex as the tango) – so a bit disappointing, but still a beautiful night, good company, and live music.

The weather here in Chicago has been pleasant for the past two days, hot during the day, but the evenings, at least by the lakefront, have had a nice breeze making for great summer weather.

After the dance a group of us went out for dinner in Printer’s Row – nothing fancy but good Chicago bar food – and we sat outside on the sidewalk as we ate.

The conversation was amusing, talked about how the one couple in the group had met, and how they had started to date (and when they both had realized that they were, in fact, dating.

It makes me wonder how I will know if I somehow manage to start dating someone. Somehow it always seemed to me that you get told – but I guess that may not always be the case…

Anyway, nothing too serious, just a couple of nice, fun, relaxing days with friends. Today is a quiet day here at work (not as productive as I would like… which is annoying) – most of the day I will probably spend helping a friend with her PhD dissertation – which feels good to be able to offer some help (grammer, form, readability, and other perspective – hopefully my notes and comments help her)

Tonight, I will be making Chicken curry – a recipe I have created after eating something similar at one of my favorite Thai restaurants. Chicken, Coconut Milk, onions, peas (or corn – I think I am out of peas), and Sweet Potatoes. I quickly pan fry the chicken to brown it slightly, while the chicken is browning I have started cooking the onions in some olive oil and spices to sear in the tastes – then I add coconut milk, the chicken (cut into pieces), a bit of brown sugar, lots of curry powder, a few whole chinese hot peppers, some Thai fish sauce (not too much, strong stuff), some ginger powder and some garlic powder, and some other spices to taste – after a bit of cooking together to get the flavors mixed I add the corn and then let the mixture simmer on low heat for a while. Then about 5 minutes or so before serving I add the sweet potatoes.

At the same time I will be making some Jasmine rice to serve the chicken on top of – should be a great meal. I’ll certainly be eating it all weekend most likely – at least twice, perhaps three times over the weekend (I have a little over a pound of chicken to cook).

After cooking my mini-feast tonight, I will be writing – my goal is to write some serious portions of my novel this weekend – at least tonight and all day Saturday I do not currently have any plans – making for a perfect time to work on the novel – possibly I will take my curry and rice and something to drink with me and work from the office – get the music blaring here (perhaps via streaming audio?) and try to crank out a lot of pages – making a run to either the Chicago historical Society, the Newberry, or just looking ont he Internet if I have research questions to answer (my novel involves time travel – I’m looking for notes about Chicago in 1871 and during the Democratic Convention riots in particular – trying to add the little details of historical accuracy that help solidify the image of the time and place)

One decision I am seriously looking at is whether to write it as a novel at all. The sections that I am the happiest with are already mostly dialogue – and I can visualize the storyline as a movie – so I am seriously considering rewriting it as a screenplay.

On the one hand it makes the chances of selling it that much harder (easier to be a first time novelist than a first time screenwriter) – however the financial rewards are much greater with a screenplay – even if never filmed. I also do have some, admitedly minor, connections in Hollywood who might be able to at least read it, and give me suggestions as to who to speak with next (my aunt is a writer who lives in Hollywood hils in LA – would be a very fun excuse to go out to LA to visit my family)

Also, though this is less likely, I can already “see” the whole story and mostly how to film it. My fantasy would be to direct it myself, but more realistically I hope that my vision can translate on the written page – and make it that much easier to sell as it is that much easier to “see” – and I have thought a lot about how to make it fairly easy to film.

What I mean by that is that the whole movie would be a fairly easy to budget affair – a handful of lead and major supporting characters, but a minimum of sets and locations (all of the movie takes place in a small area of Chicago – to film it would require only a handful of locations and a minimum of special effects). It is a storyline that involves a range of characters (both male and female) with roles for actors of many ages – again this could help keep the budget under control.

While a “star” turn or two would be nice – I am envisioning it as a movie with more well known character actors (perhaps even in the lead roles) rather than as a star vehicle for one or two actors – my hope is that all this will help me actually sell it – by making it fit the roster of low-risk films (and not compete for the handful of “blockbuster” slots for a given studio).

I think that my overall concept and storyline and visual arc should be interesting – I touch a number of events of note – but approach them from an angle rarely seen – and while there will be some bits of “homage” inevitable in a time travel story written by a fan of films such as the Back To the Future trilogy – I think that my overall storyline, plot, and characters is sufficiently different to make it clear that while I am a fan I am not trying to rewrite that series.

Anyway, that is my current plan – each time I explain my reasons, they resonate more and more – so I think I will approach this weekend’s writings very much from a screenplay format – though I may leave the reformating to correct “screenplay” form for a later week’s exercise.


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