Monday, December 19, 2011

Vox Pop from the IoM, notebook pages from 12/01

A little more from the IoMannite, then the Dalbyist  chimes in.

This first draft is going to look like a house made from strange materials found in building recyclers. Sure, there are five kitchen sinks and that roof is held up by something, good intentions perhaps, but the second draft is where the architect comes in, shakes his head and sits down and begins turning a shack into a respectable bungalow with an en suite and an open shared living space. Some of those kitchen sinks will have to go, of course.

IoMANNITE: When the Irvings sold up and left all of it stopped. I assumed that Gef went with them.
REPORTER: Why assume that?
IoMANNITE: All of it ended. The whispering, the spooked animals, the tiny footprints in the flower beds.
[I actually wanted to say "the tiny footprints in the butter" but I didn't think outright Pythonesque humour would have fit in]

DALBYIST: When Jim and the family left I was glad. That mental kid of theirs. Of course he vanished.
REPORTER: oh? Gef, right?
DALBYIST:  You can't have a puppet without the puppeteer, can you? For my money it'll be the daughter. She was a bit wild. I'd heard that Jim had to move her bed into his and Marge's bedroom to keep an eye on her. She seemed to like to roam all over the show killing rabbits, which ain't healthy. Jim is a stand up bloke. Always ready with a good word,. He was a traveler, to be sure. I'm certain that he has seen things that beggar belief. I might add she weren't right in the head. My boys didn't like her. She was always making funny voices in school. Pretending to be something that she weren't.

Forgive me the sliding in tense. This is all supposed to be discussing the past.

REPORTER: You seem certain that Voirrey made Gef.
DALBYIST: Oh yes, I'm certain of that.
DALBYIST: She could throw her voice and she had plenty of time on her hands to come up with a little bugger like Gef.
REPORTER: But why not Mr or Mrs Irving?
DALBYIST: They're too sensible for that. It's not in their character.
REPORTER: But not Voirrey. Did you meet Price?
DALBYIST: He's a slick one. I'm not sure why he came. Perhaps there was a whiff of something. He acted like a man on holiday. Swanned about, not a care in the world. He saw the sights and climbed to Cashen's gap. Did he believe? Do you know if he ever said?
REPORTER: Not to my knowledge. Price was usually pretty forthright and adamant in his debunking.
Price seems to have seen something to exploit in he situation. I don't have a clear idea of what Price's beliefs are in regard to the supernatural. I don't know if he believed or not. He certainly

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/4/2011- further notes.

I need to find the C.S. Lewis quote about putting away childish things when you grow up.
"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." 

Appears to be from "On Three Ways for Writing for Children" 1953
I don't know quite why I needed to find the quote.

Now for some repetition from earlier: I've written this scene already from a different tack here

FIANCE: You grew up on Man, right?
VOIRREY: ...sure.
FIANCE: Did you know the story of the mongoose?
VOIRREY: Yes, I know it.
FIANCE: Did you know the family?
VOIRREY: No. We lived on the other side of the island. A world apart.
FIANCE: I think that she was nuts. Mental.
VOIRREY: Maybe she wanted to be left alone
FIANCE: With her ghost?
VOIRREY: Why is that so bad?
FIANCE: Hey, what's wrong? Is it because I called that poor girl disturbed?
VOIRREY: You'd have found out right enough.
FIANCE: What? Found out what?
VOIRREY: That it was me, you daft bastard. I was that mental girl. It happened to me. To my family. All of these things that you've been guffawing over, those were my things. When you pity that girl, you are pitying me. So now you know. This is a weight I rebury. I am the girl with the ghost. The 'superb' ventriloquist creating sound at the drop of a hat. The nutter. The mentaller. The fake. The phony. How can you marry me knowing that I am insane?

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28/11 Written today! Lead up the garden path.

Shock, horror. I managed to post the day I wrote.

IoMANNITE: We considered trying them as witches, the lot of them, dog included. A little bit of dunking in the river* and a couple of tribulations before tying them to a stake each on the green and burning them as a true and just punishment.
But wiser heads prevailed and we decided against it. We are attempting to be modern and past that kind of small town, olde type thinking behind us.
REPORTER: Are you being serious?
IoMANNITE: Of course not, you daft bugger. This is the 1940s not the 1640s. This thing was simply a monumental pain in the arse and that isn;t a capital crime, last I heard,
REPORTER: What did he do?
IoMANNITE: Ah, now. I can only talk a little hearsay about what he did to others, but to me, well for starters he put the frighteners on my sheep. Simply by being in the same field. He would throw gravel at the house. He'd laugh during the night, you'd think it was a fox screaming, but it wasn't.
The more I say the less I find him a nuisance
"And the more I find him a terror" would be the following statement.
Also the asterix above is to remind me to check if there are actually  any rivers on the Isle of Man.
IoMANNITE is really Isle-of-Mannite.
The worst was the whispering. You'd not be able to make out words, but it was definitely someone. Not the wind. He could keep it up for hours, it'd follow you around. You'd try and find it, and it would never be where you'd expect it to be. He can move fast. One night, I was standing at the front door and the susurrus of whispering began. Tired of this nonsense, I went and found my shotgun. I didn't know why I did. It's not like I had a target to hit. I placed the butt to my shoulder and aimed into the dark. As I was about to squeeze the trigger a small hand touched the back of my knee. I just about died.
There was no one there. Anyway, I put a load of shot into the front door. The little bastard couldn't stop laughing.
REPORTER: Susurrus?
IoMANNITE: I do the crossword.
REPORTER: I think I did the same one.
IoMANNITE: Did you know he used to steal golf balls at the club?
IoMANNITE: Sure. I don't know where they all went. There's probably a burrow somewhere.
REPORTER: So, Gef played golf.
IoMANNITE: As much as any wee beastie might. He probably chases reflected light too.
 That was a lot of fun to write. There will be more to follow. There are things to be said about the family too. My beloved, Carmen, suggested that Gef probably stole the golf balls and didn't really play. I reckon he actually had a set of perfectly scaled clubs. Your mileage may vary.

11/25/11- War and blood

Gef and Jim talk.

JIM: I've read that we may be at war again.
GEF: The gods of war live on the blood of young men. They're not fussy are they? Just give it to them raw. I used to live on blood for a while.
JIM: What made you stop? I imagine that it can't have been easy?
GEF: I loved it! Looooved it. Could not get enough. Chicken blood. Pig blood. Cow blood.
JIM: Human blood?
GEF: Oh no, not human blood. Cannibalism. I am no cyclops! Lambs blood is tastiest. Rabbits blood is easiest.
I bring you the rabbits.

From notebook 11/25/2011

This set of notes was written after reading a friend's play and really thinking about the practicalities of the actual theatre space.

How to depict Gef?
Show him? Hear him?
Have characters interact with Gef in one-sided conversations?
Should Gef's voice be pre-recorded?
If so, should Gef be voiced by Voirrey's actress?
What should we see on stage?
[Idea: a claustrophobic box set] - [literally a box with a roof enclosing the characters. Light becomes an issue.]
The box set is made up of gapped slats - the gaps large enough to show light and movement behind them. [Stage hands then become performers as well] -[mongoose mask + tails!]

Light in set perhaps comes from diegetic sources: lamps, lanterns, candles, etc etc
Diegetic being the fancy word for "occurring within the same world as the characters."
i.e. The light in the scene won't come from the spots in the rafters of the theatre, it will come from the character's turning on the lamps or lighting candles.
Voirrey is always in the set box until she dies, then she leaves into Gef's area.
Gef is outside the box.
The last sentence is totally appropriate on a few levels.

Then a list of possible set furniture, with an eye to flexibility.
Bed - chaise lounge
Pictures on walls
[sets start out crowded and then get more and more spare]
Who acts where?
How do they meaningfully interact?
I thinking I was talking out my backside on the last one. They meningfully interact because I write it so. I actually mean "How do they physically interact", which is more a directing and performance issue than a writing one. My job is to provide the motivation for however the cast/crew decide to do their jobs.

Make a moment out of Margaret touching Gef's claws. [Touch is important, touch causes problems]
Gef wishes contact, but contact is painful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sat 11/19, Sun 11/20 and Tues 11/22: Margaret and Voirrey talk some.

Each of these kind of follow each other, with some overlap. Each is just a little isolated from each other, and there is a little looping back between the 19th and the 20th: I remember thnking I'd restart the conversation. I have no clue where or when they are talking. Initially it falls out of the stuff between Jim, Voirrey and Margaret earlier.

(Also, I've just realised that Gef has gone from that earlier conversation between Jim and Voirrey. Hmm. Is that something I want?)


MARGARET: Did you fake him? Make him up out of thin air?
MARGARET: I'm not interested in lies.


MARGARET: Did you make Gef?

VOIRREY: Why are you asking me?

MARGARET: I need to know.

VOIRREY: Why does it matter? It happened to us all. Who cares how or why? I don't know how Gef came to us. He told so many stories, versions of himself. Who knows what is true.

MARGARET: You didn't answer.
VOIRREY: Mum, what has changed to make you doubt what happened to us?

MARGARET: Your father is dead.

MARGARET: Without your father, the fancy has worn off.
VOIRREY: It happened. You can't deny it
MARGARET: Yes it did, I grant. So how did it happen?
VOIRREY: How do I know?

VOIRREY: I don't have the faintest.
 MARGARET: Then, how about why?

As an aside, making the formatting work in blogger is a pig.

Synchronous thoughts.

Just finished reading Grant Morrison's personal biographic history of superhero comics "Supergods" (Speigel & Grau 2011) and it talks a lot about magic and connection or synchronicity. The same thing occurring independantly at the same time and in it he talks about and gives the best definition of the tulpa. A nice coincidence, given that I'd been thinking about tulpas recently with Gef.

From page 408 of the hardcover:

Tulpa is a Tibetan description for a solid object, or person, created from thought alone; i.e., literally and deliberately willed into tangible form from nothing.
Grant Morrison is a chaos magician who has used the comics he has written to explore his philosophy and journey into magic. Chaos magic is a do-it-yourself way of ordering the world using rituals and belief systems from all over. So a chaos magician could potentially use kabbalah, bits of Dee, the Lord's Prayer and a heaping of Crowley to contact the fictional entities from Lovecraft's tales.  The idea that magic is fiction is a feature and not a flaw (for example Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen, From Hell and League of Extraordinairy Gentleman among others,  worships Glycon, a snake puppet used to commit fraud in 1st century AD Rome) because in magic fiction is another layer of reality.

Morrison describes superheroes beautifully as the ultimate ficitonal reality. We created them as the ultimate answer. There is no physical, mental, spiritual problem designed that we cannot have our superheroes overcome. They are designed to overcome and to inspire. He uses as an example the idea of The Bomb. From page xv of the introduction:
Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an idea.
Superman, however, was a Faster, Stronger, Better Idea.
It's not that I needed Superman to be "real," I just needed him to be more real than the Idea of the Bomb that ravaged my dreams.

Grant Morrison then spends the rest of the book making the case that superheroes are humanity's aspirations toward perfection.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From note book. 11/18 James Dies

Looks like it was written on the 18th.
I've started writing in my notebook during my 15 minute breaks at work. It turns out a bit disjointed, but it's getting the job done.


JAMES: You've been a weight on us, crushing the breath from us. So you've come to beg forgiveness, eh?
MARGARET: Jim, must you?
VOIRREY: Forgive me for what?

JAMES: For deserting us, for all of the heartache you've subjected us to. For bringing the outside world crashing down on us. For tricking me.
VOIRREY: I never.

JAMES: I believed in Gef.

VOIRREY: Gef was real.

JAMES: Was he? I used to think that. For the longest time I was sure and then I got to thinking. He only ever talked to the three of us. I talked for hours to him and now... and now I am unsure. Voirrey, did you make him up? It's my one unanswered question.
VOIRREY: and assuming that's what I did, then what? I mean, which would you rather? Gef be a fabrication? Or Gef be real? 
I didn't make him up.

JAMES: Oh God, Voirrey, I wish you'd stop. Just stop lying and tell the truth. You were a ventriloquist for God's sake.
MARGARET: I thought you made him up, Jim. You were his favourite.
VOIRREY: I'm not lying. I heard what I heard and saw what I saw and I'm still paying this exhorbitant price that everyone has levied on me. You were the one who wrote the diary and sent it to Price. You were the one who told tales at the local. You were the one who drove [brother] away and turned our lives into a circus. You ruined our lives, not me.


The line that sticks out to me is Margaret's "You were his favourite." It opens up whole other worlds of jealousies.

Edit: oddly enough, I realise that James doesn't actually die.

Notebook dump from 11/18: 'GEF' DIES!

A rifle shot

FARMER: Got 'im

Lights up on FARMER with a sack.
FARMER: I got the bugger. He was always playing tricks on me. He stole my morning's milk. He killed my hens. The little bastard would whisper to me at night.
REPORTER: Can you be sure it was really him?
FARMER: How can I be sure? Can I be bloody sure?

FARMER reaches into sack and pulls out a bundle of fur.
He tosses it at the reporters' feet.

FARMER: I'm pretty bloody sure,

REPORTER [toeing fur]: It looks like a mongoose.

FARMER: What are you? An idiot? It looks like it because it is! You can tell.
REPORTER 2: Yes, it looks like a mongoose, but is it Gef?
FARMER: It weren't singing a rude limerick but this is Gef.

REPORTER: You murdered Gef? 
FARMER: It's a mongoose!
REPORTER: A talking mongoose. Literally a miracle. And you shot him.
FARMER: You can get off my farm and all, you can. Go on, sod off. I removed a pest and that's all I'm going to say. You bastards of the fifth estate can go whistle for more more from me. You don't have to put up with the singing and the dancing,. all of the sightseers leaving the gates open and trampling the crops all in the hope of seeing some sodding pest. And according to you, you little oik, I've killed one talking bastard already. So, there he is. Satisfied? I'll stuff the bugger and use him as a door stop. Now clear off the lot of you.

The Farmer is fairly foulmouthed in a very british '3 Bs' way.  I imagine that the Gef tourism industry was still in play a decade after the initial uproar. I've really wonder about this guy (I have his name in my research docs) that he felt the need to alert the media to his kill, also the idea that he killed a creature as unique as Gef. He's cashing in to an extent. Spurred by damage to his property, the loss of privacy and, possibly, the realisation that the farm is hard work, located as it was high up among the rocks.

I doubt that Gef was even there to torment the guy, let alone there to be shot. He'd moved on to parts unknown.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Voirrey monologue fragments.

This from my notebook, written 11/5, 11/6 and 11/7 during breaks at work.

It's incredibly static, but it does something I like a lot. I can't recall if this was intended to be part of Voirrey's interviews or retirement. I am keenly aware that I have not been concentrating on  sharpening the conflict. Otherwise it is just pretty prose.


VOIRREY: I never returned home. Not in any real sense. I tried to keep in touch with my sister and her children.

I walked a lot. Read a lot.

I look back and I see a simultaneous retreat from the world and a stripping of identity. All so no-one would connect me with him.


VOIRREY: My mother, who had such wonderful talent for reading other people, missed what was happening under her own roof. She missed the festering resentment and yearning.


I don't know if she loved my father


I don't know. Was she relieved when she died? A little, I think. He'd been ill a long while before he passed. I'd like to think that brother made his peace with him before the end. They were stubborn bastards. Too proud the pair of them.

I miss them, I do. I miss them all. They were the only family I had. The closest I had to friends, outside of my dogs.

Inside of a dog, it's black as pitch.

My friendships only went so far. People get too close, get curious. Ask questions and put two and two together and get the right answer.


They ask me about him and I become his, his creator, his ward, his master, his victim. Whichever.

Am I the girl dreaming of the mongoose? Or the mongoose dreaming of the girl?

I can't seem to wake up. When I sleep, I dream of the farm.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another idea in the mix

Hmm, this fits gloriously well as an idea of what Gef is and this is probably the neatest-ties-everything-up-in-a-bow theories out. But who's the creator of the Tulpa that is Gef?

In the grand scheme it doesn't really matter for me, Gef simply is.

More notes later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Last page of catchup: a letter

This is based on something a flm director mentioned when talking about writing to Voirrey about an interview. She wrote a polite refusal. I like the idea of this being a way to shoehorn a monologue into the thing.

18 August 2011

VOIRREY voice over as CREATIVE TYPE reads a letter.

VOIRREY: Dear Hamilton.

I write this letter with some trepidation, as I write most of these letters and all too frequently. One
of the curses of being a voter with a name like mine is that I can be located with a little trouble
and a lot of leg work. I presume that the rolls are searchable online now?

As for your very polite request for an interview, I must decline. No, thank you. I cannot help you much with your production. I am old and the memory of those events nearly sixty (or is it seventy?) years ago grows ossified with the passing years. Questions beyond the barest facts I fear will be useless. I fail to remember much of the events. My father was the diaryist and I find travelling to the past painful and frustrating. Was I ever that young? Ever that innocent? I shudder at the very thought.

[[new thought 10/30/2011: "I fail to remember much of the times to begin with let alone those particular events]]

I am not and have never been insane despite the constant implication and outright accusations of many over the years. The events of those years have left a persistant taint throughout my life and have closed many options to me.

Also, I refute claims thagt my father abused me. He was strict but I have no doubts that he love me, my Ma and my older brother and sister. Regarding the insinuation of both Mr Price and Mr Nandor, how can I refute a negation except to say they read too much into a stressful time of our life.

I will not stop you in what you propose to do. Suffice to say I am not interested in knowing how your endeavour goes and have no wise to find out.

Before I sign off I will simply say this: most all of the events are true and to the record I can add nothing. Please understand I will not reply further.

Yours sincerely, Voirry Irving.

P.S. Please do not give my address to others

Voirrey dies. Notebook catchup

Another scene, written at my job during breaks. Rereading it, I think I need to make Voirrey a little more strident, the dialogue even more oblique. Some of it is too expository when more information can be revealed later in the play. I really need to work on the Priest and giving him a definite platform. As I'm re-learning, there are many flavours of Christianity. In the early scenes the characters outside the main mongoose story are our entry into it.

9 August 2011

Voirrey Dies

In darkness.

GEF (Repeats): Pop goes the Weasel.

An old (80+ years) Voirrey in bed.
Anglican Priest sits beside bed.

VOIRREY: A monkey chased a weasel.

Voirrey chuckles.

PRIEST: Voirrey, are you afraid?

VOIRREY: Afraid?
I'm terrified. I look back over my life and it is a load of regrets with one shining moment of

* * *

OLD VOIRREY: The entire world was watching us and I, we, were witnesses to something huge.


PRIEST: What did you witness?

VOIRREY: A diabolic miracle. A malignant blessing. A weasel in hen's clothing.


VOIRREY: A stream appeared which both quenched and drowned. I have no other way to describe what happened to us. To our family.

PRIEST: You told me once you grew up on Isle of Man. I have heard tales of the fair folk and their giftss that are as much curse as boon.

VOIRREY: Aye, the walls are thin there on the island.
I think you know more about my past than you let on.

PRIEST: I thought it impolite to say.


PRIEST: Have you made your peace with it?

VOIRREY: Hell no.


PRIEST: Well, that's that, then. Do you wish you had?

VOIRREY: Only every day. I wish I could put it behind me. I've had many opportunities.

VOIRREY: I should have put it all behind me. I could have at any time.

PRIEST: It can be hard to move on, but you did.

VOIRREY: No, I didn't. I ran. I ran from it all. The teasing, the media, the family and him.

PRIEST: Who? Your dad?

Voirrey laughs.

VOIRREY: Oh no, not him. Not him at all.
Well, maybe him a little. I meant Gef. Gef, it was, I ran from.

PRIEST: Why him?

VOIRREY (mimics): Why him? Why him?

PRIEST: You're avoiding the question.

VOIRREY: I am? Yes, I am. Why him? He cracked the world wide open. Everything hurt after that.

VOIRREY: Everything.

PRIEST: Voirrey? Do you love him still?

Voirrey nods.

PRIEST: Shall we pray together? Shall we pray for him too?

Voirrey nods.


The Priest gently takes her hand.

As the Priest talks, Voirry gets stiller and stiller until she is no longer moves.

PRIEST: Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Snip goes the prayer.


He holds Voirrey's hand a little longer
then he gently fold her hands across her chest
and closes her eyes.

There s a large thump overhead and a high pitched keening wail.

PRIEST: What on earth is that?


PRIEST: Bloody dogs.


VOIRREY: Do we ever really die, father?

PRIEST: I don't know what happens when we die. I put my hands of Jesus on that score.

VOIRREY: Will I be saved? I don't think I will.

PRIEST: Have you lived a good Christian life?

VOIRREY: And what would that be?


Catchup, from notebooks

So this is a dump from my notebook. I wrote most of these while at work.

This post is a long list of title ideas. I think I settled on "So said the Mongoose" as the most likely option. Some of them betray their influences to me. Some are close to Lovecraft stories ('The Mongoose in the Wall') while others have escaped from roleplaying game modules ("Death Memory Mongoose").

8th May 2011

The Mongoose Play

Playing Mongoose
The 5th Dimension
A Girl and Her Ghost
Mongoose Fidelis
Isle of Mongeese
Ghost Island
Voirrey's Ghost
Echoes of Angels
The Scratch
Keeping Score
Echoes in the Wall
Behind the Walls
Beyond the Wall
Behind Locked Walls
Ghost Rat
Echo Rat
Voirrey's Echo
Echo Miracle
Ghost of Time
Echoes of Time
The Shadow of the Mongoose
The Shadow of the Rat
The Ghost's Shadow
Planet Mongoose
The Shadow on the Wall
The Shadow in the Wall
Voirrey has two Shadows
The Shade at Cashen
8th Wonder
Voirrey at Cashen's Gap
The Life of a Haunted Girl
Walled In
Echoes in the Walls
Mongoose Sub-Protector
Ghost Farm
Spook Farm
Voirrey's Spooked
Voices Beyond the Wall
Spoken Wall
Bound House
The Black Urn
Shadows on the Wall
Death Comes to Cashen
Death and the Mongoose
Death and the Rodent
Death Memory Mongoose
Voirrey, said the Mongoose
Love Death said the Mongoose
I protect, said the Mongoose
We All Died, said the Mongoose
I Live in Memory said the Mongoose
I am Memory, said the Mongoose
I am the 5th Dimension, said the Mongoose
Said the Mongoose
So Says the Mongoose
So Said the Mongoose
In the Walls, the Mongoose
The Mongoose Speaks

Friday, May 27, 2011

After the April frenzy...

...posting has gone distinctly light. New thinking for me is in order. I have been writing a little as I travel to the job, so I'll get that up. I do need to make changes.

So a little readjustment is called for.


Part of my writing is going to be bitching about not writing.

Next : decisions that people made.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gef as noir

Spewed from the maw of Leviathan on 5/12/2011

These pages are a mangled mess of ideas and metaphors/similies with a little recursion. Retyped here with minor corrections.


His name is Gef.
He is a mongoose. He appeared on a small farm called Doarlish Cashen. How he got there, I do not know. Somehow he found his way from India to the Isle of Man by way of Europe, Britain and then there.

Gef is a little furry timebomb that detonated in the life of the daughter, Voirrey, a slow motion explosion that spread out from the time of his arrival until she evenetually died in 2005. The shrapnel of his existence permeated her life, residing within her and making her existence intolerable. It did not matter that she ran and hid, she was still caught in the blast.

Things may have been alright had the father, James Irving, not decided to notify the world of the existence of Gef. For whatever reason, Jim Irving felt compelled to draw attention to the remote farm and the isolated family. He wrote to Harry Price, a pre-eminent ghost/medium buster about Gef, as if to dare him to come with fabulous tales of the miraculous. Captain X was given just enough of a taste of Gef to be able to entice Price to the Isle and to the farm.

Where do I come in? I am a point of view applied by force to the story as I have read it, I am an ever shifting view, I am not yet fixed on the one path through the many ideas that cluster around the farm, the family, the girl and her mongoose. The idea that Gef is Voirrey's mongoose is possibly a fiction. The link between them has become established over the 80 years since reports of the miraculous mongoose first came out of the IoM (an abbreviation that reminds me of a magical order like the golden dawn (the actual abrev. has fled my head )).

As a writer I need to focus on the decisions that have been made by the characters in this story. Like James' decision mentioned above. Voirrey's decision to stay out of the house. Should Gef make decisions?

I read a list of 10 writer's "rules" for writing Noir. (from where Christa Faust writes for number 10 (in part):
10) No happy endings. Everyone goes down and winds up either dead or wishing they were dead. If your cool, witty, handsome, fedora-clad, jazz-enthusiast Detective Mary Sue walks away unchanged and unscathed at the end of the book, then it ain’t Noir.  
 This made me think of Gef, Voirrey and the rest. Voirrey wishes she had never met Gef, Gef is dead, James loses contact with his children. perhaps the story is nir, or more likely my perversion of noir. Perhaps. Perhaps?

I don't believe in characters remaining unchanged at the end of a story. That's a little a strong. I don't find the idea compelling and I try to move characters on from where they began. it's possibly why I really like the structure of Pinter's play BETRAYAL. It plays with how characters change over time, and the peeling away of time is the reveleation of the character's actions.

GEF needs me to apply the same processes. That each step backwards in time reveals character's actions. That this revelation shows them making and executing a decision. Casts a light backward onto scenes that the audience has just witnessed and forwards onto future ones.

It can never be as simple, i would not want it as simple as "This character did this because of this other event." I want mystery to be part of these things. How characters act throughout will provide the motivation for their decisions, will hint at these motivations.

The concept of making GEF a noir-ish story is attractive. I love the idea of noir: a person finds themselves, due to their actions, in dire, danmgerous and destructive situations.

I am unsure if this could or shoul dbe taken literally with GEF. Though, it could be constructed around Voirrey's inability or reluctance to confirm or deny the reality of Gef. Perhaps that is the set of decisions that have to be explored? Voirrey is given many opportunities to say hat it was fake and then go about her life, to place Gef firmly behind her.

Why does she no do this? Why does she not cash in on her relationship with Gef? Noir is tragedy, and perhaps this is where my love of King Lear comes in. The tragedy is that the decision that could save themselves is not taken until too late. Voirrey could have said at any time "he was made up," but she refuses to. In the face of many opportunities to deny, perhaps that is Voirrey's tragic decision: to deny Gef is to betray whatever prompted her connection to him, real or not. By denying Gef, she denies herself.

Perhaps the idea is similar to Peter denying Christ. Peter's fateful decison could have ended in him dead with no contact with his redeemer. Perhaps this is true for Voirrey. In some way gef saved her, and to deny him is to undermine that redemption.


Okay, all kinds of confused in there.

Next post: a list of decisions/actions taken by the characters.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A prologue, of sorts

The example lawyer from the Beckett directing on paper post
has stuck with me.

After I had written the throwaway examples I suddenly realised that the lawyer could address a concern that had been bugging me: being truthful to the real life living persons. What I realised I needed was a disclaimer.


ACTOR LAWYER: Welcome to our show. This show is a tragic tale of a girl and her mongoose. Or maybe the story of a girl and a boy who happens to be a mongoose. Or a poltergeist. Or something. It is based on a reported series of events, with most of the characters based on real people. The intent of the playwright is not to smear anybody or paint unflattering pictures. But fiction being what it is, sometimes liberties must be taken. So without further ado, please bear the following in mind:

                    Actor produces a slip of paper and reads:

'All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.'

ACTOR LAWYER: Which is a statement the playwright grabbed from the "All persons fictitious disclaimer" wikipedia page. It would be, to paraphrase an unseen Three Stooges film, a bloody miracle if in fact the playwright managed to have any of the characters resemble real persons, alive or dead.

Admittedly, all of the above must be taken with a fine grain of salt. I am not a lawyer, though I play one on the stage.


                    Lights up on Actor, now the Lawyer. Standing behind a desk.


And as before. The stage transition from Actor to Lawyer is one of those areas where I may give the direction "the Actor becomes the Lawyer" for directors to interpret as they see fit. Were I to direct it myself, I'd probably have the actor appearing informally at the front of the space with the houselights up, and then use the lighting  (houselights come down, spot comes up, say) to transition the actor back into the set to take their place as the Lawyer. Perhaps with an onstage costume addition (doing up a tie, slicking back hair).

Directions are the one place where I can pass some of the fun of creation to the director and actors.

Edit: link!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


I had been thinking about buying a typewriter since coming to the US, but without much income to play with didn't really want to pay the exhorbitant prices on e-bay. I had left my beloved, flawed Olevetti behind in NZ. Don't let me fool you, I am not a typist.

There is something gloriously physical and solid about a typewriter that you lose with laptops and PCs. With a typewriter you can trace a direct physical connectionfrom your finger through the key, the lever, the arm, to the hammered letter directly imprinting itself onto the paper. The computer is far more opaque in operation: a naive alien from another star could open a typewriter and quickly discover how it operates. That same alien would probably vapourise the planet when confronted by a PC case.

I found Leviathan in the Good Will and instantly fell under it's dreadful spell when I opened it's ugly tan-orange case. It is a beast of a typewriter, weighing close to 15 pounds in it's case. I almost wrenched my shoulder out when I picked it up for the first time. I could of sworn it were made from the bodies of dead stars and the tears of kittens.

I want a Leviathan for quite a few reasons. The biggie: it is solely a writing machine. No internet to parasitically suck time out of me, no distractions, no email, no fascinating Neverwinter Nights or Baldurs Gate or Diablo to play. Simply me, the blank page and my intermediary, Leviathan.

The second is a little symbolic. The typewriter is a twentieth century writers tool, one that birthed any number of beautiful worlds out of words. I am pretty much a 20th century boy, and while there are many advantages to the 21st century's digital age, the pervasive speed and conectivity leaves me a little cold.

A more practical third: it's black-out proof. Like a pen or pencil too, a typewriter can keep going even when the power generators falter. I guess it's possible I could run out of coffee.

And a selfish 4th: I like the sound.

A-Z blogger: Zoological Oddity


GR: Or maye he is a normal animal.

GR: Or a monster from beyond space and time?

GR: We simply do not know what he really is.

GR: Gef could be a magic mirror, hold him up and you'll see what you want to see. What you need to see.

GR: Price needed to see a fake. Captain X needed a little something to send back to Price. Jim could be said to want the centre of attention. People see ghosts, mongeese, rats, cats, poltergeists, aliens, ventriloquists, fakes, frauds and phonies.

GR: Gef said many things about what he was. "I am the fifth dimension. I am the eighth wonder of the world"


Gef really is becoming a position that people view.

Well, this is the end of the A-Z. Posting will continue.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A-Z challenge: Years/Yearning

VOIRREY: The years have not been kind. I thought distance would make it easier to bear, I fled to the mainland, to the anonymity of a city. Well, into the anonymity of Gloucester, at any rate.

VOIRREY: Do I regret it? Of course I bloody regret it. I regret ever crossing paths with Gef. He has tainted my life, poisoned the well of it. I could have-


VOIRREY: There are things I could have done. Places I could have gone. I could have been a mother. I could have been an engineer. And, well, I become the mental old lady who spoke to a figment.

VOIRREY: Try and explain that.

VOIRREY: It was like someone snuck into the rooms of my life and stole the furniture, and upon arriving home to discover the robbery, I stopped from ever leaving. Fearful, in case they came back.

VOIRREY: Gef stole a life with a family of my own from me. Aye, I feel a bitterness upon me over him. I wish I'd never met him.


Tomorrow: probably the obvious choice, Zoological Oddity.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A-Z Chellenge. Xenos, Xenoglossia, Xenobiology.

X is one of those awful letters that drive me spare, and force a shotgunning of stuff onto the blog.


Xenos is my Warhammer 40k gaming side showing. In that context, 'Xenos' is the other, the alien. Which given the nature of humanity in this particular wargame, simply means a "them and us" attitude and more shooting. The human race in the year 40000 is a xenophobic, racist, violent facist galactic empire that in the name of keeping itself safe, will destroy solar systems and commit genocide. That concept, coupled with my pacisim, made for some slightly strange self debate about fictional games.

But, anyway, Gef as some kind of alien is slightly too outlandish for this particular series of outlandish events.

Xenophobia doesn't quite fit.


Xenoglossia (you can tell I hit the dictionary, right?) is a phenomena where mediums claim to be able to speak a language that they're unfamiliar with. Which is another interesting piece of a puzzle from a different box. Perhaps for the story of Harry Price and his frequent run-ins with mediums and spirit talkers.


Xenobiology: the study of alien beings. The word that seems more suited to Gef is cryptozoology which is, very roughly, the study of odd terrestrial creatures.


Could these things be usefully included in the play? At the least the would be simple colour, part of the background. The Xenoglossia is probably the most appropriate idea to slap in there as part of the travelling Harry Price show- some weird citified circus barker offering to puncture the fiction of your friendly neighbourhood spirit medium.

Tomorrow: Y.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A-Z Challenge: Witchery & Wisewomen

For some reason, the 'witch urn' is what I'd been calling the urn two challenge posts ago. I'd somehow decided that the urn contained the remains of a witch buried under the rock in the hedgerow. Perhaps I read it in the research.

Margarey had been described by Price and Lambert as being a wisewoman, a witch at any other time, with some non-specific psychic foresight.

Some cliched, witchy words follow. These say more about how I imagine a manx witch to speak, and the stereotypes involved with both manx, farmers, and witches than it has to do with reality. I must cop that I like the idea of women gaining some magic from a connection to the land and the spirits that inhabit it. It's a very ethereal, wispy, Arthur Rakham sylph image of witches.

The Isle of Man seems full of thin spots where strangeness creeps across from someplace else. Perhaps this is where Gef came from?


MARGARET: Bring my daughter a protector to keep her safe from harm, to keep her whole. Let the moon kiss her brow, the hills her feet, the air her cheek.


And then Gef appears. As if by magic.


A passing idea for writing today's post: to use every letter other than 'W'.

i.e. "Gef loves the Irving family, in his unique manner. The murder of rabbits to fill their pot..."

Tomorrow: X. To the dictionary for help.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A-Z challenge: Voirrey, Ventriloquism, Vanish

VOIRREY stands centre stage.

VOIRREY: Apparently I was an accomplished ventriloquist, skilled at-

                    VOIRREY shuts her mouth completely
                    and a recording of her speaking emanates from stage left.

REC: -throwing my voice. There is one-

VOIRREY & REC (together): -problem with-

VOIRREY (on own): -this theory.

VOIRREY & REC (together): Let us demonstrate.

VOIRREY: Gef was heard-

REC (stage left):  - here.

REC (stage right): And here.

REC (overhead): Here too.

REC (behind audience): He was all over.

VOIRREY: Now me as a ventriloquist ties the mystery of Gef all up in a bow.


VOIRREY: But ignores a simple truth, as I will demonstrate.

                    A Gef Hand Puppet is thrown to her from offstage.

VOIRREY: Everyone, this is Gef.

VOIRREY: Say 'Hello' Gef.

                    Voirrey raises voice 2 octaves (or so) and speaks as Gef using hand puppet.
                    We can see her lips move when she speaks as Gef.

V-GEF: "Hello Gef."

VOIRREY: No, Gef. Say 'Hello' properly.

V-GEF: Shan't. I won't humour unbelievers.

VOIRREY: Oh Gef, you are so troublesome.

V-GEF: Shall we tell them how we do it?

VOIRREY: is that wise?

V-GEF: Harden up, butter cup.

VOIRREY: A ventriloquist doesn't literally throw her voice. She provides the sound, and the
                    misdirection and-

V-GEF: -it looks like I'm talking.

VOIRREY: It must be tape recorders.

                    Gef buries snout in paws.

V-GEF: Oh, no. Now you've done it.

VOIRREY: Enough, you.

V-GEF: Fine, vanish!

                    VOIRREY tosses Gef offstage.

                    VOIRREY crosses stage and pulls out a tape-recorder.


                    She crosses to the other side and picks up another tape-recorder.

VOIRREY: As you suspected.

VOIRREY: Well, that must explain it.

VOIRREY: Except, we were as poor as dirt, how could we afford a half dozen tape recorders.

VOIRREY: How could we run them without electricity?

VOIRREY (as GEF): Someone else did it.

VOIRREY: But how did they do this:

                    Sounds of scurrying from stage left to stage right
                    then scurrying from overhead to behind audience
                    and back again in quick succession.

VOIRREY (as Gef): Beats me!

VOIRREY: Me too.


Ah, that had been sitting percolating for a little while. I'm wondering if puppet Gef needs to be around earlier and for longer. It will be finessed.

Tomorrow: Witchery? Wise woman? What will it be?

Monday, April 25, 2011

A-Z challenge: Urns

A reference to a funerary urn buried on the same land as the farm (do a ctrl-f search under Cashen)


We tore out the hedge and we found it clutched in the gnarled arthritic roots. A simple sealed urn,  about the size of a bovril tin. I told Barry to leave it be, that we'd best rebury it but he was too full of treasures. Like he'd found the leprechaun's wee pot of gold. He eventually laid it to one side and we finished digging out the hedgerow. I thought no more on it, my thoughts looking forward to the pint waiting at the local. The next day, Billy, Barry's lad came early to the house and told me his Da wasn't feeling well, and that he wanted me to come and see him. We hiked back to their house, and Barry looked like death was upon him, and he complained bitterly about the chill. Beryl offered a cuppa, and when I went through to the kitchen that was when I saw the urn on the table. Beryl told me that Barry had opened it night before and spilled black ashes over the linen. I shuddered, and told her I would take care of it. I took it back to Cashen and buried it under a flat rock. I never spoke of it to Barry, who came right soon enough. He still gurns about the cold though.


Tomorrow: V, one I've been dying to write for a while.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

T bonus: tenacity

The one thing I must, absolutely must take away from the A-Z challenge is that I need to write every day.

The challenge has been excellent for this, with the added incentive of not wanting to disappoint people who have come to this blog (and thank you everyone who has) by not abiding by the challenge.

I have to write. Even if I'm utterly uninspired. Even when, on occasion, I wake up to it lurking in the corner like a hairball coughed up by the muse-cat overnight. Even when the policeman in my head is wearing riot gear and preparing a baton charge on my feelings of adequacy. To spite all of these things, words of some kind must be ejected from my head and recorded.

Regardless of their final form, the words must come out.

Tomorrow: Urns

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A-Z challenge: tyrant

VOIRREY: I don't recall exactly why he brought my bed into their room. I told him Gef was safe, but... well, Gef would go on.

REPORTER: Was he an angry man?


VOIRREY: sometimes.

REPORTER: Price and Lambert refer to there being a lock on the outside of your room.

VOIRREY(quickly): it used to be father's study. He would lock it when he wasn't using it.

REPORTER: How was your father's relationship with  your mother?

VOIRREY: He loved her.

REPORTER: Did he hit you?


REPORTER: Why did you spend so much time out of the house?


REPORTER: Ms. Irving?


Monday: U

Friday, April 22, 2011

A-Z challenge: Silence

My grandfather had had a stroke or two by the time I was old enough to remember. For me, my grandfather was a silence presence in the corner of their living room. Someone who quietly was there. I remember being mystified and a little concerned by this man, who I loved, who seemed selfcontained. I can't remember him talking to me the way my grandmother talked to me.

What I know now is that he was shy, and his stroke had robbed him of his faculty of reading. I also know, now, that he didn't know how to talk to me or my brother.

When he began to, he died. I was twelve.


When I had finished highschool, I had decided to work towards a theatre and film degree in university. Whitchols had a substantial selection of plays that I windowshopped through. As part of my graduation gift I was given a booktoken and I decided to spend it on plays. I picked out a Checkov collection, Hamlet, King Lear and then I came across the collected works of Samuel Beckett. I bought this book for one reason only: the portrait of Beckett reminded me so much of my grandfather that I had to have it. Something about the hair and the set of the mouth. The lines around the eyes.

(Looking at the picture now, I see Samuel Beckett. I know enough about both men to be able to see the multitudinous differences, rather than the few similarities).

I strugggled through the book but kept it because of the picture. I am glad for it now.


Pinter also appeared around this time, again in my trawls through bookstores. I found the first three volumes of the collected works and was taken with the words Pause and Silence throughout. These gaps signified something mysterious about human behaviour.

I began writing as a way to learn something that I didn't feel I had: the ability to talk. (My brother remarked a year or five ago "You always sound like you're narrating something in a novel"


I like to delude myself that my silence is meaningful and loaded with mysteriousness instead of simply being shyness.


I try and fit silence into my writing as a way of communicating something. Giving silence an intent or quality beyond  a simple absence of noise.

The silence of Gef is either that he's being quiet, or he isn't there. I wonder if he simply decided to shut up.


Tomorrow: T

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A-Z challenge: rituals

A bit of a short one today.

Now this is a full on ritual:

I'm surprised it doesn't start "First you catch your possessed..." because honestly, any demon worth it's salt would have buggered off before the litany of the saints.

PRIEST: ...It is He who commands you, He who once stilled the sea and the wind and the storm. Hearken, therefore, and tremble in fear, Satan, you enemy ofthe faith, you foe of the human race, you begetter of death, you robber of life, you corrupter of justice, you root of all evil and vice; seducer of men, betrayer of the nations, instigator of envy, font of avarice, fomentor of discord, author of pain and sorrow.
GEF somewhere overhead snorts, then begins to laugh uncontrollably.

GEF: I'm sorry, I can't go on. You forget render of chickens, protector of Voirrey, eater of porridge, teaser of dreary old men and stuffy vicars! You be gone, oh sir of little faith!

                    A book is tossed at the Priest, followed by a cowbell and a candle.


I don't know if Gef would be all that good humoured and I doubt he would wait until near the bitter end to interupt an exorcism.


Tomorrow: silence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A-Z Challenge: Quilting and my sweet wife.

When I was roughing out my list my wife, Carmen, helped me out with suggestions for letters that had me stumped (evil, nightmares, obsession, yearning, and this one). A big thank you to her. My wife is a quilter and by osmosis (and ironing and cutting) I've discovered that quilting and the way I write have a lot in common.

When I write plays (and I've been trying it with a novel too) I generate lots and lots of material, hopefully more material than I need. I just write and write, and write some more (that's the intention).

And here is where I mangle the metaphor.

I start going through my fabric scraps and begin piecing everything together. I see what colours match, and what clashes. If the texture and shade fits. I cut the fabric to fit the space, I switch things around, I add pieces from elsewhere to fill gaps. I try and find a pattern that suits.

It's a very organic process, that kind of explodes all over the place and makes a mess. There is always bits left over that might be used later. Or that one beautiful scrap that doesn't fit this quilt but is perfect for another in the future.

The hardest part is fighting the temptaion to work on the next quilt, while putting the current one together.


Tomorrow: Rituals

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A-Z challenge: Plays

So a slight change: instead of writing about poltergeists, I will write about plays. It came down to what I knew a little more about and after the day I've had, going the easy route is pretty attractive.


I waver on the purpose of a play, on the purpose of theatre. A play is at it's base level  a communal, primal thing. We are engaging in an ages old ritual when we sit down as a group and are told a story. It's part of the cultural heritage of being human. Early playwrights were probably those around the campfire entertaining their family with shadows on the wall.

I think this ritualised story aspect is one of the things that attracts me to theatre. That when we enter a theatrical space we are engaging in a ritual. We find our seat, we sit down, we talk to our neighbours and then there is a change that catches our attention. The lights fade to black, the audience excitedly quietens and then the curtain opens, say or a performer takes the stage. That moment before the action starts when an audience is hushed is magical. We are preparing to enter another place, somewhere that triggers our imaginations.

Harvey Pekar, the comics writer, said a great thing about comics that can almost be applied to theatre, "Comics are words and pictures, you can do anything with words and pictures". Change the word 'pictures' to 'actions' and it becomes a pretty good fit.

You can go along way on a blank stage. Two kids in front of a GI Joe bedsheet can retell the star wars films to their friends and create exploding planets and great starships moving through the void using words and actions.

A thought I had was to do a Matrix stage show. That all of the miraculousness of the films could be conveyed in character's reportage. Making the audience come along.

The line

MORPHEUS: Don't look down, Neo.

creates a certain image, that even those few who haven't seen the film can immediately grasp.

You couldn't literally have the fight scenes, or the bullet time, or the jumping. The trick would be to somehow create the breathless belief that those things caused in the film. We don't need to see Neo jump the gap, we simply need to believe that he can.

Back to the Mongoose. I need to really think about what I want to convey on the stage. At the moment everything is a samey 'one or two people in the void expositioning a little'. I've not given much time to thinking about how the story (story?) will be told. Which I must do if I'm to move forward.


Tomorrow: Quilting, of all things.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A-Z challenge: obsession.

                    MARGARET sorting a mail sack at table

MARGARET: More food for thought. They can't get enough of other people's words.

                    Opens letter

MARGARET (reading): Dear Mr Irving. I represent a famous carnival owner and we are enquiring as to the availability of your mongoose. I am authorised to dispense the sum of fifty thousand US dollars. Please reply at earliest convenience, yours blah blah blah.

Margaret places to one side. Opens another.

MARGARET (reading): Dear Mr Mongoose.
I am eight years old and I am a big fan of yours. What is your favourite food? Do you like it on the Isle of Man? I live in Brighton so if you ever want a holiday, Brighton is very pretty.

                    She puts the letter to one side. She picks up a pile of opened mail, scans them and sorts them as she speaks.

MARGARET: Child. Promoter. Conman. Child. Child. Child. Ooh, scientist. Child. Child. Promoter. Reporter. Reporter. Reporter. Death threat. Child. Pitier. Child. Sceptic. Child. Reporter.

She bundles all the letters bar the scientist and the skeptic and places them in a basket.

MARGARET: Sometimes people send the odd banknote, but mainly it's chldren wanting to join the club and adults wanting to damn us to hell for witchcraft. Jim likes these letters and so do I. I find they get a good fire started. He keeps them.

                    Skittering overhead

MARGARET: Ah, Gef, if only you could read. Or be useful. Or be gone.


 Well, Margaret isn't an obsessive sort. The Irvings could probably have made a small wage selling memberships to the Gef the mongoose club.

Jim is the obsessed one in the story, Voirrey is the opposite of obsessed. As the years pass, she spends more and more time further and further away from the house.

Tomorrow: P

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beckett's Directing on Paper

Samuel Beckett was a man who cared about his writing. He was adamant that not a line be changed, not a stage direction be ignored, not a prop added that he hadn't specified in the script.

I have the impression from reading about his problems with interpretive productions that he did not expect the widespread success of his plays. He denied permission to a number of productions because he believed that their staging undermined or moved to far away from his intent as the author, the creator, of the play (Infamously, he denied permission for an all female cast of Godot because it would add a huge layer of meaning that he had never intended.)

You can see his attitude towards this constant battle in how he wrote his plays. The stage directions become tightly choreographed and timed to the second. He makes copious notes on lighting, staging and how the characters move (For example: 'Footfalls' has a pacing diagram, 'What Where' a lighting diagram, 'That Time' has tightly timed pauses and silences).

Examples are in order! Not in terms of content, but in terms of presentation.

In the style of 'Waiting for Godot'


                                                   ACT ONE
                                     An office. A desk. Morning.

LAWYER, sitting at desk sorting papers. He strightens them. Reaches for a pen, knocks them askew. Restraightens them, knocking the pen away. He stands, collects pen. Sees audience.

LAWYER: Ah, good morning. [He returns to desk, straightens tie, picks up top sheet of paper.] I'll cut straight to the chase. Miss Voirrey Clucas Irving had no heirs. [He coughs politely.] So sorry. None.


In the style of 'That Time', 'Ohio Impromptu' and others. I exaggerate a lot with this: nothing Beckett does is frivolous. Not like these directions.


Stage is dark. Lights fade up over 3 seconds to LAWYER standing behind desk set centre of the stage. He wears gray suit. His hair is black, slicked back over skull. His eyes sunken. His hands rest on the desk on either side of paper.

He does not move from behind the desk.

LAWYER stares unblinking at audience. Silence 10 seconds.

LAWYER claps his hands. Smiles. Lays his hands back on table.

LAWYER: Good morning. Though Voirrey may disagree were she here. No. In the matter of Voirrey
          Clucas Irving, deceased,there are no heirs. No descendants.

Pause 3 seconds. The light intensifies on the LAWYER's face and fades on the rest of the stage over 10 seconds.
LAWYER: I'm sorry. None. Were you close?


With Beckett's plays the script is, quite literally, the blueprint for executing Beckett's vision. The director is not an interpreter but an engineer following the plan. Their job to keep the production within the limits set out for them, with very little room for deviation.

It can make the plays hard going to read and it must take a certain level of professional control to direct and act in them. But that would be the exciting challenge to Beckett's later plays, to force yourself not to deviate, to submit to the author's vision and control. You are, by following Beckett's directions exactly, only one step removed from Beckett himself. You could allow yourself the fantasy that you would be doing what Beckett would be doing if he were directing his own play.
(which isn't exactly true, Beckett tinkered with his plays as he directed finding new ways to do his old things. But that is the privilege of being the author: you can change your own script.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Some nifty wikipedia pages:

I suffer from hypnogogia, and have disconcerted family, friends, flatmates and my spouse by walking around chasing or fleeing creatures that have appeared before me.

(One of the spookiest lines for me of any song is "Dream walking in broad daylight" from talking heads 'Burning Down the House.')

My most frequent visions are malign: large spiders crawling across my chest, or snakes being dropped from the ceiling onto the bed, large fluttery slowmotion moths,  cartoon-like devils with pitchforks. In my last flat, I was constantly hearing voices and certain that people were watching me continuously through the large windows in my bedroom.

My flatmate walked in on me one night shaking my duvet cover out of the second story window. I'd caught a bundle of mothcreatures in it, had punched them to into senslessness and was getting rid of the bodies

The benign ones: people and mice sitting watching me, an angel face in the ceiling, an angel fish, lights on that aren't in reality on. Once I saw my grandfather sitting in the chair in my room.

I discovered that listening to the Headless Chicken's 'Body Blow' album would give me the most amazing waking dreams- I don't know if it was the beats per minute or the 'snap' of the tape stopping and waking me up that caused it. Radio Head's Kid A caused a similar effect. I investigated shamanism and drumming rituals- certain areas combined with rhythmic sound cause visions.

Floating back to the surface of reality sometimes reveals that the dream was a chimera of real objects. My grandfather being a shirt over a chair, the mice a collection of socks and so on. The best example I can use to illustrate this effect is a portrait I saw at a Philip Treacy exhibition: when you looked at the object itself, it was a mess of feathers and mangled stuffed birds on it, but the sihilloeutte was of the profile of Isabella Blow wearing a Philip Treacy hat. 

But more often than not, I get the malignant visions. They're caused by stress, by the light filtering through the blinds, by being unsettled by the animals climbing over the bed.

I hate them. I hate the paranoia and the fear, the loss of control and the unanchoring of reality. I worry that I'll hurt someone inadvertantly in my efforts to remove creatures from the house. Even moreso, now that I'm married with assorted animals in the house.

I love them. I love that my brain produces such augmented reality. I would miss the benign visits. The drift from the dream to reality can be spectacular.


Now, what has this to do with Gef? I had the idea that Gef was a mare, sent to torture the family. The idea doesn't hold much weight given the narrative of events, Gef isn't as ephemeral as a dream. However, if I could find a way to translate the weight that the dreams hold to Gef as a reality, I may be onto something. Playing with light states so that characters drift in and out of scenes, as they move through them.

The other thing that I need to consider: just how messed up would my dreams be if I had a creature, like Gef, living in the walls of my house, making odd noises all the time, disrupting my sleep? Pretty horrific, I would probably have ended up destroying the house, making it inhospitable to little creatures.

Tomorrow is the break day, Monday is Obsession!

The amazing milliner Philip Treacy
Isabella Blow was his patron and muse, and she wore the hats fearlessly as extensions of her own body. Photos of her inthe hats are down the left side of this page.