Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Savant Sasha, one in much more than a million.

And so once again, the screenplay takes a new turn.

I love when I can stop trying to regiment my thoughts and switch to the right brain, completely. I believe this is what savants do naturally, all of the time. I am not a savant. I have read there are only 50 savants known to be alive in the world today. Most of these extraordinary 'genius' people, but not all, are severely autistic.

So, the technique of letting my film's characters 'speak to me' has done the trick. There is flow again in the screenplay story, but new questions like small mushrooms keep popping up ! A hundred new whys, and a hundred new what ifs. Often answers or 'messengers' come in strange guises. Sometimes via the Internet ! This is what happened today:

What is this ?
As I read about savant-ism, my heart gave a startled little jump, then a smile, then my attention was 100% grabbed. It was an unmistakable ah-ha moment.

There's old adage which states that we utilize only 10 percent of our brains, 'but Savants remind us with startling clarity, that our brains are capable of so much more.'

Savants: People with genius gifts, and huge life challenges.

Sasha. A Savant ?

Synopsis of screenplay's new twist:

A small fortune is paid by Jewish impresario Reuben, to criminal Kaleb, to kidnap baby Sasha , Reuben's illegitimate granddaughter (aged three weeks),and find her a substitute family, for life .
The 'why' will be explained later.
Sasha grows up in dire poverty in an immigrant ghetto in Paris. Abducted by petty criminal and small time
drug dealer 'Uncle Kaleb,' a Moroccan car mechanic, and 'raised' by his alcoholic wife Fatima, Sasha believes she is adopted, and that all her family died in a car crash. Mostly ignored by everybody in the neighborhood because of her extreme shyness, and strange repetitive behaviors, aged eight, Sasha is befriended by elderly kind aristocratic, now impoverished, eccentric once famous Russian singer Vladamir, the organist and choir master at a local Russian church. He discovers Sasha's singing genius. When fifteen, Vladamir who has been tutoring her for years, takes her to audition for a place at the Conservatoire de Paris and amongst hundreds of applicants, shy slum kid Sasha stuns the selection committee by singing every required piece flawlessly. Sasha has a rare musical gift called absolute pitch. After hearing any aria just once, she can sing it faultlessly. After endless tests, astonished, the professors declare her a musical genius. A savant. She begins a four year course in Classical Singing with a full scholarship, and much national publicity.

This is where I've got to with the screenplay today.

Would you want to see this film ?

Sasha had to have a special need to over come if the story was to be a hero's journey.

Is this special need too special?

I couldn't think what Sasha's challenge could be, but discovering the inspiring story of savant Daniel Tammet today, a new door has opened.
Daniel has special skills which allow him to present his ideas to the public. Based on his form of savant syndrome, musical genius Sasha would be capable of singing in public, and traveling to South America, with a little help from a friend. Who could that be? A tutor at the Sorbonne? Another student ? Somebody else?


Savant Sasha?

Famous Creatives who have had special needs:

Leonardo da Vinci took twelve years to paint the Mona Lisa' lips, and could write with one hand while drawing with the other (Botham, 2006, p. 13). Perfectionist tendencies, with moderate cross over discrimination deficits, and savant skills

Goethe reportedly hated the sound of barking dogs (Botham, 2006, p. 60), which could indicate hyperactivity to sound or noises; and he "could only write if he had an apple rotting in the desk drawer," (Botham, 2006, p. 60).

Charles Dickinson dropped out of school and suffered from insomnia. He believed that if his bed was facing north, and he was in the center, he might be able to sleep (Botham, 2006, p. 61). Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, nightmares or night terrors, is common in people with Asperger's.

“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.”
Robert Jarvik

Read more:

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sasha's story.

"Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."
— John O'Donohue (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom)

Many miles away there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the shore of a dark Scottish lake.
Walter Scott

There's a shadow on the door of my soul. It's my film story.

My screenplay characters are walking though a new door. They've come out of hiding. For the moment this feels like a consensus, but anything can change at any time.

It will be Sasha's story now. The kidnapped granddaughter.

Her challenge is to find her mother. But first she has to find her grandmother. The story is about unearthing, then understanding an accepting a tragic holocaust family 'story', which finally, brings transformation to three generations of artistic women, through Sasha. It's an archetypal, hero's journey about slaying inner self sabotaging monsters.

Log line: this is a term used in the film industry for the briefest possible summing up of the film. A great log line should be a fraction of the below, and should contain verbs like: struggles with, battles with, grapples, takes on, clashes with, or crusades, etc.

'Abducted when three weeks old, 18 year old talented Jewish music student Sasha grows up believing she was adopted. On the deathbed of her Moroccan abductor ‘Uncle Kaleb,’ she discovers the truth. He tells her her real name, nothing else. Devastated by this revelation, Sasha clashes with the world in her attempt to grapple with the truth. She starts an inner crusade after meeting a clairvoyant who convinces her to drop her singing studies and head for Bolivia where she will find her mother Shifra ,in the slums of La Paz, teaching street kids theater skills. Shifra believes her abducted daughter is long dead.
Sasha needs a passport, so her odyssey first leads her to wage war on the France authorities. They are secretive and unhelpful, but finally she tracks down her French widowed artist Holocaust survivor grandmother Anabel, who then as an act of secret atonement, accompanies her to Bolivia....'

There is so much more... but for the moment this is all I can share with you. It's a new angle. A new protagonist has stepped forward. I think this is the outcome of the casts retreat time in the refuge ! I've let them sort it out.
Sasha has come forward.

The film started as Shifra's story. Then it switched to Anabel's story. Then it became Holocaust survivor Grandfather Reuben's story.
I sank so deeply into his tragedy I felt I was drowning in love and pity for him. I also felt I was meeting disturbing ghosts from my own unknown Jewish ancestry.

So now , today, it's the bright and beautiful granddaughters story.
Despite Sasha's appallingly disadvantaged upbringing in an immigrant ghetto in Paris, through her innate innocence and exquisite voice, she manages to effortlessly brake barriers, mend and melt hearts, and bring peace to her biological family, thereby ending three generations of women being traumatized and scared at the age of 18.

The women :
Highly strung artist Anabel walked free from Auschwitz aged 18.
Her 18 year old daughter Shifra(an acrobat and an artist) becomes severely depressed when her three week old illegitimate baby Sasha is abducted.
Singer Sasha finds the shocking truth about her kidnapping when she is 18.

But, I think Sasha has to have a flaw, or a special need: she will have had this all her life.

This too will be transformed by the end of the story.
What could be her flaw, her special need?

Would you want to see this movie ?

Any suggestions what her flaw might be ?
Facebook me with ideas ?

"Art is the act of triggering deep memories, of what it means to be fully human."

David Whyte

Friday, 24 June 2011

How easy it is to forget ...


"Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything. So when you think a sustained thought it is immediately sent out into the Universe. That thought magnetically attaches itself to the like frequency, and then within seconds sends the reading of that frequency back to you through your feelings. Put another way, your feelings are communication back to you from the Universe, telling you what frequency you are currently on. Your feelings are your frequency feedback mechanism!"

Jack Canfield

How easy it is to forget ...that we create our own heaven or hell by the thoughts we choose to project, 24/7.

So, after a brief visit to hell on Friday morning, I've learnt the lesson, got the message, and will apply it to the screenplay. It' safe now for all the screenplay characters to come out of hiding.

Versión en español

Lo fácil que es olvidar...

"Recuerdas que tus pensamientos son la causa principal de todo. Así que cuando tu piensas que un pensamiento sostenido es inmediatamente enviado al Universo. Ese pensamiento se adhiere magnéticamente a la frecuencia como, a continuación, en cuestión de segundos envía la lectura de la frecuencia de regreso a que a través de tus sentimientos. Dicho de otra manera, tus sentimientos son la comunicación contigo desde el Universo, que le dice lo que la frecuencia que se encuentra actualmente. Tus sentimientos son tu mecanismo de retroalimentación frecuencia! "

Jack Canfield

Lo fácil que es olvidar ... que nosotros creamos nuestro propio cielo o el infierno por los pensamientos que elegimos , 24 / 7.

Así que, tras una breve visita al infierno esta mañana, he aprendido la lección, entendió el mensaje, y lo aplicará al guión. Es seguro ahora para todos los personajes de mi guión salir de su escondite.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Loved before it exists.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
Charles Dickens, all those years ago.


A work of art, a novel, a screenplay, a sculpture, a piece of music, still in the heart, loved before it exists.



For my new readers in China, thanks to Google translate.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


'If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.'
Mother Teresa

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Don't walk in front of me...( in English , Ukranian y Español)

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

All the colorful individuals I've created for my screen play seem to have fled. They've escaped from my mind . Jumped ship. I feel bereaved. I can't locate them.

Five years ago in the far south of Patagonia, after a long day on an old tourist boat exploring icebergs and awesome glaciers, I had a 'vision.'
We were crossing a turquoise lagoon. I was sitting alone at the back of the motor boat. Everybody else was inside, huddled together, sleeping off a late large lunch eaten on a small island. I forget it's name. I'd eaten half a tuna sandwich and an apple.I was thirsty. My gaze was focused on the mountains we were leaving, not on the view we were heading towards.

I felt profoundly sad.
A humiliating experience on the island had triggered a tsunami of self doubt. What I was doing with my life? Where did such confusion and agonizing embarrassment come from?
Though burning tears I stared at the snow capped mountain we were leaving behind. I prayed for help. Not true. I howled into the spray and the wind. I howled inwardly to God, to the Universe, to Jesus, to Buddha, to all the saints and angels I could name.
Show me a way I pleaded to transform this inner self sabotaging monster. Free me. Change me. Help me. Now. Please. Let me see everything 'differently.'

As we raced further from the shore, I remember thinking the mountain looked like a mysterious etching. Fine black lines were deeply etched across a mass of white snow, with inky- dark smudges depicting dangerous gulleys and unexplored ravines. My eyes became fixed on this scene.
Suddenly, the etching came alive. For no more than a few fleeting seconds, I saw all the exotic characters from all the paintings I'd ever painted process across a high narrow snow-covered ridge and disappear, one by one, into a magnificent yurt made of ice and snow.
It was as if they were showing me where they really lived. As is they were going home.

In an instant it felt like all the characters I've ever created with pencil and paint, have two lives. One in the two dimensional world of painting. The other here.
From behind their frames or in my sketch books, when alone, if nobody is looking at them , they leave. This is where they come. This is where they gather. I think they're an ancient tribe of extraordinary souls, communing in an ice yurt for the good of the world, in the depths of Patagonia.

I interpreted this 'vision' as the source where all my art comes from.
I felt euphoric for at least a week.

So , perhaps my film's characters also have a source to retreat to, and a shelter to surge from ?
Maybe they've sought refuge in this Spanish shepherd's shelter? It's comforting to think of them in there. Maybe they're communing with each other, waiting for me to calm down, or rather reconnect with the bigger picture.

For the past three weeks all of my screenplay characters have been begging, yelling, tugging at my arm to be the protagonist.
It's been chaos in my heart. I'm exhausted.
Time for another serious prayer.
This film was to have been Shifra's story. Then it became her mothers. Then her fathers!

Who's story is it now?

Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.
Saint Thomas Acquinas

Photos of shepherds shelters in The Picos de Europa mountains in northern Spain.

And the same story in Ukrainian for my 14 readers there, thanks to Google translate and thank you all for following the blog!!

Не ходити переді мною, я не можу слідувати.
Не ходіть за мною, я не можу навести.
Просто ходити поруч зі мною і моїм другом.
Альбер Камю
Всі барвисті людей, яких я створив для мого екрану грає, здається, втік. Вони втекли з моєї свідомості. Дезертирував з корабля. Я відчуваю загиблих. Я не можу їх знайти.

П'ять років тому на крайньому півдні Патагонії, після довгого дня на старій човні турист вивчає айсбергів і льодовиків дивним, у мене було "бачення".
Ми перетинали бірюзові лагуни. Я сидів один в задній частині моторному човні. Всі інші були всередині, притиснувшись один до одного, сплять з кінця великий обід їдять на маленькому острові. Я забув його ім'я. Я б з'їла половину бутерброда і тунця apple.I пити. Мій погляд був зосереджений на гори ми виїжджали, а не на точці зору, ми йшли назустріч.

Я відчував себе глибоко сумно.
Принизливий досвід на острові викликали цунамі собі сумніви. Те, що я роблю зі своїм життям? Звідки така плутанина і болісною збентеження прийшли?
Хоча спалювання сльози я дивився на снігові гори, ми були залишаючи позаду. Я молився про допомогу. Це не так. Я вив на бризки і вітер. Я вив внутрішньо до Бога, до Всесвіту, до Ісуса, Будди, всім святим і ангелам я міг би назвати.
Покажи мені, як я благав, щоб перетворити це внутрішня чудовисько саботувати себе. Звільни мене. Зміна мене. Допоможи мені. Зараз. Будь ласка. Дозвольте мені бачити все "по-різному.

Як ми мчали далі від берега, я пам'ятаю, як подумав гора схожа на таємничий травлення. Образотворче чорні лінії були глибоко врізалися через маса білого снігу, з чорнильно-темна плями зображують небезпечні яри і незвідані ущелини. Мої очі стали закріплені на цій сцені.
Раптом, травлення ожив. Для не більше декількох швидкоплинних секунд, я побачив, що всі екзотичні персонажі з усіх картин я коли-небудь пофарбовані процес по високим вузьким засніжених хребтом і зникають один за іншим, в чудовому юрті з льоду і снігу.
Це було, як якби вони показували мені, де вони дійсно жили. Як вони збиралися додому.
У момент, коли він відчував, що всі персонажі я коли-небудь створених за допомогою олівця і фарби, мають два життя. Один у двовимірному світі живопису. Інший тут.
Через їх рами або в моїх книгах ескіз, коли на самоті, якщо ніхто не дивиться на них, вони йдуть. Це звідки вони беруться. Це там, де вони збираються. Я думаю, що вони древнє плем'я надзвичайних душі, спілкуючись у крижаній юрти на благо світу, в глибині Патагонії.
Я сприйняв це "бачення", як джерело, де все мистецтво виходить від моєї.
Я відчув ейфорію, принаймні тиждень.

Так, може бути символи мого фільму також джерело відступити, і притулок від сплеску?
Може бути, вони шукали притулку в житло цього іспанського пастушої? Це втішно думати про них там. Може бути, вони спілкуючись один з одним, чекаючи мене, щоб заспокоїтися, або, вірніше, відновити зв'язок з більш широкої картини.

За останні три тижні всі мої персонажі сценарію були жебрацтво, кричав, смикаючи мою руку, щоб бути героєм.
Це був хаос в моєму серці. Я вичерпані.
Час для ще однією серйозною молитві.
Цей фільм повинен був бути розповідь Шифра в. Тоді він став її матері. Потім її батьків!

Хто історію вона зараз?
Віра має справу з речами, які не бачили, і сподіваюся, з речами, які не перебувають в руках.
Сент-Томас Acquinas

English to Spanish translation

No camines delante de mí.

No camines delante de mí, no puede seguir.
No camines detrás de mí, no puede conducir.
Sólo hay que pasar junto a mí y sé mi amigo.
Albert Camus

Todos los individuos que he creado para mi juego la pantalla parecen haber huido. Que han escapado de mi mente. Abandonó el barco. Me siento terrible. No puedo localizarlos.

Hace cinco años, en el extremo sur de la Patagonia, en un barco de turistas explorando los glaciares impresionantes, yo tenía una 'visión'.
Estábamos cruzando una laguna de color turquesa. Yo estaba sentado sola en la parte trasera de la lancha. Todos los demás estaban en el interior, amontonados, durmiendo despues de un almuerzo grande que tomarion en una isla. Me había comido medio sandwich de atún y una manzana. Mi mirada se centró en las montañas que nos íbamos, no en la visión que se dirigían hacia.

Me sentí profundamente triste.
Una experiencia humillante en la isla había provocado un tsunami de dudas. Que estaba haciendo con mi vida? ¿De dónde viene esta confusión y vergüenza tan dolorosa ?
A pesar de las lágrimas ardiendo me quedé mirando el nevado que dejábamos atrás. Rogué por ayuda. No es cierto. Me gritó en el rocío y el viento. Yo gritaba interiormente a Dios, al Universo, a Jesús, a Buda, a todos los santos y los ángeles que podría nombrar.
Muéstrame una manera que se declaró a transformar a este monstruo de auto sabotaje interno. Libre de mí. Me cambio. Ayúdame. Ahora. Por favor. Vamos a ver todo de forma diferente. "

A medida que corrió más lejos de la orilla, recuerdo haber pensado la montaña parecía un grabado misteriosa. Líneas finas y negro se grabaron profundamente en una masa de nieve blanca, con tinta oscura, las manchas que representan barrancos peligrosos y barrancos sin explorar. Mis ojos se fijaron en esta escena.
De repente, el grabado cobró vida. Por no más de unos segundos fugaces, vi a todos los personajes exóticos de todas las pinturas que yo había pintado el proceso a través de un angosto y muy cubierta de nieve cresta y desaparecen, una por una, en una yurta magnífico hecho de hielo y nieve.
Era como si me estaban mostrando en el que realmente vivió. Como se iban a casa.

En un instante se sintió como todos los personajes que he creado con el lápiz y la pintura, tiene dos vidas. Uno en el mundo de dos dimensiones de la pintura. El otro aquí.
Desde detrás de sus cuadros o en los libros de mi dibujo, cuando está solo, si nadie está mirando, se van. Aquí es donde vienen. Aquí es donde se reúnen. Creo que son una antigua tribu de las almas extraordinarias, en comunión en una yurta de hielo por el bien del mundo, en las profundidades de la Patagonia.

Interpreté esta visión, como la fuente de donde todo viene de mi arte.
Me sentía eufórico por lo menos durante una semana.

Por lo tanto, tal vez los personajes de mi película también tiene una fuente a retirarse a, y un refugio para aumento de?
Tal vez han buscado refugio en refugio de este pastor español? Es reconfortante pensar en ellos en ese país. Tal vez estén en comunión con los demás, esperando a que me calmara, o más bien volver a conectar con el panorama más amplio.

Para las últimas tres semanas todos los personajes de mi guión han estado pidiendo, gritando, tirando de mi brazo para ser el protagonista.
Ha sido un caos en mi corazón. Estoy exhausta.
Es hora de otra oración seria.
Esta película tenía que haber sido la historia de Shifra. Luego se convirtió en su madre. Entonces su padre!

De quien es esta historia ahora?

La fe tiene que ver con cosas que no se ven, y la esperanza con cosas que no están en la mano.
Santo Tomás de Aquino

Friday, 17 June 2011

People like us

People like us are people who love stories.

The earth is full of stories just as for a fish the ocean is full of ocean.
(Ben Orki)

We are born from stories, invisible stories. (B.O)

The purpose of art is to enchant the heart and mind into a sense of its true magnificence. (B.Okri)

Even when we struggle to put the pieces together as artists and writers, it's all there, if only we can allow it through. If only we can get out of our own way.

The journey of storytelling never ends.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

People like you

Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery.
Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love.”

Ben Okri. Nigerian author who uses magic realism to convey the social and political chaos in his country, 1959

“Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you.”

Marsha Norman

For K. and Cristian in Peru and anybody out there who might be having a few doubts about their huge dreams...
'Nunca dudes por un segundo que tus sueños son reales y maravillosas y que el fruto de tus sueños se beneficiarán a muchos, de manera que no podemos empezar a imaginar. ( Never doubt for a second that your dreams are real and wonderful and that the fruit of these dreams will help so many in ways we can't begin to imagine).

“Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.”

Ben Okri

Sunday, 12 June 2011

When a little fear sneaks in...

Sometimes a little fear can sneak in and cause havoc in the body as well as the heart. The part of our body which feels the fear, or becomes ill because of the fear, gives us the clue. Legs. Eyes. Feet.
Louise Hay has a lot to say about this.

So, my legs are aching for help.

Is there any connection between my pain and Reuben's? Is all this research for the screenplay bringing something ancient and ancestral to the surface?

I just read inspirational Michaela's new blog post, her details are below.

It is true to say we can heal anything, but we can't always cure everything. This is the theme of my screenplay. Creativity Heals. Will Reuben heal before he dies of a heart attack ?

'There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.

There is a sorrow beyond all grief
which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space,
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss
out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry
deeper than sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole
while learning to sing.'

Rashani, 13th century Sufi mystic
Sufi poem thanks to Madge Brays's website :

Sunday, 5 June 2011


A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?
Khalil Gibran


The following photos are for all my far away readers in now so many countries. Each day it seems a new reader opens the door to my stories and paintings and it thrills my heart to share with you like this. So for the new reader today in Saudi Arabia, the seven readers in the Ukraine, plus all the readers in the US, Iran, India
Israel, and so many other countries, not forgetting Frances in Bonnie Scotland, thank you all for sharing this adventure of blogging with me.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Lao Tzu

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be”

Lao Tzu

These photos of the marble caves at Rio Tranquillo in Patagonia were taken during my second journey there to find a story to make into a film. Having found my characters and my 'settings' in Chile, I'm now writing the screenplay, which is what this blog is mostly about, at the moment.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Painting feelings

I've just discovered how to post more than one image at time! Slow leaner . So here are three of my paintings which fit in some strange way with the theme and the feelings ( which I have today) of the screenplay I'm writing.
Today is a very down day. I'm feeling lost. The high of finding Reuben's motive has plummeted.

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond love. The dark will be your womb tonight. The night will give you a horizon further than you can see. You must learn one thing. The world was meant to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

David Whyte