Opening scene from “Baller”

Opening scene from screenplay, Baller:

The land is empty and vast. The road continues up into the mountains, winding past small towns and lakes, the distant colors and light entrancing and forbidding. Crown8BAZ drives the van. EMILY is in the passenger seat. MAX is still asleep, curled up, with DAVIS beside him, the comforter balled up around his head, and POPO, the cat, on top of that, staring out the window. BLAIR sits at the end of the bed, his feet propped across the can on a pile of bags and gear; he is reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. The music of The Grateful Dead’s Wharf Rat plays on the stereo.

MAX (Moaning): Turn the music down, man.

EMILY turns the music down halfway.

MAX: No more Dead!

EMILY lowers the volume further. POPO can now be heard moaning over the sounds of the music and the road.

MAX: The cat too, man.

BLAIR (Reciting from The Power of Myth): The adventure is its own reward – but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond our control. We are beyond protection in a field of higher powers than we know.Crown15EMILY: Who is that? Nietzsche?

BLAIR (Ignoring her, continuing to recite): If we have been impudent and altogether ineligible for the role into which we have cast ourselves, it is going to be a demon marriage and a real mess.

EMILY: I like that. Demon marriage.

BLAIR: Joseph Campbell is a genius.

Both MAX and POPO moan, almost as if in agreement, and the van rattles on into the hinterland of British Columbia.

Writing in Adrasan, Turkey

We have arrived in Adrasan, Turkey. 20140706_104424It is a place of slow-moving rivers, cicadas and ducks everywhere, in short Nirvana. 20140705_220949I have a perfect view of the idyll from our little balcony. 20140706_104415There could be no better time to finish the first draft of Baller, my script chronicling tree-planters finding their way in the northern wilds of British Columbia.

Not Sleeping in Side

Side, Turkey is hot at this time of year, 104 in the day, down to the low 90’s by midnight. 20140705_085713That’s how our problem starts.

Our ’boutique hotel’ charges 5 euros extra for air conditioning; on principle, we don’t pay. 20140705_072809A cold shower followed by a good read, and we are almost asleep, in spite of the toilet running on and on and the Germans chattering outside our window about their World Cup win. FBL-WC-2014-MATCH58-FRA-GERI flush the toilet to get it to stop, which doesn’t work, and then just close the bathroom door. 20140705_072629I dream that I am by a dirty old river.

And then the music starts – pumping, endlessly repetitive – from a row of nearby clubs. side discoBut we can’t close the windows – it’s just too hot and must listen to the bass go on and on. By the time we finally get used to the pounding drops, the call for prayer comes from the mosque. Side-turkeyThe club music continues on after that, the same, until finally it is no longer.

It is late now – early in the morning – and the birds are suddenly awake, the worst the pigeons whose call sounds like an annoying person who keeps saying the same thing again and again. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI dream about my brother doing that.

And then the cats are moaning and yowling. 20140629_143942And it is light, the sun directly back in our room. 20140705_072720Today, we will start early.

Jose Saramago Updates “Cain”

Cain and Abel were, according to the Old Testament, two sons of Adam and Eve.
20140627_134848Cain is described as a crop farmer and his younger brother, Abel, as a shepherd. Cain was the first human born and Abel was the first human to die. 20140627_134224Cain committed the first murder by killing his brother. Interpretations of Genesis have typically assumed that the motives were jealousy and anger. 20140627_142100Jose Saramago offers a different story in his final work, Cain, stating that Cain killed Abel because he couldn’t kill God. 20140629_143653Saramago’s Cain states: Our god, the creator of heaven and earth, is completely mad.

20140629_144612

Only a madman unaware of what he is doing would admit to being directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and then behave as if nothing has happened, unless of course it’s not a case of real, authentic madness, but evil pure and simple.20140629_170419

(Photos: Istanbul, a 2600-year-old city of 14 million people and many old things.)