I'm not (yet, yet, yet) a member of WGA but I absolutely and totally support the Writers Strike--and everyone else should too-- even though when I called the WGA to ask some questions about the strike, the woman who answered the phone yelled at me to stop asking questions and read the rules. Still despite this clearly under-pressure woman who was obviously having a bad day, the WGA is a great organization and writers don't get the respect or the earning that they deserve. It's hard because right before the strike I had a few irons in the fire and I needed to immediately cool them until the strike is over.
Which means I am immersed in reading Truby story structure and thinking about my new novel and writing parts of it, which oh God, is the best kind of joy. For the first time, the ending of my latest novel came to me right after the first chapter. I had no idea how to get to it, and of course, it changed during the writing, but I wrote it in a fever and it changed the whole way I wrote the novel. This was so exciting that I forced--um, I mean, required--my UCLA students to show me their last chapters of their novel first (their whole novels or 7/8 had to be written to get into the class.) Some grumbling. Probably some people questioning my abilities. But then I got a lot of emails from people who also felt their novelistic world had opened up.
I'm a little unnerved because I can't think of a last chapter for this new novel or even a name for the novel. Traveling Angels, the name of the novel I just finished, came from this old story about two traveling angels, one of whom keeps saying, "Don't think you know the whole story, because you don't. Things are not what they seem." It also comes from Truby story structure where he talks about traveling angel stories--the stranger who comes into the midst and changes things in unexpected way, but is this stranger good or not? I was tempted to start a name Leavitt's novel contest, but I can't. It has to come from me, me, me. Sigh and alas.
I was going to post Halloween photos of us (Jeff was Allen Ginsberg wearing a Howl t-shirt, carrying ON THE ROAD, a black beret over his long curls and a fake mustache I inked on, Max was a Yankee fan, and I was a sock farm in a pink wig (I spent hours sewing on socks to my jeans and hoody.) But everytime I see myself in the pink wig, I have serious doubts about showing this face to the world again.
Tomorrow is the chocolate show in NYC! Speaking of which BLACK BOOK (chocolate plays an important part) is a fabulous video. Some inconsistencies and I wasn't wild about the framing device, but it's a movie that really explores the moral choices of its characters. The heroine is a Jewish woman during WWII who is in the resistence but falls in love with the leader of the SS--a man she is supposed to seduce to get his secrets and free a lot of people. He's not brutal--the film makes him very human, and everyone is really not whom you think they are.
See you later, alligators.