Monday, September 22, 2008

fathers


Ages ago, I went on a fab filmmakers lab organised by (the now liquidated) Moonstone. One of the tutors - the tiny Ms Joan Darling conducted a fascinating workshop on 'working with actors' - all about pushing emotional buttons. She started by telling us that when she was a young girl her father died and she felt pleased because when she went to school, she could now tell her friends she was a 'half-orphan'. I guffawed loudly only to see Ms Darling pointing a knotty finger at me. "You're laughing because this rings true for you too." Loss. Indeed when I was five years old my mother left my father in West Africa and we travelled all the way to Liverpool in a ship. I didn't see my father again for 20 years (and grew up thinking fathers were irrelevant or at least fairly disposable.)

Anyhow, as I mentioned once, a father or a father figure keeps returning as a key figure in my stories - often as an emotional conduit. I daresay there's a lot could be analysed from this. I've written about a four-times-married father trying to relate to his various offspring and about two girls who refuse to accept their mother's new boyfriend as a father figure. Then also a father who has to expiate his son's violent death and a blind father who shapes his son's vision.

The current script - dealing with a fight between two women - was the first where a father doesn’t really figure - or so I thought. But ahem - the re-write is forcing me to acknowledge (yet again) that a father is pivotal to playing off the conflict.

So what about you - is there someone or a character that keeps coming back in different forms? Or does your father figure in your writing?

30 comments:

Helen Smith said...

Interesting. I love the word expiate, by the way. I am always in my stories, like Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets, looming up in a variety of disguises. But that's pretty standard. I also once tried writing a revenge novel, incorporating various unsuitable boyfriends, but that didn't work out.

As to other characters and influences that insinuate themselves into my stories? I'll have a think. I know that I always have a strong female friendship, creating on the page the kind of friendship I'm always looking for in real life. Aww.

Far Away said...

Aww indeed. What a lovely long comment Helen..

Maybe this (your friendship thing) is why the nahual shows up on your palm.

I'm having a think now about how much I put myself into stories...

Jennifer said...

Helen, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I had to accept long ago that there's a distinct element of 'wish-fulfilment' in what I write. I know I'll never be the kind of writer who creates a world entirely different to the one that she lives in, but I think once you realise that, it just becomes another layer in the story you create

potdoll said...

i often write about teenagers and parents. someone once told me i was stuck at fifteen. since writing about teenage years i like to think i've got that out of my system and have moved on.

on another note, is there any chance you would put some of your artwork up for us to see? i'd love to have a look. are there any fatherly drawings?

potdoll said...

ps my grandma died when i was ten and i remember being pleased cos i wanted her push along plastic table to play waitresses with. never played with it once.

Helen Smith said...

Hello Jennifer, nice to meet you on FarAway's blog.

That's a tragic little story about your Grandmother, Pots.

Far Away, don't you put yourself in your stories? I can see my silly face gurning away just behind all my characters.

Ooh look at me responding to comments left for you on your blog. Time to get back to work.

Far Away said...

yes hello Jennifer! - good to meet you.

Pot I'm going to add an b/w photo to this post of an ancient piece of work 'The Hum of History (part 1)' I started a 12 part series and stopped after 3 (ha!). Now I'm carryng on ;) There's an embalmed ex-British Prime Minister in there being carted off.

And Helen - I don't tend to put myself in writing so much - maybe did in art though..

Jennifer said...

Thanks girls - Sorry, i realised after I posted that I should have said hello and admitted to lurking on all your blogs for a while now!

potdoll said...

Oooooh I love it! Ancestarilly echoey and quite familiar somehow!

Loving the boy looking up that girl's skirt! it's good to see that maggie's hair is stiff with laquer even when she's mummified.

is the hand coming back from the past?

Hello Jennifer! Will come over and check out your blog.

Far Away said...

OOoooh you do make me laugh Pot - you should be an art critic *guffaw*

I think the hand is attached to the 'wind of change' - that hairy thing blowing in..

that central figure is coming back but she's put on a few pounds..

potdoll said...

who's that, maggie or the angel with the cannibis dress?

potdoll said...

ps i'll ignore your comments about my intelligent elequant and well thought critique! :)

Far Away said...

the woman. That's not cannabis!! I was never a spliff head.
it's this leaf:
http://www.missouriplants.com/Whitealt/Hydrastis_leaf.jpg

Oh sorry Pot. Ahem - that was a wry, nuanced critique..

potdoll said...

giggle! I thought art was open to interpretation.

Far Away said...

true Pot
like with film - it's what the viewer sees that counts..

just had look at cannabis leaves and they're quite wiggly at the edges...

Andy Phillips said...

I tend to write about bad boys who turn good when pushed.


I loooove the blind father who shapes his son's vision.

Far Away said...

Ta Andy P!

Ah but do you put yourself in those stories...?




& Pot the grandma's trolley is very sad...

Andy Phillips said...

I maybe do a cameo as some angsty teacher or social-worker type.

Far Away said...

angsty andy hmmm

If I'm anywhere then it'll be a cameo nowadays...

Elinor said...

I relate to this post FA, my writing also has a lot of father figures, most of whom are rejected or even killed by the female protagonist which is probably me! My dad died when I was 11 (of a brain haemorrhage), he was 41. I used to panic when I got a headache. When I was 41, they stopped. Coincidence? I think not...

Writing is better than therapy. Less sobbing into kleenex for a start.

Great post.

Far Away said...

Ta El.

Sad story too.

martin said...

Mine always have unobtainable girls.

I once wrote a short story about people working 9 to 5 at The last battle ground between this world and the gates of hell.

It ended with the hero standing in a darkened underpass watching the love of his life walking out of this life for ever, and wishing he'd said something. Then getting eaten by a hell beast.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

Far Away said...

Indeed Martin
:)

Maybe your hero should be ruled by his head and not his heart...

Now romance, love, passion - there's a topic for a post - seeing as everyone seems ready to bare their soul lately....

Anonymous said...

"cash if you die, cash if you don't. The death of monetarism"

the subtitle of your picture, I think.
CAC '89

best wishes

potdoll said...

is this right?

Far Away said...

Crikey. I did use that line at sometime....

'Cash if you die/don't' was some insurance company's slogan, then.

I don't know if I used it in a catalogue anywhere. Plus I kept changing the titles.
Camden Arts Centre. Hmm. I'll look into this.

Anonymous said...

end of monetarism -
well predicted

Near by said...

I really don't know about that anon - someone pulled the plug and it wasn't me!
:)

come Christmas - like everyone else - I'm happy just to eat, drink and be merry and not have to worry about fictitious 'millions' plummeting in value..

Come over to my new blog: http://nearbyscriptwriter.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

It was I

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