Spent the last five days sequestered in the Oysterville cottage of a dear and generous friend who fended off the world while I completed a polish of The Warmest Season screenplay. I can feel this story. I can see it perfectly. Sometimes I think it should be a picture book for grownups.
The island location that seemed so right has gone wrong. Alas, the good folks of the Anderson Island Historical Society have decided that it’s bad timing for us to use the Johnson’s Farm for filming Islanders (aka Alternate Endings) this summer. So it goes with production: one day your ducks are in a row, the next they are paddling off in different directions.
So late in the game, we have decided to postpone production. We are pushing ahead with planning – script development, budgeting, casting, and looking for a new location – while also taking this opportunity to put more energy into Sophisticated and The Warmest Season.
I was discouraged for two grey days, but then rallied. Much thanks to Marilyn for her patience and support during the lag time between half empty and half full. Check out the newly updated look books for Sophisticated and The Warmest Season (password “Agnes”).
Islanders is a feature film scheduled for production late summer of 2015. Written and directed by Anne de Marcken, it is her first feature-length project since the award-winning and groundbreaking Group came out in 2002. She is again teaming up with Marilyn Freeman to tell the story, and their production company Wovie, Inc. will produce.
Islanders is about two women – one old, one young – and the way life can begin and end when you least expect it. The movie is a happy accident. Having secured the perfect location for a different project that is still in development (keep an eye out for The Warmest Season in 2016-17), de Marcken decided to push ahead and take advantage of the opportunity by writing another script that could be developed quickly.
It is all part of her determination to make movies that are by and about women. After an extended hiatus during which she focused on her own writing and also taught writing and media at The Evergreen State College, de Marcken looked up and was shocked to discover that little has changed for women in film. They are still under-represented and still narrowly portrayed, they are still underpaid, and they are still more often found behind desks than cameras…on the telephone instead of on set. She doesn’t think she can change the world, but de Marcken does believe that as a woman filmmaker, it is in her power to make a difference by simply doing what she does with full commitment; women directors are so uncommon that even one more in the field shifts the balance.
BRIGHT LIGHTS, LI’L TOWN from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
Tradition is an effort. It crowds the schedule. It feels like “thou shalt.” You consider being sick. You worry about what to wear. You get angry at the people who are putting you in this position. And you do it anyway. You grumble the whole way there. You have at least one fight with your person.
Then it begins. And it carries you along. And you carry it along. Tradition. You somehow both ride on its shoulders and carry it on yours at the same time.
RUNNING OUT OF SUMMER from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
I regret saying I would teach in the fall. But maybe even if I hadn’t, I would still be feeling this urgency, this sense that I am at every moment letting something irreplaceable slip away with too little notice. This day is the only this day ever. I will never get this back. There will never be another. That is the feeling once the air changes, once the light changes, once it is sharp.
I talked on the telephone to Mum and she said she’d smelled fall in the air the morning before. I said it hadn’t happened yet here. And then the next day it did. Fall. Fall. It is the right word. There is flail or there is surrender, but there is only one way it will go. Fall.
GHOSTING from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
The sign of a good summer: I have lost track of how many times we’ve been sailing. Many hours stolen from the middle of work days. Many hours added to the ends of days that were already so full. Even one night sail.
Mostly the wind has been light, and I have let myself just enjoy this – begin to accept that for me sailing is not what it might be for others: not a test, not a proving. It is a quieting, a stilling, a settling-in and down. I sometimes find myself wanting to listen to something other than the world in and around the boat…to tune into the news on my NPR app. But I do not yield to this temptation. I stay there. Fully there. I wait and watch and listen.
I am always sad and happy to be back at the dock. I love the tending and trimming that goes with stowing June properly. The coiling, cleating and furling. I love the perfecting of care. I love the utility. I love the beauty of this boat. I love the work of her.
ICING THE CAKE from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
Almost a full year after starting, after months of waiting on the weather, the house is finally fully painted.
THE DOMESTIC REALM from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
I have nursed a secret desire to be a housewife – or, even better, a live-in housekeeper – for many years. It replaced my earlier fantasy of living in a convent (I imagined austere stone rooms and lots of time to read in enforced silence). I think it all comes from a longing for order and routine. And a desire to hold higher – and deeper – the very smallest acts of caring: sweeping, polishing, dusting, ironing. The care for inanimate things an extension of care for life itself. And an appreciation for the aesthetic experience of ordinary life. There are connections between care, beauty, and meaning.
The idea and the reality are not so far apart – at least in the doing: the making of the bed, the folding of the laundry, the cleaning of the grout – but the cumulative experience – at least the intermediate cumulative experience as opposed to the end-of-life retrospective – is very different. At the end of a week or a month or a season of domestic labor, I tend to feel diminished by the invisibility of maintenance. Dishes piled in the sink are noticeable. Dishes put away and always ready are taken for granted.
This leads to the grand, domestic gesture, which is antithetical to the basic idea of quotidian pleasure: the over-the-top birthday party, excessive holiday decorations, too many pillows…or too many stuffed bunnies.