The Profit

It is disconcerting the way screenplay writing seems to need to banish all other forms into limbo. I push everything back, both mentally and physically, file the files, shelve the books, clear virtual and actual desktop, leaving a blank anonymous space in which to entertain the dream ... and there it floats, not so far away that I cannot touch it, cannot reach in and change this for that, move such to here and the other to there, cancel a character, rename another, give the lines one speaks to someone else - but it feels like working at a remove, like operating one of those remote arms used to manipulate dangerous substances from behind a screen made of some impermeable prophylactic that prevents actual engagement, actual contamination, with the real. Maybe it is because a script is never more than a plan, a possibility, a map of a place that doesn't exist and may never do so. It is profoundly alienating, especially since I cannot see what else needs doing to this particular plan, but don't feel the unmistakeable sense of completion that would allow me to decide it is finished. So here I sit, like a monad on the wide bare plains of Forever and Not Yet, or, more exactly, like one of de Chirico's ghostly mannequins, frozen before a schema s/he may be the author of but is no less, and consequently, also blindly in thrall to. While someone out of the picture looms their shadow across the boards, promising - or threatening - what?

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