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Ramsey Road Music Festival & the "bad bear"

811677-965974-thumbnail.jpgThis summer wasn't all about staring at the River.  Anthony was invited to play at an outdoor party in a field, and we walked up to spend the day there.  We walked home before dark, so we could avoid the poison ivy on the tracks. This turned out to be a good thing. The people who stayed were awakened the next morning by a bear who had to be chased away by a pregnant woman with a frying pan yelling: "bad bear, bad bear!"

It's Raining But It's Still Heaven

886692-790304-thumbnail.jpgIt rained a lot in the Gatineau this summer.  More than I can ever remember.  The streams that feed the River during the spring run-off are in spate again.  In mid July.  The old steam train was washed away for a few days.  But then the sky would clear, and I'd walk down to the path to the dock, look down river, and it was still paradise.

There Was A Bear

Gatineau, Quebec
There was a bear in the garden.  A few days ago.  And a beaver, the size of a small labrador dog, swimming past as I went swimming.  And a mother duck with ducklings who came and sat on the dock.  Tonight as I walked towards the house there were fireflies, floating across all the long grasses. How can anyone write a script surrounded by this?!


Ritual Boasting vs I Put Me Down You Pull Me Up?

Male/Female communication differences.  I read a lot about them.  I write a lot about them.  I train a lot of people about them.  A lot of money has been made by a lot of people on this very topic.  Mars and Venus, Deborah Tannen (she's the biz by the way and I'd just like to say that if you're really interested in this stuff, go straight to her books.  You'll find them on my "great books" page).  Male/Female Communication.  Lovely. And I'm well up on it, right?  I surf those communication waters without ever coming off my board, right?

Well, not so fast compadres!  This morning I had the classic male/female communication clash happen inside my own head.  

The communication differences are essentially about ritual, not about fact-talk.  Men and women by-and-large have different rituals, dating back to childhood, where they learned to interact differently.  Little boys competed with each other, and that made them feel connected.  Little girls connected and that's how they competed.  No right or wrong, just different, and so the sexes end up with different rituals.  Men do ritual boasting and ritual fighting to protect their place and to feel connected to other men.  Women do ritual complimenting and a mutually agreed version of what I call: "I put me down you pull me up".  For example:

Sheila: "Lovely, dress (report/job/house/husband) Mary"

Mary: "What this old thing?  You're the one with the nice dress (report/job/house/husband) - and a matching handbag too, I see!"

Sheila: "Do they match?  I just grabbed it (the chapter/computer/him) on the way out of the house.  I'm not such a good forward planner as you are."

You get the idea.  Women just aren't that comfortable with the thought that the world might think that they might think that they are blowing their own trumpet.  Little girls punish other little girls for it, and let me tell you, in the hell that is the school yard, you learn fast.  It isn't that women think that they aren't good at what they do, or that they lack confidence, or that they wouldn't be offended if someone belittled their accomplishments, it's just that the woman herself isn't supposed to point those accomplishments out.  It isn't done.  We do it for other women, and they do it for us.

But surely if you teach this stuff you're beyond being influenced by it, right?  WRONG.  Look 3 blogg entries down.  What do I do?  To try to entertain you and win your web-based affection?  Uh huh.  "My BBC script commission - who me?  Oooo I feel all doubtful.....Oooo maybe I'll hide under this hors d'oeuvre rather than put pen to paper."  Did I really feel incompetant?  Heck no.  I worked hard for that commission, and I know I'm a quick and clever writer.  Was I going to say so publicly?  Not on your Nelly!  THEN I found out this morning that my agent had directed the BBC contracts people to my website so that they might have a better understanding of my experience as they determine my fee. Immediately the old communication bind kicks in: will they be charmed by my womanly ritual of putting myself down so they can pull me back up, or will they not realise that I am a perfectly competant and experienced writter and OH HORROR OF HORRORS take me at my word?  That's got to be the worst. It transcends even the great sex divide.  Writers everywhere exclaim as one:  "But don't you realise its was all for... (insert at will) effect/character/to-make-you-laugh/the-annoyance-of-mother/the rent?????! "


Calling all Irish with Opinions, and Opinions About Ireland

I'm trying out a new idea.  Terra Nova Production's first show, a comedy about everything you every wanted to know about Irish Culture (we're still working on the title), is now on the blogosphere.

Cheerful Irish Landscape
The idea is that all the ideas and discussion about the script are available for people to comment on, argue about etc WHILE we're writing the script not after.  If you want to see something make it onto the table for consideration in the script development process, this is where you post it up.

The address is:

Why not go have a look? 

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