The best book-to-movie adaptations are those which capture the essence of the original work but don’t attempt to repeat it. They translate and, if possible, enhance the original.
Stephen King is said to have hated Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. Kubrick said that when he first read the book, he saw how to make it work as a movie, and in his screenplay, he made significant changes, adding some things, cutting others. The book is great, the movie is great but they’re different.
There’s an entire set of ad-words that all swim in the sea of change. Adhere—to stick to. Not really changing, just tacking yourself to another object or idea. There’s a lack of elegance in adhering. The word adjusting contains its own reluctance. Just a bit of change. I’ll only change this much. It’s a small shift.
But, adapting is about fitting something into, like water being poured into a glass, it takes the shape of the glass.
For many people, we discover our creativity by adapting to either difficult circumstances or to a way of life that didn’t suit us or into which we didn’t fit. Like weeds coming up through the concrete, coming up in isolation, becoming strong, or strong enough, to thrive in an unlikely setting.
It’s almost as if I believe that well-adjusted people can’t be artists—which I don’t believe. Not at this moment, at least. Ask me in an hour and I might. When I believe it one way, I can see how the other way is the better way to believe, and vice versa. When I was a kid, I used to love the see-saw. When the see-saw was well balanced, it was magical. The up and down, the exchange of weight. But if little Johnny on the opposite end decided to jump off, you’d be slammed down into the ground, your butt smashed, falling off the side into the dirt. See-saws were dangerous, too. Probably why you don’t find them much in public parks anymore. Cause for lawsuits.
I’ve been an amateur gardener for much of my life. My mom’s a great gardener, as was her mother. Mom grows the most beautiful roses in the brutal heat of the Mojave desert. At the last apartment where I lived in Silverlake, before moving to New York, I had a patio in front of my door and I created a container garden and planted seeds an flower in the beds. In the time I lived there, the place bloomed and flourished.
The first spring we lived here, in early May, as soon as it got warm, I made a container garden out front. I gathered clay pots and tubs made of tin and I planted them with lobelia and pansies, portulaca and daisies. I had a string of bells I hung an a few pieces of pottery, some shells. Really cute. I took lots of pictures in anticipation of beautiful before and after shots.
I’ve never lived in a forest before. I’m from the desert. I’m used to sunshine, lots of it. By the end of May the trees started to get full. My little garden was still holding on. By the end of June, when the forest begins to find lushness, the pansies died, the daises began to wilt. July marked the beginning of the end and by August I had removed all of the containers.
Shade. It never occurred to me—but for most of the day during summer, the front of the cottage is in the shade.
Since March 12th, when we started these daily shows they’ve given me a place to put my focus—they also allow me to gauge the changes we’ve been through since this whole thing started. After two months of this, it’s not the sudden, shocking, oh my god, what am I going to do? Now it’s, oh my god, what am I going to do? Adhere, adjust or adapt.
We are all being adapted, from page to screen. Details will change, Whole chapters will be cut. A story that was set in the city, might change to the country. People will come and go. In old soap operas, when a beloved character was re-cast, just as they made their first entrance a voice over would announce, “The role of so and so will now be played by…” and they’d name the new actor.
No! Cry out from your sofa. What happened?! Bring back what’s her name, I liked the way it was before.
If you’re going to continue to watch the show, you’re going to have to get used to this new performer. Or, I don’t know, change the channel, or turn off the TV altogether. Go outside, I was going to say plant a garden. But that sounds sappy.
What I would really counsel you to do, before anything else, is watch the sun, know what kind of light you’re dealing with, wait for the trees to come in. Then grow something you’ve never grown before.