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Jumble sales, writing inspiration and Almodovar

October 28, 2007
Yesterday was my writer’s group meeting and it turned into a jumble sale.

We all cleaned out our wardrobes and brought in the clothes that we didn’t wear anymore. Each piece was a gold coin donation towards our Christmas party. We raised over $50 and the remaining clothes went to charity.

We still managed a writing exercise. Using a couple of funeral notices for inspiration, we each wrote a dialogue between the two women at any point in their lives (or afterlives). It was fun and as usual my cynicism shone through. Here’s my piece:
‘Thank God, that’s over!’ said Dottie.

‘What do you mean, dear? I’m rather sad to leave my grandkids behind.’ Alice replied as she admired the wildflowers perched on Dottie’s coffin.

’70 years!’ she said. ‘Can you believe it? 70 years? Washing John’s socks and underwear, running about after him, making sure tea was on the table. When they said till death do you part, I never imagined it would be that long.’

‘Look at him – he looks lost. What’s he going to do without you, Dottie?’

‘Wash his own socks for a start.’ Dottie grumbled, thinking of all the years she’d spent in the laundry.

‘You got a lovely turn-up. Wonder how many will turn up to my funeral this afternoon?’

‘I’m sure there’ll be a crowd, Alice. You can’t hang around this earth for 92 years and not gather a few friends.’

‘They might just come to make sure I’m dead. Work out how much money I’ve left them.’ Alice laughed. ‘They’ll be disappointed when they discover there’s not much but some old furniture and some photo albums. Geez, I had a good time after Gerald passed on. He has such a tight reign on the purse strings. It was nice to think about myself for change.’

The two women bow their heads respectfully as they walk past the coffin.

‘Bit weird being at the funeral.’

‘You don’t say!’

‘Who’s the handsome young man with the long blonde hair?’ Alice nudges Dottie. ‘Is that one of your grandkids?’

‘No, never seen him before in my life. But he is nice looking.’ Dottie beamed. ‘That’ll keep them talking about me.’

Some of our newer members commented on how much the older members can write in a ten minute exercise. But it’s all practice. It’s years of being able to slip in and out of that creative momentum at will, and it is due to writing almost every day.
After the meeting, I went to the supermarket and was surprised when I rounded a corner to see Lisa, another member who hadn’t made it to the meeting, holding out a DVD for me: Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I love this movie. It’s so funny, and has a very young and spunky Antonio Banderas. I haven’t seen it for years but I’m looking forward to watching it again. Thanks Lisa!

I watched Volver a few weeks ago, and was pleased to see that Almodovar had returned to comedy. His dramas were just a bit too serious for me. I like his dark humour and silliness!

It also got me thinking. I don’t watch a lot of foreign movies anymore. Not sure why. Maybe because I live in conservative regional Australia and we’re just not exposed to them. But I have world movies on pay TV but that’s no excuse. Maybe I’ve just frustrated with the quality of sub-titles. Maybe I just want to keep reading and movie watching as two distinct activities. Years ago, when I lived in Annandale, I used to spend Sunday afternoons at the double feature at the Stanmore Cinema. 2 movies for $6. You couldn’t beat it. There would be a lot of foreign doubles. And they were great! Maybe I should surf over to World Movies more often.

4 days to the start of Nanowrimo….
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