Tender

Tender

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dear Ksenia Solo (an open letter)

Ms. Ksenia Solo
c/o The Internet
World Wide Web

Dear Ksenia Solo

I just binge-gorged Lost Girl’s first three seasons, the whole time thinking, this actor might actually be able to carry Mouse.

I’ve been writing Timeless my whole life. I started capturing the story as a novel maybe six years ago, when my son was two and my daughter almost one. If you can imagine. Actually, no one can imagine until they are living it.

While I struggled between my anticipated identity as fast-tracking career mom and the real-life reality of how priorities shift; while I changed jobs, careers and sectors in search of an ever-elusive sense of purpose; while I learned about how the world actually works and got mad; while I gave myself permission to reclaim my agency; throughout, I wrote Timeless. While I learned how badly I’d fooled myself, made friends with my body, faced what lurks inside me, recognized my essence with joy, I wrote Timeless. Of course, Timeless is about none of that. Timeless is about rock and roll.

I wrote Timeless out loud, here. I learned to build a website and put up my writing as I wrote each scene. I cultivated a following of social media readers who commented on my raw words. The interactions began shaping the characters, plot and themes, revealing aspects that I had never understood until I saw through a reader’s eyes. I learned and I wrote, when I could. It’s hard to build momentum that way, but forward is forward as my grandma would say. The years passed.

I finished 2/3 of Timeless, and then, the story closed to me. The characters turned their backs and wouldn’t talk to me. The plot hid around bends. I felt abandoned, rejected by my own story, the world I’d created. I read the story over and over, waiting for something to open, a whisper to tag onto. And then I realized that Timeless wants to be seen. I started over. With no idea how to write a screenplay, I gamely began translating the story to a script with notes, a starting place for people who know the technical ways forward – a community project waiting to happen.

From first-person narrative to script – wow! Suddenly, Mouse became herself. She spoke her thoughts more because she had to, and it changed everything. It gave her the practice she needed to have the strength for her climactic argument with Trix about power and love. It let her ask the questions she needed to, for other characters to reveal themselves. It made her more solid than her first person narrative had managed. It let her become, out loud.

I’d like to say I’m finished, but I think I have at least 300 hours of writing left. I do have a good idea what’s going to happen when I write the next scenes, and I know how it’s all going to end (and I will tell you if you ask). I smile when I write, and I smile when I think about writing. I smile when I think about you, playing Mouse.

So I wrote you this long and heartfelt letter. Can I tell you my secret imagining now?

I imagine a community of people producing Timeless as a series of webisodes, over a period of years, as part of a larger ecosystem – graphic novels, audio scenes, spin-off story-lines by other people, music videos, maybe a clothing line, dance choreography, stage design, art. I imagine a niche of people who totally get Timeless the World, and relate to the characters in a way that inspires them to create. A girl can dream, even in her forties.

I don’t have any money and I have no experience with production. That won’t stop me, though it does keep me very slow. Excruciatingly slow. A turtle will drag itself toward the sea until its last breath. I can be at least as noble to my vision as that wise creature.

In any case, letters should conclude with a specific call to action, because by now you’ve learned all you need to decide if you’re interested in knowing more. As Trix tells Mouse, there's pride in the asking, even if you don't get what you want. And so,

Ksenia Solo, will you read the current draft of Timeless as though you were considering playing Mouse? 

Notice, I’m not asking you to actually consider playing her, but to suspend your disbelief and read as though you were considering taking her on. Take as long as you need, even if it’s years. I’ve learned that Timeless is a life-time project for me.

Letters should never exceed one page and this one does. I seem to break every rule, but that's okay with me. Thanks for reading. Let me know if I should send Timeless to you in pdf. Below, I’ve provided the “back cover” synopsis, since I realize I haven’t given you anything but my own backstory.

Thank you for sharing your talent in the world.
Best wishes,
Cheryl


TIMELESS: 300 WORD SYNOPSIS

A week before her 25th birthday, guitarist Christine runs away to the big city with new-love Chris, leaving behind her small-town existence and long-time boyfriend in search of big dreams and a new life.

Christine soon encounters Trix, the intense, charismatic lead singer and proprietor at Timeless, a converted theatre where society’s outcasts join forces around shared ideals and a dream. Trix beckons Christine toward a whirlwind of music and mystery.

Intrigued and attracted, Christine finds herself drawn into the world of Timeless. Trix holds strict court with the homeless youth who find shelter and purpose in her space, imposing a set of principles she believes will change the world. Together, they are building a digital, social and musical Movement meant to rock the city this Friday night. But who’s paying? And what “means” are really justifying whose ends? Christine begins to suspect there’s something big at stake.

Timeless explores the deepest paradoxes we face as our social worlds close in and inequality raises the stakes for everyone. Christine provides a middle point - not old, not young, not rich, not poor, both educated and street-aware, both straight and gay; at the same time, Christine becomes a hub where worlds intersect. Using the bus system and any ride she can score, Christine navigates social norms of glitz-rich society, street-involved youth, musicians, academics, working stiffs and corporate elites, all while outrunning her past, wrestling her present and trying to believe in a future.

Now that nothing makes sense, how will teflon Christine choose between a life she’s supposed to want and one she can’t even imagine? Pushed and pulled between power and love, bravery and shame, trust and fear, ambiguity and decision, Christine discovers what it means to live out loud, and how to be Her Own Girl after all.

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