She had never seen a sky so blue.
Well, aqua really. like in those old national geographic magazines in the nuns’ library where the african savages bathed in the unmolested island lagoon.
When I sat down to write that life-changing morning, those were the first two sentences that came spilling out.
“She” was my grandmother – or better said, the character born from her. And Ms. Lady’s name? I didn’t know. The only thing I did know was that I had cut into a program already in progress. And “She” was being released from prison.
What prison and where? Again, I didn’t know. But I swear I saw the scene – and that’s exactly how it played out in my head – as plain a day.
What followed next was a terse conversation between “She” and a seedy looking white prison guard, who was escorting her out. and “She,” having only spit out three aggravated words to the man, seemed all too familiar with him and pissed off about it.
Done talking, “She” started walking down a dirt road — in the wrong direction.
The scene – powerful – was confusing.
- Who was “She?”
- What was her name?
- And why did the story want to begin with “She” being released from prison?
A frustrated screenwriter, I shouldn’t have been thrown by this.
Some of the greatest films – Saving Private Ryan, Reservoir Dogs, Memento, Life and Citizen Kane, just to name a few – have begun mid-stream, instantly making the audience curious and hungry to find out what has happened before.
Intrigued and rehearsing my excuse for being late to work, I closed my laptop and jetted out my studio apartment door with my nose wide open.
I was sprung and my thoughts absolutely haunted with my favorite question…Why?
From that moment on, I made it my business to construct the answer.