RELAX and LET IT HAPPEN (How a Novel Became a Movie)

As the blogger behind OWDRT, I’ve not posted a story about a remarkable older woman recently as I have been nursing a broken ankle. In the meantime I had the opportunity to do something remarkable, myself–namely attend a private showing of the movie, “Artists Die Best in Black,” based on a novel I wrote 20 years ago.¬†This is me in a wheelchair talking to the guests at the event. The film’s producer, Mark Headley, is standing beside me to answer questions about the production.

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After the Mississippi premier of the movie was postponed, four women friends decided it should be shown privately in Richmond–I think the forced recuperation of the broken ankle inspired them.. The producer agreed. And 100 guests celebrated the event with me in a wheelchair.

Watching my novel become a movie was easier than walking again!

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It was easier because it was fun, whereas getting back on my feet was serious business. Even the ups and downs of the actual filming on the Mississippi Gulf Coast were fun and they fit into an image of something I was able to let happen without being the one in charge. The fact that it took two decades was a very good thing, too, because it allowed me to let go of its importance to my ego or my identify.

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You can see that I was enjoying myself.

Guests even signed my cast. A friend brought a handful of colored pens.

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Several people who inspired characters in the novel were at the event, including folk artist, Everett Mayo, whose remarkable driftwood animals were featured in the movie where many of the scenes take place in an art gallery.

Here is Everett with one of his large pieces–an eagle.

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When I realized I was not going to be a world famous writer, my novel was optioned by Price Hall, an actor and aspiring film director who turned it into a screenplay. Two decades later, he presented it to a group of friendly souls in Biloxi, Mississippi , who didn’t know they wanted to invest in a film…until they did–and Price became the director.

Here we are,  flashing copies of the novel.

One man in particular–who had never put money into a movie in his life became the major investor.

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Two years ago it paid off with the filming on the Mississippi Gulf Coast of “Artists Die Best in Black” staring Malcolm McDowell, Hani Furstenberg and Luke Goss. I was there during the shooting and enjoying myself, much more relaxed than I would have been had the filming taken place when I was 20 years younger.

And that’s the point.

Because this took place when I was older (76 to be exact) and wasn’t trying to be famous, I could accept the joy of the event and the company of friends with an ease that comes with age.

It can happen to all of us as older women. Age gives us that great advantage. We shouldn’t expect things to happen immediately. The best events often require time to take shape. The experiences in our lives have to ripen, people have to come and go until the right ones appear. With age we can relax and stop seeking success with such intensity. We can have fun when things do, in fact, come together.

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May all your parties be joyful!