Back in the ‘80’s Jean M. Auel wrote The Clan of the Cave Bear, a fictional book about a clan of Neanderthals who raised an orphaned 5-year-old girl they found near death. The girl, Ayla, is one of “the others,” the Cro-Magnon people who gradually dominated the Neanderthals and eventually evolved into us. The 700 plus page book was a best seller and it was followed by even more sequels than Rocky. Each of them was just as long as the original, and I read and enjoyed all of them, even though it took me many years.
So, fearing that winter might force me inside for some months, and spying a nineteen CD set of unabridged recordings of The Clan of the Cave Bear at the library, I decided that this might be a good time to revisit the Earth’s Children series. I went from one CD to the next, still just as enthralled by the story as I was 30 years ago, and I quickly zipped through all 19 CD’s in just a few days. Now, I needed something else to keep me busy for the winter.
I rushed back to the library to see if they had The Valley of Horses, which was the next book in the series. Unfortunately, they didn’t, but they did have thousands of movies. Since I was also using the wintertime to work on polishing final drafts of my three screenplays, I decided to let the library become my film school.
Many of the movie DVD’s contained director’s cuts with commentaries about making the movie. If I particularly liked a certain movie, I could check out other movies by the same director, or from the same studio, or with the same actors who impressed me. I also checked out audio books by actors and directors. I listened to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future” by Michael J. Fox. He explained about how he, a high-school drop-out, had acquired the equivalent of a college education just by living life. I’ve acquired quite a film education over the past few months by watching more than 100 movies and listening to dozens of audio books, but the main thing I’ve learned is that an education is only intended to give you a foundation for the real work of living your life. So, using what I’ve learned, I finished the final draft of my screenplay, Miles to Go Before I Sleep.
Soon, Spring will be here, and I will crawl out of my man cave armed with more of the tools I need to improve my writing and further my education in Life 101. Some say that our opposable thumbs are what separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Now, I tend to agree with that, because our opposable thumbs gave us the ability to hold the writing instruments that allowed us to pass down our knowledge and stories and thus affect and enrich the lives of others. We began with prehistoric cave drawings and now have DVD’s and Internet streaming of information and stories. I’m glad I live in these modern times, and I’m grateful to all those who paved the way. The stories of our ancestors are now our stories, and many of them are now movies. Director Michael Chapman, screenwriter John Sayles, and actress Daryl Hannah did an outstanding job of bringing The Clan of the Cave Bear to the Silver Screen in 1986. Now, I look forward to the stories, which we will all enjoy in the future. I’m also hoping that some of those stories might be mine.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,