Find Your Muse

In 2009 I was going through a transition. My first marriage had ended and I had moved back across the country from Los Angeles, but writing is my passion, so I kept clacking out whatever suited my fancy: novels, screenplays, fic, anything that kept me creative. It was my therapy and the only way I could see my way through such a daunting life change. During that time, I wrote a screenplay for a short film titled La Fée Vert which evoked the folklore centered around the centuries old liquor that is absinthe and the myth of the green fairy who lived in the absinthe. She was the muse of many a great artist or author such as Vincent Van Gough, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe. Drink at your own peril, the legends claimed, for the muse could drive you mad, and for the better part of the last century, absinthe was declared illegal in many places. In 2007, however, it became legal in the U.S. again, the rumors of its maddening properties greatly diminished after much scientific study.

John Wells as Darien

I had a scenario in mind for my story: What if there was that one very special, mystic bottle out there? The one that started all of the hype. The one around which the myth was more reality. The script, both psychological and/or paranormal horror depending on individual interpretation, follows Darien Bishop, a grieving artist who has lost the love of his life and will do anything to have her back. It garnered some interest from a few film maker friends, but rather than make a move yet, I shelved it. In the time after that, so much changed. I settled into a day job managing an antique mall, met the real love of my life, engaged in medieval reenactment, and also collaborated on another screenplay as I attempted to maintain some connections with friends and colleagues back in L.A..

It wouldn’t be until late 2015 that I pulled La Fée Vert back out again. That year I learned to dialyze my mother at home, starting out at six days a week, up to four hours a session, in addition to my day job. That meant at least five days of up to twelve hours of work and dialyzing time, and very little time to be creative. It put a strain on everything. That year being a long one full of new trials and learning experiences, I was in dire need of doing something especially creative so I tapped the green fairy again (i.e. dusted off my script) and approached one of the previously interested parties, my friend Troy H. King, an extremely talented guerrilla film maker from La Grange, Kentucky, who is very passionate about what he does and about film. I also had a notion that I would like to also turn the script into a short story, a complimentary piece that could fill in some of the gaps that a screen performance wouldn’t have the time to fill in.

Troy responded positively and we discussed recruiting Louisville actor John Wells, whom Troy had worked with before. Some time passed, and during a discussion with John on Facebook, I enquired if Troy had ever spoken to him. Troy had, but John had yet to see the script, so I sent it to him, and to my surprise, within the same week, John told me that he’d spoken to Troy and they were making the film. In the following weeks, we had three-way discussions on Messenger. There were some changes Troy wished to make to freshen up the original script that I was resistant to, but in the end, I embraced them and also worked them into the prose version. Likewise, when I told him of some of the changes I had to make to the prose in order for it to mesh better with the film, he chose some of them to go into the film. John, too, embraced some of these ideas as he made the character of Darien Bishop his own. It was a true and beautiful collaborative process, an evolution of words and images enriching the entire project. As such, I decided it was only right that Troy should also have a credit on the prose version since some of his ideas shifted me out of my comfort zone and got me to expand Darien’s world and experience even further.

Both the film and short story were retitled Viridescent (def. to become green). More talented Louisville names filled out the cast and crew, including pro-wrestler turned actor Al Snow, the beautiful and talented Sebrina Scott as Darien’s muse, and David Thurmond, who brought his own fantastic approach to the character of our absinthe-dealing Arneaux – a “small but pivotal role” as he likes to call it. With a little schedule shifting, I had the privilege of visiting the set for the second shoot and contributed art works for the set as well as designed the absinthe bottle. I was in my element and seeing through my own green colored glasses.

A year later, even more has changed. My mother is now on dialysis at the local clinic for three days a week rather than five to six at home under my care, and we both have more time to do the things we love. Last Saturday I had the pleasure of driving up to Louisville to attend the cast and crew premier party at Thoughtfly Films, where I got to see the final cut. It was glorious. Everyone of us involved in Viridescent is proud of this little passion project –  “Our baby,” as John says – and the entire experience has been nothing short of magical for all of its serendipitous moments, for how well cast and crew have gotten along, everyone so easily on the same page. For those reasons, in my mind, this story definitely has a life of its own and didn’t want to be told or made until precisely the right time, like a butterfly pupating.

And soon, we’ll show this lovely, terrifying, sweetheart to the world.

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