Sunday, February 9, 2014

Movies Inspire "Notes from Nadir" + Hollywood Excerpt

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2014

Watching The Shining, I thought that Jack Nicholson was sexy—well, before the character of Jack Torrance went haywire—but there's a scene in that movie that I can identify with strongly. I even made sure my Mom saw this part, and said that whenever I was in my room working on my computer that's what I was doing – working. She was offended because the character was a man who cursed and she always thought that Jack was so dirty that "He could stand underneath a shower for two weeks and he still wouldn't be clean."

Magnolia, which stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a compassionate nurse to Jason Robards in this 1999 film, is a complex story featuring a large cast of characters. Most of the action occurs along Magnolia Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. The theme can be summed up in this quote: "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." Seeing Magnolia many times, including a viewing at a Burbank movie theatre about a block from Magnolia Boulevard, it helped inspire me to write Notes from Nadir.

Here's a brief excerpt from the Los Angeles part of the book where the main character is looking for a place to live, opting for a room-share situation.

Another craigslist prospect I'd written down the night before only had a phone number and minimal description. The 464 prefix indicated it was in eastern Hollywood. Two rings later and an accented man's voice announced, "This is Hans."
He had a very circular way of talking. The conversation stopped and started and almost ended only to be picked up again. I learn he was from Austria and was wheelchair bound and on pain medication. The asking price of $575 was flexible; the hint of me providing cleaning and cooking duties might also come into play. Then $30 for DWP was needed every month. Hans had physical therapy to attend that afternoon and he wanted to get the place cleaned up so it could be shown. Then he remembered that it was Friday and there was no therapy but a meeting with a producer as he "wants very much to be in the film industry." When he learned I was a writer he wondered if I had some story ideas to pitch. The old Hollywood lure. Admittedly, I'd fallen for it in the past but had no time for such nonsense with less than a week to find a new address. Auf wiedersehen.

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