A door opened in a narrow room in my head, a room in shadows, thick with heat and the smell of unwashed clothes. Footsteps, and a fleshy hand pulled back a makeshift curtain, hard white sunshine leaking through the threadbare cloth tacked over the cracked glass. Cracked and peeling walls, twist of seat-stained sheets, and on the windowsill, furred with dust, a dead black butterfly.
And night followed day, and morning followed night and in the week when I already had a list too long of things to do I found myself with another thing to do now, to do fast, to catch and pin and hold because waiting would mean butterflies becoming shadows and shadows becoming air and nothing there to say any more.
Perhaps there was nothing anyway. It's a species of madness, after all; it's there, and then the fit has passed. Substitute for the migraine, as sudden and disturbing but more at the end of it than a fading bouquet of random sensory phenomena. No, instead I get a storm of butterflies, spinning in the through-draft, little fluttering night-monsters spattered across the corridoor, menacing the guests and wrapping their threads around each other until they were little lascivious bundles of ink and cardboard.
For a day, and then a bundle of photographs and a bag full of butterflies.
I should have brought forward the clip-board and used it to visually illustrate my points about the essential nature of noir. I should have pre-selected the books and marked them with quotes for my plot-stages. I should have included an earlier confrontation and slightly restructured to allow for the successive repetitive nature of noir storytelling (humour here). I should have put the beer glasses along the far end of the table. I should have done short work on characterisation/team/introductions with each group as I handed over the props to check balance of artists + writers + be sure everyone knew each other. I should have had *all* the guns in my pockets, it's funnier that way. I should have had brushes and ink available for quick black filling. I should have had three tables ready for the three groups to move to. I should have a had a quick way of fixing the plot elements available. I should have had some polythene, so everyone would feel more relaxed about the poster-paint blood. I should have got the teams to make up a cast + credits list at the end. I should have kept the pace a bit tighter, and spent less time in the bar. I should have got everyone back together at the end to look clearly at what was good about all three pieces; as it was, quite a few people fetched up feeling they didn't contribute/they weren't as good as the other team/bleh bleh bleh to which one can only say fools! You were all brilliant.
On the whole, it's pretty much purely down to this billiance that we fetched up with three slices of premium, quality noir, choked with corpses, golf, trenchcoats, shadows + darkness (a true tribute to their imagination given the insensitively sunny day), and of course, guns, guns, guns. Didn't we love the guns? Oh dear. Humanity is doomed. Also, a surprising number of animals for a genre not noted for its fluffy tendencies. Rats, lizards, ducks, wolves, kittens. There would have been horses, too, but they're too hard to draw, apparently. Even from a distance. In the mist. With their legs behind rocks. Oh god ... the kitten ... being crushed by a rock bigger than it was ...
Damn, but they were good ...
[Better add this one to memories so I can check back on it for the next workshop]