June 10, 2012
I am far down the rabbit hole. The more I read The Queen of Spades the more in awe I am of this masterpiece. This is really a fucking fantastic story about gambling. I am so obsessed that I am growing my insanity beard. My girlfriend has started to randomly wink at me to creep me out.
For the past 4-5 days my mind has been fixated on figuring out what the hell Pushkin meant exactly (no easy feat, critics have endlessly debated this for over 100 years, lol). Why is that Queen at the end of the story such a horrifying reveal? What was his reasoning for the random time jumps? Is Hermann's fundamental nature changed at the end? Why is Chekalinksy perpetually smiling?! I started to make major changes to set up an adaptation, but then I realized--WTF am I doing? Who am I to try to adapt one of the greatest Russian authors without having a complete understanding of every single detail of the story? So I went to Dramatica, and my writing group, and we started discussing the story, which led to a lot of theorizing and supposition, which led to me rereading the Dramatica theory book, which led to a much, much greater understanding of what Pushkin was trying to say. A lot of that came from better understanding the nature of the character psychologies--they are all complex people who constantly work against your expectations. For instance Hermann is both logical and passionate, reserved and ambitious. The pull between his multiple motivations offers a ton of insight into human nature, and the nature of gamblers. Why do we exercise terrific bankroll management for 29 straight days, but then lose all our profit on the 30th day when we chase a fish to 5x stakes? This is the kind of problem Pushkin was looking at. The risks we take to satisfy our urges to control our own futures.
Anyway, this was a detour from my plan to plow through a first draft, but a worthwhile one. This week I'm going to set up those master documents with all my pre-writing, and then I'm going to revisit my adaptation ideas and see if I can't figure out an even better way of updating this story for 2012. I may not complete a first draft before I leave for Vegas, but I am feeling jazzed up. I am learning tons, and this whole endeavor is going to drastically improve my storytelling and screenwriting. BOOYAH