Show # 46 - [livejournal.com profile] lillianleitzel - In Depth Continued

May. 18th, 2009 12:30 pm
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lillianleitzel: hello?

penpusher: Oh hey.

lillianleitzel: I am back!

penpusher: Awesomeness!

lillianleitzel: I am at this place called The Grail, it's gorgeous here

penpusher: I think NYC gets a lot of its milk from around there.

lillianleitzel: I am doing a little work for them, writing stuff, and also doing some readings...

lillianleitzel: and staying here till the end of July in a big gorgeous farmhouse


penpusher: It sounds quite fabulous.

lillianleitzel: It is, 5 women live here on 45 acres in the Hudson River Valley, and do all kinds of cool stuff

penpusher: What sort of stuff happens? Is it like some working farm, or something else?

lillianleitzel: It's so many things.. There's an art collective, there's organic gardening, there's a lot of political stuff.. a lot of community outreach.. spiritual stuff..

penpusher: I see that this is a faith based community, as well.

lillianleitzel: More spiritual.. There is meditation 4 mornings a week, and a community dinner once a week, and a spiritual discussion once a week

penpusher: It's a little bit like summer camp!

lillianleitzel: The Grail began in the 1920s as a Catholic organization, in Holland, but became open to all faiths I think in the 1970s I mean my friend Massie who lives here is Jewish

lillianleitzel: It's a really really good, calm place to work


penpusher: Hm. I'll have to do some dot connections here, you know this is the 400th anniversary of Hudson's arrival on that river?

lillianleitzel: Yes. There are tons of celebrations and the art collective is having its first show here on June 27, and trying to link into that

penpusher: It's quite an historic year for the Dutch in America!

lillianleitzel: I collaborated with an artist in Arizona on a sculpture

penpusher: What sort of sculpture and what did you do?

lillianleitzel: I wrote a bit of a story, and she created this sculpture inspired by that story as well as by Godmother, and then I sent her a box full of papers and feathers and jewelry and fabrics and just random ephemera... oh including some original handwritten pages of Godmother.. and she's using that stuff to decorate the statue.. and then once that's done I will finish that initial story, which is about a girl with a compass for a heart. The theme of the collective's first show is Compass

lillianleitzel: and that's an example of the kind of collaboration in it

lillianleitzel: here is the collective's blog, there's a photo of the sculpture


penpusher: It's this artistic community where the artists all come together and inspire each other to create new works or variations on some of their previously created pieces...

lillianleitzel: yes, around themes

penpusher: It sounds like a brilliant idea. I'm all for artists inspiring each other.

penpusher: Now, before the break, I was just about to get into the psychological aspects of your novel, Godmother, and how you sort of turned the story of Cinderella on its ear with your version.

lillianleitzel: yes

penpusher: My suggestion was that you are looking at what we as humans find valuable within the framework of the tale, and shifting the focus.

lillianleitzel: I just think there are other aspects of the story that could be examined.. rather than just wish fulfillment

lillianleitzel: who is this girl? and who is this fairy who's supposed to save her?


penpusher: I always assumed that the girl was the reader, which is why this story is so often told. Everyone feels, to a degree, that they aren't really appreciated for who they really are.

penpusher: But you take this to the next level by looking at who this fairy is.

lillianleitzel: The person who magically sees who you really are and reveals it to the world

lillianleitzel: I dont think that's an uncomplicated relationship


penpusher: Yes. The person who can deus ex machina you!

lillianleitzel: But the book is about the godmother living in NYC some centuries after the night of the ball having fallen to earth, basically, as punishment for what she's done

penpusher: Yes, she's been exiled to, of all places, New York City!

lillianleitzel: And is trying to get back to her own world, and redeem herself for what she did, and regain what she's lost...

penpusher: I find it amusing that you chose NYC as the setting for this "real world" segment of the novel. Why New York?

lillianleitzel: Well I wanted the real world to be as gritty and vivid as possible, and a sharp contrast to the magical lush world of the fairies as well as of Cinderella, so NYC seemed an obvious choice. Plus I lived there. Plus where else could a fairy be as anonymous?

penpusher: New York has its own magical qualities as well!

lillianleitzel: yes throughout the book Lil, the fairy godmother, thinks that, maybe things are changing and she's being given a chance to come home... so NYC works well for that too

lillianleitzel: bits of magic against this gritty urban setting or within


penpusher: It is something of a pair of parallel stories you are intertwining throughout the novel, Lil's life in the grit of Manhattan and what happened the night of the Ball that sent her to that fate.

lillianleitzel: Each chapter (after chapter one) opens with a flashback of the fairy world and then a scene in the present day world of NYC

lillianleitzel: And in flashback we learn the story of Lil's loss, and in the present day we learn the story of how she tries to redeem herself


penpusher: It all fits together quite seamlessly, and it's a great read.

lillianleitzel: Thank you

penpusher: But again we have a sort of bittersweet element to this story that I have to note. Without giving away the end of the story, I have to say there is a little... ambiguity about it?

lillianleitzel: Yes

penpusher: Care to comment beyond yes?

lillianleitzel: Not about the ending!

lillianleitzel: But there is no getting around that the story about this kind of loss is going to be sad

lillianleitzel: Just that I tried to build in more than one interpretation for what is happening


penpusher: I think it is quite fascinating, but I do think some readers may be slightly jolted by the finish.

lillianleitzel: Yes some readers have been

penpusher: I hope this gets people to go out and buy the book and read it for themselves!

lillianleitzel: haha me too But you know, ultimately the book is about this woman who lost something, who made a mistake.. and who is trying to get redemption that kind of stuff is tricky and complicated

penpusher: The other element I wanted to ask about was more about the myth of this fairy tale and why it is a constant in our lives.

lillianleitzel: of this one in particular?

penpusher: Well, just in your research about the Cinderella story, and how it has been told throughout history... it seems like there's a new version every year.

lillianleitzel: I didn't really have to research it, it's so engrained

penpusher: And then I'll come back to your point about Lillian and her attempt at redemption

penpusher: Did you look at any psychology of the story, did you investigate that element at all?

lillianleitzel: its an amazing fantasy. but for me, the Cinderella story is about longing, longing for something wonderful and amazing, something to make us whole, which is in my opinion a pretty primal feeling, at the base of all religions etc etc... A longing to be plucked out of your earthly existence and made complete and beautiful.

lillianleitzel: I think the psychology of the story is all right there, I mean I didn't do any research, etc


penpusher: it's interesting because in a sense you have turned the godmother into Cinderella here! Now she is the one trying to escape her life to become that beautiful creature.

lillianleitzel: well she is trying to escape her life as a beautiful creature... to become a broken creature longing to become beautiful..

lillianleitzel: It's longing, and desire, that she falls in love with more than anything To me this makes perfect sense, psychologically!


penpusher: If you have everything, you would desire nothing, and you are suggesting that maybe that's not such a wonderful existence.

lillianleitzel: For her, yes, it's not... or it is, until she becomes enamored of Cinderella's dreams (which she enters) In the dream she sees, Cinderella is walking toward a man just out of view, and she feels pain and longing, which come out of love and the Godmother doesnt know the kind of love that comes attached to that kind of pain and loss. In her world everything is perfect. and she is curious, and she wants that

lillianleitzel: She becomes enamored of grief and pain, all these human emotions that she herself cannot feel


penpusher: It's a great conceit to play on those elements, and it really drives the story along.

penpusher: When Lil is in New York, she's an older lady, who works in a book shop and is starting to think there is a way to redeem herself for this defiant act.

lillianleitzel: Yes She works in a used bookstore in the West Village, and lives in the Garment District

penpusher: You've sort of made her that Disney character, the old woman!

lillianleitzel: WELL. She is definitely not flitting about and chuckling.

penpusher: She has her chuckle moments!

lillianleitzel: I beg to differ!

penpusher: well, chuckle for New York, I guess.

lillianleitzel: she is really very un-chipper, and she herself looks at drawings of the Disney fairy godmother and shudders!

penpusher: But the point is, she meets a new young chippie, who could be her next assignment.

lillianleitzel: She meets a beautiful young woman in whom she senses that same longing and need.

penpusher: Yes. That.

lillianleitzel: No cheesy Disney descriptions please!!!!

penpusher: Lil intends to set things right by helping this young lady.

lillianleitzel: Yes

penpusher: And really, as the parallel plays out, she is sort of playing godmother to Lil!

lillianleitzel: Veronica you mean?

penpusher: Veronica is the hair stylist that Lil helps.

lillianleitzel: I mean, you are saying that Veronica plays godmother to Lil?

penpusher: In a manner of speaking, she's a godmother by proxy because she's helping Lil get back to who she wants to be.

lillianleitzel: except she has no idea!

penpusher: Well, who said every godmother was conscious!

lillianleitzel: I am not convinced by this line of reasoning, penpusher

penpusher: Well... too bad. Anyhow, the story rolls out and some very interesting things happen!

lillianleitzel: haha yes

penpusher: I would love your take on the ending, but I'll have to ask you about that some other time.

penpusher: ...

penpusher: You're just not going to say anything, are you?

lillianleitzel: About the ending?

penpusher: Just about my comment. I'm certain you won't say anything about the ending!

lillianleitzel: That you will have to ask me another time for my take?

penpusher: Just that you have a particular take on it.

lillianleitzel: Of course I have a take!

penpusher: Oh. Good.

lillianleitzel: But I think it's enough, more than enough, to say that there's a bit of ambiguity to the ending

penpusher: Now, what's the word about Godmother possibly becoming a major motion picture?

lillianleitzel: It's been optioned for film, so we shall see!

penpusher: What can you say about that?

lillianleitzel: Just that it's been optioned by Random House Films and Focus Features, and that they're in the process of trying to put something together.

penpusher: Focus! Very good!

lillianleitzel: Whether it will come together or not... we just have to see. Most books that get optioned do not get made into films. Like, 99%

penpusher: That's true. But it would be a fairy tale ending to the story! Have you done any mental casting for the roles?

lillianleitzel: Oh I just think that Vanessa Redgrave would be perfect for Lil. Other than that, not really.

penpusher: I'd like to see Helen Mirren, personally.

lillianleitzel: For Veronica, the girl from Run Lola Run, magically preserved just as she was in that film, but American.

penpusher: Time for our final break, but we have one more fairy tale to discuss with Carolyn, next.

penpusher: would you like to actually break again, or shall we continue?
lillianleitzel: Hmmm
lillianleitzel: What about you?
penpusher: It's your show, so whatever you would like!
lillianleitzel: Ha, well could you talk again in the morning, or later tonight?
penpusher: I'm available this evening, sure.
penpusher: It's the final segment, so it should go pretty fast.
lillianleitzel: Okay! It may be like 9pm, but I might be ready earlier.. I will just email you?
penpusher: ok, np!
lillianleitzel: Ok lovely!
lillianleitzel: CHOW TILL THEN!
penpusher: cool!
penpusher: k


Continue to Segment Four

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