In praise of the (screenplay) stepmother

That’s homage to Mario Vargas Llosa, in case you weren’t sure, and the rest of the homage goes to … Mary McCluskey.

Writing friends are worth more than rubies – and finding them is about as likely. I am lucky that Bunny Goodjohn is both a writer and a friend, and would have settled quite happily for one such jewel, knowing that most people never even get that one. Enter Mary.

Well, not exactly enter. We’ve never met (the number of writers I’ve met socially is limited, because I am a crap-awful recluse) just corresponded and talked by phone, but Mary, whose work I like and enjoy immensely, has done an amazing thing. Without any expectation of reward she’s cajoled, nagged and nudged me into finishing my first screenplay. She’s also read every word of it. Such service to the creativity of another should be commemorated with a statue, but all I have are words.

As a screenplay it’s not that great: I can see its faults already, and the Zoetrope Screenplay Wing is tearing it apart with joy, but as a friend, a writer, and a selfless, charming, erudite and supportive person, Mary McCluskey is faultless. Thank you Mary.

And so, in praise of the (screenplay) stepmother, I’m going to ask the dear readers who’s made a difference to their writing lives and why …?


  1. Mary McCluskey
    3rd July 2008

    Oh – I am blushing. Thank you, Kay!

    It was a pleasure to read the screenplay. You write so well, it’s always a pleasure to read your work!

  2. B.A. Goodjohn
    3rd July 2008

    Bugger that, where’s chapter four of the Pornographer?!

    Seriously though, for hermits like us to have found each other is a blessing. Thank you, Saucy Vox and the Internet.

  3. Tania Hershman
    3rd July 2008

    Kay, I second everything you say about writing friends being invaluable, I am finding that right now in terms of the wonderful writer/bloggers, most of whom I have never met physically, who read my blog and share their feelings on writing. I am a crap-awful recluse too, but couldn’t do it without them. Thank god for the Internet!

  4. Spot
    3rd July 2008

    As a new blogger, I did wonder if anyone would ever find my blog, never mind read it, so it’s been great to receive unexpected supportive comments from readers. It’s hard for me to separate my writing from my my other creative work, but basically I have been stunned by the support of the on line community since I began putting work on the web. And there have been times when they have been more generous and encouraging than known people – particularly in my more adventurous moments!

    The effect has been for me to be bolder, freer, even more adventurous and more trusting of the my creative voice both publicly and private. One person saying yes can resonate for a long time.

    Kay – Comedy of Errors please. See you Saturday.

  5. Kay Sexton
    6th July 2008

    Mary, my pleasure! You were wonderful and I wouldn’t have done it without you!

    Bunny, thanks for the nudge. And the friendship. And the joint bento obsession … and just about everything else.

    Tania, yes indeed, virtual friends are wonderful.

    Spot, glad you made it along, hope you enjoyed the session.

  6. Lou
    12th July 2008

    you (and Robert D) made a difference to my life because I now know that I CAN write in English despite the mistakes I make ;=)

    I’m grateful whenever I meet people who can give me good feed back and correct my mistakes without being patronizing!


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