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 …?

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