NIKI SWEET TALK MOVES…She’s on the move. My Creative Thesis Manuscript: a 120-page screenplay entitled NIKI SWEET TALK MOVES. I sent it off yesterday to my Goddard College faculty advisor and to my second faculty reader.
The tale follows environmental anthropologist and photojournalist Wyn Baker on her adventures to find her true family in Nunavut, Canada, while running from her past—the family who would rather see her dead. Set in an environment of advanced global climate change, Wyn discovers her family’s greedy oil company is behind an accelerated glacial melt process that has devastated several coastal Inuit communities.
Will Wyn survive long enough to do something about it? Of course. For her tale is about love, respect, family, patience, and persistence. And that just NEEDS to win over evil sometimes. At least in the fictional world. Especially my fictional world.
The title uses the rough phonetic pronunciation of Nikisuittuq, playing on the dual meanings of the Inuktitut word. Nikisuittuq means “never moves.” So the pun in the title is “never moves, moves.” It’s used by the Inuit woman who nurses Wyn back to health after a nasty roll in the icy Baffin Bay waters with an emaciated, starving polar bear.
The word also refers to the polestar or the North Star. Nikisuittuq is the ultimate Inuksuk leading a traveler home.
An Inuksuk is a stacked stone structure built by the Inuit to communicate to future travelers. They can warn of a dangerous location, mark the site of a caribou stash, note a good kayak put-in spot, help herd caribou in a hunt, and—my favorite use—lead a traveler home across the barren terrain.*
Wyn both literally and figuratively uses a series of Inuksuit (plural form) on her voyage, similar to the qallunaat-built structure in the photo above. The white man who built it is my husband. I drew him a design of one I pictured while we were ostensibly on vacation, a trip to Cliff Island, Maine in Casco Bay in which I worked on writing my screenplay daily. He went to the beach at the end of the cottage path and built this mini-Inuksuk; it stood almost two-feet high. He took pictures of it, knowing it might be a while before I could get to the beach to see it since I was writing. (He was right!)
So this post marks the beginning of my Goddard G-4 semester. Ahead lies a rewrite of the screenplay, a twenty-page Process Paper, three of five final annotations (I finished the fourth at 1:28 this morning), compiling my bibliography, reading numerous books, and writing an annotated bibliography. I’ve already compiled my course equivalents, though I’m certain to give those a tweak before mailing them off to my advisor.
Today it is back to work on planning my Media Writing course, a new class at the University of New Hampshire that I am teaching following the Labor Day weekend. As has become customary with me, I could not find one satisfactory text, so in planning the class I am having to virtually write my own text book. One of these days I’ll get it off to a publisher along with the text from my Introductory Screenwriting class. First, though, I think I’ll attempt to graduate.
For those of you looking for good writing companion texts, you might consider the two that I am requiring of my Media Writing students: William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and the indomitable Strunk & White Elements of Style.
May you find your way in your life’s travels. Thanks for dropping by.
*An Inuksuk can do much more than what I listed. One helpful reference is Mary Wallace’s The Inuksuk Book, a Wow Canada! Book published by Maple Tree Press, Toronto, 1999.