Part Three: Innocence Reborn
Setting the Record Straight
June 13, 1996
Here are the issues of concern to me:
I'm torn between continuing to be the center of attention, or changing to put the focus on my work, rather than myself. (Look at the art, not the artist.) Problem is, the very best writing I've ever done is my diary because it sprang from my angst. Most of my "following" is there because of the diary, which has moved them. I still have four unpublished years of diary waiting to be put out there [as of the date of this entry], and it is also exceptionally good stuff with real value for soul-searchers.
On the other hand, with The Subversive aiming for a large and expanding audience, there will be a lot of people reading each issue who never read my earlier diary entries. Their first impressions of me will be based on whatever the current entry is, rather than taken in context. But should I even care about that? I'll likely never even meet any of those people, so what's the diff?
Also, there is the tendency to want to tone down The Subversive to make it more mainstream. Yet at the same time, that seems like selling out for success, and I don't really need the success here, I've already got it.
What makes it worse is that this entry would be describing the beginning of my one lesbian relationship and my foray into the gay community. At the time, I thought that was my future, but quickly discovered it was just a passing fancy. Still, this month's entries end with, "unless something changes, lesbian is the way I am."
Well, that certainly makes me nervous! Actually, I'm bisexual, but HATE to admit it! I worked so hard to fit in, that I think I've gotten a lot of people to accept me as the woman I am. But if I throw THAT into the mix... well... it makes me nervous!
Part of the problem is that although I can get turned on by either men or women, I never act proactively. Rather, I only respond. If someone of either sex makes a move and I find I enjoy it, I'll respond, but mostly I don't like people of either sex in that way. It's the rare person I am attracted to enough to respond to.
In fact, since that one lesbian exploration, I've never thought sexually about another woman. All my attention has been on men, yet I know the potential is still there.
Then, there is my current boyfriend, Michael. I'm worried what impact that will have on our relationship. He reads The Subversive since he has met me, but is a staunch Christian with a degree in both Theology and Psychology. He's having enough trouble just accepting me as me and his dating me even though I'm still legally married.
What's more, last weekend I spent a night with Mary in her bed. Just snuggling and sleeping, nothing sexual, but I haven't done that for a year and a half! Just the perfect time to put out a diary entry about lesbianism.
On a larger scale, I still fancy myself up there with Franklin, Edison, Da Vinci, Virginia Woolf, and Anais Nin. Spilling all the beans is part of that. It is what puts the story theory and Mental Relativity in context, and so, the legend grows, as they say.
I oft chide myself for still finding myself attracted to achieving some historic stature. After all, what good is that going to do me in 100 years? I have no idea where that yearning comes from, so I haven't been able to do anything about it.
But, that makes me want to post the diary entry, as well as not wanting to leave my readers hanging, as well as being a person of principal and not holding back on honesty when I finally get a little singed.
I just needed to get this all down in words so I could look at it a little more objectively.
July 29, 1996
Saturday, the company had a beach party at Malibu, arriving on a chartered bus. Chris had invited me and a guest, so I brought Mindi. This was the first social event I had been to with Chris and Steve in over a year. I knew they were just trying to butter me up so I would be more flexible in our upcoming contract talks, but there were a lot of other old friends going as well, so I just decided to enjoy the trip and visit with them.
It was a nice, cool, day - about 75 or 80 (F) and the water was warm. I hadn't actually swam in the ocean since 1976 when I saw "Jaws" in the theatre. A fifth of a century since I'd gone in deeper than my waist!
This was also only my second trip to the beach since my life change, and the first time I went with other people. I decided to wear a nice one-piece suit. Bikinis are fine if you are twenty (and okay if you just want to take pictures and sort through all the bad ones to find one that catches you just right) but at 43, I'm a bit over the hill for that! (Darn it!)
August 7, 1996
Can you imagine what it is like to have the mind of a woman but the past of a man? I don't think so. Not unless you have taken this journey yourself. And even if you have, have you been as successful as I? I say this not with conceit, but matter of fact: how many who follow this path blend in and with such accomplishment as to not only prosper but excel? And how many rise to a level of prominence - perhaps even fame, both in a world belonging to our unique clique and also independently in the open world of "ordinary" people, cutting a swath even among these who know not with whom they commune?
I finally needed to write again these words borne of turmoil. Sometimes I write because a clever phrase or line of logic entwines itself in my mind, and I simply must make the world aware how precocious I am before the inspiration is lost. Other times I write because I must wrest the pain from my soul or succumb to it completely.
Novels I read, not many, but when I need a sense of meaning to my own life. I usually select a book in which I expect a sea of chaotic troubles will ultimately be ordered by the author/god, and meaning shall be revealed. Oh, how I hope for this in my own dizzy world!
Today, it is "The Mummy" (by Anne Rice) that holds my attention. I like her work - it speaks of people out of time and place and the suffering they have no choice but to endure. And yet, her heroes almost always arrive at the understanding that sadness shall be with them eternally, and the only gelling moment occurs as they ultimately embrace this inevitable truth. How I wish, just once, one of these wanderers would stumble across a means of emotional salvation, so that I might follow that light believing the same end could be mine!
Ironic, then, that so many read my words, looking for the very same thing. Are we all chasing each others' tails, then? Running so quickly forward with our noses bent to the pursuit at such an awkward angle we do not see the conga line doubling back to sniff at our own asses?
And yet, I feel things stirring of late - some new kind of dynamic I have not seen (or perhaps have simply not noticed) before. There is re-organization in the wind.
Since I left Screenplay Systems almost five months ago (my, how short that time actually seems!) I have been shedding. I have felt considerations, experiences, affectations and empathies dropping away from me like bark from the venerable Crepe Mertyle or skin from the honorable reptile.
"Who am I today?" I ask, half expecting an answer. But the oil of my soul and the water of my heart swirl still, never blending nor even coming to calm. But can we not see a spiral in the swirl? Is there not meaning even in unrest?
Would that the seething cavalcade might grind to a halt just once, or even pause in its marathon dance just long enough to catch a glimpse of the dancers. I can't tell if I am out of step, or even if I am undulating to the same ghastly tune!
Slow down, for God's sake! Or at least reveal yourself for a moment. Give way from your constant onslaught so that there might be at least some small fragment of peace and respite from the ceaseless grating of the sand upon my soul!
Oh, that a shard of clarity would pierce my heart; that a scrap of unity might discard itself upon my mind. Alas, I am not so graced, leaving me no choice but to race madly after the tail in front of me, and you none other than to sniff my ass.
Author's Note: What follows is a self-serving documentation of my accomplishments in story theory and Mental Relativity theory, and a rather heart-felt slam at Chris, with whom I was furious at the time. It has little to do with the gender issues which form the heart of my journey. It also gets rather technical at points. I include it as documentation of where my mind and heart were at during this time, and in that capacity it is an essential link in the chain, even though many of my feelings have since changed. Still, should you find it too egotistic and boring for you taste, please feel free to skip it and move on to the next chapter.
August 12, 1996
I hate to sound ungracious. But. I feel like I'm getting screwed by Chris and the company again. I don't know if this entry will ever see the light of day: I suppose it depends on how they are treating me in three years or so when this entry comes up for publication. Still, I can't help writing it regardless.
Ten days ago, Chris invited me to lunch. The real reason he did so, according to him, was to ask if it was okay with me if he taught a series of story theory classes at the company without me. I said that would be fine with me if that's what he wanted.
So, today, I signed on to the Story Theory Web page at the company site and saw a front page advertisement for his new series of classes. Oh, I'm mentioned, but of course the focus is all on Chris - his bio, his achievements at Screenplay Systems, but no background, information, or means of contacting me at all. Sweet!
Chris is well aware that there were only two reasons I did so much work on the theory and software: One, so that I could secure my financial future (which I have done, though as of this writing, just barely) and two, so that I might get some recognition for my accomplishments (which he is now whittling away at as surely as he is has demanded half of my royalties from any future products at the company).
Now, I know that (as Chris, himself, has told me) he has always been the second banana - at the company, when he and I co-wrote scripts, when I directed, and even throughout the Development of the story theory, software, Mental Relativity theory, and the classes we have previously taught. He needs to see if he can step up to the first position with success. He needs to find out how he does as the top dog for a change. Pity it has to come at my expense!
He mentions in his ad that the classes were "developed by Chris and Melanie." Once again, I'm getting screwed. Chris had little if anything to do with developing ANY of the classes we did together.
The arrangement was thus: I would work out a detailed outline for the class. Then, I would tell him what graphics I needed. He would read the outline, make some suggestions and format it for printing. He would create the graphics. We would do the class based on the curriculum I developed.
In the actual classes, I did well over 90% of the talking, explaining all the theory essentials, with Chris stepping in with a few real world examples of actual stories whenever it seemed appropriate. He has NEVER come up with his own approach, nor even delivered mine. But now, I look at the ad, and he has listed the exact curriculum I designed, and has the audacity to put his name first in, "developed by Chris and Melanie."
I'm getting really tired of Chris getting credit for my work! I have a tremendous personal need to stop being gracious and condescending and set the record straight for once. Even if this tirade is never made public, at least perhaps in some later years it will be discovered and the truth will be known.
Chris and I were friends back at USC film school. We admired each others' wit and cleverness. To us, everyone else seemed like idiots wallowing in the mud. Hey, it's not complimentary to either of us, but it is true. We both felt like geniuses who saw many levels of depth beyond anyone else. It was quite natural, then, that we should band together on various tasks.
Now, I said above we were friends. That's not exactly true. We hardly ever enjoyed social events together. Rather, we simply had a keen respect for each others' abilities, and joined to become a more formidable force.
We were in a small editing room I had set up in a tiny eight foot by ten foot building in the back of a house I was renting in Burbank at about two in the morning one day in 1980 - the exact day eludes me, though it was after we had finished making a movie and were trying to write another script.
We decided on that late evening to look at other similar stories and see if we could find any literary truisms that might help our work. For the next several weeks, we analyzed, cataloged, and arranged what we uncovered. And, I must say, we liked what we were finding MUCH better than what we were taught at USC.
In those days, our discoveries were absolutely 50/50. It was a true partnership if every sense of the word - both inspiration and perspiration. We ultimately came up with a list of eight archetypal characters and twenty-four essential dramatic scenes. And that's as far as we got.
Over the next ten years or so, we hauled the concepts in and out of mothballs a number of times, but made little headway. At one point, we had a conversation and actually said out loud that we felt we didn't have enough life experience to solve this riddle. I'm not sure whether that was a realistic and humble view, or if we felt we were all the more superior for having realized the fact! In any event, we dropped the idea pretty much for the last few years of that decade.
Chris went off with Steve to build their software company, and I went to work in the industry as a writer/director/editor of non-union informational films.
Eventually, after much hard work and risk taking, Chris and Steve began to flourish, and after the same on my end, I began to work in entertainment films and videos, including features. I also decided to change my sex, and began living as Melanie. In fact, I had been living in this new role about six months while editing my first major feature film, "Social Suicide" (appropriate title, I thought!)
It was at this time I got an invitation from Chris to join him for breakfast. There, he told me he had been thinking about our young, undeveloped theory, and wanted to know if I would be interested in working with him to flesh it out, publish a book, and perhaps even create a software product for writers. I jumped at the chance! Just as Chris needed someone for whom to play second banana, I needed a second banana or I didn't have the confidence to stand in the spotlight. A revitalized partnership that became almost a business marriage was to grow from this moment, though we never suspected such a thing at the time.
In all honesty, we expected to spend a few months polishing up our ideas, write the book, and be done with it. So, every morning before Chris went to Screenplay to be V.P. and before I went to the production company to edit the feature, he and I would spend an hour or so over coffee, talking over our personal problems and working on the story theory (as yet unnamed).
It was during those glory days that we began to make surprising progress. What we thought was a simple, little venture, turned into a deep and rich theory of story. Almost every day we were thrown into a intellectual fervor by some startling revelation which suggested a new point of theory we had never heard purported anywhere before.
We kept asking ourselves, "This sounds too brilliant to have come from us. We must be deluding ourselves. Are we wrong, or simply re-inventing the wheel?" But, everyone to whom we described the evolving theory seemed blown away by the concepts, if they could understand them at all.
Chris became so drawn to the chase, that he took a week's vacation from his job so the two of us could do marathon theory sessions at his home in an attempt to pull something definitive together. Up to this point, Chris had really taken the lead. In fact, I often found myself unable to understand his points and struggled to grasp what he was seeing. Most of the early development had come from him first, then was learned by me. I would suggest a new question that would now have to be answered, and he would work it out.
But during that week at his home, the tables slowly turned. One inspiration came after another, and eventually we were alternating evenly between the roles of creator and sounding board. Toward the end of the week, however, most of the new material was coming from my side, and Chris (much to his disappointment) was back in the second banana position again. Today, I believe Chris started this whole thing as a means of being the number one for once in his life, and then simply couldn't keep up.
It was almost like I was trying to ride a bicycle, he was showing me how, then I took off on my own and he did his best to follow.
Oh, that didn't happen all at once, and I'm not saying that Chris didn't make a number of important and insightful contributions to our theories. But from that week forward, everything he came up with was almost exclusively based on my work, and what I came up with wasn't based on anything but my own exploration into the meaning of it all.
It was during that week that we came up with the concept of four items forming a "quad" or "family". We also determined that the most essential quad (as we understood it then) was comprised of "Can," "Need," "Want," and "Should." I still remember an intense argument we had with Steve over the phone when we tried to convince him that "Need" was actually just a rationalization. Steve said, "You NEED air to live, so it is not a rationalization." We responded that if you want to commit suicide, the LAST thing you NEED is air. What you NEED is determined by what you WANT. He just didn't get it. He STILL doesn't get it, even though he programmed our concepts into the software, in ways that could only have happened through the exercise of his particular genius.
Chris asked me to come to work at Screenplay, and so I did. Again, we thought it would take perhaps six months to finish the job - it ended up taking six years.
In taking the job, I was expecting Chris to work as closely with me as he had during that week. But, he had a company to run, so I was left pretty much on my own. In fact, I would come to him and ask what I should work on, and he didn't have any plan for me. I was told to find something to do.
The first thing I did was write all the words we had come up with for different quads on post-it notes and stick them to my bare office wall. At first, Chris had urged a linear progression of quads, so I arranged them in that pattern. But as I stared at them, the notion slowly dawned that the way to arrange them was in a quad of quads.
In those days, we only had 32 words, so I was able to create two groups of four quads each with that number of words. How were those arranged, I wondered? Ultimately, I arranged them into an even larger quad in which each group was one of the four items in that super-quad. But, if that was the case, then there were two remaining positions in that quad for which we had no words. So, I began to extrapolate from the words we had, coming up with new words that had meanings equally "distant" from the existing words as the position they were to occupy in the quad "map". In essence, the structure of the quad itself held meaning which was determined by position. The words were completely arbitrary, but once you had assigned even a single word to a specific position, all other words could be determined relative to that one. The words were merely labels, seeking to describe the mathematical relationships in language.
Well, I would go in with my lists of words to Chris, and he would comment on which ones he thought were valid and which were not, and why. I would incorporate his input and add, delete, and rearrange the notes on my wall to the point of tears. Finally, we had established a pretty solid arrangement of sixty-four items in a "chess board" structure, flat on my wall. We had a few words left over that seemed pretty essential, but nowhere left to put them.
It was at this time that Chris left for vacation to Europe for a month. And during his absence, it occurred to me that perhaps we were not thinking in enough dimensions. Perhaps, we needed a three-dimensional structure to describe what we were seeing.
I still remember the moment of inspiration when I leapt up from my chair, grabbed the left-over words, and pasted each note in the center of an existing quad, indicated that it was a focal point above the structure, as if it actually resided above the surface of the wall!
There weren't enough left over words to fill in that complete level, but I did some rearranging as well as coming up with new words to complete our semantic model. By the time Chris came back, the second level was nearly complete, AND I had determined that there would be two more levels above that and then the structure would converge at a point with a single item to describe it, which I called, "the story".
This model was immediately accepted, and once again, I worked hard to come up with new words based on structure position and to finish the model, sounding my concepts off Chris and thereby clarifying them.
Eventually, I had created a model shaped like a pyramid, when it occurred to me that the base of the pyramid was an interface and there another, equally sized pyramid on the other side, rising in the opposite direction. Again, we played word games. And Chris created all kinds of drawings and graphs to describe what we were creating.
The two of us would watch films to the point of nausea, especially "Witness", in which we could see our words showing up in different orders and actually, in some cases, follow the linear line of the story as we traced the words along the page with our fingers. Clearly there was some temporal progression here which we did not yet understand.
I still remember having a big piece of white, "foam core" cardboard set up with charts of all our words taped to it. We kept trying to find logical ways of "rotating" the quads to the left, right, top, or bottom, as if they were on a four-directional conveyor belt. But, all of those approaches came to naught.
Chris then had an inspiration which had tremendous impact. He suggested that instead of putting our words into a pyramid shape, why not simply make the items different sizes so that the one at the top would cover as much ground as all sixty-four at the bottom, acting as a huge umbrella, as it were. Well, I was resistant. The pyramid was the true form (and in fact, mathematically, that is true). But, to visualize the relationship, the "tower" structure opens the door to all kinds of new concepts, such as seeing each of the lower levels as being the components of the level above, rather than being its creators. In fact, both concepts are equally true, but it was Chris' tower that allowed me to discern the second one.
Finally, we expanded the structure even once more to create the four "classes" as they are today. But, we realized even then that the elements at the bottom were truly "elemental". There were the same in each class. The question was, were they in the same position? Probably not, we felt, because each class, although looking at the same things was looking through different "filters" that would distort or refract where things appeared to be at the bottom.
So, I ended up cutting up all the elements into separate pieces on paper and endlessly arranging them on the floor of Chris office. This was one of the most frustrating times for me, because I was sure an answer existed, but I just couldn't see the pattern. Finally, it hit me. I had an inspiration that the elements didn't break up as single items, but in pairs! In fact, when you broke up a quad, it broke up in pairs which joined with loose pairs from another quad! I tried it - it worked! Suddenly, each class took on its own identity, even though it possessed the same elements. And, of course, I began to compare our work to chemistry, electron shells, and even quantum theory.
Finally, we had a complete structure! But it was static. No matter how I tried to find the linear patter that could predict scenes, it eluded me. The words were always there in story, but the force that determined the order in which they would occur was invisible to me. I created a model of a toroid and a Rubik's Cube, but all fell short after several weeks of attempts to model the pattern making system.
It was at that time I went to the Museum of Science and Industry at Exposition Park in Los Angeles with my son and daughter. We spent some time at the Hall of Mathematics - a wonderful place in which I enjoyed several happy trips with my father when I was young. While waiting for my kids to finish with some exhibit or other, I notices a line of perhaps twenty bar magnets mounted on a long board with a nail through their centers as an axis. Each was like a little compass in a sense. By turning one, its North and South poles would reverse position, and the other magnets in the line would follow. Depending upon the speed at which one turned, one could select how many magnets would turn in a row. Done very slowly, one could make the whole row turn at once.
Right on the spot, it hit me! All our little quads were like the magnets. The center of the quad was like the axis. Each quad could rotate along that axis so that the items in a pair might change place! In fact, our model was even more complex, because it could rotate in two different directions.
The next week at work, I refined my concepts and then explained them to Chris. I described how the system worked. It answered so many questions, but still it was not enough.
I can't recall if it was just before or just after that discovery, but one day a new concept occurred to me. For a long time, Chris and I had felt that stories were about psychology. After all, even back in the old days, Chris had worked out "rationalization charts" using the terms Can, Need, Want, Should in branch tree arrangements. And in those days I argued that the arrangements were different for men and women. (This was before my coming to Screenplay Systems, when we were still working at my house for an hour every morning).
But, this one day, it suddenly occurred to me, out of the blue, that perhaps the whole story itself was a SINGLE mind's psychology! And if that were the case, then these flipping magnets represent the very mental processes themselves. In fact, they represented the process of rationalization (which we later changed to "justification").
Armed with this understanding, from that day forward the hunt became a quest for a model of psychology (as revealed in story) as opposed to the search for a model of story.
It was about this time we began to find that we could plot "goal", "requirement" and other terms on the structure and if we picked one or more, we could determine others by default. So, part of our effort was trying to document the relationship among these "static appreciations" and part was geared toward uncovering the whole method of justification.
I began to see that some of our "classes" would "change" in the course of a story, and others were "static". Also, some were Objective insofar as they represented what was going on in the story at large and others Subjective insofar as they dealt with the characters.
At first, I thought that of the four classes, each would be found to be Changing, Static, Objective, or Subjective - one function to a class. But then it hit me that these things worked in pairs again. Of Objective and Subjective, one would be changing, and the other static. But what then of the other two classes? Then it hit me that one represented the Primary Character and one the Pivotal Character. (In those days we thought a Primary Character changed and a Pivotal Character did not. I believe the concept of changing and steadfast characters came from Chris).
At this point, I realized that Primary and Pivotal characters were not a quad and needed to be split. In fact, one of the remaining two classes belonged to the Main Character, and one to the Obstacle Character, and one would be changing and one static (or steadfast).
I had pretty well mapped out the concepts at that time, but didn't have anything tangible enough to program. So, Chris and Steve gave me an ultimatum: I would come up with a definitive, programmable model of the "story engine" by Christmas (two weeks from that date) or they would pull the plug on the who operation. This after a year and a half of my life!
So, I locked myself in the company meeting room and forced inspiration. I cried, I became depressed, I stripped the gears of my mind. I put my personality on the hard drive so I could free up all the ram to hold the model. And I did it. I worked out an elegant model of wheels within wheels that both flipped and rotated. Sometimes they carried the lower levels with them, and sometimes not, depending on choices as to the meaning of the linear progression one was trying to achieve. Chris spent some of that time with me, but largely, I was alone. In the end, I presented the two of them with a chart that described the entire algorithmic system for creation of a model of psychology, in this case employed as a "story engine".
I could see so much in it in fractals, relativity, and math. Chris picked up on this material quickly. He is one smart guy. But he didn't create it and he didn't develop it. I know I would not and could not have developed it on my own. I needed him to be there, grasping immediately whatever I came up with and reflecting back to me so I could see what it looked like from the outside - a whole new perspective. But, he didn't come up with it.
Perhaps a key turning point in our work together was back when I was still working at home with him. At lunch in a restaurant with Chris one day, I had come up with a description of how all the quads could be generated from a single quad by flipping a napkin marked as a quad over in three different directions until it described a series of four quads. And the relative position of the elements in each was different, representing all the mathematical permutations of the items. I became convinced that there was a math basis for the whole theory - in fact, I was sure there was a single, simple equation (the equivalent of E=MC2) that was our Rosetta Stone to everything the model could and should do.
Chris was not interested in the math, and wanted to get on with the writing theory. I begged for more time, and he set a deadline: find the equation by the end of the week or we had to move on. I have documented elsewhere how I went to sleep at noon and woke up at eight PM on a hatefully hot day. But before I was fully awake, I saw the answer I was looking for. In that lucid state between waking and sleeping and at the same time (as it turns out) on that fateful day when my system tipped the balance from testosterone to estrogen, all these forces converged to put me at the center of a quad, standing far enough back to look at the universe from the outside in for one brief, glorious moment.
I knew if I woke up I would lose what I saw, so I intentionally symbolized it, threw my arms around it and threw myself awake. I ran to the table with my arms enclosing the idea and wrote, "one side multiplies - the other divides." I then stopped and read what I had written and it made not sense to me at all, as I was fully awake now. But, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made until I was able to ultimately develop the entire series of algorithms for software's Story Engine, and also fully explain the functioning of the structure we had charted out empirically.
After that two week period, there were no major inspirations to come. Oh, there were many new insights, but that's all they were - new visions based on looking at previous discoveries from new perspectives.
After I had fully explained the model to Chris, he acted as translator and explained it in programmatic language to Steve. The three of us sat in closed room for a week while I explained piece by piece to Chris and he tried to get it across to Steve who tried to write code on a notebook computer.
We had many frustrating arguments because I was adamant about nuances I was sure were essential to the functioning of my model, but Steve could not grasp and therefore saw as unessential. He thought I was just being a bitch trying to get things my way. Chris realized the truth, but was in a very uncomfortable position, standing in the middle as it were.
I must say that without Chris' instant grasp of my work and his ability to translate into something Steve could get a handle on, there would be no story engine and we would still wonder if the concepts were right or wrong.
Steve finally saw how it all worked together, but to this day he doesn't know why - only how.
Chris knows exactly why it works, but never saw the vision himself. So, although he can explain the ins and outs of all that I discovered as well as if it were his own, he has not come up with any new theory concepts in over three years, and precious little before that.
In fact, during my last year at the company, Chris refused to work on it even as a sounding board, so I began to work with my student, Mark, who had become something of an expert in how it all worked. And I found that I was able to come up with several new concepts with him as well.
In addition, I carried on the work of developing the psychological model in its own right, something which Chris did not want to pursue. Along the way, I recorded over twelve hours of tape at home during the discovery process - a record of my musings (some right and some wrong) as my concepts gelled. I am just about to start posting transcripts of these on the world wide web along with my more polished articles on the subject. They are, perhaps, my best proof as to which ideas originated where.
As a final thought about documentation, I am again compelled to go on record. I wrote the book, "A New Theory of Story". The first version was created when Chris told me to find something to do. I then carried it through several revisions and ultimately Screenplay Systems published it to go into the software. It came with a separate dictionary which I also wrote. If there are any words in there which came from Chris (other than the dedication) they account for less than one percent of the work. I must say that writing that dictionary with all of its original definitions was one of the most boring jobs of my life!
The theory book when through two more editions, both written by me, although in these, I elected to include a few articles Chris had written for the Story Software Newsletter. Of course, I rewrote them largely, but they originally came from him. So, the current edition, version three, has perhaps four or five percent his material (re-written) and all the rest mine.
I also wrote almost all the material in the Newsletter as well. "Building a Better Dinosaur" about "Jurassic Park", for example, was another "find something to do" project that later inspired the whole newsletter concept. Even through both our names are credited to the text, all Chris did was edit. And, his is a wonderful editor, as good a sounding board there as in the theory development.
I also wrote most of the on-line text in the software including all the theory help, background, usage, etc. I only wrote a portion of the context help which was done largely by a group of interns I trained and managed.
I came up with the concept that there were pairs that had meaning in a quad. I named them and defined them. I discovered a fourth kind of "pair" relationship, named and defined it, which led to a new math I call "quadranometry". I discovered that Characters were built out of elements, that the four levels represented Character, Theme, Plot, and Genre. I separated story structure from storytelling, all with Chris' immediate grasp and quick feedback on my ideas.
In the end, I am still resentful that Chris removed me as manager of the department I had started because he wanted to try to do things on his own. I am resentful that he has never thanked me for my years of anguish working under his deadlines and creating wholly new concepts almost on demand. I am resentful that he berated me for single-handedly coming up with the concept, and writing all the body text for the software, without any help from him - berated because I was "taking too much control of his company and moving it in directions he didn't want to go - even though it is now their best-selling product. I resent his asking for half my story software royalties. I resent his insisting on half of my royalties from future products. I resent him doing interviews and now classes without me. But most of all, I resent him getting credit for work I did as if it were his own, surely almost as much as he resents me because he is second banana.
Author's Note: At the time I wrote the above passages, I was deeply hurt and almost uncontrollably angry. Since then, my feelings have changed considerably. I now realize that many of the motivations I attributed to Chris were not really his, but merely projections of my own fears and insecurities. In more recent days, Chris and I have re-united to teach additional classes in the story theory, and he has welcomed me back into an ongoing partnership as the two co-creators of the story theory and Mental Relativity. In fact, Chris, Steve, and I are currently planning a whole new product line of software based on our work.
For a time, I considered removing the offending section, as well as a few others scattered throughout my journal. But, it was Chris himself who told me when I was first starting my diary, "Write everything down the way it happened, because you will never remember it that way later." I have taken his advice to heart, and include the material here as an essential link in the chain of my journey, with apologies for any unfairness that surely exists in this rather one-sided portrayal of the events.
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