Monday, February 06, 2006

Third Wish

I have lots of notes and background material* for stories. More often than not, they remain as notes. Every now and then, I think one is actually worth pursuing. Other times, I enjoy thinking about the story more than I believe I would actually enjoy writing it. These notes about a genie in a bottle falls somewhere in the middle:

The Genie in the bottle can give three wishes (of course). The story is totally from her point of view, perhaps. There is a curse, of course, and she has to be in the bottle. She can grant three wishes. During the period of the three wishes, she can enjoy the world, but when the third wish is done, she has to return to the bottle. The person who had the bottle has to throw it back into the water or within three days, will lose the three wishes (and more). The genie points out each time that one of the wishes can be used for her freedom. Some people promise, but in the end, they all (to a point) use the third wish on something else. The genie says she doesn’t begrudge anybody this, but as the years pass into millennia, she begins to grow frustrated. Is this story first person? I think. But the genie can tell stories of past bottle-possessors as third person narratives.

There has to be someone who will set the genie free. The genie passes through many hands throughout the ages. Some people try to steal the bottle. There are ground rules. There are penalties for certain kinds of wishes. The wisher has to be wise enough to figure out what they are. A lot of people cheat by asking for unlimited wishes. That wish negates all the other wishes they’ve had, and something wretched happens. The bottle cannot be broken. Once the genie has given three wishes, she goes back to the bottle, and any attempts to uncork her lead to disastrous results. The bottle must be found, it may not be given. It must be placed in a body of water.

People expect the wishes to be instantaneous. They aren’t.

Some wishes:
1) to have one’s desired person fall in love with the wisher
2) money
3) flight
4) ability to forsee the future
5) someone wants his pet to come back to life
6) rule a country
7) a pony

Eventually, the bottle falls into the hands of someone interesting, and that person is the other main character of the story. This could be my response to The Giving Tree [one of the few books I actively hate so much I'm not even going to link it, though I would not be so cruel as to deprive you of Shel Silverstein's website].

The character-boy doesn’t immediately wish for something obvious and external. He says rather galliantly that he will set the genie free with his third wish. The genie nods. She’s heard this before. The boy doesn’t immediately start wishing. He asks, what are some of the other wishes people have asked for? This could be the frame tale for more stories. I love frame tales! I really do.

*This is a euphemism for daydreaming on the page to the point of procrastination.


HitManJ said...

Alkelda, I have Disney on the line. They want that script by June at the latest.

Of course that means the Genie and the Boy will have to fall in love. There will be a sequel where they go on some zany adventure to save the world.

Some underrated actors and actresses will play the lead parts. Unless it is a slump, then they will get teenie-bop musicians like Lindsey Lohan and Hillary Duff.

You know what? Nevermind, I just hung up the phone. Let's just keep this one as a book. Book on tape at the MOST. James Earl Jones could narrate?

Lone Star Ma said...

Speaking of frame tales, I am wanting to read more of the Alkelda the Gleeful frame tale!

The Giving Tree really is awful. I really like his poetry for the most part, but ick. TGT was so obviously (sexism alert)written by a MAN.

I love the story idea but I must admit that I suffer from prejudice against the Jinn. I know that is not fair and that just because all the Jinn I know are sinister, it doesn't mean that all Jinn are sinister, but it is hard to overcome.

goddess of clarity said...

What happens if you set the genie free on your first wish? Does she run away and you lose the rest of your wishes? Or is that the secret to getting unlimited wishes? Or do you just get two more wishes, like normal?

And can one of my wishes be that Robin Williams CAN NOT play the Voice of the Genie?

Nonny said...

Major shananigans at work buddy. I might post about it, but no time for cuteness I'm afraid :)

rawbean said...

Completely unrelated: Alkelda - what do you think of the new Seattle Library? The one design my Rem Koolhaus? I've been meaning to ask you this for awhile as you are in the business.

Lady K said...

I immediately thought Disney, as well. J, get outta my head! ha ha I'd rather read the book first, though, should there be're a brilliant writer.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Hitman J, You are very kind. Sure, James Earl Jones could narrate, but now I'm thinking I want a female protagonist and a male wish-fulfillment being inside the bottle. Perhaps, as Lone Star Ma, points out, the djinn is too negative of a being, and I should have something different. Instead of living in the bottle, the wish-being could live in... a soda can? Just kidding! LSM, I think The Giving Tree could just as easily been written by a woman. I think of TGT as an apologist view of co-dependency and abuse-- and that is an equal opportunity issue! (No, I'm not chiding you, but I am trying to see things more in terms of human struggle as opposed to struggles specific to men or women, even though there are struggles that are specific. Oh, I'm getting long-winded again.)

Goddess, That would be cool if the main character did set the genie free on the first wish. Now I'm thinking the genie (wish-being) is one of the stories in the frame tale, and not the frame tale itself. We shall see. You all are giving me ideas, and I like that. That's exactly why I posted my notes. Feedback makes things warm and living.

Nonny: No time for cuteness? You're breaking my heart! However, Brad the Gorilla will be pleased to hear it.

Rawbean: I like the new Downtown Seattle Public Library for what it is, and for what it's supposed to be. It's not meant to be cozy, but to get people moving in and out. Mr. Koolhaas seems to have a sense of humor as far as the entrances and exits go. I like the spiral of books, because I can walk down the aisles and see items of interest that I might not have walked by before. There are no cozy spots whatsoever, and the colors in the bathroom are designed so that people trying to shoot up on heroin will really wreck their buzzes. No kidding! The library is controversial, and people seem to love it or hate it.

As far as ideal, cozy libraries that embrace both form and function, I am still a fan of the Bellevue Regional Library (part of King County Library System, not Seattle Public). However, my favorite building in Seattle is the chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University.

I'm not versed in architecture, and sometimes I feel self-conscious saying what I like and don't like because it might not be considered "good." I know people feel that way about books, though, and are sometimes hesistant to tell me what they like, so I've got to be brave too.

Lady Hearteater: Thank you. I hope to hear your songs someday, too.

galetea said...

Can't wait to read this!

rawbean said...

Good answer Alkelda!

I have a friend who worked on that project (Seattle Library) and when I first saw the exterior shape I was really pissed off because of the very apparent architect ego that was shining through. My friend and I argued a bit about it - she said there was good reasons for everything but I felt it didn't relate to the typical user (like in that it ignored the cozy reading spots you mentioned) and it was more "How can we get this published in a magazine?"

Of course I haven't been there in person so I am only judging from photos. There definitely are some nice details though...