What does the very real Carole Lombard have in common with the fictional Colleen Cossitt? Both are obliquely referenced in a recent haiku. It happened as part of the recent inaugural Rom Com Fest.
Before explaining further, some reflections on the event -- it was well run and a good time was had by all. Friday, I saw the classic "His Girl Friday" with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant; Saturday, the delightful Drew Barrymore vehicle "Never Been Kissed," where she plays a newspaper copy editor (a position I held for 8 1/2 years!) sent undercover at a local high school; and Sunday, the magnificent, Shakespeare-inspired "10 Things I Hate About You." Its screenwriters, Karen McCullah (left) and Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith (their other collaborations include "The House Bunny" and "Legally Blonde"), spoke after the screening.
I'm certain a follow-up will take place next year. Will it become a southern California tradition, a la the Turner Classic Movies film festival held in Hollywood each spring, or go to other rom-com hotbeds (pun intended) such as New York? We'll see what happens.
On Thursday night, a pre-event get together was held, and festivities included a woman who wrote haikus on a portable typewriter by request. Upon meeting her, I asked her to write one about Lombard, and left her a few minutes later so she could compose one -- but not before I mentioned and briefly discussed my rom-com screenplays "Stand Tall!" and "Fugitive Sweetheart."
When I returned, this is what she had typed:
These screwy women
they're empowered and enlarged
a threat to "The Man"
"Empowered"? That describes Carole in so many of her comedic roles. "Enlarged"? That obviously refers to the 16-foot-1 1/8 Colleen, who must've made quite an impression on Christina to sneak into her haiku. (People love Colleen, who last year was named Best Character in a Screenplay at the Die Laughing Film Festival.) And both can be perceived as "threats," albeit lovable ones, but not to any man secure in his own stature (either figurative or literal).
Christina can be reached at @arspoetica.us, "poetry beyond the lines."
Then again, I suppose "enlarged" can apply to Lombard, too. After all, she is among the giants of Hollywood, as was proven during her successful championship run in the 2013 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney.