One warm, clear, summer day in 1999, I found myself making a solo trek along the Cornish Coastal Footpath, from the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, to
I ‘d come to Cornwall at the suggestion of a pleasant and persuasive man, a film director, with whom I’d been working in the London office of a British film and television production company in the effort to transform one of my screenplays into something the producers thought they could find backing for. Over the course of several days’ work, the script had come to resemble a sort of gentle thriller, not at all what I'd had in mind when I wrote it. But, innocent that I was, I still believed I could find a way to please them while keeping the story mine.
I hungered to see my words brought to life on screen, and the director’s desire to set the story in
But this side trip, my solo walk, was entirely unplanned. I’d left my bed & breakfast in
During my walk along that spectacular coastline, with fields on my right, sheer cliffs dropping to the sea on my left, I had it all to myself, encountering only three or four other people the entire time. The distance between Porthcurno and
So despite the occasional sight of another hiker half a mile ahead of me, and those few whose paths crossed mine, I was alone on the journey. And I felt utterly anonymous. No one in the world who knew me, knew where I was that morning. Had I tumbled down the cliffs, been eaten by a rabid sheep, or washed out to sea, no one would have even known I was missing for days.
My screenwriting career ignited, burned merrily for a few years, then died. Sometimes I scratch sadly through the ashes, wondering how it might have turned out had a thousand things been different.
But the memory of those hours in
[If you’d like to read a detailed account of someone else’s journey on this leg of the path, but in the reverse direction, i.e.,