Gotta love the electronic madness!

I do all kinds of things that no seasoned writer in their right minds would ever do!

Remember how they always tell you: Copy and save your original file and don’t make revisions to it! Always revise your copy — not the original!

Well, I have to say that it is indescribably easy to have your only, non-copied original file in front of you and to blithely start making revisions to it without even realizing your doing it!

easy

This is what I did a couple of years ago, when I was making my first revisions to my TV pilot script of Cleveland’s Burning: I accidentally made revisions directly on the Final Draft (software) file, and hit ‘save’. Forever changing it into gobbledygook!

Also known as Mumbo Jumbo:

'Sorry, but this report is simply unacceptable. Way too much mumbo... not nearly enough jumbo.'

And now that I have some bona fide revisions to make to Cleveland’s Burning, I need to put the script back into Final Draft from scratch. Luckily, I have the original version in a PDF file.

I thought, I’ll just print out the PDF version and start a brand new version of Cleveland’s Burning in Final Draft right now.

Holy-freaking-COW! It turned out that the “free” PDF converting software that I’ve been using for years is suddenly no longer free, and try as I did — for about 30 minutes — I could not get that PDF file to print out, without getting a pop-up to order the not-so-free version of the once-free PDF converter. I tried to convert the PDF file to Word and then print that, but people who suddenly want you to start paying for their not-free-anymore PDF converter are smarter than that! They wouldn’t let me do it.

Honestly, I was at it for nearly an hour before I was finally able to download a “new” free PDF converter program, drop the old PDF file into it and get a Word conversion that I could then convert back into a PDF file that would print!

!!!

But drat! I had loaded the 3-hole punch paper into the printer the wrong way, so the holes were coming up on the wrong side. I had to stop printing and fix the paper and print again.

And print it did — for half a page before the printer ran out of ink! I put in new ink and printed away…

But wait!! “Sorry, we can’t print that until you align everything!”

Aaaarrrrgh. Yes, I have a very inexpensive (cheap) HP printer and I still have to align it every time I put in a new ink cartridge…

So I took a deep breath, aligned it, and hit ‘print’ again!

And print it did — in the most convoluted fashion I have ever seen! It started printing pages that were close to the end of the script, then printed pages from the middle, then chunks from the beginning. I did finally have the entire PDF printed out and I put into numerical order myself, but wtf????

not-easySo, my dear friends, heed that advice: Make a copy and never start re-writing on your original file!

And now that that’s done, let me say that the revisions they are requesting are not that extensive. I can hardly believe it. I think it will end up having been more complicated printing out that PDF file, than it will be to give them the rewrites they’re requesting.

Meanwhile, I’m closing down the laptop to go watch a 14-year-old rerun of Vincent D’onofrio in Law & Order: Criminal intent. It will calm me down, I’m sure.

Oh, and PS: It looks like Johnny Depp won an award last night! And no, it was not for selling more property in a nanosecond than you ever dreamed of owning. And no, it was not for finally getting a legal divorce decree from whatshername.  It was because people still love him. (Myself included, although I was not aware that there was some sort of award for this, hovering in our midst.)

(Oddly, I had a dream about Johnny Depp last night. I was carrying him around on my back. But it was not an effort — sort of like, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” We were in an old theater lobby and, rather than carrying him into the theater with me, I locked the door and said to him, “Let’s just stay out here and talk.” He got down off my back and seemed happy to do this! To just hang out and talk. BTW, this was the 30-year-old version of Johnny Depp; not the current 50-some-odd-year-old version you see out & about now. It was a beautiful dream. I know that there was suddenly a swimming pool out in this lobby but I don’t really remember anything else about it.)

Well, on that note! Vincent D’onofrio and big comfy couch in the living room, here I come! And I leave you gentle folk with this:

Enjoy! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

Life in the hinterlands continues

One thing I can say about life in the hinterlands of Ohio, is that the weather never stops!

Good lord.

Tonight, we’re expecting yet another ice storm.  A few nights ago, we had no ice or snow but winds of over 45 mph and it took off a piece of my car! I have no idea where the piece sailed off to. The same wind, with a little whipped-up rain, caused the power to go out for 5 hours… You can always tell which neighbor is smart enough to buy a generator because their well-lit house is the only light you can see for miles… When the power goes out late at night in the hinterlands, it is really, really dark outside.

I don’t plan on buying an expensive generator, for gosh sakes, because I’m not planning on living here that long. However, I don’t have any clue anymore what “for that long” means. All I know is that I wake up every morning and I’m still here and I don’t know for how long I’m staying and time goes rushing away from me.

But back to the topic of weather….

Late one night, a few weeks back, I was out on Highway 16, only 10 minutes from my house, when dense fog suddenly fell all around the highway. Really and truly, seriously dense fog. All you could see were headlights coming right at you. Then, within the fog, torrential rain started. I didn’t think it could rain when you were inside of a dense fog, but apparently weather is not my strong suit. Then the torrential rain turned to sleet, then hail (!!), then back to sleet, back to rain, then just dense fog again… and by the time I reached my street, everything — fog, rain, sleet, and hail — had cleared.

Perhaps the most uproariest ten minutes of my life.

I am really, really, really getting tired of driving in so much weather!

That said, some of my roommates seem particularly unfazed by the weather here in the hinterlands:

Huckleberry sleeping with Weenie's paw on her head.
Huckleberry sleeping with Weenie’s paw on her head.

If you click the photo it will enlarge and you will no doubt see that Huckleberry has a really rough life… hahaha

All right! On that happy note, I’m going to study some Biblical Hebrew around here and then maybe contemplate life before the ice storm arrives. Have a great Friday, wherever you are and whatever the weather brings your way. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

A most perfect day!

Yes, not only is it snowing here today (yay!), but all I have to do today is sit at my desk and write!!

I also have a wonderful photo of Tommy to share! It is extremely difficult to get good photos of Tommy, because she is incredibly timid and the trauma of the recent move lasted longer for her than it did with the other cats in her colony.

Tommy on the bed yesterday
Tommy on the bed yesterday

If you click on the picture, it will enlarge. And then you will see that the table lamp next to my bed is, indeed, nearly 60 years old!!

Like all the other cats in Tommy’s colony (as well as my two tame cats who recently died), Tommy is a character in my upcoming book, The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport, illustrated by Valerie Wares.

In the book, Tommy is “Sister Thomasina” and she worries a lot.  She often says things like, “oh dear,” and “dear me.” And, of course, she wears a nun’s habit because, in the book, she’s a church cat….

"Sister Thomasina" by Val -- but without the habit
“Sister Thomasina” by Val — but without the habit

On the “very fun” front — I needed to come up with a pen name for another book I’m writing and decided to use the Wu Tang Clan nickname generator this morning and it gave me the most AWESOME nickname EVER!! The irony screams out on several levels. It is too good to be believed. Honestly, it could not be more perfect for me, it felt like it came straight from God, and it set the tone for my whole morning. Sadly, I cannot share the name with you here because then it would no longer be a “pseudonym” in the strictest sense of the word… (If you have never used the Wu Tang Clan nickname generator, do it today!)

All right, on that note, I’ve got to go to the kitchen and grab another cup of coffee and then get some more writing done here! As we enjoy our snowy day, I leave you with the song that’s been in my head for several days running (it’s even been in my dreams! What’s that about??). Enjoy, gang!

Okay. See ya! Thanks for visiting.

These Days

I still can’t complain! Life in the hinterlands continues to delight me. That said, though, I pretty much made up my mind yesterday that I’ll hang out here in this rental house as long as it remains feasible, and then finally move back to New York.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that for nearly 3 years, I was planning to move to Rhinebeck, NY, as soon as the developers decided when, exactly, they were going to tear down my old house.

That prospect was going to drag on for another 5 years, at the least, and so this past September, I sold my old house and now I’m renting a friend’s house in the amazing hinterlands of Ohio, while I focus on the TV pilots, and on a couple of books I’m writing (and, now, I’ve added writing the one-man play about Caiaphas into that mix), and try to figure out what the heck I want to do with the next half of my life.

So, yesterday, I decided.

Not only do I love Rhinebeck, but I have a couple of good friends who live there, and Manhattan is only a commuter train ride away, where most of the rest of my friends still reside.  So that’s that.

This morning, like every morning these days, I awoke about 6 am,  terribly missing my cats.  Not just the 2 who recently died, but Buster, as well, who died in September of ’13.  They were “my babies,” and now it seems like it is only a heartbeat later and all 3 of them are gone.

Even though Christmas is my favorite time of year, I’m not really celebrating this year. All my many, many boxes of Christmas stuff are in storage about 20 miles from here. I’m okay with where my life is at right now, even though it’s in a kind of limbo, still, I couldn’t help remembering all the many joyous past Christmases when my cats were still with me. For instance:

Fluffy at Christmas, about 6 years ago.
Fluffy at Christmas, about 6 years ago.

 

And I couldn’t help wondering, yet again, what life is all about.

The more I study for my ministry (which is, basically, 24/7), the more convinced I am that the “here & now” is all that exists in physical terms and that that only just barely exists. Meaning, I believe “here & now” is a construct of the physical senses that only exists for as far as our 5 senses can detect and that most of physical reality is just something we think is there, extending beyond us. The past was just a fleeting construct that somehow felt so intensely real, we can barely fight off the allure of it; and the future is a construct we imagine we will experience but never do because it’s really all just “here & now.”

I believe that immediately beyond what our 5 physical senses can detect lies the non-physical, which takes up Eternity. That we only perceive things here in the physical when we actually focus on perceiving them. Wallace Stevens described a similar idea in his famous poem “July Mountain” many years ago.

I believe we all have inner beings that have inner beings, who have inner beings, who have inner beings, who have inner beings, like a truly endless Matryoshka doll. And because of that, I feel that God truly is an unknowable, distant “Being” that is like some sort of “dream machine,” constantly, eternally, unfathomably dreaming every single solitary thing, idea, thought, person, creature, into its own “being-ness”. This is partly why my ministry is called The Edge of God Ministry — because I believe we “exist” here at the farthest edge of God, a God that never ceases creating, while we evolve into deliberate creators, learning how to dream our own thoughts into “being” until we become an inner being of someone else.

Until we all  finally learn that everything is joyful and sacred and that everything, all across the board, exists because it chooses to. Eternally. And then we leave the physical realm and focus non-physically.

Even while I can’t prove any of this, it’s still what I believe. And for me, it adds a heightened element of sanctity to all these things that mean so much to me in the physical, and that brings me joy.  And it doesn’t lessen the profundity of anything else that anyone else chooses to take joy in and bring into existence. We each define what matters to us. It’s all sacred.

And so I believe my cats choose to be here as much as I choose to have them in my life, and that only makes them all the more dear to me now that they’ve chosen to leave it.

I try to imagine how this distant “dream machine” called God could create so much love and create such an intensity of “being here” in the physical, and I remain in awe of God. And in awe of everyone and everything who chooses to come here and “Be” for awhile, multiplied by however many aeons it’s been going on.

As the sky became almost imperceptibly lighter, I knew it was time to stop missing “my babies,” get out of bed, and go to the kitchen and get a cup of coffee. Which I did. Only to bring the cup of coffee back to bed so I could continue marveling at creation.

Today, I am going to be working on my one-man play about Caiaphas, also continuing to re-learn Biblical Hebrew, while also continuing to listen to the lectures on “Jesus and His Jewish Influences,” by Jodi Magness, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania; lectures which are absolutely astounding in their depth of knowledge of the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Apocrypha and the uncanny degree to which 1st Century Jewish Christians continued to carefully craft stories of Jesus to fit prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures.

But it doesn’t make me love Jesus any less. To me, he grows more and more profound. What the heck was he really teaching back then that scared so many Jews and Romans, and that could make so many other Jews and Gnostics and Pagans cherish him so dearly that they were committed to making his name live forever?

I keep feeling as if I am on the verge of finding out…

So, there I sat as the sun came up, enjoying my coffee and the thoughts in my head, keenly missing my cats but treasuring them just the same, when Daddycakes jumped up on the bed and stared at me so lovingly. He’s not tame, he’s feral; now semi-feral as he is really starting to trust me — after 4 1/2 years. He is such a beautiful cat, and so compassionate. When Bunny died so suddenly, the morning after we moved here, Daddycakes cuddled up against her lifeless body; he was clearly in mourning, saying goodbye. These cats are so dear.

Remembering all this made me think of John Rutter’s lovely arrangement of All Things Bright and Beautiful, so I played it, over & over & over again, and eventually I got out of bed and resumed my participation in creating a really sacred day!

Christmas is almost here, gang! I hope you’re enjoying the lovely season. Thanks, as always, for visiting!

 

 

 

 

 

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis