Happy Updates from the Hinterlands!

First and foremost: They should have a response to my recent revisions on the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot by the end of this week!

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if there were no more revisions needed?? After all, eventually the rewrites must cease and the production must begin…

I first got the idea for this particular TV series when I was studying for the ministry at the Ohio Christian University (once known as Circleville Bible College) a small school literally built out in the middle of farmland:

Ohio Christian University

I loved that school and I loved studying for the ministry (I was on the Dean’s List every single semester and graduated summa cum laude) and I loved becoming a minister, even while my views about Jesus are radical and heretical by evangelical standards. (I guess, by most people’s standards, come to think of it.)

Anyway, liberal and far-flung as I am psychologically, I still believe that Jesus himself gave me the idea for the premise of Cleveland’s Burning (now known more loftily as the Untitled Cleveland Drama).  After my involvement with 11 various producers in LA came to nothing, I set aside the script for a couple of years, until suddenly another production company in LA asked to read it and now, here we are, on the verge of actually getting the pilot made.

Interestingly, though, one of their recent comments about my script was to tone down the Christian stuff.  The pilot centers around a black family in Cleveland during the early 1960s, and most of the men in the family are ministers in various stages of their careers. So I wasn’t quite sure how “toning down the Christian stuff” would work…

But seriously, I wrote the show because it really irks me how, nowadays, people try to position DR. Martin Luther King in a strictly cultural and political sense, when in reality, he was more commonly  known for a long time as the REVEREND Martin Luther King; he was a Baptist preacher, completely at odds with political groups like the NAACP.

King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is the focal point of the pilot episode of my TV series and that letter (addressed to clergymen) is nothing but Christian doctrine — which happens to be all about love, not politics. Hence, it really just irks me that contemporary society wants to sort of erase the Christian influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. (Sort of like how early Christians erased as much of Jesus’s Jewishness and of his family life as they possibly could.)

Ah. But I digress. Anyway.

So I developed an entire TV series about the Christian “evolvement” of the Civil Rights Movement so that I might be able to sort of bang you over the head with it…. (Kind of kidding here, but kind of not!) And even though the producers want to focus more on the one non-minister brother who goes off to Vietnam and comes back a Black Panther/Black Nationalist (because I guess violence is more palatable today than any Christian doctrines of love), I am still indescribably excited and still believe wholeheartedly that Jesus gave me the idea while I was studying for his ministry and that’s all that really matters to me.

In other news… I have decided to buy a new house instead of rent. By “new” I am referring, of course, to really old houses, but they will be new to me! I’m still going to remain out here in the Hinterlands, where I have been so happy for the first time in my life. I am waiting to hear how it will go, mortgage-wise.

I want one of those home loans from the US Department of Agriculture, which mandates that I must purchase a home in a rural area, which includes the nearby lake region, which is just fine with me! Me and the kitties might become nautical!! I sure hope so. And I really hope to be re-located by Christmas, if I can. We will see. I will indeed keep you posted. (I currently have my eye on 2 houses: one is an old farm house from 1910; the other an old lake house from 1930. Both have been updated to modern standards, although the lake house, more so.)

Meanwhile, I must get back to re-writes on the theatrical version of Tell My Bones. It is slow-going. Mostly because it is distracting, knowing that I have to move soon and having all that drudgery of moving again hanging over my head.

Okay, thanks for visiting!! Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  And if you’d like to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail  (and, frankly, who wouldn’t want to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail??) well, here ya’ go!!

See ya!!

 

Just a quick hi!

I’m just popping in to regale you with a few photos!

As loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, I am now under a SUPER tight deadline to revise my one-act theatrical version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story by September 17th, when I must speed mightily toward the great State of New York in my tiny Honda Fit, in order to see Sandra Caldwell on the opening night of her new play, and hand her the revised script of the above-mentioned Tell My Bones.

In short, I have little time for posting to the blog right now!

However…. Photos have come into my life this week that I must share!

First and foremost, a couple of really high-quality digital photos of some of Helen LaFrance’s paintings that will be in my play, Tell My Bones. Be sure to click on them so that you can enlarge them and see the astounding detail that her paintings are famous for.

Canning Peaches by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University
Pete’s Place by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University

Next! Some cats on my bed yesterday!!

Clockwise from top left: Tommy, Huckleberry, Daddycakes, Doris, Weenie, Lucie. (I love the dramatic pose taken by Daddycakes here! Click to enlarge.)

Next! Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I once had an ideal patio here in the Hinterlands; a patio that filled me with bliss, which was sweetly appointed with numerous pots of impatiens that a lovely deer and her equally-lovely fawns decimated in early July…

I then moved all the flower pots to my front patio, since it is closer to the house and I didn’t think the deer would be likely to come up so close to a human dwelling place… [Dramatic foreshadowing –Editor]

The impatiens rebounded with gusto and were once again blooming like mad, even though I rarely hang out on my front patio and enjoy them!

Several days ago, a bunny rabbit happened along during the night and made good progress with devouring one of the pots of impatiens that was lower to the ground. Then, this past Wednesday morning, I awoke to discover that the deer had returned! WOW, did they do a good job of getting rid of my pesky impatiens!!  (Click below to get a close-up view of some of the carnage!)

Three of the 8 impatiens planters after the deer.

Honestly, though, I don’t really care that much. I thought it was really funny when I looked out the huge picture window early Wednesday morning and saw what was left of my beautiful flowers. And this was after having watered all the flowers the evening before, marveling at how fully the plants had recovered and at all their many riotous blooms… My only lament that morning was that I didn’t get to see how cute the deer were, munching away leisurely until every blossom was gone!

I will keep watering the plants and they will likely bloom again before any frost comes, a few months from now. But now that I know I have to move away, I am emotionally detaching myself from this lovely place and nothing means quite as much as it did only a few weeks ago, when I thought I would be able to stay here indefinitely.

I also completely detached myself emotionally from my back patio. Not only because I had moved all the pretty flowers to the front of the house, but more because I kept asking people around here to come over and hang out on my cool back patio and have a beer and watch the fireflies and the stars come out, and absolutely no one accepted my invitation! It just got very sad and lonely and frustrating. Once the many melodious robins had moved on and the fireflies burned out and the intense humidity came along with the mosquitoes, I stopped spending my evenings outdoors and now I only go out to water the plants in the evening. And I dream of my next heavenly abode.

But it’s all good, gang, because better things are truly on my horizon. Another move to some awesome place does indeed loom large. And I’m sure I’ll make new friends somewhere, somehow, some way!! After all, I’m not dead yet!

All righty. Gotta scoot! Deadlines also loom large on my horizon! Hope you have a terrific weekend planned, wherever you are on the planet! Thanks for visiting. (Oh, and enjoy the upcoming Great American Solar Eclipse, New Moon, and various trining planets! I’ll be participating in some sort of world-wide meditation, as usual.) Okay. See ya!

Watson’s General Store by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University.

Done & Done! Yippee Ki Yi Yay!

Saturday, I completed the revisions on my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot; Sunday I took one last pass at it; and then Sunday night I saved it as a PDF file and hit ‘SEND.’ Yay!

Done.

I only missed my (self-imposed) deadline by 2 days. And, since weekends don’t count as business days, per se, it was only really one day late!

My only lament is that I have to change the title, and I really actually like the title (Cleveland’s Burning) because it really fits the tone of Cleveland in the 1960s (wherein I spent my wee bonny girlhood!). But I’ll let the gods that be try to come up with a more marketable title.

[Wouldn’t it be great if they wound up filming it in Cleveland?? Then I wouldn’t have to move out of state again. But it would be cool if it filmed in NYC, because if I have to move out of state, I’d rather move back to NY than out to LA.  And the many cats concur.  But we shall see, right, gang??]

[I hope they don’t try to film this in Canada! Because try as they might to find places in Canada that look and feel like various places in the USA, they’re never going to find a place that feels like Cleveland anywhere north of the Great Lakes…]

On that happy note…

Delightful as it would be to take a day off before the summer is over

I now have to leap into the revisions of the theatrical version of my Tell My Bones TV script in order to have it ready for Sandra when I see her in NYC in 4 weeks.

But one of these days, I’m going to have the best summer ever. You mark my words!! (Honestly, though, I did have the best summer ever, right here in the Hinterlands. I am so sad that I have to move, but I know for certain I will find the best possible place to call home.)

Okay! Let me get crackin’ on the next script here, because as soon as the writing is over for the day, this awaits me:

Newcastle Brown Ale!

And I can’t wait!! All right. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a super-duper Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. See ya!

Requiem for a Comet

Gang, I simply cannot believe that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 is being forced to close Labor Day weekend.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog know just how excited I’ve been about getting into NYC to see this show. I had not even had time to post here yet that I had indeed managed to get a ticket for the Sept. 19th show (with much help from my ex-husband, Wayne Lewis) when I go briefly to NYC for Sandra’s opening in Charm, at the MCC Theater.

I had my prized ticket all of 24 hours before they announced that the show would indeed close.

I will not go into why the show has to close. If you are not already aware of everything that coalesced to bring this sudden ending to an unbelievable production, you can google it.

So sad. So disheartening.

The thing about theater, especially the amazing production of a Broadway show — once it closes there is simply no recapturing it. It’s not like a movie, or a TV show or anything you can stream forever.

All right.

If you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, you should head over to the Copyright Alliance website, where I answer 5 questions about the importance of copyrights and my long, illustrious writing career! I did the Q&A several months ago, so I don’t really remember what I said, but I’m guessing it was super lofty!

Seriously, though, if you are a creator, you need to understand the importance of protecting your copyrights, so check it out.

I am almost done with the rewrites of my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV Pilot. I alerted the head of production in L.A. that I should have the new draft to him by the end of this week! (I’m not sure if I’m crazy or not, but I feel pretty sure that I can actually achieve what I’ve promised. By Friday, we’ll all know for certain.)

And did you see that full moon last night??!! Wasn’t it spectacular? I was participating in a world-wide guided meditation last night (online), because there was an auspicious alignment of the star Sirius, the Orion constellation, and the forming of a Lion’s Gate over the pyramids at Giza in Egypt, along with the full moon and a lunar eclipse. It was quite an amazing meditation. (You can google 888 Lion’s Gate Meditation for all the various events that went on and what it meant.)

I have to say, it really was an incredibly powerful meditation for me. Or should I say, I was very deeply into it? And when the meditation was coming to a close, what to my wondering ears should appear, but the loudest train whistle ever. It felt like the train was getting ready to pass through my bedroom! Loyal readers of this lofty blog know how much I love trains and the sound of train whistles. So I took this as a sign that the Universe was chiming in on that amazing meditation.

My cats, however…. Man.  At the absolute very moment the meditation was beginning, they got into a truly horrific cat fight. They have never done that before. It was not only alarming, but they brought it right into my bedroom, under the bed I was beginning the meditation on. It was really too weird. But eventually they settled down.

On other somewhat disturbing fronts… Turns out, I have to move again. This house I’m renting is going up for sale and I cannot afford to buy it. (That is putting it really, really mildly!) I’m going to stay here in the Hinterlands, though, because I love it here!  I have been so happy, for the first time in my life. I mean, really, really peacefully happy. (Except of course for Bunny dying the moment I got here…)

Bunny by Val in Brooklyn

I’m trying to look on the upcoming move as an incredible new adventure. Finally, I will be able to settle down and unpack all the boxes that contain 95% of my life…

Okay. Gotta scoot. I have a ton of re-writes to do around here today!! (Although, I must add that I am really, really happy with how it is all turning out.)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are. Let’s close with this, okay, gang?  Watch it — it only lasts about 1 minute. You will be amazed that this spectacular show is actually closing, in less than 1 year on Broadway and after 12 Tony nominations. Okay. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

It’s all about the coffee!!

I used to know HTML with my eyes closed. I used to know how to build entire web pages, including sourcing images, colors, fonts, links, anchored text, etc., by simply tippy-tapping away on my mammoth desktop keyboard. Out it would all come, no additional code needed. Even Java Scripting was only just getting underway back then.

Of course, this was in the era of the Flintstones; back in the Stone Age of the late 1990s, when the mystical World Wide Web was just beginning. Back when Google wasn’t even around, Yahoo was just getting started, and we searched with things like Alta Vista and Lycos.

But now that most things online have become convenient, user-friendly templates, with no HTML knowledge needed, trying to get a template to do anything even slightly different from what it was meant to do, has become stupidly complicated.

I just spent the past 2 hours trying to get an image on the Buy Me A Cup of Coffee page (in the header bar above) to redirect to an outside page.

It should have been simple as pie: Insert a small bit of HTML into the pre-programmed code at the proper place, close the HTML and then, voila! New page! But au contraire. It led only to emptiness and consternation. So, 2 hours later, I settled for an even older-fashioned text link and was done with it! Now there is simply a leading-nowhere image on the page that looks just like this:

Yes, at long last, I have joined a crowdfunding site! 

Ostensibly, you can now easily buy me a cup of coffee — with the help of Ko-fi.com. However, you can also, in the grander scheme of things, contribute to the many coffees I will buy on my increasingly frequent trips to New York City to work on my many theater projects with Sandra Caldwell.

I want to thank my colleague in Oakland, CA., Lori Selke, for inadvertently pointing me in the direction of a crowdfunding site made for buying me cups of coffee.  I subscribe to her really wonderful Earworm of the Month Club (a free monthly article about culture that is generally tied to music in some way), and I saw just how easy it was to buy her a cup of coffee!

What a terrific idea, I thought to myself. And so, here we are, the following day…

However, because of all this  screwing around with HTML and source codes and other such nonsense for 2 hours, I am now really, really behind in my schedule for re-writes today, so I gotta scoot.

I leave you with this, though. Yes, this is the actual brand of coffee I drink, and have drunk for decades!! I love it, gang!!

The heavenly coffee! New York’s Coffee since 1932.

And when I first moved to New York City, 37 years ago, these shops were all over midtown:

New York coffee of yesteryear! Go in, buy a cup of coffee for mere pennies! Then go on your way!

But no more! Now we need total blog-reading strangers to support our New York-coffee-buying-habit.

All righty, gang! Thanks for visiting! See ya! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup o’ Joe.

Because nothing says successful writer like a good cup of coffee!

Tiny Tidbits and Odds & Sods

Happy Friday, gang! Hope you’re planning to make it a terrific weekend, wherever you are.

I just wanted to give you some quick updates before I dive deep into TV pilot re-writes around here.

The first update is on the Shoshin Yoga classes I mentioned in my previous post. Yes, the  Kaiut Yoga poses that will kill you. The update is that I have survived three 75-minute sessions, interspersed with 1 of my usual, old-fashioned yoga sessions, and I CANNOT BELIEVE the difference it has made in my joints. Already!

This type of yoga is for any level, any age participant, because it is all done on the floor, on a yoga mat. No upright, complicated balance poses. If you are having joint stiffness, or recovering from a surgery or a sports injury thingy, then you might seriously want to try this kind of yoga.

I use online classes and do them in my living room. You have to pay by the month, but they are not expensive. Just a head’s up, in case you are suffering. It has made a world of difference for me and, as I said, results have happened quickly.

Another update: Once again, thank you to all of you who have been downloading my free eBooks at Smashwords this month. The special promotion ends in 4 days. After that, you will have to resort to either buying my eBooks (hence, helping me pay for my life-saving yoga classes!!), or searching out illegal downloads somewhere on the Internet (try Russia first; it will save you time!). (However, avoid any sites offering free downloads of a very old short story of mine, titled The Urge Towards Jo, as this is generally an FBI sting site for pedophiles. I kid you not. Steer clear, unless one of your lifelong goals is to be publicly arrested for being a pedophile.)

Anyway.

Here is a link to my blog page that has all the free downloading info. And thanks again, gang. I think I had more downloads during this year’s promotion than any in the recent years.

Another (EXCITING) update! Although, this one is a little iffy because it involves acting quickly… There is a promising chance that I will get to see Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 when I go to see Sandra’s new play in New York City in mid-September.  A former husband/current friend-and-namesake, Wayne Lewis, and I are trying to get a couple of tickets for the Sept. 19th show.  There are, like, 4 (expensive) tickets left. I’ll keep you posted. (Meanwhile, if you scroll to the bottom of this blog post, you can hear that terrific, Tony-nominated, 7-minute song from the show, entitled: Letters.)

Okay. I think that’s it for the updates! Gotta get my fingers tippy-tapping on the re-writes of the Untitled Cleveland Drama!!

Thanks for visiting, gang! Be like me: Eat plenty of chocolate and have a terrific Friday! See ya!

Chocolate makes life better! It’s a proven fact.

Ready for a painful death yet???

Well, okay, perhaps I exaggerate. But I did start doing Shoshin Yoga (a class that teaches Kaiut Yoga). And doing it calls to mind poses that were perhaps used by torturers during the Spanish Inquisition.

Do not be fooled by how simple the poses look! That would be your first foolish mistake.

I have been doing just basic old yoga for about 10 years. Primarily simple floor poses. Nothing elaborate or fancy. I get great results and am really happy with it. However, I am really, really tired of pounding my poor feet around on hard wood floors, pavement, cement, concrete, etc., all the time. Now 57 years’ worth of all the time. My legs are taking a  real beating. So I thought I would try Shoshin Yoga.  The poses looked so relaxing and, yes, easy!

Well, it is, in fact, easy! But it kills you. The poses are all about putting pressure on the joints, and holding the poses a really long time.  Or what feels like a long time, because you’re putting so much darn pressure on your joints!(I’m currently focusing on a routine that does 10 floor poses in 75 minutes. Oddly, the time overall goes quickly, even though you feel like it is taking forever to die.)

After the torture is over, I do feel noticeably loose & limber. So I’m going to try doing it 3-4 times a week and see how it goes. If you see me go skittering past you, all loose & limber & spry, then you can assume the torture is paying off.

Meanwhile…

Tickets are now on sale for the play Charm, by Philip Dawkins, at MCC Theater in New York City.  I will be there opening night (September 18th?) but I believe tickets for that night are now impossible to get. This is the play in which my friend & colleague, Sandra Caldwell, has the lead:

The New York Times calls Sandra Caldwell a ‘true entertainer in every sense of the word.’ Her acting career extends throughout the worlds of film, television, and theater. As a jazz singer, she has performed with top orchestras in some of the world’s finest venues, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. On television, Sandra was seen in ‘The Book of Negroes’ (miniseries, guest lead); ’19-2′ (recurring); ‘Soul Food’ (recurring) ‘Little Men’ (series regular) and guest starring roles in such shows as ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and ‘Rookie Blue’. She was a featured performer in many TV movies, including Good Fences with Whoopie Goldberg, and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls. Film work includes Murder at 1600; Shall We Dance, and Maya Angelou’s directorial debut, Down in the Delta. In theater, Sandra has appeared in the musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Shubert Theater); the Original Workshop for Ragtime (Live Ent. Productions); the drama Coming Through Slaughter (Necessary Angel Theater, Toronto); and was nominated for a Dora Award, the Canadian Tony, for her work in Sophisticated Ladies (Sterling Productions, Toronto).”

Plan to see the show if you are going to be in NYC this fall, okay? But make haste! It is a limited run.

All right.  Now I have to take my loose & limber self back to the world of TV pilot re-writing! I’ll see if I can keep my limber hip joints from sliding off my desk chair!

Then, this evening, it’s cake & coffee, with one of my former writing students, at my home away from home: the Granville Inn!!

We are celebrating our recent birthdays. (His 30th; my 57th!) I’m looking forward to it. It seems all I do around here anymore is work, sleep, and kill myself with Kaiut yoga…

So! Enjoy this gorgeous Wednesday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis