A wee bit o’ snow!

Yes, the snow keeps coming! After most of the snow melted by Sunday night, we got about 6 more inches of it yesterday.

It is incredibly white out there right now, but also incredibly COLD, so I didn’t venture farther than my front door to get this photo for you!

Pine tree in the front yard, as seen from the front door, wherein the whole top half of this really tall tree is lopped off…

I’ve been doing basically nothing. Binge-watching Bleak House, Prime Suspect: Tennison, and episodes of Frasier from the 6th and 7th seasons.

I made a pot of potato-vegetable soup this morning and baked a batch of brownies because that was basically all I had left in the kitchen and I didn’t want to go to the grocery store.  Although I’m sort of thinking I might have to bite that bullet and get the little Honda Fit started up…

However. The snow is really lovely to look at, and I did have to go out driving around a bit in it over the weekend — in fact, on Sunday morning, at the bend of Cherry Valley Road (yes, I live somewhere where they actually have a road named “Cherry Valley”!), looking up a huge snow-covered hill, I saw an amazing buck in the snow!

No, not this one. This is merely a reasonable facsimile!

He was breathtaking. Partly because he was still alive. Most people out here in the Hinterlands are hunters and, come hunting season, like to kill just about anything that God created and then cook it… (That part of living in the Hinterlands is extremely hard for me to contend with, since I am an animal-loving vegetarian.)

No, I haven’t moved into the new house yet, which is even farther out into the Hinterlands than where I’m living right now. I know the snow is really bad out there.  And the river is frozen solid for miles and threatening to flood later this week.  (I will live far enough away from the river that it won’t pose a risk for my new house, but some of my new friends around here might have to deal with the flood). I’m not eager to move in the middle of this snowy winter. It is all causing me a bit of anxiety, but soon enough, the move will be behind me and Spring will be right around the corner! (Anyway, that’s what I keep telling the cats.)

On that happy note, I’ve gotta get some web work done here for Sandra Caldwell. Then go watch another incredible episode of Bleak House and perhaps eat another brownie!! We shall see. I hope you’re having a great snow day today, wherever you are on this planet!! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

 

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Is it a comedy or just bad writing?

One thing about living in the Hinterlands: Even while I do have an AMC megaplex within walking distance of my rental house, it only shows really big budget movies, or absolutely anything animated for kids.

Because of the craziness of the holidays, along with the continued snow and below-zero temperatures around here, I haven’t been able to get into the nearest city and see any of the movies I really wanted to see: Lady Bird, 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and The Man Who Invented Christmas, to name the top 3.

Well, thanks to that #NationalScreenwritersDay this past Friday, I was able to download a ton of amazing screenplays for free.  Of course, reading a screenplay doesn’t necessarily mean you get a true idea of how the movie wound up telling the story, but it still gives you some great visuals and at least you do get to read the basic plot.

I have been so eager to see 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri since back in November, when a producer out in L.A. first raved about it in an email. I watched the trailer and thought, Hmmm, this is really, really violent, but Frances McDormand is in it and I trust her choices and her judgement… So I still wanted to see it. I literally had no clue whatsoever that this movie was a comedy.

I began reading the script before it won the Golden Globe over the weekend and I thought the script was just horrible. Really, just a downward-spiraling potpourri of hate, violence, and awfulness. I was dumbfounded. I thought to myself, the only way this endless collection of horrific cliches would work is if this were a comedy….

Of course, once I found out that it was, indeed, a black comedy, it became brilliant. Funny how that works, right? (But it’s also peculiar how a comedy might not necessarily read like one on the page, isn’t it? How you really do need good direction and great acting to help your vision come to life.)

I’m in the middle of reading Lady Bird right now, which, in my opinion, is just terrific writing. So visual. So charming. It just leaps off the page. Next in line are Mudbound and The Disaster Artist. And I still have dozens of scripts left.

It’s actually really cool to just live out here in the middle of nowhere, no distractions, the snow still sprinkled about, and read a whole pile of screenplays. Oh, I actually watched (streamed) The Big Sick on Amazon last night. I’d been wanting to see that for months. I adored it. It was the perfect blend of comedy and emotional tension. They did a great job with it.  (Oh, and back before Christmas, I streamed Marjorie Prime and I really loved that. I found the pacing so hypnotic. I was just riveted.)

Since I am going on and on about movies, it occurs to me that I never mentioned having seen the current remake of Murder on the Orient Express. I only wrote that I had plans to go see it. Well, I saw it. As always, I loved Johnny Depp, but he’s in it for about 5 minutes (literally). The rest of it, I could have done without. Why they remade it after a number of great versions of it already exist, is —yes! — a mystery!

Okay, I’m gonna get on with real life around here today. Still so much paperwork-type stuff to do regarding the new house. Then some of my own writing to do. Thanks for visiting, gang! I leave you with this wonderfully atmospheric tune that I’ve been playing a lot lately. it seems to go well with gently falling snow…

All righty! See ya!

(PS: After listening to the above song a bazillion times, I got curious about watching the movie of the same name that came out earlier this year, written by Allan Loeb. I really liked it! Very messy and romantic. Had a real “New York in the 1990s” feel.)

Re-Charge, Re-Group, Release! Rejoice! 2018

I’m so excited because, for the past few days, I’ve been BETA testing an online course for learning Galilean Aramaic.  (This is an ancient Galilean dialect, and is an all but extinct language, but it is the dialect that Jesus spoke. If you’re interested in learning it, and being a BETA tester, you can sign up at The Aramaic New Testament website.)

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that before I was inundated with re-writes of both The Tea Cozy Murder Club script, and the Cleveland’s Burning script, I was re-learning Biblical Hebrew and was beginning to learn Ancient Greek.  Even though the script-writing projects haven’t died down, the fact that I finally seem to have a permanent dwelling place on my horizon again, made me think I should get back to Biblical Hebrew, at the very least.

In the middle of that, though, I got a month’s free membership to a really cool online French course, and even though I’ve been doing really well in that course, especially after not having read or written a word of French in 5 years, I don’t really think I’m likely to go back to France and I don’t see any reason to keep studying French, after having studied it for about 40 years…

Well,  I’ve taken to the Galilean Aramaic like a fish out of water! I really have.  I just love it. At age 57 ( my age right now), I see things in terms of being the last chapter of life.  I don’t want to spend/waste anymore time on anything French, or on re-learning Biblical Hebrew, and I don’t really have a burning desire to learn Ancient Greek at this point (my desire always lay in wanting to read the Septuagint in Greek, which I’m thinking is not really likely to happen!).  But it became crystal clear to me that in whatever time I have left (of course, I’m hoping for another 40 years), I would really like to concentrate on learning Galilean Aramaic!

It’s a really exciting feeling. Even while I know that the best laid schemes o’ Mice & Men…  regardless: to know the house & the town I want to live out my life in, the projects I want to get written before I die, the books I still want to read, the histories I want to study, and now the language I hope to master. It just feels so invigorating. So joyful.  An emotional clarity that feels so focused.

It’s no longer about “what should I do next for my career?” or “what should I study next in order to move my career to the next level?” or “where is the best place to live in order to make the career networking more efficient?” All that stuff — it’s done. I did what I needed to do; studied everything imaginable until the cows came home (they eat a lot but it’s great having them home, haha); I networked all over the world and met so many incredibly creative and talented people. However, now I’m just going to do what I enjoy doing and simply live my life.

Well, after the move, I will. Eck!

By the way, if you’re a screenwriter or want to be, ScreenwritingU and Stage 32 are sponsoring National Screenwriters Day. If you join in promoting it, you can download 100 award-winning and award-nominated screenplays for FREEEEE. So check it out.

BTW, #NationalScreenwritersDay is January 5th, which is also the Eve of  Epiphany.  Tradition has it, if you don’t get your Christmas decorations down by tomorrow evening, you have to leave them up until Candlemas, which is February 2nd (!!), or it’s bad luck. So get on it, gang! Nothing worse than seeing all those Christmas decorations hanging around until February…

All right! Have a great day, folks! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

Happy, Happy 2018!!

Well, except for yesterday’s “reblogging” of Ted Nottingham‘s recent video post, I haven’t been here since before Christmas.

So you probably don’t know that we had a white Christmas here! Yes! It snowed Christmas Eve!! What could be better? (BTW, I had the happiest Christmas Eve ever — probably in my whole life. And not just because it snowed; the snow was more the proverbial icing on the top.) Just so much great stuff going on and so much exciting stuff to look forward to.

And we had a seriously white –and freezing cold–New Year’s Eve here last night.  More snow than the Hinterlands has seen in a while, with temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I love snow! So these frosty developments only cause me to rejoice. Yay!

I was very tempted, yesterday, to jump into the sporty Honda Fit and drive deeper into the Hinterlands to see what my new house looks like in the snow! But, well, as  much as I love the cold and the snow, I really, really love not driving around in it. So here I remained.

One of the reasons I am having the happiest holidays, ever, is because of that new (very old) house. And I’m sure I will have plenty of winters ahead wherein I will discover what that house looks like in the snow, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about that great house all the time now. I just love that house, and I can’t wait to live in that strange and crazy tiny town (whose location, btw, cuts more than an hour off my drive to & from New York).

That said, though, I still have to get through the bank appraisal and the closing before I will know for 100% certain that it is my new house, even though it feels like home already. However, because of the looming bank appraisal and the official closing, I haven’t actually announced to people that I have a new house — except, of course, to you, gentle readers, who reside all over the world…

Another reason that it’s been the happiest of holidays here is because one of my theater projects with Sandra Caldwell in New York City is on track for Off-Broadway. I can’t discuss the details yet, and won’t be able to for a while, but things are going so great with that project.  I am so excited. And, out in L.A., TV-pilot shopping season begins in January (which is, of course, officially upon us!), so I am very excited about the prospects of my Untitled Cleveland Drama (once known as Cleveland’s Burning) very soon being sold.

The other thing that makes me so happy, of course, and the thing that makes all the other above-mentioned things a lot less stressful and even more delightful, is my new friend.  His personality, his experiences, his approach to life continue to surprise me anew every day.  He is such a cool guy and just so darned fearless.  It is such a joy to have someone in my life whose response to things is “Let’s do it!”, instead of giving the long litany of all the negative things that could go wrong with any given idea, as most people do.  God knows, I have been inundated with negative people throughout most of my life, going way, way back to my wee bonny girlhood, so he could not be more refreshing, nor his arrival in my life more perfectly timed.

All right, on that delightfully cheerful note, I’m off to the kitchen to make a huge pot of soup on this cold, snowy, frosty day.

Have a terrific 2018 wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re doing. As always, thanks for visiting, gang! See ya.

 

Knowing God

Not only does this video contain beautiful thoughts about Jeremiah’s new covenant, on what the Apocalypse was meant to reveal, and about Jesus’s teachings about Daniel, it also contains really beautiful footage of the inside of Mount Sinai Monastery, where some of the oldest Christian icons remain. Some beautiful thoughts and sights to bring in a glorious New Year!

Spiritual Food for the Soul

The meaning of the New Covenant announced by Jeremiah and and its connection to the “end of the age” revelation given by the Christ at the Temple of Solomon.
“The Journey of the Anointed One: Breakthrough to Spiritual Encounter” is on Amazon and Kindle:

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My love affair with trains is about to go up a notch!

We had the inspection for the new house this past Tuesday and it passed with flying colors. The house is 106 years old, and it needs only the most insignificant repairs.  It is so exciting! I am finally going to have a new home.

My new friend that I’ve been seeing out here in the Hinterlands came to see the house with me, and he mentioned that an old coal train goes by on the tracks near my new house and it makes a lot of noise. (Even though he was born & raised in, yes, CLEVELAND (!!??), he’s lived out here in the Hinterlands for about 30 years and seems to know every square inch of it.)

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I absolutely LOVE the sound of train whistles. Well…

During the home inspection, the train did indeed go by “near” the house and, YOWZA, was it loud! It sounded like it was in my living room.

ME (thinking with alarm): Whoa, so this is what he means by “noisy”!

It was too funny. No one seemed to notice it but me — the fact that the train sounded like it was heading straight at us. Everyone just kept right on talking.

I’ve taken one of the photos of the side of the house and blown it up a bit so that you can see the train tracks. They are literally half a block from my new house.

Railroad crossing is in the background on the left.

By the way, that porch is right off my kitchen door.  And the house has 22 windows!! My cats are going to be in heaven.

Anyway, lots to do here, with Christmas right around the corner, so I gotta scoot. Thanks for dropping by, gang!  I leave you with this! It’s been playing in the Honda Fit as I go hither and yon to far away counties, where my new happy home abides!

See ya!

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis