Just when I thought I was finally taking my time, working on all my various stuff-in-progress at leisure…
Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that from April through September of 2018, I was hard at work down at my kitchen table, trying to revise, re-fashion, reform, adapt my (award-winning!!) screenplay Tell My Bones, about the life of folk painter Helen LaFrance, into a stage play for Sandra Caldwell.
I set it aside, momentarily, because I suddenly, out of the clear blue sky, began writing a novel called Blessed By Light.
I then had to set that aside in order to do extensive revisions to my CLEVELAND TV pilot before going to LA.
Came back from LA, was in the throes of falling in love, went thoroughly and completely insane instead, contemplated the value of attempting suicide, decided I preferred writing & being in love to the prospects of being damned for eternity or whatever would have happened there, and then a couple of days ago, I began yet another undertaking, Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse (sort of an erotic memoir in letter form), wrote the first “Letter,” when suddenly and without warning, Sandra Face-Timed me and I had not washed my hair in days…. !!!!! (People! Please! Do not Face-Time me without giving me much advance notice so that I can wash my hair!! You truly DO NOT want to see me the way I usually look!!)
She Face-Timed me and said that she wants to do the Helen LaFrance play now, possibly in Florida, before we do The Guide to Being Fabulous, which was supposed to go into staged readings in NYC, like, really right now, but hasn’t.
I hemmed, people, and I hawed. And she said, with a little alarm: “You’ve got it, right? It’s ready, right?”
Oh yeah, yeah. Sure. I’ve got it right where you want it! Just let me tweak it a bit…
So anyway, that’s where we stand. I must seriously complete the Helen LaFrance adaptation and get it to Sandra, and so I now have about zippo time for writing on the blog!!
So please forgive my sporadic posts at this point in time. I will endeavor to, you know, just write a whole heck of a bunch of stuff, including the blog posts, and just throw it on out there as I go zipping past!!
Meanwhile, thank you for visiting! I love you guys. I hope things are going really great in your area of the world. I leave you with this! A synopsis of sorts! Come see the play! You won’t want to miss it! (See it before it wins the Pulitzer and ticket prices go through the roof!! I’m just sayin’…)
Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story
A One-Woman Play with Music in One Act
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Tell My Bones is the true story of how self-taught folk artist, Helen LaFrance, becomes a beloved painter of the rural South while enduring the hardships of Jim Crow-era Kentucky.
The paintings of Helen LaFrance now hang in galleries around the world, but it took nearly a century of tragedies and sacrifices for that to happen.
Tell My Bones is the life of the indomitable Helen LaFrance, who tells her quite personal story through the magical world of her beloved folk art. Paintings such as “Bringing in the Cotton,” “Tobacco Harvest,” and “Quilts in the Breeze” come alive on screens that recall bedsheets hanging out to dry on clotheslines in a more rustic world. Her paintings unveil the story of a loving, rural family, surmounting hard times in 20th Century Kentucky. Tell My Bones is an uplifting one-woman drama set to the stirring music of specially arranged African-American Spirituals that celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.
Descended from runaway slaves, Helen LaFrance is born in 1919, on a farm in Graves County, Kentucky, in a log cabin built by her father. When Helen is 3, her mother teaches her how to paint, using berries and laundry bluing as “paints” and twigs for paint brushes. Needed as helpers on the farm, Helen and her 3 sisters receive only one year of formal schooling, with most of their education coming from their parents, who teach them to read and write from the only book they own – the Bible.
Upon the death of her mother, Helen is sent off the farm to earn her living in the nearby town, first as a live-in maid, then as a factory worker. Fostering other people’s children along the way, her five marriages do not bear children of her own. Some of her foster children bring her great joy, while others bedevil her – robbing her and burning her house to the ground. Throughout the trials of life, Helen pursues the chance to paint at every opportunity. She finally achieves success as an artist at the age of 89, but then suffers a paralyzing stroke. Will she teach herself to paint again? Through her unconquerable faith in God, she does. At age 94, now confined to a wheelchair, she receives Kentucky’s highest honor, the Governor’s Award, for her complete body of work: hundreds of paintings that have now sold all over the world.