Get Ready to Not See Me For a Long Time!!

Yes, I was exactly right.

The meeting with the director lasted 3 hours and what was it about? Pages & pages of reasons why I need to revise Tell My Bones yet again to make the play more like the screenplay.

After I’d spent God knows how many days in an unbearable heatwave, revising the play for the millionth time.

The director does not read my blog. However, you, loyal readers, do. So you know I went into that meeting yesterday knowing he was going to say that.

So I’d had a whole night to sleep on it. I knew it was coming.  And I know, with all certainty, that the Universe is somehow going to deliver to me the final version of Tell My Bones that puts the darn screenplay up on that stage. Finally.

I’m not telling Sandra, yet. (She doesn’t read my blog, either.) Because my main concern right now is getting this revised play as close to finished as I can get it in the next 2 weeks. Sandra went through a lot just to free her schedule and make time to fly into this tiny town in Ohio for 3 days so when she gets here, she’d better have something to rehearse or it’s not gonna be funny.

I honestly don’t think she’s going to care which version of the play we run with, as long as she’s got something that she knows is good. (Or gets her a Tony nomination — one or the other. Preferably both.)

The stress was off the charts for me yesterday, gang.  However, a huge part of the problem of revising the screenplay for the stage was always how to stage some of things I was seeing in my head. And one of the (many) nice things the director said to me yesterday was that it’s not my job to stage it. It’s only my job to write it and let him do his job of staging it.

So that helped a lot. I’m not going to worry about staging it or about budget, either. I’m just going to write it down.

Within all that stress of me feeling “how the hell am I going to do this in 2 weeks?!” I sort of lost sight of all the incredible things the director was saying about my screenplay. It eventually did sink in after I left the meeting. That what he’s saying, in essence, is: take all these wonderful words you’ve already written and just put it on the stage. Of course, it’s not really that simple, but in a way, the words are the hard part.

I’ve done this kind of intense rewrite/tight schedule thing before and the rewards were phenomenal for me. Back when I was working on the screenplay for DADAhouse. Frequently, the producers would decide that the entire script needed to be re-written over the weekend. I was always having to pull so many things out of my hat, while under incredible pressure. And eating only Powerbars and drinking nonstop Diet Cokes to somehow get through it.

Yet, when I did, the finished result was part of a 10-minute segment on HBO that really just blew people away — including me. It came off so cool. This was back in 1997, when most people weren’t even online yet — it was all dial-up and most people didn’t have home computers yet. But after that 10-minute segment ran on HBO, 28,000 people logged on to our web site within 20 minutes.

So all the fucking stress I’d gone through was worth it.

So I know that all this fucking stress is gonna be worth it, again.

When I got home from the meeting yesterday, I spent about 5 hours getting all the query letters and submission stuff together for the small presses re: Blessed By Light. Because I knew I was not gonna have another free minute to do that for the next couple of months. Why can’t small presses just have the same submission requirements all across the board?

Well, they don’t. So I had to do all that and check, and re-check, and double-triple check that I was sending the right requested materials to the correct publishers, etc., etc.  And in the middle of all that, Gus Van Sant Sr called again and asked me if I had all the legal documents drawn up…

ME (awkward, exhausted dead-brain-silence, then): “Um, I didn’t know you were expecting me to do that…”

HIM: “I’m just teasing you! We’re doing that.”

Oh my god, right? I’m supposed to be drawing up legal documents??!! I thought my brain would just crumble to dust when I heard that and I certainly didn’t want him to see that. Or to hear it over the phone. Thank god he was just kidding…

So today, I’m focusing on the next installment of In the Shadow of Narcissa to send to Edge of Humanity. And then I’m gonna get caught up on my Italian lessons — I’ve missed 3 in a row now plus my weekly quiz. And while all that is going on, I’ll have the new revisions for Tell My Bones gestating somewhere in that part of my brain that is directly connected to the Universe.

(And I have the best Muse, so I feel 100% confident that all of this is going to be great, once it’s all said & done.)

Okay, I gotta scoot! Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are in the world, gang!!  I leave you with this: a painting by Helen LaFrance, the reason why I’m going through all this in the first place. (If you click on it, you will see the details of her work that will likely  stagger your mind – just imagine seeing one of these paintings in real life.) Thanks for visiting! I love you guys. See ya.

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

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