Yippee ki yi yay!

I just got the official letter that my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning, is a Second Rounder at the upcoming Austin Film Festival.  I won’t be attending this time because I need any and all time off to go to New York City to work on the plays. But I am still really excited by the news, and the comments from the Director of the competition were really, really nice.

in 2013, Cleveland’s Burning was a semi-finalist in the Industry Insider’s TV Pilot Competition.  Even though I didn’t win, it still helped me get an invite to Ken Rotcop’s private pitch fest in L.A., Pitch Mart. I attended that in May and that’s where I found several producers who took a keen interest in the project, who are currently helping me to actually get the pilot made.

Yes, the very same pilot that I am forever in the throes of re-writing these days!! If only I weren’t trying to graduate from Divinity School this December…

Yes, it’s all good, gang! Hope things are panning out really sweetly with whatever you’re doing, wherever you are! Happy Saturday! Thanks for visiting.

[This is from last year — did I post this one already? Yes, I was told to euthanize these critters because they were feral an un-adoptable, and would cause me nothing but trouble. What planet are people on?]

Tommy and her wee bonnie babe, Scottie. 2013
Tommy and her wee bonnie babe, Scottie. 2013

 

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How it feels to be me!

I took this photo with my iPhone when I stepped into the sun room yesterday. I thought you might enjoy experiencing a little of how it feels to be me: There is always someone watching me!

Twelve eyes...
Twelve eyes…

In the front row are: Lucie, Weenie, Huckleberry, and Beck. In the back row are: Tommy and Francis. (They wanted you to know that they are all flea- free! Yay!)

The reason the wicker settee is upside down is because the cats prefer it that way. It’s like a little fort and they like to hang out underneath it. (One of the legs is broken so it can’t be used like a regular settee by human beings anymore. So, no, I am not in the habit of turning my furniture upside down simply because my cats prefer it that way…)

Things here have been in overload, so that’s the reason why I haven’t written.  I am either working, working, working. Or studying, studying, studying. Or writing, writing, writing. Or cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Or sleeping. And, basically, I do all of that stuff at the same time, except for the sleeping part. But life is still really, really good.

Those of you who have been following this blog since it was hosted on the other site (for 8 years!), know that I have a writing partner in Brooklyn, named Kevin. He and I have been working on a screenplay for “tween-age” girls for almost 2 years now; a very funny family comedy. We finished the first draft several months ago, but have been laboring on the re-writes. Kevin texted me last night that he finally had some breakthroughs! Yippee ki yi yay! We co-write on Skype, every Saturday morning. It’s amazing how easy it is nowadays to work with people who live far away. So I am really looking forward to Saturday’s session because it has been kind of frustrating, knowing the script needed changes but not sure how to incorporate them for several months already.

As much as I have loved being in school, it will be so nice once I graduate and don’t have homework to do every single day and all weekend long, plus the additional class on Monday nights now, until mid-October. Soon, every day will feel like vacation! (I’m absolutely certain of it.)

Oh, I did manage to see a couple movies recently! One of my friends managed to get free passes to a couple different films, so we saw Magic in the Moonlight and Begin Again. Begin Again was so much better than I thought it would be! We both really enjoyed it a lot. And we loved the soundtrack. In my halcyon days, I was a singer/songwriter in New York City, so it brought back some wonderful memories for me. It’s really so incredible that young musicians nowadays can have so much more control over their music and their careers. In my day (when we got to Manhattan by way of covered wagons), we were strictly at the mercy of record executives and radio DJs.

Magic in the Moonlight was uneven, but still enjoyable.  Most of the acting was really just top-notch. And the costumes will likely get an Oscar nod. They were fantastic, as were the sets and the scenery. (South of France, 1920s; need I say more?) Not Woody Allen’s best, but nowhere close to his worst… I guess that’s damning with faint praise, but oh well.

Oscar-worthy costumes & sets
Oscar-worthy costumes & sets

Well, okay. I guess that’s it for today. I have five — yes, FIVE — chapters to read in my heady Church Administration textbook by tomorrow. So I suppose I’d better force myself to get at it.

Have a great Thursday, wherever you are and whatever you do! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!

Saint-Exupery was Righter than I Knew!

Yesterday afternoon, I took a break in my homework and went down to the kitchen. I filled the watering can and opened the kitchen door, went out on the stoop to water the herbs and the geraniums, came directly back inside, and in that short time, somehow Brad managed to be out in plain sight, dashing across the kitchen floor with my cat, Bunny, in shocked pursuit.

At first, I screamed. I screamed because an enormous spider was suddenly dashing across my kitchen floor!

Next, I screamed. I screamed because I immediately recognized it as Brad and I didn’t want Bunny to kill him!

Like some lunatic, I screamed, “Bunny, no! It’s Brad! It’s Brad!”

Oddly enough, both Bunny and Brad froze in their tracks. Bunny froze because she was stunned that I was so suddenly screaming. Brad froze because I think he was stunned that anyone in the kitchen knew him by his Christian name…

I grabbed the kitchen broom, thinking I would sweep Brad out the kitchen door to the outside world. But instead he climbed right on to the whisks and I was able to simply carry him and calmly deposit him outside into the garden right outside the kitchen door.

It only took a handful of nano-seconds for the whole thing to transpire, but after it was over, and Brad was safely back in the wilds, I thought to myself, OMG, how weird! I actually recognized a spider. Saint-Exupery was right! When you name something, you tame it, and it becomes familiar to you; you recognize it as distinct from all the others in the world that are just like it.

So Brad came into my life not just to terrify me and teach me about taming my fears, but also to teach me about — well, I don’t know; I’m not sure what. But it has something to do with naming, claiming, taming and how it leads to caring and recognition.

Well, all right! How’s that for a great way to start a Monday morning? It should be an okay week here. I actually got an email from the ScriptPipeline Contest people. I had entered my TV Pilot, Cleveland’s Burning, in their TV Pilot contest earlier this year. I was not among the finalists, but it turns out I was a writer that “showed promise”, so they want to have a free phone consultation with me this week about Cleveland’s Burning; about how it’s going, how it’s progressing, what my plans are. I’m guessing that they also want me to invest in their company again in some way, but that could just be jadedness talking. We’ll see. I told the producers  working with me on the pilot right now that this phone consultation was going to happen, and they were pleased, but also, you know — “well, we’ll be very interested to hear what they have to tell you.” (Meaning (I think): don’t take this to other producers.)

I have to say, life is really looking good on all fronts. I hope it’s looking pretty good wherever you are, too, gang! Have a terrific Monday. Thanks for visiting! See ya.

Bunny relaxing & spreading her little toes after the shocking Brad encounter.
Bunny relaxing & spreading her little toes after the shocking Brad encounter.

Thank God Almighty, Free At Last!

In answer to my deepest prayers & fondest hopes, Brad has hit the road. Gone, baby! I don’t care where he went to, and I don’t plan on looking for him — in case he only went as far as, like, my underwear drawer or something equally unwanted and horrifying.

He left a hand-written note. However, he wrote it with all 8 of his hands at once, so it’s hard to decipher, but it looks like it says:  I am outta here, crazy lady. Got places to go and people to terrify. It was great while it lasted. See ya in the funny papers. -Brad

In all seriousness, I am really glad the spider’s gone, and also really glad that I didn’t have to kill it because I never would have done it. And it’s funny that once I named him and became less afraid of him, creepy as he still was, I slept peacefully through the night, then awoke yesterday morning and he was just gone. And it’s been 24 hours now, so I think he really is gone. Yippee ki yi yay! It just proves that once we face our fears, we find out they are nothing!

Today, in addition to my scintillating homework in the Church Administration course (I have to write a response on how Objectives make for Good Church Administration — I know; don’t hate me because my life is so heady and exciting!), I also work at the church. I am currently re-organizing the Senior Minister’s personal library. I love doing this because the building itself is a European-style Neo-Gothic cathedral, built in 1931, and his office is to die for.  I simply love being in it. So much dark wood, and enormous old windows, and high ceilings. And the whole office has floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on each wall, filled with everything from 200-year-old Holy Bibles, to every theology book imaginable, to Social Justice & Political books, to things like The Catcher in the Rye and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I just love being surrounded by all these books. I have to re-organize them in some sort of order that makes it easier for him to find what he needs, when he needs it. And alphabetize them.  It’s actually kind of a tough job because there are just so many books.  And while I’m there, the Minister pulls out books and makes little piles and says, “I don’t think I need these anymore,” then a moment later, he changes his mind — he still wants them! — but the books stay in the new little piles, confusing me.

The worst part is — and I use that term loosely — he keeps giving me all these really cool old theology books, or books that will help me with my own ministry. I LOVE books! I, too, have way too many books! And I will be moving in 6-8 months. We all know how much fun it is to pack up box after box after box of heavy BOOKS, move them, then unpack them!

The Minister says to me, “Here — would you like this?” And my eyes get wide, and I say, “Yeah! Wow, that is so cool. Thank you!!” Then I lug the books out to my car, try to wedge them into a bookshelf here at home, wonder when on earth I will ever find time to read them, and try not to think of the joys of packing…

The other news is that there is no news yet on how my re-writes of Act One are going, and there won’t be any feedback until both producers get to meet over coffee next week. So I am kind of stumped. I need to utilize this “free” (ha ha ha) time and keep working on the re-writes because any day now, I will have to switch gears and tackle the re-writes of the play and take off for NYC and do more heady things , like work magic and fall in love again! So what do I do? Just proceed to re-writing Acts 2 through 4, in hopes that my re-writes for Act One did not go too far afield?

I guess I’ll know when I know, right, gang? It probably makes more sense to just keep writing…

Okay, well, have a terrific Friday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! Thanks for visiting, folks. See ya!

zbooks

Brad!

I’ve named the spider Brad. Since he clearly has no intentions of relocating anytime soon, I thought that giving him a name that was harmless-sounding , Ivy League-ish (dare I say “WASP”-y, since he is clearly an arachnid??) — it  would make the enormous spider near my bed a lot less frightening.

So far, it’s working. I plug in my iPhone to re-charge it, catch a glimpse of Brad hanging out in the corner with his super-creepy long, brown legs and I say, “Hey, Brad. How’s it going?” And he does seem less frightening. In fact, he seems to belong to me now that I’ve named him.

I will even go so far as to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupery in The Little Prince:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean — tame?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said [Brad]. “It means to establish ties.”

“To establish ties?”

“Just that,” said [Brad]. “To me, you are still nothing more than a [crazy lady] who is just like a hundred thousand other [crazy ladies]. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a [spider] like a hundred thousand other [spiders]. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”

And so goes the story of me and Brad.

Brad, just moments ago...
Brad, just moments ago…

On other fronts.

I sent the re-writes of Act One of the TV pilot to one of the producers to see if I am anywhere near on the right track. We shall see. If we are, then I will write like a demon to get Acts Two through Four re-written by next Friday and then move on to the play I need to edit. The fabulous play that will cause me to travel to New York City and back many times this fall! And — yes! — see that guy I used to love! (Well, I probably still love him because every time I speak to him on the phone, my heart zings off somewhere far beyond the moon, but we shall see…)

However, if Act One still needs work, everything mentioned above will remain the same, except that I will write like a super-demon instead.

In case you’re curious (and keeping track) the new course I’m taking in school, Church Administration, is just about as indescribably unexciting as I had anticipated it would be. Arrrrgggh. However, only 2 more classes after this, and I am home free, as they say. A divinity graduate, Magna Cum Laude. Yippee ki yi yay.

The other course I’m taking, Pastoral Care and Hospital Visitation Training, is already intense, and it only started this past Monday night.  The course includes such effervescent topics as: People in Crisis & Illness; Care for those with Mental Illness; Grief & End of Life; Ministry to the Elderly; Care for those with Disabilities, and the ever-popular Ministry in the Midst of Addictions. (And by that, I think they mean that Addicts will be in our Midst, not that we, as ministers, will be in the midst of our own addictions. But you know, you never really know, until you really know.)

So that’s life around here. I must get back to the dry-as-dust world of Church Administration. (The textbook makes me feel like I speak English as a second language. Honestly, the sentence structures are so convoluted, I have to keep re-reading the same sentences over & over & over until they finally start to make sense. By then, I’m dead asleep and have to snap out of it and start over.)

All right. I will leave you with a shot of Weenie in the planter shaped like a small wheelbarrow. Weenie is the twin brother of Skipperdee, who got adopted. They are both named after characters in the Eloise books. (You can see the original Skipperdee and Weenie pictured with Eloise at that link.)

Okay. Bye! See ya! Thanks for visiting, gang!

Weenie in teh wheelbarrow planter
Weenie in the wheelbarrow planter

 

A wolf spider, so suddenly!

I have been in this house 8 years now and I’ve noticed that as soon as fall weather arrives, a wolf spider or two will come indoors, run around and scare me, then disappear.  Actually, I’m of the opinion that they are always here, but that they live inside the walls or under the floor boards, or anywhere where there is wood. And then the colder weather sends them into “warmth” which happens to permeate the areas where I can then see them.

I like spiders, in general, but wolf spiders, especially big ones, have such an amazing presence about them that I cannot help but gasp in horror whenever I see one inside the house. But usually they are en route to anywhere where they don’t have to look at me.

Last week, we had several days running of beautiful, cool, even chilly fall-like weather. I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, it feels like fall!” And clearly the wolf spider living somewhere in the vicinity of my bedroom thought the same thing: “Wow, it feels like fall! Time to go see what that crazy lady inside is doing!”

But this one is not en route to anywhere. It is cozily living in the corner of my bedroom, down close to the floor, close to my bed, which is usually my safe heaven from everything in the entire world.  I really do like spiders, so I don’t want to kill it, but I really wish it would just go away. It adds an undercurrent of drama to every single thing that I do in my bedroom right now.  I always have to go look at it and make sure it isn’t getting anywhere near me first.

Wolf spiders can see really well, and they move really fast, so whenever it sees me looking at it, it bolts away and hides. Then comes back, like the proverbial bad penny.  I’m sure he’s just as dismayed by my presence as I am by his, because clearly he’s got a cozy little thing going for himself.

He [on his tiny iPhone talking to friends]: “Yeah, I love the new place, but there’s this gi-normous thing living here. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s missing 6 of its eyes and 4 of its legs are just plain gone. So creepy. And it pops up at the weirdest moments. Then – whoop — it bolts away. Almost like its more scared of me than I am of it! LOL. I’m just praying that it doesn’t start breeding, if you know what I mean…”

Meanwhile, my deadline is ticking away. I have to finish this re-write by the end of next week. We’re wondering how on earth that is going to happen.  And I don’t mean because I have to keep stopping and checking where the spider is.  I mean that I have so much other stuff I gotta do.  But that said, I suppose I should get off of the blog and go get back to the script! It doesn’t re-write itself, as we know so well by now.

Okay! Happy Monday!! Hope you’ve got a great week ahead of you, gang.  Thanks for visiting. See ya!

Hang in there, baby! It's almost Friday!
Hang in there, baby! It’s almost Friday!

 

Best way to wake-up

People wonder how I manage to have such a great life.

It’s simple. I wake-up at dawn and my first thought is to not panic.  I tell myself that somehow, someway, life is gonna work out all right.

Then I try to remember if anything good happened the day before. Usually tons of good stuff happened the day before, but I have to make an effort to remember.  Once I’m convinced that good stuff actually does happen, I get out of bed. I go feed all the cats, clean the litter boxes, then make my own breakfast and bring it back to bed. Fluffy is always waiting to have breakfast with me in bed.

Here she is last night, with her summer lion’s shave. She looks goofy, rather than fluffy. I love her! She is in no way feral. She is the most loving cat imaginable, but the drawback is that she hates other cats. This gives her 9 other cats to terrorize daily and it gives her deep pleasure but makes the rest of us a little nuts.  She was also a rescued kitten but she is 8 years old now. We rescued her in Easton, PA. She appeared on our front porch, starving, pregnant, and dying from pneumonia… Many hundreds-of-dollars-and-years later, she is the terrorizing cat we know and love today.

Fluffy! Looking not so Fluffy!
Fluffy! Looking not so Fluffy!

Meanwhile, back to having breakfast in bed with Fluffy… I think it’s important to start mornings off peacefully, gently, quietly.  Otherwise, my days just turn to nothing but stress really quickly. I usually listen to some sort of Law of Attraction audio thing on YouTube while having breakfast. This is the one I listened to this morning. It was really good. Really uplifting. Then, I listen to my daily lesson for A Course in Miracles and give that some thought, then I go put all the breakfast dishes in the kitchen , go back to bed and meditate for 15 minutes. (I am currently doing Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge-thingy with Oprah. Well, Deepak is presenting it with Oprah; I’m not meditating with Oprah. We are currently “Expanding Our Happiness.”)

Then, when all that’s done, I lie in bed for a little bit and usually feel good about life.  This morning was no exception, although I found this (below) to be particularly helpful in feeling good about life! You might want to skip all the other stuff I mentioned above and go straight to this one every morning:

The world of author Marilyn Jaye Lewis