My beautiful Lucie stays put long enough for a photo!
Yes, as this picture illustrates, it’s the time of year where I go for a ride on my bike, with my terrier tagging along, while I wear what was once referred to as a “coolie hat.” Now the word “coolie” is politically incorrect in most parts of the world and we’re supposed to refer to it as a “conical Asian hat.” However, it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue in the same vivid way. So we need a new word.
I guess we could call it my “cool” hat. Which would not be a lie, but neither would it give you any accurate idea of what type of hat I’m really wearing, and if you were “visionally challenged” (or “blind”, in the old 20th-Century version of English), you’d be strictly on your own as far as understanding what comprised a “cool” hat. (Although if you’d been visionally challenged since birth, the whole concept of a hat would be in the realm of the somewhat fantastical altogether.) (By the way — do not use the word “visionally” out in public or at a party where you’re trying to attract the attention of someone “cool.” It is not, in fact, a word. I’m making it up.)
Anyway. I digress. I don’t actually have a bike, or a terrier, or any type of hat whatsoever.
However. Yes, autumn is beginning to arrive! My favorite time of year! The heatwave broke on Wednesday evening. The temperatures are down where I like them best: around 70 during the day and way down in the lower50s-upper40s at night. My cats are friskier than ever, since I leave some of the windows open until it really, really gets cold outside. And the cats are so darn cute when they’re being frisky. And cute cats make me happy.
Things are looking good on all fronts. Including revisions of my theatrical adaptation of my script, Tell My Bones. So I’m happy. I’m still waiting to find out the amount I’m pre-approved for on my mortgage, though, so that’s making me a little antsy. I don’t like that limbo feeling. But I’m guessing I will find out one day next week.
James Tabor has announced the itinerary for his 2018 Tour of the Holy Land. Each year, I tell myself that “next year, I’ll be able to afford to go.” And then I keep hoping that he’ll, in fact, have a tour the following year. These are not theological tours of Israel, by the way, but archeological/biblical/historical tours. They hit all the places I would truly love to see with my own eyes, with none of the dogma.
Even though the tour is actually really affordable considering what it offers, I still can’t imagine — what, with getting ready to buy a new house, and all — that I can afford to go in 2018.
That is why I direct your attention to the link at the top right-hand corner of this blog! (Top-right, if you are facing the blog; top-left, if you have somehow managed to get inside the blog and are looking out…) Yes, that’s right. All you need do is buy me about two thousand cups of coffee (anonymously, if you prefer), which in turn puts $3 per cup into my Paypal account, and then I will finally be able to take that trip with James Tabor to the Holy Land.
I’m officially thanking you in advance for all that coffee: Thanks, gang! You guys are the best! I’ll be sure to send plenty of postcards!
Okay! I gotta scoot. Gotta get back to the revisions of Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a terrific Friday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. See ya!
Anyone who has known me well for a really long time, can attest to the fact that from the moment I was born, until just a few months ago, my life pretty much always sucked and generally got worse and worse as the years zipped by.
I’ve basically been a walking case of C-PTSD my entire life (from seemingly limitless physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, with no psychological safety-net, ever). Even though a huge portion of my life has been spent struggling with suicidal depression, I also seem to have been born with a boundless belief that God had a better plan for my life and all I had to do was keep looking and I would find it. (It’s called faith.) (It’s also called “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over“.)
I’ve also been blessed as a writer — just keep getting the words out, no matter what. Through any and all emotional upheavals and various & sundry dire circumstances and stressful situations. Even though it’s financially difficult, most of the time, to be a writer, I have always found the energy and time to get my projects done and send them “out there.” It gives this ridiculously difficult life what is called: A purpose.
That’s why this move to the Hinterlands came as such an astounding surprise to me — that I could ever find a place that made me so happy and that could really feel like home — for the first time, ever, and I have been alive now for over half a century.
I did get approved for my USDA mortgage — I still don’t know for how much, yet. It won’t be a lot but it’ll be enough to buy a little cottage out here and stay put, forever. I have been on Cloud 9 since I got the letter.
Although I will probably have to travel constantly between NYC and LA, and occasionally to Bristol, England; my home base will be here in the Hinterlands and I simply couldn’t be happier. I wake up every day and cannot believe how blessed I am. Whenever I feel those niggling feelings of stress, I simply step outside and am instantly reminded that this place is magical. The stress simply evaporates.
The old farmhouse from 1910, that I mentioned in a previous post below somewhere, sold a couple weeks ago. The little lake house, which is really just indescribably cute, is still available but I don’t think I want to get involved with the cost of flood insurance. I currently have my eye on a really cute old house — really tiny– from 1900 that’s been completely updated and is very close to the lake, but wouldn’t involve flood insurance. We’ll see how much of a mortgage I get pre-approved for, then I can make up my mind and life will finally begin!
Meanwhile… I need to close this and go focus on the Helen LaFrance theatrical adaptation. During my last phone call with Sandra Caldwell in NYC, mere hours before she had to go onstage for the opening night of Charm, she very pointedly asked, “when are you going to get here?” and made it plain that she had a number of people she wanted to discuss the Helen LaFrance piece with, so getting the revisions finished might be a really good idea…
So here I go.
Have a great Friday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing! I leave you with this, gang! Play it loud and keep on keeping on, regardless of what anyone else advises. Thanks for visiting. See ya!
Yes, that’s right; a few days ago, one of my friends actually came out here to visit me in the Hinterlands!!
Unbelievable, right? I’ve only lived out here for almost exactly one year, and someone finally came to visit me.
And guess what happened? That’s right. She loved it out here. She couldn’t believe how peaceful it was here, how happy it made her feel to just sit out on my patio and look at the trees and the sky, and listen to all that QUIET.
She spends a lot of time in New York (she was born and raised there, actually), so she knows: A.) How great New York is; B.) How expensive New York is; and C.) Why it is that I fell in love with the Hinterlands and now never want to leave it.
When I mentioned to my Dad the other day that I had decided to buy a house here, rather than rent something else temporarily and then eventually move back to New York State, he was flabbergasted. He said, “But I thought the plan all along was for you to move back to New York?!!”
I said, “That was the plan, for a really long time, but I am so happy out here. and nothing is more terrifying than growing old in New York if you don’t have enough money.”
Now, on a more forlorn and bittersweet note…
Today marks the one-year anniversary of Fluffy’s death.
I still simultaneously cannot believe that: A.)She’s been gone from my life a whole year already; and B.) That she died at all.
That’s right. I still cannot get over that she is gone from life. Followed so closely by Bunny’s passing, as well. (Bunny died on October 23rd, the morning after we moved here to the Hinterlands.)
Fluffy was a very sick, starving, pregnant kitten when she arrived on the front porch of a house we rented briefly in Pennsylvania, in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. None of the vets I took Fluffy to wanted to treat her because they thought she was a lost cause. I was living with Mikey Rivera back then, he was a plumber. He went on a call to fix a leak at a guy’s house way out in the country and the guy turned out to be a veterinarian. He took care of a lot of stray animals and he agreed to take a look at Fluffy for us. (By this point, the ASPCA had aborted Fluffy’s kittens, but they wouldn’t treat her for the pneumonia or anything else that was wrong with her, because they, like everyone else, thought the kitten was a goner.)
However, this vet out in the wilderness, told us to simply give her these over-the-counter anti-histamines (pills meant for people) around the clock, keep her quarantined from my other cats, and just let her sleep. He warned us it would take months for her to get well, but she did. In fact, it took almost an entire year for her lungs to clear up, and even though she had breathing troubles throughout her whole, furry life, she lived another ten years and she was the sweetest, goofiest, most adoring cat ever. I miss her so much.
I know she is out carousing now in the fields of the Lord.
I could not be more excited!!
The response to the current draft of the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script came in and it was: Really, really good. Lovely writing. Really strong. LOVE it.
I only need to trim some dialogue from Act 1, because the page count is running over. And then we are good to GO!!!!
Here’s a shot of Weenie yesterday, saying “Yippee ki yi yay!!”
Plus, right now, things are looking very promising re: the home loan. Still tons of paperwork to fill out, so I will keep you posted! But I might just be able to unpack all of my boxes one day soon and stay put in the Hinterlands for a long time!!
Here are Huckleberry, Weenie, and Lucie, saying: “Yay!! We are so excited, we can’t WAIT!!”
I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it: We couldn’t be more excited around here!
Plus, by some miracle, I still have enough money in the bank to get to NYC for a few days to see Sandra in her show. I have no clue how this happened, however, we won’t:
No! We will just keep moving happily ahead!! Keeping our eye on the prize.
Life’s good, gang.
Now I must take care of those final edits to the TV pilot. I hope you have a really great weekend planned, wherever you are in this world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this (play it loud).
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:
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!!
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.
Next! Some cats on my bed yesterday!!
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!)
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!