Tag Archives: marilyn jaye lewis

A Chat with Author Iris N. Schwartz

Hi everyone. As promised, here is my recent Q & A with Iris N. Schwartz, in support of the publication of her new book of flash fiction, My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories! It is a terrific collection of stories, out now from Poets Wear Prada. Please read on…

My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories by Iris N. Schwartz $12.00

Published October, 2017, by POETS WEAR PRADA, Hoboken, NJ

Hi, Iris! As not only a long-time colleague of yours, but also a huge fan of both your fiction and poetry, I am really excited to be talking to you today about your new book, My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories. Congratulations on its publication!

First of all – why Chris Noth?

My story “My Secret Life with Chris Noth” came about because Jellyfish Review, a literary journal that had previously published my story “Ever After,” put out a call for story submissions re: celebrities. Chris Noth, star of two Law & Order franchises and Sex in the City, immediately came to mind. And that is what the kids call the origin story for MSLWCN.

Was there a personal reason why you chose Chris Noth for a story about celebrities?

I thought he’d make an appealing object of desire.

Okay! Enough said… You’re a prolific writer, with so many flash and microfiction pieces to choose from. Who made the selection of the stories that are included in My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories?

I selected the stories included in the book. My publisher, POETS WEAR PRADA (PWP), told me to select what I wanted to include in this first collection. I chose pieces to reflect a broad range of protagonists and environments.

Do you sense an overriding theme to this specific collection? Or a particular reason why these stories were selected?

One overriding theme is the main character striving for her or his true self. This includes, especially for younger protagonists, searching for authenticity while clashing with familial or societal strictures. An additional theme is facing difficult circumstances with courage, creativity, and humor.

A lot like how you’ve lived your own life. In fact, so much of your flash fiction feels highly personal – as if, through the razor-sharp details you include about your characters – the reader is getting insights into your life and how you’ve lived it. What is your process for telling a fictional story that also includes these “autobiographical clues” to your own life, while indeed keeping it a work of fiction?

I don’t know that I have a process for it! For a long time I consciously resisted writing anything based on events and people in my life. Eventually, I began to write what I wanted to write after opening my laptop. Or what I didn’t know I wanted or needed to write. More recently, I’ve written stories intentionally based on events and/or characters from my life. I revise to protect the innocent and the guilty. On the other hand, some family members and friends have asked if a particular story is about me or them when I very fastidiously made everything up! In general, I try to give all my characters particulars, such as quirks, compulsions, or physical features that make them believable.

We first met at a reading at Barnes & Noble, in New York City, at Astor Place. This was way back in 1998, when you were primarily known on the downtown scene as a poet. At what point did you transition from writing poetry to writing flash fiction?

Marilyn, we’ve known each other a long time. (It’s a good thing we were twelve when we met!) I didn’t transition from poet to fiction writer. I began writing fiction while in grade school; I started writing poetry in my twenties, while still writing fiction. On the way to where I am now I’ve had short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, and one novella (with which you were involved as an editor) published. And I began writing a novel in flash-length chapters (before I knew the definition, and the feel, of flash).

What was that initial spark of attraction – do you remember the moment when you thought, “I want to try my hand at this?” [writing flash fiction]. How long did it take before you felt confident enough to start sending your flash fiction pieces out to publishers?

I started writing flash stories more than two years ago, after reading Damn Sure Right, a collection by flash exponent Meg Pokrass, whom I’d befriended on Facebook. As soon as I began writing flash and microfiction, I understood I’d discovered my true métier. (Plus, it didn’t hurt that my acceptance rate [by publishers] nearly doubled what I’d achieved before writing flash.)

Your pieces are so emotionally satisfying to read; they really pack an unexpected punch in a small amount of space. [DISCLAIMER to readers: I have sometimes assisted Iris with edits and suggestions for her works-in-progress, which includes several pieces that wound up in My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories.] What is the average word-count for flash fiction pieces, in general?

Thank you (re “unexpected punch”). The word count for flash fiction is an upper limit of 1,000 words; mine often average from 350 to 800. Unless I’m working on a piece with predetermined limits, each story dictates its own length. Then there’s microfiction, with an upper word top, generally, of 300. I enjoy working within confines, and am especially challenged by the 100-word upper limit.

What is your process for taking an emotional idea/concept and then capturing it on the page in such a limited word count? Is this a process that you can describe?

If I write microfiction with a 300 word-count upper limit, for example, I write the whole story, aiming for about 400 to 500 words to start. I indicate the word count for that rough draft. Then I edit. I try to delete as much excess verbiage as possible, but, inevitably, the more I whittle down, the more I spot something duplicative, or in need of a synonym, etc. I almost always finish after multiple versions, until I feel, maybe at version 10, that the story is tight.

With your background of so many years writing and publishing poetry, do you think that’s given you the skills you need to keep your imagery so tight? Or are the creations of poetry and flash fiction approached differently? 

Yes, poetry has pressed me to write with fewer and better words, as have poetry workshops taken with Angelo Verga. Reading my work to other writers, and poets, too, or having them read my work, helps immensely — especially when I’m stuck. I’ve also taken fiction writing classes — with Peter Trachtenberg and with Meredith Sue Willis — that introduced me to the work of significant writers and helped me improve my pruning. As did a flash writing workshop I took with Meg Pokrass this past summer. Reading good writing is a must. The fact that I edit my own fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as that of other writers and poets, compels me to choose words wisely.

In fact, you’ve been my editor, now, on all of my projects over the last several years. You have a great eye! And – to switch gears, here – as someone who has worked with you for a couple of decades now in various aspects of publishing and editing, I can attest to the fact that you have a real knack for capturing the allure, the comfort, the eroticism, and the humor of food, and especially in how it relates to various neighborhoods in New York City. Can you comment on this?

Comment on it? I can write a book about it! Alcohol and drugs never held much allure for me. Cigarettes? I smoked two with a friend when I was 14, to look cool in front of a couple of boys. Instead, I choked furiously. The boys moved on. No more cigarettes for me.

But food held my hand when I felt miserably alone, celebrated high marks with me, and sometimes found its way into the bedroom. I work to reduce its role in my life. I need to eat when I’m hungry, don’t need to eat when I feel — whatever I feel. I prefer to eat good food, in reasonable amounts, and leave the erotic and compulsive descriptions to my characters, should they wish to pursue that.

I’ve heard there might be a follow-up book for you with Poets Wear Prada. Is this correct?

Yes, a second collection of stories with PWP is scheduled to be published, probably in fall or early winter of 2018.

That’s great! I can’t wait to read another round of your stories. It’s always a real delight for me to spend time delving into your fiction.

What are the various ways that readers can find you on the web?

My Amazon Author page.

My aboutme.com page.

My Poets & Writers page.

My Facebook page.

Thanks, Iris, for taking time out to engage in a little “Q & A” with me today! Again, congratulations on the publication of My Secret Life with Chris Noth and Other Stories, published by POETS WEAR PRADA.

Marilyn, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk with you!

A mish-mash of heartache

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve been able to get to this blog.  This month has just barreled along.  Every project imaginable seeming to intersect with one another, so that I have had way too much to do and am getting not a whole lot completed. Yet.

Still no official word on how much my mortgage has been pre-approved for, so this limbo I’ve been living in for one whole year now is really getting tiresome.  [Read: Depressing.] Now that I know for sure that I have to move again, I really, really, REALLY want to just move and unpack my boxes, take a look at all my cool STUFF once again, and start living my life.  Books, movies, music, furniture — there’s so much of my stuff that I’d like to have access to! And, yes, photo albums.

This weekend marks not only what would have been Tom Petty’s 67th birthday — (if you live in a cave, perhaps you don’t know that Tom Petty suddenly died a couple weeks ago) —

Tom Petty, as he looked a zillion years ago, on his first album cover; an album I bought when I was a wee bonny lass; an album I still have somewhere in deep storage and can’t get at…

But also, this weekend marks the anniversary of the death of my very best friend in all of life and the world as we knew it. Paul died 18 years ago tomorrow, and I am astounded that 18 years can disappear in the wink of eye. What went by even more quickly, gentle readers, were the 22 years that he and I were best friends.

I cannot imagine that I am old enough to have a best friend who has been dead for 18 years. And, no insults intended for any folks I know who are still alive, however, life has simply been pretty empty without him in it.

I knew it would be that way the day he died. That everything would be a little less beautiful from then on. He was so funny, so talented, so adventurous, so compassionate, kind, caring. And he always had my back. He was the living definition of a best friend. (We met in the high school drama department. He built our high school theater sets. He went on to work in the movies as a set designer/set builder.)

Anyway. I was hoping to find a digital photo of him to post here today, but alas, I could not find one. And ALL of my tons of non-digital photos of him are packed away in boxes that are in deep storage, too. So frustrating.  I want my life back.

However, while searching through tons of flash drives for possible JPEGS of Paul, I found a ton of other photos that broke my heart. So it’s been a  rough morning. But cathartic, too, I suppose.

Earlier this month would have been John Lennon’s 77th birthday, had he not been murdered, 37 years ago, only a handful of weeks after I had moved to New York City.  John Lennon was my very first hero, from the time I was 10 years old. I found this lovely photo of him on a flash drive:

John Lennon with son, Julian.

I also found 2 rather different photos of myself taken by my dear, departed friend Paul:

Me, on the porch of Paul’s beach house in North Carolina, when he was working on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Me, in the bedroom of my East Village apartment, in 1984, when Paul was visiting from DC for Thanksgiving. I’m a spry 24-year-old here.

I also found a digital photo of a photo from my long-ago wedding. Hard to remember that I used to not have a ton of silver hair…

And hard to believe we’ve been divorced now for 14 years, after having been together for 11 years before that. But we’ve managed to stay friends…

And a few years before one of my alleged “friends” turned out to be the most awesome b*tch, EVER, I used to have fond memories of Paris. I no longer have fond memories of Paris, so it was startling to discover these photos on a flash drive and to recall that I once loved Paris. From my first trip to Paris, when I was so happy:

Looking down at the street from my friend’s apartment on the Left Bank, late at night. I can still hear the laughter and the clanking dishes coming up from that cafe.
Her cottage in the country was right on the river. here’s a shot of her boat…
And — if you can believe how lovely this is!– the weeping willows at the edge of her yard, right on the river.

It was a strange feeling, to recall that I had once loved Paris. I guess it’s time to reclaim parts of my life from people who totally suck. What do you think, gang?

And then I also found this photo. This was the beginning of the feral cat madness! Here are Tom, Huckleberry, and Becky, on the swing in the backyard of my old house. This was when the 3 were stray kittens, abandoned by a neighbor who moved away and simply left them. The kittens began living in my backyard. In this photo, I hadn’t been able to trap them yet. This was before they had a truckload of un-adoptable feral kittens in my basement.  Yes, before my life was overtaken by the lovely 8 cats who now allow me to live with them (actually, I love them dearly):

Tom, Huckleberry, and Becky enjoying the great outdoors, as wild, untamed kittens! I think was in early fall of 2012.

I also found quite a big bunch of digital photos from the old house, back when the house & yard were beautiful, before the developers contracted to buy it (and never did, after dragging it on for 3 1/2 years) and then the house fell to pieces. Such a sad, sad thing for me. But here, again — I never allow myself to think of the old house, because it became such a nightmare of heartache for me. To suddenly see these photos of how lovely it was before it all fell to ruin. It awoke all those feelings I had buried away of how much I had loved that house.

Of course the saddest part was, that Bunny died the day after we moved from the old house and moved into the current rental that I’m in.

And that was exactly one year ago.

So this weekend also marks the first anniversary of Bunny’s death. I miss her so much.

A selfie of me and Bunny at the old house. I can’t remember which one of us snapped the candid shot! Probably me, since Bunny almost never had her phone with her.

Oh gosh. Well, all right. Life goes on, regardless of how happy I am, or often am not, about that idea.

However. On the happy front, a long-time friend of mine in NYC, Iris N. Schwartz, has a new book out! Keep glued to this blog for a great Q & A that I did with her earlier this month, in support of her new book.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, gang. And keep in mind that time freakin’ FLIES, so love the heck out of whatever and whoever you love while it’s all still vibrantly alive in front of you. A word to the wise is sufficient, as the saying goes.

Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

R.I.P. Tom Petty

It seems another one of my girlhood heroes has crossed over the Great Divide.

I tried to figure out which of Tom Petty’s songs could be considered my absolute favorite and it was too difficult to pin down. Instead, I regale you with my favorite song that he did with The Traveling Wilburys. (Another one of those songs that resonates more & more intensely, the older I get.)

Vaya con dios, amigoKiss the joy as it flies, gang. I’m just sayin’…

Getting to be that splendid time of year!

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.

James Tabor in Ceasaria

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!

 

Oddly enough, things are getting better & better

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.

Yes.

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…

Indeed.

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!

 

 

A lovely Saturday in the Hinterlands

It feels like it’s been a long time since I posted here. Life zips by at such an astounding pace.

Here are some updates!

First, and newest: I am currently managing Sandra Caldwell‘s website.  (She is the actress in NYC whom I write with & for.) There is not much posted there yet, but please visit and follow her, so that we can all stay updated on her (and eventually my!!) theater projects. Yay!

I will not be going to New York City this weekend. I had to postpone my trip until early October because everything is just kinda crazy right now.  And since The Great Comet closed (see my agonized post below somewhere, titled Requiem for a Comet) and we no longer had tickets to see that,  I decided to wait until Wayne (my ex-husband) is back from Morocco and Alaska, so that we can see Sandra’s play together instead.

Things seem to be moving along with my request for a mortgage!!  You know how you can get all sorts of alerts from various credit cards, banks, and credit reporting agencies to be notified if anyone accesses your FICO score? Well, a couple days ago, alerts came in like crazy, all at the very same time, notifying me that a mortgage broker had checked my FICO score… So I’m excited that it is moving forward, but it took forever to get all that paperwork together, filled out, and turned in. Hence my need to re-schedule my trip to see Sandra in NYC.

Other good news: the head of production at the production company in LA informed me that we are done with revisions and edits to my pilot for the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV proposal!! (This is the project that was originally titled Cleveland’s Burning.) So, we will be moving forward and I will keep you posted!! I almost cannot believe it.

What I super-duper quadruple cannot believe, though, is that I still have so many more revisions left to make on my theatrical adaption of Tell My Bones — my Helen LaFrance project for Sandra — that needed to be completed this week. The home-loan paperwork stuff really did take over my life for a while there. But now I can give the project my full attention. Again. [She said hopefully. — Editor]

Other good news, or promising news, I should say. The same production company in LA who is developing my Cleveland Drama, is interested in seeing a proposal for a limited streaming series based on my novel, Freak Parade.

So, as soon as the Helen LaFrance revisions are completed, I will begin wrapping my brain around that. How exciting.

All right. I’m gonna go collapse for awhile. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a really great end-of-summer weekend, wherever you are! I leave you with this!!  This CD is currently playing nonstop in my car (well, not “currently” per se — only when I’m actually in the car and driving.) It’s a classic from 1965, and it gets more lovely as the years race by. Okay, gang! Enjoy! See ya.

Hurray in the Hinterlands!

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!!”

OOPS! This is actually Weenie, doing what he does best: Living the life of Riley!

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!!”

OOPS. Wrong again…

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:

LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH; WILL WE??!!

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).

See ya!

Happy Updates from the Hinterlands!

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:

Ohio Christian University

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!!

See ya!!

 

Just a quick hi!

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.

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

Next! Some cats on my bed yesterday!!

Clockwise from top left: Tommy, Huckleberry, Daddycakes, Doris, Weenie, Lucie. (I love the dramatic pose taken by Daddycakes here! Click to enlarge.)

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!)

Three of the 8 impatiens planters after the deer.

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!

Watson’s General Store by Helen LaFrance. Permanent Collection of Kentucky Folk Art Center at Morehead State University.