Tag Archives: musical theater

Whew!

I think I am finally, finally, FINALLY present and accounted for. Alive again in my own life. Home at last.  I slept for 9 and a half hours last night — uninterrupted except for the very nearby passing of a railroad train (see photo somewhere below that shows just how close the train tracks are to my new house). I never sleep for more than about 7 hours, so getting so much uninterrupted sleep was kind of shocking to me, but in a good way.

And I had these really great, vivid, active dreams about — guess what? — moving into a new house that had tons of windows! I can’t remember the last time (or if ever) I had a dream that was not only happy but that also reflected the actual life I was currently living.  How do you process that? Dreaming happy, then waking up happy, then remembering I had a happy dream, and then realizing, oh, that’s just like my life right now!  Like, did I die and I haven’t yet figured out that I died? I guess time will tell!

Oh, and by the way, “happy” Good Friday to one and all. (Speaking of dying and continuing to consciously live on while dead…)

Anyway, it’s been a bit of a week. Before I went into contract on this house that I ended up buying, some other people were under contract to buy the house but their mortgage was declined. However, before their mortgage was declined, they set about making improvements to the house — wiring and plumbing. But when the mortgage was declined, they dropped everything and simply walked away, leaving things half-done.

When I had the house inspected, the inspector told me some wiring upgrades had been made but that I would need an electrician to come in and add a new line. Well, I’m actually intelligent, and I also have a killer vocabulary, which adds to the overall aura of my presumed intelligence, but to be brutally honest, most of the time I wander around in a partial dream-state, thinking about everything under the sun except for what’s right in front of me, and the things people are saying directly to me go mostly unregistered in my brain, even while I nod my head and say, “sure, okay.”

So, imagine my surprise when it became suddenly clear that my kitchen was a wiring nightmare and a serious fire hazard. Things were turning off & on by themselves; outlets were melting. And then, wafting up into my conscious awareness comes: Ah, so this is what he meant by get an electrician in here.

Hence, the electricians came for many hours. It wasn’t too terribly expensive, and they fixed everything and I was content, and then the following morning, a bright orange emergency tag appeared on my kitchen door that said that my water meter was going in reverse and needed fixing as soon as possible. (“Did anyone come in here and do some plumbing, ma’am? They put this line on backwards!”)

Ah, well, that was fixed, too.  And speaking of the railroad train (above)…

I wonder if I’m ever going to get tired of the excitement of the train rushing by? It goes by about once a day, and a few nights a week. (And by “night” I mean 3 o’clock in the morning.)  First, it’s the “ding ding ding ding” of the gates lowering while the red lights start flashing; then the train whistle starts screaming in the distance and I can feel the rushing rumble coming  my way. This is when the cats scurry and hide, whereas I rush to one of my many windows in anticipation of that monster train coming into view and then hurtling past.

Awesome, in an otherwise serene and quiet town.

Oh, but here’s another thing I love. The guy next door (married with very young children) has a rock band and they occasionally practice out in his garage.  It’s down at the end of the backyard, out on the alley, next to where my horse & buggy barn is. The sound is not deafening, but I can certainly hear it. Some sort of death-metal type tempo. And while death-metal wouldn’t be listed up there as a favorite musical genre of mine, as someone who was a professional musician/singer/songwriter for a really long time,  the sound of that band practicing in the garage always brings a smile to my face.  While everything imaginable in my own personal life has changed, in other outer, outside world ways, nothing changes. And that is comforting.

So. I had a conference call with Sandra yesterday and now we must get back on track. Rehearsals for the staged reading (in NYC) of the one-woman musical The Guide to being Fabulous begin on April 14th in Rhinebeck, NY.  The staged reading is for production funds for mounting the show Off-Broadway at (if I may say so myself) a really prestigious Off-Broadway venue in midtown. So it is very exciting, folks.

I will only be needed for tweeks and minor re-writes, so I won’t have to attend most of the rehearsals, so I have to buckle down and use this time for finishing the stage adaptation of my Helen LaFrance script, Tell My Bones (also for Sandra).  It’s good to feel that urgency; it gives me focus.  And that is what this move to this new house was all about: A place to get really settled; to call home; to sit in peaceful solitude and write (with the occasional train and rock band spiking my consciousness!)

All right. Enjoy Good Friday, wherever you are, gang. Remember, Good Friday is a reminder that all of life is re-born, it never dies, we’re all sacred, eternal, joyful beings, created as we are creating. What could be better than that? Okay!

Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

This old barn is just down the road a piece, but it’s been enhanced here by photoshop. The Mail Pouch logo is really, really faded now.

Happy, Happy 2018!!

Well, except for yesterday’s “reblogging” of Ted Nottingham‘s recent video post, I haven’t been here since before Christmas.

So you probably don’t know that we had a white Christmas here! Yes! It snowed Christmas Eve!! What could be better? (BTW, I had the happiest Christmas Eve ever — probably in my whole life. And not just because it snowed; the snow was more the proverbial icing on the top.) Just so much great stuff going on and so much exciting stuff to look forward to.

And we had a seriously white –and freezing cold–New Year’s Eve here last night.  More snow than the Hinterlands has seen in a while, with temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I love snow! So these frosty developments only cause me to rejoice. Yay!

I was very tempted, yesterday, to jump into the sporty Honda Fit and drive deeper into the Hinterlands to see what my new house looks like in the snow! But, well, as  much as I love the cold and the snow, I really, really love not driving around in it. So here I remained.

One of the reasons I am having the happiest holidays, ever, is because of that new (very old) house. And I’m sure I will have plenty of winters ahead wherein I will discover what that house looks like in the snow, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking about that great house all the time now. I just love that house, and I can’t wait to live in that strange and crazy tiny town (whose location, btw, cuts more than an hour off my drive to & from New York).

That said, though, I still have to get through the bank appraisal and the closing before I will know for 100% certain that it is my new house, even though it feels like home already. However, because of the looming bank appraisal and the official closing, I haven’t actually announced to people that I have a new house — except, of course, to you, gentle readers, who reside all over the world…

Another reason that it’s been the happiest of holidays here is because one of my theater projects with Sandra Caldwell in New York City is on track for Off-Broadway. I can’t discuss the details yet, and won’t be able to for a while, but things are going so great with that project.  I am so excited. And, out in L.A., TV-pilot shopping season begins in January (which is, of course, officially upon us!), so I am very excited about the prospects of my Untitled Cleveland Drama (once known as Cleveland’s Burning) very soon being sold.

The other thing that makes me so happy, of course, and the thing that makes all the other above-mentioned things a lot less stressful and even more delightful, is my new friend.  His personality, his experiences, his approach to life continue to surprise me anew every day.  He is such a cool guy and just so darned fearless.  It is such a joy to have someone in my life whose response to things is “Let’s do it!”, instead of giving the long litany of all the negative things that could go wrong with any given idea, as most people do.  God knows, I have been inundated with negative people throughout most of my life, going way, way back to my wee bonny girlhood, so he could not be more refreshing, nor his arrival in my life more perfectly timed.

All right, on that delightfully cheerful note, I’m off to the kitchen to make a huge pot of soup on this cold, snowy, frosty day.

Have a terrific 2018 wherever you are in the world and with whatever you’re doing. As always, thanks for visiting, gang! 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.

Requiem for a Comet

Gang, I simply cannot believe that Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 is being forced to close Labor Day weekend.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog know just how excited I’ve been about getting into NYC to see this show. I had not even had time to post here yet that I had indeed managed to get a ticket for the Sept. 19th show (with much help from my ex-husband, Wayne Lewis) when I go briefly to NYC for Sandra’s opening in Charm, at the MCC Theater.

I had my prized ticket all of 24 hours before they announced that the show would indeed close.

I will not go into why the show has to close. If you are not already aware of everything that coalesced to bring this sudden ending to an unbelievable production, you can google it.

So sad. So disheartening.

The thing about theater, especially the amazing production of a Broadway show — once it closes there is simply no recapturing it. It’s not like a movie, or a TV show or anything you can stream forever.

All right.

If you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, you should head over to the Copyright Alliance website, where I answer 5 questions about the importance of copyrights and my long, illustrious writing career! I did the Q&A several months ago, so I don’t really remember what I said, but I’m guessing it was super lofty!

Seriously, though, if you are a creator, you need to understand the importance of protecting your copyrights, so check it out.

I am almost done with the rewrites of my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV Pilot. I alerted the head of production in L.A. that I should have the new draft to him by the end of this week! (I’m not sure if I’m crazy or not, but I feel pretty sure that I can actually achieve what I’ve promised. By Friday, we’ll all know for certain.)

And did you see that full moon last night??!! Wasn’t it spectacular? I was participating in a world-wide guided meditation last night (online), because there was an auspicious alignment of the star Sirius, the Orion constellation, and the forming of a Lion’s Gate over the pyramids at Giza in Egypt, along with the full moon and a lunar eclipse. It was quite an amazing meditation. (You can google 888 Lion’s Gate Meditation for all the various events that went on and what it meant.)

I have to say, it really was an incredibly powerful meditation for me. Or should I say, I was very deeply into it? And when the meditation was coming to a close, what to my wondering ears should appear, but the loudest train whistle ever. It felt like the train was getting ready to pass through my bedroom! Loyal readers of this lofty blog know how much I love trains and the sound of train whistles. So I took this as a sign that the Universe was chiming in on that amazing meditation.

My cats, however…. Man.  At the absolute very moment the meditation was beginning, they got into a truly horrific cat fight. They have never done that before. It was not only alarming, but they brought it right into my bedroom, under the bed I was beginning the meditation on. It was really too weird. But eventually they settled down.

On other somewhat disturbing fronts… Turns out, I have to move again. This house I’m renting is going up for sale and I cannot afford to buy it. (That is putting it really, really mildly!) I’m going to stay here in the Hinterlands, though, because I love it here!  I have been so happy, for the first time in my life. I mean, really, really peacefully happy. (Except of course for Bunny dying the moment I got here…)

Bunny by Val in Brooklyn

I’m trying to look on the upcoming move as an incredible new adventure. Finally, I will be able to settle down and unpack all the boxes that contain 95% of my life…

Okay. Gotta scoot. I have a ton of re-writes to do around here today!! (Although, I must add that I am really, really happy with how it is all turning out.)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are. Let’s close with this, okay, gang?  Watch it — it only lasts about 1 minute. You will be amazed that this spectacular show is actually closing, in less than 1 year on Broadway and after 12 Tony nominations. Okay. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

It’s all about the coffee!!

I used to know HTML with my eyes closed. I used to know how to build entire web pages, including sourcing images, colors, fonts, links, anchored text, etc., by simply tippy-tapping away on my mammoth desktop keyboard. Out it would all come, no additional code needed. Even Java Scripting was only just getting underway back then.

Of course, this was in the era of the Flintstones; back in the Stone Age of the late 1990s, when the mystical World Wide Web was just beginning. Back when Google wasn’t even around, Yahoo was just getting started, and we searched with things like Alta Vista and Lycos.

But now that most things online have become convenient, user-friendly templates, with no HTML knowledge needed, trying to get a template to do anything even slightly different from what it was meant to do, has become stupidly complicated.

I just spent the past 2 hours trying to get an image on the Buy Me A Cup of Coffee page (in the header bar above) to redirect to an outside page.

It should have been simple as pie: Insert a small bit of HTML into the pre-programmed code at the proper place, close the HTML and then, voila! New page! But au contraire. It led only to emptiness and consternation. So, 2 hours later, I settled for an even older-fashioned text link and was done with it! Now there is simply a leading-nowhere image on the page that looks just like this:

Yes, at long last, I have joined a crowdfunding site! 

Ostensibly, you can now easily buy me a cup of coffee — with the help of Ko-fi.com. However, you can also, in the grander scheme of things, contribute to the many coffees I will buy on my increasingly frequent trips to New York City to work on my many theater projects with Sandra Caldwell.

I want to thank my colleague in Oakland, CA., Lori Selke, for inadvertently pointing me in the direction of a crowdfunding site made for buying me cups of coffee.  I subscribe to her really wonderful Earworm of the Month Club (a free monthly article about culture that is generally tied to music in some way), and I saw just how easy it was to buy her a cup of coffee!

What a terrific idea, I thought to myself. And so, here we are, the following day…

However, because of all this  screwing around with HTML and source codes and other such nonsense for 2 hours, I am now really, really behind in my schedule for re-writes today, so I gotta scoot.

I leave you with this, though. Yes, this is the actual brand of coffee I drink, and have drunk for decades!! I love it, gang!!

The heavenly coffee! New York’s Coffee since 1932.

And when I first moved to New York City, 37 years ago, these shops were all over midtown:

New York coffee of yesteryear! Go in, buy a cup of coffee for mere pennies! Then go on your way!

But no more! Now we need total blog-reading strangers to support our New York-coffee-buying-habit.

All righty, gang! Thanks for visiting! See ya! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup o’ Joe.

Because nothing says successful writer like a good cup of coffee!

Such good things!

Only a ten-day absence this time! Pretty good! (Of course, it’s still nothing like the years & years & years where I blogged every single solitary day, including Sundays & holidays! But onward!)

Okay! Remember that great news I couldn’t discuss in my last post? Well, it is now official and so I can share it.  And I am so happy about it.

Sandra Caldwell, the actress in New York City that I write with/for, has just landed the leading role in Charm, a play by Philip Dawkins. It will be having its Off-Broadway debut as the fall season opener at Manhattan’s MCC Theater beginning Labor Day weekend.

(I’m planning on attending opening night and I’ve already bought a new dress for the occasion — one of those Calvin Klein floral fit & flare dresses that everyone is wearing these days.) (Although I might change my mind at the last minute, since I am usually a plain black sheath-wearing sort of gal… We’ll see if I ultimately opt once more for living in the past, or taking a bold leap into being like everybody else!)

I’m excited about this show for many reasons. One being that Sandra is my friend and this is her return to the New York stage after a long hiatus.  Another reason being that her decision to focus again on stage work was made a couple years ago, wherein she hired me to not only help her with her one-woman musical, but also to be the head writer for her production company, with a focus on theater.

Charm was very well received in Chicago and promises to be a real winner in New York, as well, and it looks additionally promising that the one-woman musical Sandra and I have been working on for several years will get produced and find an off-Broadway stage in New York in the near future.

Even though I was a singer-songwriter for many, many years — in my halcyon days in New York, before switching to full-time fiction writing in the 1990s — theater was always my first love, ever since I was a wee bonnie lassie.

I love all kinds of theater: Jr. High and High School theater; college theater, Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway theater; and even the occasional “go down these dank ancient stairs and enter a clammy, dark, hell-hole abyss theater space” to watch stupifyingly experimental theater where none of the actors even get paid. I love it all.

And even while I’m really excited with the progress I’ve made the last several years with my TV Pilot scripts and TV MOW scripts, theater still excites me, probably even more. So with Sandra’s upcoming success (I know she is going to be superb), will come more and more opportunities to write theater projects for her.

Dare I say that I couldn’t be happier?? (Let us return briefly to the unbridled joy of the American Housewife! If my soul could project onto a screen or perhaps a hologram, it would look like her!)

Well, all righty, gang!!

And in terms of re-writes for my TV Pilot/MOW script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge — I have made great progress in re-thinking the story. Not the plot, not the characters, not the setting; but the story itself and how it gets told. I’ve been re-watching tons of old Midsomer Murders episodes and getting delightfully re-inspired.  Even though graphically violent & angry police procedurals are all “the rage” now (excuse the pun) (and even the more recent Midsomer Murders have gone more in that direction), the older shows, with their intensely quirky characters interest me a lot more and that’s more in keeping with how I envision the Tea Cozy Murder Club characters. So off we go!

Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. And have a wonderful weekend, whatever you wind up doing! I leave you with this little ditty from Mame, it’s a song that I’ve pretty much lived my life by since childhood, come what may!

See ya!

Better late than never!

I know! How many weeks has it been since I last posted here??? (It’s been so long, that I actually don’t know how many weeks it’s been since I last posted here!)

Yes, it’s all about more & more re-writes over here. Some of the best news ever, though, is that the “final” draft of the one-woman musical I’ve been working on with the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, is finally complete!! After how many years??? (About 3 or 4.)

I put “final” in quotes because this means it is only the final version of the draft we are willing to send out and let other industry people read. I’m sure it will see other drafts before it finally hits the stage. We are extremely excited about this script/play/musical, and even more-better news is on its way, but I can’t discuss it publicly yet.

Stay tuned to this oft-unposted-to blog for all the current news on that un-discussable topic!! Yay! (Seriously, though, it is GREAT news.)

I think I mentioned (many moons ago, when I last posted here), that I am currently taking the Shonda Rhimes TV Writing Masterclass, while I begin the revisions of my TV pilot, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge. That’s partly why I haven’t had much free time to post here. The other part is that I also began re-writing my memoirs for upcoming publication by the gang at  SomethingDark.eu. Too many things needing my complete attention. But it’s all good! For a change…

And to those of you who are loyal readers of this lofty blog — may I say that I actually remembered to make a copy of the first draft of the Tea Cozy Murder Club script BEFORE I began re-writing it!! You have no idea how smart this makes me feel!

In non-writing but extremely exhausting news, I also finally managed (with the help of friends & family) to clear out my self-storage unit over the past weekend, and so now all 95% of my life that was in storage 30 miles away, is now here with me, packed in a quite unwieldy manner in the basement.

So now I can say that I am 100% completely living in the Hinterlands. And still loving it, gang.

But on that happy note, I have to get back to work here. I have one more hour left of my daily writing time, so I need to get back at it.

Thanks for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday wherever it finds you and with whatever you’re doing. (Oh, I also want to go ON RECORD that I firmly support Johnny Depp‘s right to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day.  He earned it, folks.)

Okay! See ya!

(Honestly. You can find everything on the Internet!!)