Tag Archives: re-writing

Life, Re-writes, Love, & the Muse

Happy as I am with the new direction I’ve taken the past couple weeks with the Hurley Falls Mysteries, I am also still dealing with the theatrical adaptation of my screenplay, Tell My Bones, the life story of the Outsider Artist, Helen LaFrance. I’m adapting it for the stage specifically for Sandra Caldwell.

When I first wrote the screenplay, things like #BlackLivesMatter hadn’t happened yet, although it was getting ready to. And even while the screenplay was well received at film festivals and among producers, the climate Off-Broadway for plays about African-American lives has changed considerably in just a couple of years. So, even while I’m okay with how I’m staging the play, how I’m presenting the music, the sets and the characters, I’m finding that the entire way I present Helen’s life has to seriously be re-framed to fit the tone people want to experience now.

5 years ago, when I went to Kentucky and met with Helen, she was already in her 90s, in a nursing home, and in a wheelchair due to a paralyzing stroke. I walked into the day room of the nursing home, where she sat in front of a canvas, preparing to paint (she’d taught herself to paint with her left hand because the stroke had left her paralyzed down her right side), and I said hello.

She barely looked at me. She knew I had come because I wanted to write a screenplay about her life.  Still, she was not impressed, and her greeting to me, after I’d driven 12 hours to meet her, was: “What do you want?”

After a couple hours of talking, she warmed up and ended the conversation by giving me the rights to write her life story, and after that, I had access to all her paintings, her interviews, and even her private diaries.  In all the research I did, while it was clear she had to contend with racism and the unfairness of how blacks were treated in Kentucky, her art, her diaries, and her conversation were focused more on simply being a woman who was always trying to find enough time and money to do her art.

There was so much beauty in how she saw her life. Just so much beauty. A lot of heartbreak that centered on the people she loved who had died, but not very much about having to rise above oppression.  Just needing enough time & money to paint. And so I told her life story in a very particular way, which now has to be re-framed. Same life, but I have to focus on it in a different way.

My seriously long-time, good friend in L.A., producer/composer Peitor Angell,  is eventually going to be helping me with the musical arrangements for the show, but yesterday he agreed to help me try to re-think the telling of the story, too. So I feel excited about that project again.  You know, the energy of one good friend can turn your whole world around.

I don’t need to have this adaptation done until the end of this year, since Sandra and I will be focused on doing the staged reading of her one-woman musical in NYC this fall. Still it has bogged me down emotionally that I couldn’t make better progress with Tell My Bones, so it feels good to feel encouraged again.

The other thing that has taken me unaware, that is also a really incredibly wonderful thing, is that the Muse has come back into my life! [Muse – noun – a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.]

After having been blessed all my life with the beneficence of a Muse, I haven’t had the energy of the Muse in my world for several years now. It has been depressing. Even though I can still write without a Muse, it’s more laborious, a lot less joyful from moment to moment. And when I least expected it, and had pretty much given up on ever feeling that energy again, in he walked. Right into my field of vision.

I felt like Bill & Ted in their excellent adventure:

I don’t know him at all, although I’ve now seen him a few times. Yet suddenly life in my inner world is 360% not the same. So beautiful. I am so, so blessed. My inner world now is a deluge of inspiration, keen feelings, intensely beautiful images that my mind & heart respond to. And all of that makes its way to the page, to benefit you, gentle reader!

That is simply the very best way to write. And on that note, I’m going to go… get some lunch!! Yay! Have a super Saturday, gang, wherever the Muse takes you. Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

It’s gonna be a great summer!

Wow, gang. It’s already shaping up to be quite a terrific summer out here in the Hinterlands. Except for that pesky humidity…

(Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I just recently bought a very old house (117 years) out in the country that has no central AC. It has 22 large windows, though, so I’m not dying yet, technically-speaking.  Not yet, anyway…)

And those same loyal readers will also recall that while I wait to hear from seemingly every TV producer on the planet re: my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning; and while I await revision notes on the one-woman musical I wrote with NYC-based actor, Sandra Caldwell, (we are gearing up to workshop it Off-Broadway); I decided to go back to working on that illustrated novel-in-progress, The Miracle Cats — the mystery novel that I’m writing and that my pal, Val in Brooklyn, is illustrating.

Well, since moving out here to the Hinterlands, I’ve become very inspired to make significant changes to the premise of the The Miracle Cats. (The main one being that rather than have it be a “Miracle Cats” series, it’s now going to be a “Hurley Falls Mystery” series, although there will still be cats in it.) And the fictional Hurley Falls will now be based on this tiny village I now live in, rather than having it be a strictly fictional town, based on nothing real at all.

I’ve been doing research the last several days, trying to find out more about the history of this village, and I stumbled upon some really cool stuff, gang! One being that all these ancient burial mounds around the county were built by some really tall people! Charred skeletons and various burial-related accoutrements were excavated around here, nearly 200 years ago, and the excavations revealed that the skeletons were all between 8 feet and 9-feet 4 inches tall. Including an infant skeleton, 3 and 1/2 feet tall.

It just staggers my imagination. Of course, this is going back well over 2000 years, but those really tall people were walking around all over (what is now) this village.  Just too cool to imagine. And they didn’t appear to be related to any Native American tribal people. They were sun worshipers, more closely related to people from ancient Greece and Egypt.

Then I also did some research on the more modern-day founders of this village, nearly 200 years ago, as well. And to my delight, discovered that most of those early pioneers are buried in the cemetery a few blocks away from my house! It really brought everything “to life,” as it were.  I was so excited to discover all those graves so close by.  I walked around the cemetery, with my handwritten list of names, and it was like discovering an old friend each time I found a tombstone that matched a name that was on my list. (Another cool thing, is that you can find the grave of someone who died in 1817 and they’re buried not too far from someone who died in, like, 2005. You just don’t see that too often in places where I’ve lived in the past.)

In a sort of “Our Town” type of thing, or “Spoon River Anthology,” the spirits of the people who once lived in the town are part of the Hurley Falls Mysteries. So after I checked off all those names of those people who’ve been buried a really long time, I told them (out loud, unfortunately), “Get ready, guys!! You’re going to live again!!”

However, all that exciting stuff said, it was ridiculously humid out while I was doing all this tracking down of tombstones, and I had tickets to the theater last night. When I got back from the cemetery, drenched in sweat, I took a shower and was still drenched in sweat!

I thought to myself, I cannot possibly go to the theater tonight. I have to sit here for the rest of the night, completely motionless, and just try not to sweat…

However, since I already bought season tickets, it seemed ridiculously wasteful not to load my sweaty self into my air-conditioned Honda Fit, drive into town and see the show.

I am SO GLAD I did, gang. They were opening the season with A Chorus Line.

I saw the original NY road show of A Chorus Line back in the mid-70s, and it was a show that meant so much to me. And within a couple years of that, I was a professional singer, living in New York City, and a lot of my friends were on Broadway working  in chorus lines, some of them graduates of the old High School of Performing Arts, so wonderfully immortalized in the song “Nothing,” and while I never wanted to be in an actual chorus line, so much of that show became part of how life actually was for me and my friends in NYC — many of those friends having since died from AIDS 25 to 30 years ago.

Last evening, as I was cooling down in my air-conditioned Honda Fit, driving the 15 miles to the theater, I could not imagine a summer stock version of the show capturing anything close to what the original show had meant. And yet…

I have to say…

that I think the version I saw last night…

this version where all of the actors are only in their late teens, early 20s, and so were not even an idea in God’s mind yet, 40-some years ago during the show’s original run…

this version was even better. And it wasn’t “updated” for today’s audiences, or anything. It was the original show. Wow, gang.  It was wonderful!

Well, I leave you with this awesome song from the original 1975 Broadway Cast. Have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are, gang.  Go out there and expect some miracles! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

 

 

Holiday Weekend

For those of us living State-side, this past weekend was a national holiday.  When I was growing up, it was called Decoration Day because you decorated grave sites with flowers on that day, and it  was always on May 30th. It has since been more formally known as Memorial Day and it now falls on the last Monday in May, giving us the first 3-day weekend to officially kick off the summer.

Memorial Day weekend is when I usually go buy my summer flowers for the flower pots, because everyone’s got the flowers on sale. And this Memorial Day weekend was no different!

Well, the only difference being that I seemed to have trekked off to the store with only half my brain this time because I came home with a car chock full of petunias that I didn’t realize I’d bought…

I wanted a ton of impatiens for the front of the house because it not only faces north but also has that enormous maple tree to contend with, so the flowerbeds in front get no sun, and impatiens do really well in no sun.  Well, I only wound up buying half a ton of impatiens, because I’d accidentally bought all those petunias.

But I made do. And I also decided not to plant any impatiens in the actual flowerbeds in front because I think the beds need better soil and I wasn’t prepared to go to all that expense this year. So they are only in flower boxes (along with begonias):

While I had hoped to have lots more impatiens on the front porch than I wound up with, you’ll note that I tried to cleverly conceal as much of the cracking cement as I could with the flowers I had. I’m hoping to get the cement repaired this summer, but I’m not positive if I will.  I’ve got such a long list of outside repairs.

You’ll also note just how close the front of my house is to the street. The window behind St. Francis there looks in on my family room. (If you click on the photos, it gets larger.) The front door apparently hasn’t been opened in, literally, decades. It’s been painted shut many times over. At first, I thought I would want to get that front door opened and put up a new screen door, but then I realized it is really close to the street. Anyone walking by on the sidewalk is basically in my family room. So now I know why no one bothered to open that door all these years.

It’s a really cool old door though. The door, the iron door knob, and the inside lock appear to be original to the house, making them all 117 years old. The inside lock is a big old iron hook & eye thing. Too cool.

Anyway, here’s the side porch! The plethora of accidental petunias are in flower boxes down there at the front of the porch step.

The sagging gutter is where the starling built her nest. I think she had 3 babies. It was quite a busy & noisy affair for awhile there. But the birds flew the nest just a couple days ago and so all is silent again.

I was actually taking these photos for a friend in Brooklyn, who wanted to see more photos of the house, so I’ll regale you with a few more pictures.

The guest room, with Francis!

Her nickname is Peanut, because she’s as cute as one and is teeny tiny. The table is there so that many cats can conveniently perch there at once and look out the window!

And now,  3 shots of my sanctuary!!

My bedroom! Complete with stain on carpet that came with the house!
The wall next to the bed there was where the old coal-burning fireplace was a long, long time ago. It’s plastered over now.
My desk is at the foot of the bed.

Long-time readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that this desk has been appearing on my many blogs and on my various websites since 1998. The desk is actually 37 years old. It was a wedding gift to me from my first husband. He bought it from a small furniture store on 8th Avenue, where everything in the store was handmade, from pine.

When we got married, we lived on the corner of W.45th Street and 8th Avenue, in the Camelot Building in Manhattan’s theater district. I used to sit at that desk and type on my IBM Selectric typewriter, and look out over the gay hustler bars that were on the opposite corner of 8th Avenue back then. I bought the Selectric at a pawn shop, also on 8th Avenue, and thought it was the absolute coolest thing!

I always just assumed that I would buy a bigger, more professional desk at some point.  Especially in the late 90s, when desktop computers were enormous and took up the whole desk.  But the years went on, and I wrote 5 novels, edited 7 anthologies, wrote 4 or 5 novellas, about 100 short stories, 3 TV pilots, and countless essays, blog posts, letters, etc., at this very small desk!

I’m closing in on 60 years old, gang. I’m getting the feeling this will be my Forever Desk… Ah well. It works.

Okay, gang! It’s hot as blazes out here in the Hinterlands today.  I’m planning on staying inside for most of the day, working on story notes for The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.  Then, at some point, I’ll probably just collapse from the heat and stare into space.  What could be better?

I leave you with this. I was playing it really loud in the car the other day and having a ball. I hadn’t heard this song in probably 20 years! And I suddenly realized that the chorus somehow became the story of my life — I don’t have TV anymore, I don’t read newspapers, I became a non-denominational ordained minister, moved to the country, planted a garden, etc., etc. I highly recommend it, folks! It worked for me…

Okay. See ya! Thanks for visiting!

Great Days!

Things are just moving along swimmingly, as they say!

I’m basically done with the inside of the new house, for now. Except for the upstairs bathroom, which is a decorator’s nightmare. It looks as if a 10-year-old was given free-rein in expressing his or her devotion to Mickey Mouse, literally.

But other than the upstairs bathroom, which needs a re-do from top to bottom, I’m happy with the inside of the house and will turn my focus to the outside, as soon as the weather gets nice and stays nice (i.e., we’re still getting occasional days of snow!).

I just bought this for my family room:

It is called a: “Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown”.

However, I call it, simply, my new chair. I love my new chair!!! It is the final thing I’m buying, for now. But this means people can come visit and not have to sit side-by-side on the sofa, or sit at the kitchen table. (It’s exciting, isn’t it? Imagine — coming to visit me! You would be sitting in that luxurious Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!!!! Yay!! And the conversation alone would no doubt be intoxicating!)

Another cool thing that’s going on out here in my humble abode in the Hinterlands is that a robin is building her nest in the enormous old maple tree outside my bedroom window.  Most of the windows in this house are really long — 65 inches long, in fact. And that’s just the window itself, it doesn’t count the window casing, window sill, etc. Anyway, I can lay in my bed and easily watch her build her nest.  (It still amazes me, just how good they are at building nests.)

The other cool thing is that we have a new logline for the Cleveland’s Burning TV Pilot. It goes like this:

[Short version]:  Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland.

[Slightly longer version]: Two African American brothers, raised in the church, choose different paths in pursuit of racial and social equality in 1960’s Cleveland: one, the nonviolent philosophies of Dr. King, and the younger, the ideology of the more radical Black Power movement.

And speaking of the church…in the evening on Easter Sunday, two really delightful young Mormon missionaries came by — 2 young women, which surprised me because Mormon women never used to travel and do mission work without men. They were so sweet and it was Easter, so of course I invited them in. We sat at the kitchen table and discussed their gospel of Jesus Christ for over an hour. Frankly, it was fascinating. And I enjoyed every minute of their conversation. It was a really nice way to spend an otherwise uneventful Easter (which is usually a very important holiday for me).

All righty.

I hope you have a terrific weekend planned, wherever you are in the world! I plan on spending it visualizing all the exciting people who will be coming to visit me in the Hinterlands and sitting in my brand new Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair, Brown!

And this means YOU! Yippee ki yi yay!

Don’t worry, if you’re Mormon, I won’t serve the Cokes!

Okay! See ya!

 

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.

Still Alive!

I know; you’d never know it by how long it’s been since I’ve posted here!

BTW, thanks to everyone who sent comments to Iris re: her new book of flash fiction (post below), and also to those of you who bought it! She is a great writer. (And a good friend of mine.) Even if you don’t buy her book, you can find a whole lot of her flash fiction (and poetry) all over the Internet.

I won’t go into detail about all that has been going on here. Nothing terrible; just intense. Pace never stopping.  But last night, I got a great night’s sleep, and today I feel energized again. So, onward.

First and foremost: Here’s where I’m going either Tuesday or Wednesday of this coming week!

I can’t wait! I haven’t been to an actual movie theater in months. Nearly a year, in fact.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that I am a huge fan of Johnny Depp‘s. And one thing I really love about him is that he doesn’t bleach his teeth. And I’m not talking about his hideous Jack Sparrow teeth, but just his regular old teeth — just like movie stars  from days of yore who simply had teeth.

Once, a few years ago, I tried watching the much-acclaimed movie, Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey.  From the start, it reminded me, for some odd reason, of Tender Mercies (which I liked a lot better), but I stuck with it, until McConaughey, a hermit on a deserted island in the middle of (sort of) nowhere, hiding from the law, etc., opens his mouth and reveals a set of stunningly blinding, bright, white teeth.

What kind of lone-hermit-fugitive, living on crumbs of food brought to him by a couple of rogue boys,  is that??!! I lost all interest in the film from that moment forward, because I could no longer believe in any of it. It all just became Matthew McConaughey with a set of artificially gleaming teeth. I could not focus on a single other thing, so I gave up watching it. And came away thinking, Wow, Tender Mercies was such a great little movie. Where did the years go?

Anyway!

Yes. I am officially incredibly behind schedule on the theatrical adaptation of my teleplay, Tell My Bones. Only because way too much has been going on in my life (which I’ll discuss in detail at some later date), that I cannot seem to: a.) find enough time to get enough writing done; and b.) concentrate when I do have enough time to get enough writing done.

Just this past week, I went through that ridiculous thing where I took some very decent writing and decided it needed to be revised, yet again, only to discover that I was completely out of my mind! Not the best frame of mind in which to undertake anything! So, now, I gotta go back and re-do the redo-ing! Arrrgh.

I decided that what I must do, if I hope to achieve anything at all with this adaptation, is channel Jean Toomer. So that’s next on my list. Channeling Jean Toomer. If you hear weird incantations and smell strange wafting aromas coming from my corner of the world, that’s what’ll be going on. I’ll be channeling Jean Toomer.

On a similar, less silly note, however; I spoke with Sandra yesterday and in no uncertain terms, she informed me that there will be a staged reading in NYC for one of our other theater projects this coming February or March, and not only must I absolutely attend this time (loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that, even though I’d bought 2 brand new dresses, I never made it to NYC this past September to attend the opening night of Charm, in which Sandra had the lead, and to which many  important casting people and theater investors were going, because I was trapped in this “have to buy a new house” nonsense out here in the Hinterlands). And not only am I going to have to absolutely be there this time, I absolutely have to have the revisions of Tell My Bones done and ready to go and right there with me.

An additional arrrgh… and a bit of a grumble, grumble; crap, I’ve got to get this done already!

So I anticipate being completely crazy for the next few months.  But, after THAT, the TV pilot-shopping season begins in L.A., and as most of you know so well by now, my pilot (once known as Cleveland’s Burning but now called Untitled Cleveland Drama) is on the slate to be shopped and all of us involved could not be more excited! So, you know, exhausted as I am, things are looking super-duper UP.

And that said, I gotta scoot and tackle that channeling of Jean Toomer around here. I hope you have a really sublime Saturday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re tackling. I leave you fondly with this . I’m currently playing it nonstop in my swinging little Honda Fit all over the Hinterlands. So sit back, relax, dream, and keep swinging, gang!

Thanks for visiting! See ya!

 

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.