Tag Archives: Sandra Caldwell

A terrific Monday underway in the hinterlands

It is no mere coincidence that I am pictured here (albeit with my phantom son) smiling at the bluebird of happiness! (See my post from June 28th — Auspicious Moments.)

I got a text late last evening from Sandra Caldwell, the actress in NYC that I write with/for.  The PR for the Off-Broadway production of Charm, for which she has the lead role, has officially begun! (See post from May 12th – Such Good Things! re: the play, Charm, by Philip Dawkins.)

http://www.broadway.com/buzz/189141/sandra-caldwell-to-lead-nyc-debut-of-transgender-themed-play-charm/

Naturally, reading a text like that while I was already in bed, falling to sleep, immediately shifted the gears in my mind to overdrive. How exciting for Sandra!! It is finally underway! And how exciting for Sandra and me, since it helps enormously with the PR for the other theater projects we are working on together.

However…

It only emphasizes my conundrum around here this summer. Do I focus more on the re-writes of my TV pilot, re-writes for which the production company in LA is patiently waiting? Or do I shift gears and go back to focusing on the re-writes of my one-act play version of Tell My Bones, the re-writes that Sandra would like to have in hand by September?

AAAARRRRRGH. Being so indecisive, of course, gets me closer & closer to NOWHERE.

I decided that I would stop thinking about it (last night), and allow myself to fall asleep, and that as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning and I got out of bed, I would instantly know which project needed my complete attention first! Conundrum cured!

So, this morning, when I awoke and my feet hit the floor — I totally forgot that I was going to make my miraculous decision this morning. I was too focused on how happy I was!

So I’m still sort of floundering here, project-wise. But I did buy a new dress for Sandra’s opening night in New York.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I already bought a new dress for Sandra’s opening night in New York (see a post below, back in May, I think). I bought one of those colorful Calvin Klein fit & flare dresses, thinking I would depart from wearing my usual plain black sheath…

But, even though the Calvin Klein dress is really pretty, it makes me look like a flower garden floating in from the distance. I don’t like feeling as if I look like that. (I guess I prefer looking like a little slice of the dark void moving toward you, and so you don’t see me until the last second, when I walk up to you on the sidewalk and say, “Hi. Were you looking for me?”…)

Anyway. I’m super happy for Sandra. I’m super happy about my new dress. I’m super happy about the reality I’m currently looking at, and I fully intend to be super happy with all these re-writes I will eventually finish around here.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep peeling carrots with my son, smiling contentedly at the bluebird in the tree outside my window until everything falls into place.

My finest hour!

Thanks for visiting, gang!! Have a terrific Monday, wherever you are! See ya!

Life around here for the next couple months!

A brief mid-afternoon conference call with the production company in Los Angeles yesterday revealed that more re-writes than I thought are needed on the Untitled Cleveland Drama (once fondly known as Cleveland’s Burning).

This is actually good news, gang. The brief phone chat showed me just how high they are aiming with this TV pilot (and eventual series). A lot is riding on this single opening episode.  They nonchalantly said, “Just take one more pass at it and then we’ll be ready.” (Their confidence in me is staggering.)

The truly great thing about this is that their suggestions are targeted and specific, as to the acts as well as the characters, so half my job is actually done. I know I can make the changes they need and the whole thing is really, really exciting…

However…

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will undoubtedly note that I also need to complete the rewrites on my theatrical version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story by the end of the summer, because this is when Sandra Caldwell (the actress I write with/for in NYC) will be handing out the script, along with the other play we collaborated on, The Guide to Being Fabulous, to potential directors, producers, casting agents, etc.

To quote Sandra’s text to me: “It’s about to be off the chain!” (followed by various and sundry far-flung emojis.) Off the chain, indeed.

Yes, life is exceptionally good right now, gang, but the coming summer months, here in the Hinterlands, are going to be chock-full of coffee (!!), writing, juggling my writing hours and general work, and then, hopefully, a few moments spent staring out at the evening, as the fireflies give way to the stars (with or without the occasional pint of British ale!).

Okay, gang. I hope things are going just as splendidly wherever you are and with whatever projects you’re working on! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup of coffee now, even as I type!

Thanks for visiting, and I leave you with this little ditty to keep your spirits high and your blood pumping!! (PS: I love playing this right when I get out of bed in the morning, singing and clapping along; it makes my cats zoom around the house like crazy! Too funny!) All righty, see ya!

Taking Time Out from My Busy Day to Write!

Ah, yes, this is me in my latest selfie! I won’t even try to explain how I managed to take this picture of myself without appearing to be holding my phone in any way…

Anyway!

Happy, happy Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!!

Work on my one-act play version of Tell My Bones, the play I’m writing about the Kentucky-based  painter Helen LaFrance for the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, continues down its inspiring and happy path!

So, of course, pretty much the very moment I knew I had this 2-month deadline in which to write & complete the play, I finally got the feedback from the production company in Los Angeles regarding my revisions to my TV Pilot/series proposal (once called Cleveland’s Burning, now called the more memorable and illustrative, Untitled Cleveland Drama).

The feedback was truly terrific, gang! I was really just so thrilled. I still need to tweak the ending a bit, to make it more explosive, dramatic, etc. Nothing that involves too much labor — however, I do have to suddenly stop in midstream and switch gears completely. But that is A-Okay with me. I simply couldn’t be happier right now.

On another great note, one of my former writing students contacted me yesterday to tell me that a short-short story of his was selected for an upcoming (and first) short story collection for the James Patterson Masterclass! Wow! I am so crazy-happy for him.

It is so gratifying for me to see a former student stick with it. So many would-be writers who have plenty of skill and talent get bogged down in jobs, family, paying bills, rejection letters, etc., etc. Especially when they’re not living in key publishing/media cities like NYC, LA,  or San Francisco.  So I am just pleased as punch by his good news.

All righty, gang! The trees, the sky, the birds, the endless green fields, the train whistles early in the morning, the fireflies and the stars at night, and the occasional pints of British ale out on the back patio here in the Hinterlands continue to delight me! Things are going so good, gang. Hope all is well in your corner of the world.

I leave you with something I sing all the time now. Hope it inspires you to make the most of everything (and I mean everything!).  Sing it loud and sing it proud! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

OMG, I know!

It’s been yet another FOREVER since I’ve posted here!

Let’s see. What have I been doing?

I took a quick and lovely road trip in the new Honda Fit recently. It was a lovely day and a perfect drive. (Although I have to say, I do get really tired of always doing everything by myself!)

I bought myself a season ticket to a local summer stock theater company. It’s in the next town over; a quick drive out to a barn, basically, in the middle of trees and fields. I had the best time! (Once again, though, all by myself. One thing about living out here in the Hinterlands — I only have 1 friend and he now has 3 tots under the age of, like, 8 at home — and he’s as old as Methuselah. So I rarely ever get to see him nowadays.)

But back to the theater — The first show was Children of Eden, by Stephen Schwartz. I’m not always a Stephen Schwartz fan. While I absolutely adore Pippin (having seen the original touring version back in 1973 and then going on to memorize the Original Broadway Cast album soon thereafter), I think I am the sole person on planet Earth who does not adore Wicked, and Children of Eden has a similar musical feel to Wicked. Meaning that the singing just goes on and on and on and the melodies just seem to blend into one another. However, even though I didn’t leave the theater humming any semblance of a memorable musical tune, I did enjoy the performance and the people in the show a whole lot and I’m looking forward to the next show, Peter & the Starcatcher.

And on a similar note (i.e. theater) — the reason why I haven’t been able to post here in quite some time:

When last you heard from me, I was re-working my approach to The Tea Cozy Murder Club TV script, and was painfully researching that new approach by tirelessly streaming endless repeats of Midsomer Murders, one of my favorite TV shows of all time.  (It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.)

Meanwhile, I was also doing that never-ending research for the play I’m writing about Caiaphas, In the Days of the Flesh. (Research involving theology, ancient biblical history both Jewish and Christian, and current archeology, so the never-ending-ness of it can get overwhelming.) Anyway, I enjoy every minute of it, but before I could really settle down and put pen to paper on either project, an additional play I’m writing for Sandra Caldwell has suddenly landed smack dab on the center of my plate.

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that 2 summers ago, I went to New York to work with Sandra on refashioning my TV movie script, Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story, into a one-act play for Sandra to perform/star in. Well, now that we’ve at long last, really & truly, signed off on the final draft of her one-woman musical (currently titled The Guide to Being Fabulous), she informed me that she needed a finished draft of the Tell My Bones play within 2 months, when she starts performances of Charm Off-Broadway with the MCC Theater.

It’s not like I totally forgot that Tell My Bones even existed. The TV movie script of it is with the production company in LA and I’m awaiting feedback on it. However, the one-act PLAY version of Tell My Bones … well, I did totally forget that it even existed. (Too many half-finished projects on my plate, perhaps??) So, when Sandra said she needed a final draft of Tell My Bones by the end of the summer, all I could think of to say was, “You got it!”

Then I hung up the phone and had to scrounge around, digging up 2-year-old notes for the thing, keeping in mind that I sold my house, stuffed everything imaginable into boxes that went into storage for 6 months and then got shoved willy-nilly here in the basement in the house I’m renting in the Hinterlands…

But blessings and miracles!! I found all the notes and discovered that when I sat down at my desk to tackle it, I was incredibly and effortlessly inspired! And I am so happy with how it’s progressing.

The one-act play version of Tell My Bones will be done by the end of the summer simply because it has to be. Pressure aside, it feels so exciting to be working on it right now, simply because the inspiration is so close, so tangible, so beautiful. As any writer (or any artist) knows, inspiration is not always present when deadlines are. So to have them arriving at the same time and keeping pace with each other –Wow. It just feels so great.

But, on the downside, it leaves me little leftover inspiration for blogging.  So yes, my friends; you must suffer. You must pay the price in all this heady inspirational madness going on over here in the Hinterlands!

Okay, on that note… Let’s see. I will leave you with this! Some of that “inspiration” for Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a wonderful weekend whatever you wind up doing. See ya!

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!!)

 

 

 

What a relief!

Finally, last night — just mere moments before the airing of the newest episode of Riverdale on the CW — I finished my revisions of Act One of Cleveland’s Burning.

I think I’m happy with it, but I’ll know better once I go over it again here this morning. Last night, however, I was extremely happy with it.

As an aside, I want to say that I really loved how, at least for now, they’ve done away with the pesky problem of pedophilia in Riverdale [Spoiler Aert!!] by simply forcing Miss Grundy to leave town… I guess we’ll see how that pans out. (And, you know, back in the day when I was in high school, they never asked heterosexual teachers to leave town; they basically just told the teenagers who were sleeping with their teachers to “knock it off.”  Ah, the 70s! Gotta love ’em!) (If you were a gay teacher, however, your life was essentially over and they would have put you on the front page of the newspaper.)

Anyway. Back to the topic of re-writes. It is a strange phenomenon, and one I go through with every single project I write — I know exactly what I want to say, yet getting it onto the page can take, literally, forever. At first, I go merrily along, typing, typing… And then suddenly, I hit an impasse and wonder how on earth to get words onto the page. I don’t know why that happens, but it always does. It’s not as if I suddenly lose my vocabulary, or my sense of how grammar is structured. I can see what the characters are doing. Yet I just can’t get the words out!

It makes me INSANE.

However, I can look at all my completed, published projects (of which I have many), and see the proof there that the condition is always temporary, so I stick with it, grueling as it is.

What tripped me up yesterday was having my character go into a diner and order a cup of coffee at the counter. It felt wrong. At first, I thought it was the counter attendant’s age — so I changed him from a teenager to a 50-year-old. Then I had my character pay for the coffee with a dime. (In 1963, a cup of coffee cost a dime.) Then I had him leave a tip. Then I deleted the tip because it was taking up precious screen time. But then the neighbor girl puts a nickel in the jukebox! Suddenly all this screen time is being “spent,” as it were, on dimes and nickels.  It was really just ridiculous. So I stopped everything and walked away. I flopped down on the bed and read several chapters of Peril At End House, c -1932 by Agatha Christie and all was right with the world again.

So back to the desk I went and I realized that the character is simply at the counter drinking a cup of coffee! For heaven’s sake, just get rid of the counter attendant altogether, along with all the dimes and nickels. And finally, the rest of the scenes came and the act was over! Commercial break time!! Yay.

And last night was a great feeling — to finally finish Act One.

Act One in a one-hour TV drama is the longest chunk. Everything else after this gets shorter and shorter, so I really do feel a great sense of relief. Especially since, this coming Tuesday, a mere 5 days away, the notes for Tea Cozy Murder Club will be coming my way… And the final, final, FINAL edits for the one-woman musical I’m working on with Sandra Caldwell in New York are sitting atop my desk, awaiting my attention…

It’s no wonder I wake-up tired.

Okay!! Have a happy Friday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! And, as always, thanks for visiting! See ya!

No trick left unturned!! Gotta love it!
No trick left unturned!! Gotta love it!