Tag Archives: Sandra Caldwell

Done & Done! Yippee Ki Yi Yay!

Saturday, I completed the revisions on my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot; Sunday I took one last pass at it; and then Sunday night I saved it as a PDF file and hit ‘SEND.’ Yay!

Done.

I only missed my (self-imposed) deadline by 2 days. And, since weekends don’t count as business days, per se, it was only really one day late!

My only lament is that I have to change the title, and I really actually like the title (Cleveland’s Burning) because it really fits the tone of Cleveland in the 1960s (wherein I spent my wee bonny girlhood!). But I’ll let the gods that be try to come up with a more marketable title.

[Wouldn’t it be great if they wound up filming it in Cleveland?? Then I wouldn’t have to move out of state again. But it would be cool if it filmed in NYC, because if I have to move out of state, I’d rather move back to NY than out to LA.  And the many cats concur.  But we shall see, right, gang??]

[I hope they don’t try to film this in Canada! Because try as they might to find places in Canada that look and feel like various places in the USA, they’re never going to find a place that feels like Cleveland anywhere north of the Great Lakes…]

On that happy note…

Delightful as it would be to take a day off before the summer is over

I now have to leap into the revisions of the theatrical version of my Tell My Bones TV script in order to have it ready for Sandra when I see her in NYC in 4 weeks.

But one of these days, I’m going to have the best summer ever. You mark my words!! (Honestly, though, I did have the best summer ever, right here in the Hinterlands. I am so sad that I have to move, but I know for certain I will find the best possible place to call home.)

Okay! Let me get crackin’ on the next script here, because as soon as the writing is over for the day, this awaits me:

Newcastle Brown Ale!

And I can’t wait!! All right. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a super-duper Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. See ya!

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!

Ready for a painful death yet???

Well, okay, perhaps I exaggerate. But I did start doing Shoshin Yoga (a class that teaches Kaiut Yoga). And doing it calls to mind poses that were perhaps used by torturers during the Spanish Inquisition.

Do not be fooled by how simple the poses look! That would be your first foolish mistake.

I have been doing just basic old yoga for about 10 years. Primarily simple floor poses. Nothing elaborate or fancy. I get great results and am really happy with it. However, I am really, really tired of pounding my poor feet around on hard wood floors, pavement, cement, concrete, etc., all the time. Now 57 years’ worth of all the time. My legs are taking a  real beating. So I thought I would try Shoshin Yoga.  The poses looked so relaxing and, yes, easy!

Well, it is, in fact, easy! But it kills you. The poses are all about putting pressure on the joints, and holding the poses a really long time.  Or what feels like a long time, because you’re putting so much darn pressure on your joints!(I’m currently focusing on a routine that does 10 floor poses in 75 minutes. Oddly, the time overall goes quickly, even though you feel like it is taking forever to die.)

After the torture is over, I do feel noticeably loose & limber. So I’m going to try doing it 3-4 times a week and see how it goes. If you see me go skittering past you, all loose & limber & spry, then you can assume the torture is paying off.

Meanwhile…

Tickets are now on sale for the play Charm, by Philip Dawkins, at MCC Theater in New York City.  I will be there opening night (September 18th?) but I believe tickets for that night are now impossible to get. This is the play in which my friend & colleague, Sandra Caldwell, has the lead:

The New York Times calls Sandra Caldwell a ‘true entertainer in every sense of the word.’ Her acting career extends throughout the worlds of film, television, and theater. As a jazz singer, she has performed with top orchestras in some of the world’s finest venues, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. On television, Sandra was seen in ‘The Book of Negroes’ (miniseries, guest lead); ’19-2′ (recurring); ‘Soul Food’ (recurring) ‘Little Men’ (series regular) and guest starring roles in such shows as ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and ‘Rookie Blue’. She was a featured performer in many TV movies, including Good Fences with Whoopie Goldberg, and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls. Film work includes Murder at 1600; Shall We Dance, and Maya Angelou’s directorial debut, Down in the Delta. In theater, Sandra has appeared in the musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Shubert Theater); the Original Workshop for Ragtime (Live Ent. Productions); the drama Coming Through Slaughter (Necessary Angel Theater, Toronto); and was nominated for a Dora Award, the Canadian Tony, for her work in Sophisticated Ladies (Sterling Productions, Toronto).”

Plan to see the show if you are going to be in NYC this fall, okay? But make haste! It is a limited run.

All right.  Now I have to take my loose & limber self back to the world of TV pilot re-writing! I’ll see if I can keep my limber hip joints from sliding off my desk chair!

Then, this evening, it’s cake & coffee, with one of my former writing students, at my home away from home: the Granville Inn!!

We are celebrating our recent birthdays. (His 30th; my 57th!) I’m looking forward to it. It seems all I do around here anymore is work, sleep, and kill myself with Kaiut yoga…

So! Enjoy this gorgeous Wednesday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing! Thanks for visiting. See ya!

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!