Tag Archives: #SandraCaldwell

To Heaven in a Hellcat!

I don’t know about you guys, but now that the full effect of that full moon is over, I feel 100% calmer around here.  The intensity as well as the giddiness have subsided. Yay.

Good thing, because I have a lot of work to do around here, and I need to focus.

Sandra, the actress I write for in NY, texted yesterday that she’s doing the Shakespeare Festival in NYC for 1 month, then another one-week gig back in Florida, and then she will be arriving here. Yes, HERE! In the Hinterlands! To begin rehearsing the one-woman play I wrote for her, Tell My Bones.

(The director of Tell My Bones, while also based in NYC, is the Artistic Director of a professional theater company in a town 20 miles from here and will also be here in the Hinterlands all summer. Except that he lives in a staggeringly lovely, palatial home with something like 7 bathrooms, privately tucked away at the end of a 3-mile driveway, hidden behind many, many tall trees; whereas I live in sort of the pioneer era; I do have indoor plumbing, heat and electricity but that’s about it as far as modern conveniences go in this 118-year-old house. And I have a wonderful little raccoon living in my 108-year-old barn. Anyway, the director has an incredible theater-rehearsal space right there in his home, naturally, which is where we will rehearse.)

So that means one less 11-hour drive (each way) to NY for me this year. I have to say I’m relieved about that.

However, this little reprieve brought on by Sandra’s Shakespeare Festival run means that I have this sudden chunk of time to complete Blessed By Light, and even have it off to potential publishers before Tell My Bones gets underway. (With The Guide to Being Fabulous on the heels of that.)

Hence the need for focusing around here.

The editor in NYC finished her final edits on the first 19 chapters of the novel last evening and sent them to me.  So I will begin writing Chapter 20 today. I don’t envision more than 10 more chapters before the book is done.  So completing it reasonably soon is doable.

The editor made my day again yesterday with her concluding comments. She said, “This pulses with passion, love, sorrow — damn! Congrats to you. Nobody writes like you.”

And I have to say that this made me feel intensely relieved because, as loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, Blessed By Light, while it has lots of erotic stuff in it, is unlike any of the other novels, or even short stories, that I’ve written thus far. And “thus far” now entails 30 years. It’s sort of an unusual point in my career to begin writing so differently. And I had no control over this sudden change; the novel simply began coming out back in late August and all I did was try to keep up with it, you know?

Oh, something really cool happened to me yesterday afternoon.

I will preface this by saying that my dream car is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. I really want one of those cars (in fact I write briefly about the Hellcat in Blessed By Light), but readers who know me even only slightly, know that I already have a problem with speeding when I’m on the highway. And I’ve never once gotten a speeding ticket, or even a parking ticket for that matter. And owning a Hellcat would probably just be too much of a temptation, you know? (It goes up to 210 MPH.) The Sheriff and the Highway Patrol would probably be all over me then. You know, they do target certain cars and a Honda Fit (what I currently own) is not one of them.

Well, yesterday I discovered that a young guy I know casually out here in the Hinterlands, has a brand new HEMI Challenger! Holy Shit! His is black and I really like the purple ones, but still. I couldn’t believe it. After asking him a little bit about the legendary speed of the car (he barely touches the gas pedal and he’s going 145 MPH), he told me that if I wanted to, he would let me drive it out on the highway.  Of course I said yes. OMG! I’m so excited.

Hellcat. My dream car.

Well, all righty, gang! I best get going around here. You know, today is the final day to stream Distant Sky Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Live in Copenhagen for free. I am so tempted to watch it again, but Jesus. I really gotta work. But don’t let me stop you if you haven’t seen it yet! God, it was good.

Have a great Monday, wherever you are in the world.  I leave you with this: The most depressing although truly beautiful song about a fast car ever written!! Thanks for visiting! I love you, gang. See ya.

It Was One of those Nights

I awoke at 2 a.m. and could not fall back to sleep until 3:30. Primarily thinking about Daddycakes and feeling like I didn’t do enough to save him and wondering if he was somewhere in the afterlife, angry at me for letting him die when he should have been in the prime of his kitty life.

It’s just so different when you’re dealing with rescued feral cats. They make the rules, because they are wild animals, and then you — or me actually; I am the one who has to try to figure out if I step aside and let them have their own connection to God’s world, or do I try to intervene somehow and make a decision about life and death?

Playing God, basically.  It got to the point where the cat was simply suffering too much and my heart couldn’t handle it so I had him put to sleep.

Then of course, by feeling guilty for the decisions I made regarding him, it means I think I am God: I should have known better, or I should have known more about that cat’s life or death and the quality of it or lack of it, and just done all sorts of different things that I can’t even imagine at this point.

Honestly, how can we possibly know those things?  We make those kinds of decisions through whatever filters we have in our brains that tell us we have answers to these sorts of questions and that’s not really saying very much at all. Because we don’t know how to create life; we know how to do away with it. We simply make a decision. And that’s not saying anything at all, in the scope of what is nonphysical, I mean.

Well, I finally made myself stop thinking about Daddycakes, and instead decided to worry about the novel.

I went to the grocery store late yesterday afternoon – always an investment of time because I live in the middle of the country and the grocery store is about 4 towns away.

It was a glorious spring day. It really was. The countryside was turning that tiny spring green.  Birds everywhere. Daffodils blooming in the most unlikely places. (And you know that a person had to plant those; daffodils don’t just spring up in the middle of nowhere along the highway. And that makes me love people, because I know I’m one of the passing strangers for which those daffodils were joyfully planted.) And all along the way, the farms had all their little baby calves out now, finding their footing in the green pastures.

It was just so beautiful. A testament to the renewal of life.

I’m guessing I was listening to something by Nick Cave, but I don’t recall what. It’s always either Nick Cave or Tom Petty. My little Honda fit is overflowing with CDs by either Nick Cave or Tom Petty and one single CD of Anne Murray’s Greatest Hits. (Inside my house is another story. In there, the world overflows with music of every possible stripe and persuasion. But for some reason, none of that makes it out to the car.)

(And to see me getting into the car is ridiculous: “Oh my god, what I am going to listen to?” If I’m going to the Dollar Store, it’s a 3-minute trip and the music is not so crucial. But everywhere else I go to from here in the middle of nowhere, is a journey. It requires a soundtrack. If I’m going far, far away, like to NY, then it’s hands down Tom Petty’s LIVE Anthology, because traveling on Interstate 80 is intensely American and so you need that American rock & roll; 3-minute awesome songs about falling in love or falling out of love, or chasing a dream and that’s basically it. It could not be better or more clear cut.

(But other journeys require Nick Cave, but he can be so dicey because you never know when he’s going to throw you under the fucking bus. Which is what I love about his writing, but it can get harrowing. You can be driving along at 95 MPH, which is what I tend to do out here on these highways, listening to “Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?” and at first you’re thinking, man what a song. Then the next minute, you have to pull over, grab your revolver from out of the glove compartment and shoot yourself because it’s just too fucking horribly SAD.

(Or, I guess, you can just turn the music off. But that’s the dilemma: you’re on a  journey that requires a soundtrack; you’re not supposed to turn it off. So I’ll sit there in the driver’s seat, engine on, looking at all the CDs and trying to figure out which one will not cause me to  want to shoot myself while going 95 mph?  Sometimes I sit there for several minutes, not going anywhere and driving myself insane.)

Anyway, I get to the grocery store, and in the parking lot, I get a message on my phone from the editor in NYC who is editing my novel, Blessed By Light.

She sends me updates, chapter by chapter, because it’s much easier to manage that way. And while all her comments thus far have been very positive, this particular message says: “This chapter kicks ass. Kudos.” Followed by comments on the next chapter: “Excellent chapter. He seems distraught, guilty, tired. Beautifully written.”

And while this made me feel good in the grocery store parking lot, at 3 a.m., alone in my bed in the guilt-ridden dark, all it did was make me wonder about the previous chapters, which were only “good”. Shouldn’t they all kick ass? Shouldn’t they all be beautifully written? Should I start all over from scratch? Am I a total failure now? I used to be a good writer.

You know, I start to doubt my sense of pacing, my sense of building a story arc, my sense of anything at all because I’ve suddenly forgotten what reality is even for. If I ever even knew, I mean.

Death does that to you. Even tiny little furry deaths.

Well, it’s another glorious spring day here in the Hinterlands. I’m going to give it all another shot and see how this day turns out.  As usual, no guarantees but I am tying so hard to be happy.  I have a wonderful novel in progress, that is sometimes good and sometimes it kicks ass.  I need to count my blessings today.

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world.  Thanks for visiting. I love you, gang. And I leave you with this! See ya.

 

Makin’ A Joyful Noise!!

Yay!! The revisions on the play (Tell My Bones) are just about done! Finally!

I should have them completed by the time the director and I are actually in the same room, sometime next week.

I had a brief phone chat with Sandra Caldwell yesterday (the actress I write for in NYC), and I tried to discuss the changes I’ve been making, based on the director’s notes, and she said, “Mm hmm. Well, just let me see everything when you’re done — and don’t get rid of your original version.”

There’s something really invigoratingly enthusiastic about that, don’t you think??!! Ah, well, gang. We shall see!!

It’s overcast here today but it’s gonna go up to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so I’ve already got some windows open, and I’ve got a CAT at every window, listening to all those birds singing like mad.

And at the back of my house, the starlings have indeed returned. They are keeping intact the damage they did to my gutter last year buy building more nests in it this year.

(No, I did not get it fixed last fall because my lawn guy was going to fix it (for free) but said, “You gotta clear out all those old nests first. They’re combustible.  You don’t want to seal that soffit until all that stuff is out of there.” And in what Universe — with all these constant writing deadlines that I’ve been under for the last year — would a gal like me, a ladder-less gal, I might add, have time to clean old starling nests out of soffits over my backdoor? So, no it didn’t happen, and yes, the starlings are pleased as punch and are moving right back in…!)

Anyway. Spring is here!! And as soon as I grab a minute away from my desk, I’m gonna go out there and, I don’t know, appreciate it or something!

Have a wonder-filled Saturday, folks, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting! I love you! See ya!

Life, in General

Except for the fact that I wasn’t a little boy when I was growing up (unlike one of my closest female friends and colleagues), that little illustration above pretty much shows you my entire childhood.

At every possible moment, I was listening to records. And usually on one of those small portable record players pictured there. And even while that is a very isolating — well, I don’t know if that’s the best word; maybe a word like solitary is more appropriate — even though it was solitary, those were the happiest years of my life. Truly.

Even the process  of  “listening to records” nowadays has changed drastically, of course. I have a record player,  but I almost never play it. I usually just stream stuff off the Internet in one way or another.  And I play a lot of CDs in my kitchen or in my car. But it’s just not the same thing. At all.

The way of living life that I used to love is simply long gone.  I’m not trying to reclaim the past, or to live in it (yeah, I know — I bought a house that’s 118 years old, with a really cool old barn that’s 108 years old, and it’s in a tiny village in Ohio that’s close to 200 years old, and I interact with the long-dead spirits here on a daily basis; however, I do not consider any of this as living in the past! I think of it more as “sharing the different levels of reality,” or co-existing in something virtual.).

Anyway. Big digression. Sorry.

I don’t need to live in the past, but I do crave a certain simplicity. I guess that’s why I fell in love with Muskingum County and moved here. Even though it makes traveling a colossal headache.  Just getting to the nearest International airport takes an hour. I realize that when I lived in NYC for 3 decades, it took at least an hour if not more to get to either airport, but here in Muskingum County, if you want a car service to do the driving for you (as I usually preferred in NYC), it’s about $175 before the tip. So life is not quite as “simple,” living in the peaceful middle of nowhere, as it might seem.

I’m bringing all this up because I’m going to have to start traveling again in the near future and probably not stop for a long time. NYC, Toronto, Florida, and LA.  Because of the theater projects, the TV projects, and then the micro-short films and (hopefully) the music projects with Peitor. It’s all good; I’m not complaining. It’s just that there’s something still down inside me that would prefer to sit in my room and listen to records…

However. Yesterday, I continued to make great headway in the revision of the Tell My Bones script. I am almost done.  Which is, like, a really good thing because I need to meet with the director in something like 6 days.

Nothing like waiting until the final moment to get your fucking shit together.  I don’t know why it has been so difficult for me to take a 90-minute play and condense it down to a 30-minute staged reading.  Sounds so easy in the abstract, yet doing it on paper has been unbelievably hard for me. I don’t know why. But I will be so relieved when it is done. Or at least a draft of it is ready to show people.

And next week, I expect feedback on the chapters I have so far in my new novel, Blessed By Light, because I want to get that project completed, too. I really thought I’d have that novel done by Christmas, but au contraire; everything else in the world happened instead. I’m eager to see what the feedback from the editor will be, though. It is such an unusual book for me to be writing – the life of an aging rock star told in 2nd Person, from a male POV; the eroticism of his inner world, of his memories, and then the redemption of his life.

I still don’t know why I’m writing it, but I do really love the book. I can’t wait to be able to really focus on it again.

Well, on that note, gang, I’m gonna tackle the revision of Tell My Bones now. Inching my way toward the finish line.

Have a wonderful day, wherever you are in the world. I leave you with the songs I’m listening to, although not on my record player, as I yearn for that simpler world I used to have:

Sun Kil Moon’s new album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans

And Grinderman’s Go Tell the Women from 2007

Okey-doke! Thanks for visiting! I love you. See ya!