Tag Archives: writing

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.

I’m Unpacked!

Yay! For the first time in about 2 years, I have access to all my books, my movies, my music, my clothes, my dishes, my art. You name it! It if belongs to me, I can now see it again.

In my many years of being in limbo (loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that for the past 6 years or so, I was planning on moving back to New York. So, even while my possessions were only in storage for about 2 years, my whole life has been in limbo for longer than that). Anyway.

I noticed while I was living in that rented house, without access to 95% of my stuff, that I was in fact able to survive without 95% of my stuff… I contemplated renting a dumpster and throwing it all away, sight unseen. Lightening the load of my life, my past, what have you. If I could survive without it, did I really need it?

Yet, now that I’m in this really wonderful old house with its wonderful old barn out back, in this indescribably tiny village that has been here for over 200 years and which most people have never ever heard of; and now that all my stuff is unpacked, I realized how much I now enjoy having my identity back! OMG! I’m so glad I didn’t throw it away. All my books. My records and CDs, my collection of movies. Photos , mementos. All these things I love have now been sort of returned to my identity. And I feel like I’ve returned to myself. Like I’m finally really home since leaving New York.

When I moved from New York City, and also when I was planning on moving back there, I did indeed throw away a lot of stuff and gave a ton of stuff to various charities. I didn’t just simply hang on to everything. And the outcome of that is that what I did save over the years were things that I didn’t want to part with, regardless of the lack of storage space in some of the places where I’ve lived. So it really was an “OMG” moment (or many moments,) as I was unpacking box after box after box of things I hadn’t seen in such a long time. So many things that I really loved, that added to who I became throughout my (seemingly endless) long, long life.

I’m also exhausted. But starting Monday, I must get back into my daily writing routine. (Which, I’m hoping, might actually feel good! We shall see!) As loyal readers know, I am way behind schedule in completing a ton of projects.  But now all I have left is the rest of my life to just sort of create in. (And while I’m perfectly happy to live here alone, I am also hoping that people will come visit so that I can entertain again. My dining room is so pretty. It feels straight out of 1918 or something like that…)

Also, the cats have adjusted beautifully to their new home. They really seem frisky and happy and totally cool with their new surroundings.

In honor of having all my music back in my life, I bought a really cool Crosley entertainment thingy. It plays records, CDs, cassettes, has an AM/FM radio, and a bluetooth adapter.

It looks like this. It’s too freakin’ pretty!

It’s on a stand that looks like this:

Put them both together, and it is just like living in yesteryear. All righty!

So, have a happy Saturday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!

 

The Birds have Returned!

Yes! As the song says, “It might as well be spring!”

It began over the weekend, when I noticed that tons of robins had arrived in all the yards. And, in the air, a bit of chirping. And then, this morning, with the bedroom window open at around 6am, the full-on, merry serenade of bird songs!

The cats, naturally, were crowded around the open window, transfixed by the singing. The temperature had reached 77 here yesterday, so, between the lovely weather and the birds once more singing at dawn, the cats have been completely bamboozled into thinking it’s spring!

But au contraire… The temperatures are set to plummet back down to the February range later today.  But it always feels so good to get that early reminder of how the world feels in spring, doesn’t it, gang?

Okay.

First of all, a belated thank you to those of you who have been signing up for my non-appearing newsletter. Once I finally move, unpack, and get settled into an actual life again, the newsletter will resume! Probably only quarterly, for now.  I’ve got too many backlogged writing projects for there too be much news to report for awhile.

You know, I have these grand dreams of “life after the move,” wherein I will immediately return to my normal writing schedule, as well as do things like get up-to-date  on all the various work-related weekly podcasts I subscribe to — mostly writing, publishing, and stagecraft podcasts, but a few thrown in that I simply enjoy listening to. For example, The 1600 Sessions, by the White House Historical Association.  Or LeVar Burton Reads. Or the Joel Osteen weekly sermon. Or Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast (really super funny but not for the faint of heart.)

Honestly, how on earth do we find time to keep up with everything anymore? There is just way too much stuff vying for our attention. I realize that everybody already knows this, but sometimes it is simply staggering to consider just how much we are trying to take in — and this is one of the reasons that I am truly excited about my upcoming move deeper into the Hinterlands.

The little village I’m moving to has: a police station, a fire station, a post office, a diner, a gas station, 2 churches, a Family Dollar, a Dairy Queen, a mini storage, a couple of beauty salons, and that’s it. Seriously. Nothing else but a handful of people and a whole bunch of stuff that God created — i.e., trees, birds, flowers, animals, seemingly endless hills and rolling fields, and sky and stars. (And one road leading in and out of town that is named after the High School football team from the early 1900s! The High School itself has long since been torn down.)

The only real distraction is going to be the darned Internet, folks, so I’m hoping to use it productively because I have a ton of writing projects piling up. Mostly re-writes of projects in various stages of development for stage and TV, but there are a couple of books I also want to write just for my own enjoyment…

That said, though, I am currently addicted to the old Phil Harris – Alice Faye Radio Program from the late 1940s-early 1950s (on youtube). It is so funny. I love Phil Harris. And The Detectorists, a BBC TV series written by/starring Mackenzie Crook, that is so charming, sweet, funny, wry, delightful.

And when I’m not zoning out on those 2 things and a nice bottle of French red, I’m up to my eyeballs with packing, and still doing a TON of paperwork re: the mortgage and the upcoming move.  I really, really, really need the future to become the present, gang, as quickly as possible, so if you have any pull in that area, I would appreciate your helping me out! It is so many months already that I’ve been dealing with this move.

All righty!

And that said, I need to get cracking around here because I have to drive deep into the Hinterlands here soon to inspect the repairs that were done to the new house and make sure we are ready for closing (which is supposed to be next week, however, the lender informed me yesterday that if she doesn’t get the title survey by, like, today, the chances we are closing next week are “slim to none.” Ay caramba!!! Don’t tell me that!! The truck & movers are already scheduled!!)

Aaaaarrrgh!!!!

Anyway, gang. The stress continues. But the end is in sight. I hope you have a relatively stress-free Wednesday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing. I leave you with this awesome stress-breaker! Give it a listen if you’ve never heard it before! It will get you bopping!

Okay, thanks for visiting, folks! See ya!

 

 

Lest we forget!

I know!

I’m always either talking about my upcoming new house, or about cruising around the Hinterlands in my nifty Honda Fit, or about how much I love animals, even when the deer were munching merrily away  on all my various blossoming flowers all summer — it’s easy to forget that I’m actually A Writer!

Well, lest we forget, I’ll take a quick moment to remind you that I am one!! And yesterday, the prestigious Black List gave my Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script (aka Cleveland’s Burning) a really positive review!! I was so thrilled.

It began, “There are some really engaging stories teed up for all the characters in the Robinson family that allow anyone watching to get invested in some aspect of the show. ”

And closed with, “This series has potential. The story itself provides an interesting way into the fight on civil rights and does a great job of bringing the audience in through the lens of the Robinson family. The members of the family are all set on their own journeys that are ripe with great character drama and conflict that could create a compelling series.”

So, off we go, gang!! It really just made my day.

On other fronts: the appraisal of the new house is happening Monday (!!) and after that, we CLOSE and the house becomes MINE! Then I will actually feel like I’m really moving & I can announce it to everybody. Explaining the new house to my cats will be at the top of my list of things to do. I know they will be really excited.

Some of my cats when they’re really excited!

Okay, gang. I’m going to go collapse on the couch for awhile and watch an old Sherlock Holmes movie on my iPad. Now that the weather’s warming up, I have a terrific sinus headache. Yay.

Thanks for visiting, though! Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re choosing to celebrate in your corner of the world! See ya!

Is it a comedy or just bad writing?

One thing about living in the Hinterlands: Even while I do have an AMC megaplex within walking distance of my rental house, it only shows really big budget movies, or absolutely anything animated for kids.

Because of the craziness of the holidays, along with the continued snow and below-zero temperatures around here, I haven’t been able to get into the nearest city and see any of the movies I really wanted to see: Lady Bird, 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and The Man Who Invented Christmas, to name the top 3.

Well, thanks to that #NationalScreenwritersDay this past Friday, I was able to download a ton of amazing screenplays for free.  Of course, reading a screenplay doesn’t necessarily mean you get a true idea of how the movie wound up telling the story, but it still gives you some great visuals and at least you do get to read the basic plot.

I have been so eager to see 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri since back in November, when a producer out in L.A. first raved about it in an email. I watched the trailer and thought, Hmmm, this is really, really violent, but Frances McDormand is in it and I trust her choices and her judgement… So I still wanted to see it. I literally had no clue whatsoever that this movie was a comedy.

I began reading the script before it won the Golden Globe over the weekend and I thought the script was just horrible. Really, just a downward-spiraling potpourri of hate, violence, and awfulness. I was dumbfounded. I thought to myself, the only way this endless collection of horrific cliches would work is if this were a comedy….

Of course, once I found out that it was, indeed, a black comedy, it became brilliant. Funny how that works, right? (But it’s also peculiar how a comedy might not necessarily read like one on the page, isn’t it? How you really do need good direction and great acting to help your vision come to life.)

I’m in the middle of reading Lady Bird right now, which, in my opinion, is just terrific writing. So visual. So charming. It just leaps off the page. Next in line are Mudbound and The Disaster Artist. And I still have dozens of scripts left.

It’s actually really cool to just live out here in the middle of nowhere, no distractions, the snow still sprinkled about, and read a whole pile of screenplays. Oh, I actually watched (streamed) The Big Sick on Amazon last night. I’d been wanting to see that for months. I adored it. It was the perfect blend of comedy and emotional tension. They did a great job with it.  (Oh, and back before Christmas, I streamed Marjorie Prime and I really loved that. I found the pacing so hypnotic. I was just riveted.)

Since I am going on and on about movies, it occurs to me that I never mentioned having seen the current remake of Murder on the Orient Express. I only wrote that I had plans to go see it. Well, I saw it. As always, I loved Johnny Depp, but he’s in it for about 5 minutes (literally). The rest of it, I could have done without. Why they remade it after a number of great versions of it already exist, is —yes! — a mystery!

Okay, I’m gonna get on with real life around here today. Still so much paperwork-type stuff to do regarding the new house. Then some of my own writing to do. Thanks for visiting, gang! I leave you with this wonderfully atmospheric tune that I’ve been playing a lot lately. it seems to go well with gently falling snow…

All righty! See ya!

(PS: After listening to the above song a bazillion times, I got curious about watching the movie of the same name that came out earlier this year, written by Allan Loeb. I really liked it! Very messy and romantic. Had a real “New York in the 1990s” feel.)

Re-Charge, Re-Group, Release! Rejoice! 2018

I’m so excited because, for the past few days, I’ve been BETA testing an online course for learning Galilean Aramaic.  (This is an ancient Galilean dialect, and is an all but extinct language, but it is the dialect that Jesus spoke. If you’re interested in learning it, and being a BETA tester, you can sign up at The Aramaic New Testament website.)

Loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall that before I was inundated with re-writes of both The Tea Cozy Murder Club script, and the Cleveland’s Burning script, I was re-learning Biblical Hebrew and was beginning to learn Ancient Greek.  Even though the script-writing projects haven’t died down, the fact that I finally seem to have a permanent dwelling place on my horizon again, made me think I should get back to Biblical Hebrew, at the very least.

In the middle of that, though, I got a month’s free membership to a really cool online French course, and even though I’ve been doing really well in that course, especially after not having read or written a word of French in 5 years, I don’t really think I’m likely to go back to France and I don’t see any reason to keep studying French, after having studied it for about 40 years…

Well,  I’ve taken to the Galilean Aramaic like a fish out of water! I really have.  I just love it. At age 57 ( my age right now), I see things in terms of being the last chapter of life.  I don’t want to spend/waste anymore time on anything French, or on re-learning Biblical Hebrew, and I don’t really have a burning desire to learn Ancient Greek at this point (my desire always lay in wanting to read the Septuagint in Greek, which I’m thinking is not really likely to happen!).  But it became crystal clear to me that in whatever time I have left (of course, I’m hoping for another 40 years), I would really like to concentrate on learning Galilean Aramaic!

It’s a really exciting feeling. Even while I know that the best laid schemes o’ Mice & Men…  regardless: to know the house & the town I want to live out my life in, the projects I want to get written before I die, the books I still want to read, the histories I want to study, and now the language I hope to master. It just feels so invigorating. So joyful.  An emotional clarity that feels so focused.

It’s no longer about “what should I do next for my career?” or “what should I study next in order to move my career to the next level?” or “where is the best place to live in order to make the career networking more efficient?” All that stuff — it’s done. I did what I needed to do; studied everything imaginable until the cows came home (they eat a lot but it’s great having them home, haha); I networked all over the world and met so many incredibly creative and talented people. However, now I’m just going to do what I enjoy doing and simply live my life.

Well, after the move, I will. Eck!

By the way, if you’re a screenwriter or want to be, ScreenwritingU and Stage 32 are sponsoring National Screenwriters Day. If you join in promoting it, you can download 100 award-winning and award-nominated screenplays for FREEEEE. So check it out.

BTW, #NationalScreenwritersDay is January 5th, which is also the Eve of  Epiphany.  Tradition has it, if you don’t get your Christmas decorations down by tomorrow evening, you have to leave them up until Candlemas, which is February 2nd (!!), or it’s bad luck. So get on it, gang! Nothing worse than seeing all those Christmas decorations hanging around until February…

All right! Have a great day, folks! Thanks for visiting. See ya!