Tag Archives: writing

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!

 

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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.

 

Getting to be that splendid time of year!

Yes, as this picture illustrates, it’s the time of year where I go for a ride on my bike, with my terrier tagging along, while I wear what was once referred to as a “coolie hat.” Now the word “coolie” is politically incorrect in most parts of the world and we’re supposed to refer to it as a “conical Asian hat.” However, it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue in the same vivid way. So we need a new word.

I guess we could call it my “cool” hat.  Which would not be a lie, but neither would it give you any accurate idea of what type of hat I’m really wearing, and if you were “visionally challenged” (or “blind”, in the old 20th-Century version of English), you’d be strictly on your own as far as understanding what comprised a “cool” hat. (Although if you’d been visionally challenged since birth, the whole concept of a hat would be in the realm of the somewhat fantastical altogether.) (By the way — do not use the word “visionally” out in public or at a party where you’re trying to attract the attention of someone “cool.” It is not, in fact, a word. I’m making it up.)

Anyway. I digress. I don’t actually have a bike, or a terrier, or any type of hat whatsoever.

However. Yes, autumn is beginning to arrive! My favorite time of year! The heatwave broke on Wednesday evening. The temperatures are down where I like them best: around 70 during the day and way down in the lower50s-upper40s at night. My cats are friskier than ever, since I leave some of the windows open until it really, really gets cold outside. And the cats are so darn cute when they’re being frisky. And cute cats make me happy.

Things are looking good on all fronts. Including revisions of my theatrical adaptation of my script, Tell My Bones. So I’m happy.  I’m still waiting to find out the amount I’m pre-approved for on my mortgage, though, so that’s making me a little antsy. I don’t like that limbo feeling.  But I’m guessing I will find out one day next week.

James Tabor has announced the itinerary for his 2018 Tour of the Holy Land. Each year, I tell myself that “next year, I’ll be able to afford to go.” And then I keep hoping that he’ll, in fact, have a tour the following year. These are not theological tours of Israel, by the way,  but archeological/biblical/historical tours. They hit all the places I would truly love to see with my own eyes, with none of the dogma.

Even though the tour is actually really affordable considering what it offers, I still can’t imagine — what, with getting ready to buy a new house, and all — that I can afford to go in 2018.

That is why I direct your attention to the link at the top right-hand corner of this blog! (Top-right, if you are facing the blog; top-left, if you have somehow managed to get inside the blog and are looking out…) Yes, that’s right. All you need do is buy me about two thousand cups of coffee (anonymously, if you prefer), which in turn puts $3 per cup into my Paypal account, and then I will finally be able to take that trip with James Tabor to the Holy Land.

James Tabor in Ceasaria

I’m officially thanking you in advance for all that coffee: Thanks, gang! You guys are the best! I’ll be sure to send plenty of postcards!

Okay! I gotta scoot. Gotta get back to the revisions of Tell My Bones. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a terrific Friday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. See ya!

 

Oddly enough, things are getting better & better

Anyone who has known me well for a really long time, can attest to the fact that from the moment I was born, until just a few months ago, my life pretty much always sucked and generally got worse and worse as the years zipped by.

I’ve basically been a walking case of C-PTSD my entire life (from seemingly limitless physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, with no psychological safety-net, ever).  Even though a huge portion of my life has been spent struggling with suicidal depression,  I also seem to have been born with a boundless belief that God had a better plan for my life and all I had to do was keep looking and I would find it. (It’s called faith.) (It’s also called “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, and Start All Over“.)

I’ve also been blessed as a writer — just keep getting the words out, no matter what. Through any and all emotional upheavals and various & sundry dire circumstances and stressful situations. Even though it’s financially difficult, most of the time, to be a writer, I have always found the energy and time to get my projects done and send them “out there.” It gives this ridiculously difficult life what is called: A purpose.

Yes.

That’s why this move to the Hinterlands came as such an astounding surprise to me — that I could ever find a place that made me so happy and that could really feel like home — for the first time, ever, and I have been alive now for over half a century.

I did get approved for my USDA mortgage — I still don’t know for how much, yet. It won’t be a lot but it’ll be enough to buy a little cottage out here and stay put, forever. I have been on Cloud 9 since I got the letter.

Although I will probably have to travel constantly between NYC and LA, and occasionally to Bristol, England; my home base will be here in the Hinterlands and I simply couldn’t be happier. I wake up every day and cannot believe how blessed I am. Whenever I feel those niggling feelings of stress, I simply step outside and am instantly reminded that this place is magical. The stress simply evaporates.

The old farmhouse from 1910, that I mentioned in a previous post below somewhere, sold a couple weeks ago. The little lake house, which is really just indescribably cute, is still available  but I don’t think I want to get involved with the cost of flood insurance. I currently have my eye on a really cute old house — really tiny– from 1900 that’s been completely updated and is very close to the lake, but wouldn’t involve flood insurance. We’ll see how much of a mortgage I get pre-approved for, then I can make up my mind and life will finally begin!

Meanwhile… I need to close this and go focus on the Helen LaFrance theatrical adaptation. During my last phone call with Sandra Caldwell in NYC, mere hours before she had to go onstage for the opening night of Charm, she very pointedly asked, “when are you going to get here?” and made it plain that she had a number of people she wanted to discuss the Helen LaFrance piece with, so getting the revisions finished might be a really good idea…

Indeed.

So here I go.

Have a great Friday, wherever you are and with whatever you’re doing! I leave you with this, gang! Play it loud and keep on keeping on, regardless of what anyone else advises. Thanks for visiting. See ya!

 

 

A lovely Saturday in the Hinterlands

It feels like it’s been a long time since I posted here. Life zips by at such an astounding pace.

Here are some updates!

First, and newest: I am currently managing Sandra Caldwell‘s website.  (She is the actress in NYC whom I write with & for.) There is not much posted there yet, but please visit and follow her, so that we can all stay updated on her (and eventually my!!) theater projects. Yay!

I will not be going to New York City this weekend. I had to postpone my trip until early October because everything is just kinda crazy right now.  And since The Great Comet closed (see my agonized post below somewhere, titled Requiem for a Comet) and we no longer had tickets to see that,  I decided to wait until Wayne (my ex-husband) is back from Morocco and Alaska, so that we can see Sandra’s play together instead.

Things seem to be moving along with my request for a mortgage!!  You know how you can get all sorts of alerts from various credit cards, banks, and credit reporting agencies to be notified if anyone accesses your FICO score? Well, a couple days ago, alerts came in like crazy, all at the very same time, notifying me that a mortgage broker had checked my FICO score… So I’m excited that it is moving forward, but it took forever to get all that paperwork together, filled out, and turned in. Hence my need to re-schedule my trip to see Sandra in NYC.

Other good news: the head of production at the production company in LA informed me that we are done with revisions and edits to my pilot for the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV proposal!! (This is the project that was originally titled Cleveland’s Burning.) So, we will be moving forward and I will keep you posted!! I almost cannot believe it.

What I super-duper quadruple cannot believe, though, is that I still have so many more revisions left to make on my theatrical adaption of Tell My Bones — my Helen LaFrance project for Sandra — that needed to be completed this week. The home-loan paperwork stuff really did take over my life for a while there. But now I can give the project my full attention. Again. [She said hopefully. — Editor]

Other good news, or promising news, I should say. The same production company in LA who is developing my Cleveland Drama, is interested in seeing a proposal for a limited streaming series based on my novel, Freak Parade.

So, as soon as the Helen LaFrance revisions are completed, I will begin wrapping my brain around that. How exciting.

All right. I’m gonna go collapse for awhile. Thanks for visiting, gang! Have a really great end-of-summer weekend, wherever you are! I leave you with this!!  This CD is currently playing nonstop in my car (well, not “currently” per se — only when I’m actually in the car and driving.) It’s a classic from 1965, and it gets more lovely as the years race by. Okay, gang! Enjoy! See ya.

Hurray in the Hinterlands!

I could not be more excited!!

The response to the current draft of the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot script came in and it was: Really, really good. Lovely writing. Really strong. LOVE it.

I only need to trim some dialogue from Act 1, because the page count is running over. And then we are good to GO!!!!

Here’s a shot of Weenie yesterday, saying “Yippee ki yi yay!!”

OOPS! This is actually Weenie, doing what he does best: Living the life of Riley!

Plus, right now, things are looking very promising re: the home loan. Still tons of paperwork to fill out, so I will keep you posted! But I might just be able to unpack all of my boxes one day soon and stay put in the Hinterlands for a long time!!

Here are Huckleberry, Weenie, and Lucie, saying: “Yay!! We are so excited, we can’t WAIT!!”

OOPS. Wrong again…

I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it: We couldn’t be more excited around here!

Plus, by some miracle, I still have enough money in the bank to get to NYC for a few days to see Sandra in her show. I have no clue how this happened, however, we won’t:

LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH; WILL WE??!!

No! We will just keep moving happily ahead!! Keeping our eye on the prize.

Life’s good, gang.

Now I must take care of those final edits to the TV pilot. I hope you have a really great weekend planned, wherever you are in this world!  Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with this (play it loud).

See ya!

Happy Updates from the Hinterlands!

First and foremost: They should have a response to my recent revisions on the Untitled Cleveland Drama TV pilot by the end of this week!

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if there were no more revisions needed?? After all, eventually the rewrites must cease and the production must begin…

I first got the idea for this particular TV series when I was studying for the ministry at the Ohio Christian University (once known as Circleville Bible College) a small school literally built out in the middle of farmland:

Ohio Christian University

I loved that school and I loved studying for the ministry (I was on the Dean’s List every single semester and graduated summa cum laude) and I loved becoming a minister, even while my views about Jesus are radical and heretical by evangelical standards. (I guess, by most people’s standards, come to think of it.)

Anyway, liberal and far-flung as I am psychologically, I still believe that Jesus himself gave me the idea for the premise of Cleveland’s Burning (now known more loftily as the Untitled Cleveland Drama).  After my involvement with 11 various producers in LA came to nothing, I set aside the script for a couple of years, until suddenly another production company in LA asked to read it and now, here we are, on the verge of actually getting the pilot made.

Interestingly, though, one of their recent comments about my script was to tone down the Christian stuff.  The pilot centers around a black family in Cleveland during the early 1960s, and most of the men in the family are ministers in various stages of their careers. So I wasn’t quite sure how “toning down the Christian stuff” would work…

But seriously, I wrote the show because it really irks me how, nowadays, people try to position DR. Martin Luther King in a strictly cultural and political sense, when in reality, he was more commonly  known for a long time as the REVEREND Martin Luther King; he was a Baptist preacher, completely at odds with political groups like the NAACP.

King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail is the focal point of the pilot episode of my TV series and that letter (addressed to clergymen) is nothing but Christian doctrine — which happens to be all about love, not politics. Hence, it really just irks me that contemporary society wants to sort of erase the Christian influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. (Sort of like how early Christians erased as much of Jesus’s Jewishness and of his family life as they possibly could.)

Ah. But I digress. Anyway.

So I developed an entire TV series about the Christian “evolvement” of the Civil Rights Movement so that I might be able to sort of bang you over the head with it…. (Kind of kidding here, but kind of not!) And even though the producers want to focus more on the one non-minister brother who goes off to Vietnam and comes back a Black Panther/Black Nationalist (because I guess violence is more palatable today than any Christian doctrines of love), I am still indescribably excited and still believe wholeheartedly that Jesus gave me the idea while I was studying for his ministry and that’s all that really matters to me.

In other news… I have decided to buy a new house instead of rent. By “new” I am referring, of course, to really old houses, but they will be new to me! I’m still going to remain out here in the Hinterlands, where I have been so happy for the first time in my life. I am waiting to hear how it will go, mortgage-wise.

I want one of those home loans from the US Department of Agriculture, which mandates that I must purchase a home in a rural area, which includes the nearby lake region, which is just fine with me! Me and the kitties might become nautical!! I sure hope so. And I really hope to be re-located by Christmas, if I can. We will see. I will indeed keep you posted. (I currently have my eye on 2 houses: one is an old farm house from 1910; the other an old lake house from 1930. Both have been updated to modern standards, although the lake house, more so.)

Meanwhile, I must get back to re-writes on the theatrical version of Tell My Bones. It is slow-going. Mostly because it is distracting, knowing that I have to move soon and having all that drudgery of moving again hanging over my head.

Okay, thanks for visiting!! Have a great Wednesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  And if you’d like to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail  (and, frankly, who wouldn’t want to hear a computer read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail??) well, here ya’ go!!

See ya!!