Yes, I finally know the dates of my trip to NYC to begin working on that incredible musical that I am so excited about!! It will be in just a few weeks, gang, so I will get a chance to be back in New York in the fall, my favorite time of year.
I will be staying in a hotel around Midtown-ish, so hopefully I will get some free minutes to spend in Central Park among all those splendid trees.
However, I might actually be too busy to get a chance to do that this trip. We shall see!
This play is shaping up to be just incredible, folks. I can’t wait until I am at liberty to talk more about it. It is a one-woman show about an African-American actress — this is not the Pearl Bailey play. That one is next in line. But it is looking like this current show will occupy me/us for a few years, if all goes according to plan!
Yes, I know. You’re wondering how on earth I have time to do that, while still being in Divinity school full time, and trying to come up with a final-ish draft of the TV pilot — oh, and, like work at all my 17 million part time jobs… Here, I’ll give you a hint. (That video explains how I do it.) At least school is almost over. Only about 8 more weeks.
Plus, “that guy” up in the Hudson Valley is going to try to get a train into the city to see me for 14 seconds! Oh, I am so excited! I cannot wait.
Meanwhile, life here is going pretty good. Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day. I celebrated by going to my favorite grocery store: Aldi’s! They have tons of autumnal delights right now, like pumpkin frozen waffles, pumpkin seed tortilla chips, pumpkin soup, pumpkin-chipotle pasta sauce, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice tea, special fall wines — oh, and they actually have PUMPKINS, too! Mostly, I bought baking supplies because I love to bake this time of year. I’m not exactly sure when I think I’m going to have time to do all this baking, but we will find out!
Okay!! Well, I gotta get crackin’ around here! Thanks for visiting, folks. I hope you have a terrific Thursday, wherever you are and whatever exciting thing you’re doing! I leave you with this romantic incentive to get yourselves to the Big Apple this fall! We can wave to each other! All right, see ya!
I had been really excited about yesterday. I had veritably quarantined the entire day for me — me, me, ME! I knew I would have one quick call with one of the producers in LA, and that was going to be the only “work” related thing I would allow to happen all day.
Except for the Hospital Visitation Training, which happened on Monday night, I am on break from school this whole week. Yesterday was going to be a day where all I would do was work on my own projects; write whatever I felt like writing; just sit at my desk and be creative and happy! I would fiddle with my notes from that rewrite seminar I took on Saturday and I would use what I’d learned to create veritable miracles with my scripts! I would break new ground that would lead to unqualified success all across the board!
It panned out a little differently. First off, even though I had slept great because the night had been really cool — down in the low 40s — it turned out that I was totally, thoroughly, 100% exhausted. I was too exhausted to even do my morning meditation; I couldn’t think straight. It seems weird to have been too tired to meditate, but it happened.
Then Kevin called and I was going to regale him with all the miracles we now held in our hands, thanks to that rewrite seminar, and how it was going to elevate our script to new heights… Instead, he unexpectedly said, “I’m sorry to bother you so early in the morning, Marilyn, but our car blew up.”
“It was parked in the street, over a manhole cover, and something down in the sewer exploded and it sent the manhole cover right up into our car. We had a full tank of gas. The car completely exploded. Went up in flames. It is totally destroyed. And now there is no electricity in the apartment. The whole building is out. And for some reason, it’s really cool outside but unbearably hot in the apartment. I’m losing my mind. I hate Brooklyn.”
Wow, well after that, I figured that discussing our miracles could wait until some other time.
I tried to journal (yes, that noun that has become an exceedingly active verb in our culture), but just as I was getting started, one of the men that I do part-time clerical work for called and asked if I could do one quick payroll thing for him on my computer, so I said yes, and twenty minutes later, I was too exhausted to “journal.” So I wrapped myself in a cozy sweater, went down to the family room and watched a “Miss Marple” movie that I had DVR’d (another exceedingly active verb from our culture) from PBS. I enjoyed the movie so much! It required that I do nothing but sit and stare! I am really good at that, especially when I am exhausted.
Since it was such a gorgeous day outside, after the movie, I forced myself to go take a walk down to the creek and back. About 3 miles, tops. I thought it would invigorate me. And it really was such a beautiful fall day. So I walked. I walked and I walked. I saw the ducks, the swan, and the beautiful creek with the sunlight playing on the gently rushing water as it flowed over the rocks. I decided to take the Big Walnut Trail back to my house, instead of walking along the busy street. (If you check that map I linked to, my neighborhood is — yes! — Gramercy Park! And, no, it is not that Gramercy Park!)
It was really a beautiful walk. I even took this photo for you of the empty community swimming pool, always such a bittersweet sight in autumn:
But as I got closer to my neighborhood, what did I discover? Construction going on!! They were tearing up everything and it was full of noisy trucks and tons of construction workers!! This is one of the reasons why I hate living here now and am moving away: there is construction everywhere; trees being torn down all over the place. They are even going to tear down my 60-year-old maple tree once they bulldoze my house. I am really heartsick about all of it. But what was worse, is that I had to turn around and walk back to where I had come from, then head home from there — adding about 2 more miles to my “nice walk.”
By the time I finally got back home, I was indescribably exhausted. I spent the rest of the day laying in bed with Fluffy, watching a veritable marathon of Andy Hardy movies on TCM. It is both an innocuous and nauseating way to spend about six hours! But I was too tired to do a single other thing but stare.
So much for yesterday. But I slept great last night and feel totally back on track today, so I will attempt to spend the afternoon working on those miracles. We shall see!! Meanwhile, I leave you with the clip below. (Multiply this 3-minute clip by 6 hours and see if you don’t come to a solution that looks like “nausea!”)
Alrighty! Have a terrific, peppy, miraculous Wednesday, wherever you are. Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!
This not sleeping right nonsense has got to stop. Last night, I slept 8 hours but they were “fitful.” (As evidenced by the selfie above that I just now took, right this minute, which highlights the lovely lines all around my eyes. They are usually not there.)
Actually, that’s an interesting word — fitful. It’s an adjective that means “occurring irregularly.”
I woke full of resistance this morning, feeling argumentative. After breakfast, I did a guided meditation on letting go of resistance and I thought that had worked. My ACIM review lesson this morning was on not holding onto grievances; so I thought I had a grip on that. But then, everything I pulled out of my closet and tried on to maybe wear to church made me feel like crap, so I got mildly pissed-off and, after changing clothes no less than 5 times, what I eventually did was stayed home from church altogether, at the last minute. Which made me feel like even worse crap. (This is all good English, mind you, so feel free to borrow liberally from me!) I hate when my insecure ego gets in the way of my doing things that I normally really love to do.
So then I decided to go for a walk. It had made me feel so great yesterday. But I got to the end of my driveway and noticed dark, thunderstorm-like clouds on the horizon, so I turned around and went right back inside, where I noticed that I have a ton of housecleaning to do, but I do not feel like doing a single bit of it (which is not the best idea when you have ten cats).
In short — the day seems to be sucking! And I am not one who suffers sucky days gladly, gracefully. Graciously? Hm. Which word? Well, whichever way, I don’t like wasting time on suckiness so I need to turn it all around.
Here’s the good stuff: a.) I turned in all my homework for the Church Administration class so that is DONE. I am officially on a 10-day break from school, starting today; b.) that course I took yesterday on screenplay rewrites was actually really good. I recommend it, even though I have to be honest and say that I don’t always recommend those free screenwriting courses from Screenwriting U, but this one was, in fact, really helpful. And it will come in handy, since I am currently up to my eyeballs in no less than three separate projects that are in rewrites: a one-woman play; a feature-length screenplay; an hour-long TV pilot; and c.) I have to teach a 2-hour writing class tomorrow, but other than that, I don’t really have to be anywhere for “work” work until Wednesday morning at 10 AM.
All those things together should add up to a terrific Sunday, right? I would think so. You know, it has gotten really breezy outside and those dark clouds actually blew away without ever raining on us, so I think I will re-visit that idea of taking a walk. It’s windy but the sun is really shining now. Then maybe I’ll go to a movie. I still want to see The Hundred-Foot Journey and I can see it today for 5 bucks! So perhaps I will! Anything to not let the suckiness rule.
Okay, I hope Sunday is panning out really great for you, gang, wherever you are! I leave you with the song below, as an added omen for non-suckiness! Thanks for visiting. See ya!
Before my Skype session with Kevin, I decided to go out and take a walk. It was a really beautiful morning and I had actually slept a full 8 hours during the night.
It was one of those mornings where I awoke feeling full of energy and happy and singing to the cats. I don’t know if they prefer when I wake-up that way, but I sure do. It beats being awake at 2 AM and not being able to get back to sleep — a thing I did twice last week.
I took my walk down to the creek and brought some bread along with me in order to feed the ducks. It was only about 7:30, so I was the only person there. I took some photos for you with my iPhone:
All in all, if you would like to actually see the many ducks I was feeding, you should probably just go to the creek yourselves because my ability to take good photos is not that great!
But what a peaceful morning. I walked about 3 miles, then came back home in time to call Kevin in New York and to wake him and tell him it was time to Skype!
Now I am finishing up my final paper for the Church Administration class in school. I am not sorry to see this class end, gang. It has not been my favorite, by any stretch. And after this, I only have two more courses and I graduate. That equals 10 weeks left of school, with two week-long breaks thrown in. I will graduate right before Christmas, most likely Magna Cum Laude.
I had the best phone conference last evening with the actress in NYC — the one I am doing 2, and possibly 3, theater productions with in the coming year(s). Wow, what a great conversation. I cannot wait for this show to be edited and ready for production, because I want all of you to go to New York City and see it!! It is going to be such a great show!
Okay. Back to the final paper for class, then the 2-hour telecourse on screenplay rewrites , then hopefully the rest of the weekend off. We shall see how that pans out.
Hope you are having a terrific Saturday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Get out there and feed some ducks, all right? Thanks for visiting! See ya.
I don’t know if you noticed it, too, but in my corner of the universe, the energy was seriously strange yesterday. Everything and everyone seemed off balance, including moi. It was not a day I feel like repeating so I hope today will be back to normal. I guess we’ll find out.
We’ll also find out if Scotland votes for Independence today, which will be very interesting. I get the feeling they will vote in favor of it. Not because I can predict things like that, but only because the world is in such chaos right now, why not throw an Independent Scotland into that crazy mix? In the sense that nothing seems to make sense anymore and only the unexpected can be counted on, then an Independent Scotland will fit right in. Again, we’ll soon find out.
Pam Grout‘s new book, E-Cubed, is out now. I started reading it yesterday and that, at least, gave me some really great energy. I am one of those people whose life was profoundly changed by A Course In Miracles and I really love her simple, fun, joyous approach to who we really are. So far, I like this new book even better than E-Squared, which was a NY Times bestseller, if you aren’t familiar with it.
On the TV pilot re-writing front… I have decided it is time to pull back a bit and try to remember where I was originally going with this thing! I think I want to go back to square one and really focus on the audience I created this story for; maybe that will help me find that voice again. Because right now, it is based on story notes I got from the producers and that can be a very un-targeted way of writing. (Yes, I created a new word there: un-targeted. Feel free to use it whenever your own writing is simply let loose into the stratosphere with no recognizable purpose.) The results are vague and just sitting there, although on the conference call the other day, one of the producers said that it was “going in the right direction.” However, rocket ships launched into space are “going in the right direction” but if that rocket is un-targeted (!!), not specifically aimed at anything, it has no purpose. So back to square one I go!
Meanwhile, the pages from the play from NYC did indeed arrive and I am so incredibly excited to be working on this project, even in such a small capacity as the editor of dialogue. It is an original musical, a one-woman show — a one-African-American-woman show — and, to me, it feels like a cross between Rent and Hedwig & the Anrgy Inch.
These are the same people that I will be working with on the Pearl Bailey play (as the writer), and perhaps even another musical down the line (as the writer again), and I couldn’t be more excited, gang. Really. Theater has always been my first love, and musical theater, specifically. In fact when I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be Julie Andrews. I spent many carefree hours blithely dancing around the playroom in the basement, singing along to the original cast recording of “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. At some point — when I was around 12, I think — I realized that if Julie Andrews already existed there was no point in pursuing “being her” when I grew up, so I wound up being me, instead. But I do still have a fondness in my heart for Broadway musicals, that’s for sure. And I am so excited by this unexpected turn in my life right now.
Okay, I am almost done with the Church Administration class — this is the final week. So I’d better get crackin’ on the homework. But I leave you with the video below! (Just picture her as a 5-year-old me, downstairs in our playroom, in Cleveland circa 1965…) Have a great Thursday, gang, wherever you are, and if it winds up being just as insane as yesterday, then let’s vow to get through it together!! We’ll meet back here tomorrow, in whatever shape we’re in! See ya then! Thanks for visiting!
The photo today is of my beloved Buster, who passed away one year ago today. He was eleven. I still miss him like crazy…
Okay. So. This is how the “very busy” weekend panned out:
My Skype session with Kevin was phenomenally great. We had even more breakthroughs in the script than we’d had the weekend before. It felt like finally cracking the code. Eureka! Suddenly we had all the pieces to the main character and everything made sense.
It only took us two hours instead of our usual three or four, which meant that, by some miracle, I was finished with all my homework by 5 PM on Saturday. Which meant that I didn’t have to do any homework at all on Sunday, which was a stunning a day — just the most beautiful fall-like weather. I went to church early and took a class on Deuteronomy, then went to the church service itself, then was home by 12:30 and had NOTHING I NEEDED TO DO!! This is something that never happens to me.
Act One of the play that was set to come on Saturday from NYC had not arrived yet, although the actress texted me several times, saying it was going to be ready by Sunday night… So I had all of Sunday — a beautiful Sunday, no less — just totally to myself. I even drove over to L’Occitane En Provence and bought my favorite bar of soap. That was exciting to me (!!) because I am usually so freakin’ busy that I don’t even have time to do something as simple as go out and buy my favorite bar of soap. I usually have to just dash in to the grocery store and find a somewhat-reasonable-facsimile kind of soap that really is just never even close.
Gosh it was really just a beautiful day. I felt so blessed. I rounded out the day by watching Part One of Ken Burns’ documentary on The Roosevelts on PBS. Which I really enjoyed. The end of a perfect day.
Okay! Monday is underway and promises to be nothing at all like yesterday. However, I am attaching the video below in order to share my beautiful Sunday blessings with you, one day late!
Have a great Monday, gang, wherever you are! Thanks for visiting. See ya.
As I had suspected all along, a time would soon come when EVERYTHING was basically on my plate at the same time.
Drum roll, building to crashingly loud crescendo…
It has arrived!
I turned in the revisions of Act II for Cleveland’s Burning on Wednesday. This leaves Acts III & IV still to revise. The good news is, they are short acts; the bad news is that they must be very powerful emotionally. This means I must concentrate. As tempting as it is, I can not just blithely type gibberish and then declare: Voila! It is done!!
More likely I will have to force myself to stay seated at my desk for hours; figure out at which delicate point drinking so much coffee is only making it worse; hit the delete button a lot; then finally declare: Holy crap, that was hard but I think it’s done!!
To add to that merriment, I still have about 75 pages to read in the Church Administration textbook, and once that’s done, I have 3 papers to write for school this weekend — due Sunday night. All of them on the leadership skills required for Effective Church Administration. I know! It’s so exciting! I, too, cannot keep from falling out of my chair! Then I have to read several pages on confidentiality when visiting people in hospitals– due Monday.
And now, of course, Kevin and I are finally back on track with re-writes for the script we’ve been writing together for nearly two years. We usually Skype on Saturday mornings for about 3 or 4 hours — don’t want to miss that. It is usually the most fun I have all week. Why? Because it involves me talking to someone other than myself and ten cats. And then having somebody, you know, respond. Wow. Human communication! It is in fact one of the leadership skills required for Effective Church Administration! What could be more fortuitous than that?
And, yes!! The actress in NYC who hired me to work on two incredible plays with her, finally shot me a text yesterday to let me know that some pages that need editing and input (also known as ‘all of Act One’) would be coming my way on Saturday…
I just got the official letter that my TV pilot, Cleveland’s Burning, is a Second Rounder at the upcoming Austin Film Festival. I won’t be attending this time because I need any and all time off to go to New York City to work on the plays. But I am still really excited by the news, and the comments from the Director of the competition were really, really nice.
in 2013, Cleveland’s Burning was a semi-finalist in the Industry Insider’s TV Pilot Competition. Even though I didn’t win, it still helped me get an invite to Ken Rotcop’s private pitch fest in L.A., Pitch Mart. I attended that in May and that’s where I found several producers who took a keen interest in the project, who are currently helping me to actually get the pilot made.
Yes, the very same pilot that I am forever in the throes of re-writing these days!! If only I weren’t trying to graduate from Divinity School this December…
Yes, it’s all good, gang! Hope things are panning out really sweetly with whatever you’re doing, wherever you are! Happy Saturday! Thanks for visiting.
[This is from last year — did I post this one already? Yes, I was told to euthanize these critters because they were feral an un-adoptable, and would cause me nothing but trouble. What planet are people on?]
I took this photo with my iPhone when I stepped into the sun room yesterday. I thought you might enjoy experiencing a little of how it feels to be me: There is always someone watching me!
In the front row are: Lucie, Weenie, Huckleberry, and Beck. In the back row are: Tommy and Francis. (They wanted you to know that they are all flea- free! Yay!)
The reason the wicker settee is upside down is because the cats prefer it that way. It’s like a little fort and they like to hang out underneath it. (One of the legs is broken so it can’t be used like a regular settee by human beings anymore. So, no, I am not in the habit of turning my furniture upside down simply because my cats prefer it that way…)
Things here have been in overload, so that’s the reason why I haven’t written. I am either working, working, working. Or studying, studying, studying. Or writing, writing, writing. Or cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Or sleeping. And, basically, I do all of that stuff at the same time, except for the sleeping part. But life is still really, really good.
Those of you who have been following this blog since it was hosted on the other site (for 8 years!), know that I have a writing partner in Brooklyn, named Kevin. He and I have been working on a screenplay for “tween-age” girls for almost 2 years now; a very funny family comedy. We finished the first draft several months ago, but have been laboring on the re-writes. Kevin texted me last night that he finally had some breakthroughs! Yippee ki yi yay! We co-write on Skype, every Saturday morning. It’s amazing how easy it is nowadays to work with people who live far away. So I am really looking forward to Saturday’s session because it has been kind of frustrating, knowing the script needed changes but not sure how to incorporate them for several months already.
As much as I have loved being in school, it will be so nice once I graduate and don’t have homework to do every single day and all weekend long, plus the additional class on Monday nights now, until mid-October. Soon, every day will feel like vacation! (I’m absolutely certain of it.)
Oh, I did manage to see a couple movies recently! One of my friends managed to get free passes to a couple different films, so we saw Magic in the Moonlight and Begin Again. Begin Again was so much better than I thought it would be! We both really enjoyed it a lot. And we loved the soundtrack. In my halcyon days, I was a singer/songwriter in New York City, so it brought back some wonderful memories for me. It’s really so incredible that young musicians nowadays can have so much more control over their music and their careers. In my day (when we got to Manhattan by way of covered wagons), we were strictly at the mercy of record executives and radio DJs.
Magic in the Moonlight was uneven, but still enjoyable. Most of the acting was really just top-notch. And the costumes will likely get an Oscar nod. They were fantastic, as were the sets and the scenery. (South of France, 1920s; need I say more?) Not Woody Allen’s best, but nowhere close to his worst… I guess that’s damning with faint praise, but oh well.
Well, okay. I guess that’s it for today. I have five — yes, FIVE — chapters to read in my heady Church Administration textbook by tomorrow. So I suppose I’d better force myself to get at it.
Have a great Thursday, wherever you are and whatever you do! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!
Yesterday afternoon, I took a break in my homework and went down to the kitchen. I filled the watering can and opened the kitchen door, went out on the stoop to water the herbs and the geraniums, came directly back inside, and in that short time, somehow Brad managed to be out in plain sight, dashing across the kitchen floor with my cat, Bunny, in shocked pursuit.
At first, I screamed. I screamed because an enormous spider was suddenly dashing across my kitchen floor!
Next, I screamed. I screamed because I immediately recognized it as Brad and I didn’t want Bunny to kill him!
Like some lunatic, I screamed, “Bunny, no! It’s Brad! It’s Brad!”
Oddly enough, both Bunny and Brad froze in their tracks. Bunny froze because she was stunned that I was so suddenly screaming. Brad froze because I think he was stunned that anyone in the kitchen knew him by his Christian name…
I grabbed the kitchen broom, thinking I would sweep Brad out the kitchen door to the outside world. But instead he climbed right on to the whisks and I was able to simply carry him and calmly deposit him outside into the garden right outside the kitchen door.
It only took a handful of nano-seconds for the whole thing to transpire, but after it was over, and Brad was safely back in the wilds, I thought to myself, OMG, how weird! I actually recognized a spider. Saint-Exupery was right! When you name something, you tame it, and it becomes familiar to you; you recognize it as distinct from all the others in the world that are just like it.
So Brad came into my life not just to terrify me and teach me about taming my fears, but also to teach me about — well, I don’t know; I’m not sure what. But it has something to do with naming, claiming, taming and how it leads to caring and recognition.
Well, all right! How’s that for a great way to start a Monday morning? It should be an okay week here. I actually got an email from the ScriptPipeline Contest people. I had entered my TV Pilot, Cleveland’s Burning, in their TV Pilot contest earlier this year. I was not among the finalists, but it turns out I was a writer that “showed promise”, so they want to have a free phone consultation with me this week about Cleveland’s Burning; about how it’s going, how it’s progressing, what my plans are. I’m guessing that they also want me to invest in their company again in some way, but that could just be jadedness talking. We’ll see. I told the producers working with me on the pilot right now that this phone consultation was going to happen, and they were pleased, but also, you know — “well, we’ll be very interested to hear what they have to tell you.” (Meaning (I think): don’t take this to other producers.)
I have to say, life is really looking good on all fronts. I hope it’s looking pretty good wherever you are, too, gang! Have a terrific Monday. Thanks for visiting! See ya.