Yes, that’s right! Tomorrow is my birthday!! 57 years young and on we go to the best years ever.
I know it’s sort of a non sequitur, but here are a few of my cats on the bed last night:
As always, click to enlarge the image and to see how incredibly cute they are.
Well, patience has finally paid off and it became indisputably obvious that the script re-writes I needed to tackle first, were for the TV pilot (Cleveland’s Burning, aka Untitled Cleveland Drama) (it’ll be so exciting, won’t it gang, when you turn on your TV sets one day to watch the hit show, Untitled Cleveland Drama??!!). Anyway, the revisions I needed to make arrived Wednesday night, while I was dreaming. I awoke to find all the ideas I needed, fresh in my brain. I had to run to the desk and scribble all the ideas down on paper before I forgot them.
So exciting when that happens! Getting the ideas — that’s more than half of the work right there.
I’m hoping I can get the revisions done within a couple of weeks, and still have plenty of time to tackle the Tell My Bones theater project and have it completed by mid-late September. Life is good, gang. Life is good!
On that happy note, thanks for visiting. Enjoy my birthday tomorrow in whatever way amuses you most. I leave you with another gorgeous gem from South Pacific, in honor of how young I’m getting every single lovely moment.
It is no mere coincidence that I am pictured here (albeit with my phantom son) smiling at the bluebird of happiness! (See my post from June 28th — Auspicious Moments.)
I got a text late last evening from Sandra Caldwell, the actress in NYC that I write with/for. The PR for the Off-Broadway production of Charm, for which she has the lead role, has officially begun! (See post from May 12th – Such Good Things! re: the play, Charm, by Philip Dawkins.)
Naturally, reading a text like that while I was already in bed, falling to sleep, immediately shifted the gears in my mind to overdrive. How exciting for Sandra!! It is finally underway! And how exciting for Sandra and me, since it helps enormously with the PR for the other theater projects we are working on together.
It only emphasizes my conundrum around here this summer. Do I focus more on the re-writes of my TV pilot, re-writes for which the production company in LA is patiently waiting? Or do I shift gears and go back to focusing on the re-writes of my one-act play version of Tell My Bones, the re-writes that Sandra would like to have in hand by September?
AAAARRRRRGH. Being so indecisive, of course, gets me closer & closer to NOWHERE.
I decided that I would stop thinking about it (last night), and allow myself to fall asleep, and that as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning and I got out of bed, I would instantly know which project needed my complete attention first! Conundrum cured!
So, this morning, when I awoke and my feet hit the floor — I totally forgot that I was going to make my miraculous decision this morning. I was too focused on how happy I was!
So I’m still sort of floundering here, project-wise. But I did buy a new dress for Sandra’s opening night in New York.
Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I already bought a new dress for Sandra’s opening night in New York (see a post below, back in May, I think). I bought one of those colorful Calvin Klein fit & flare dresses, thinking I would depart from wearing my usual plain black sheath…
But, even though the Calvin Klein dress is really pretty, it makes me look like a flower garden floating in from the distance. I don’t like feeling as if I look like that. (I guess I prefer looking like a little slice of the dark void moving toward you, and so you don’t see me until the last second, when I walk up to you on the sidewalk and say, “Hi. Were you looking for me?”…)
Anyway. I’m super happy for Sandra. I’m super happy about my new dress. I’m super happy about the reality I’m currently looking at, and I fully intend to be super happy with all these re-writes I will eventually finish around here.
Meanwhile, I’ll just keep peeling carrots with my son, smiling contentedly at the bluebird in the tree outside my window until everything falls into place.
Thanks for visiting, gang!! Have a terrific Monday, wherever you are! See ya!
Since my move to the Hinterlands, and especially since the warmer weather arrived a couple months ago, I’ve been blogging a lot about my back patio and about how blissful it is.
I had often thought of taking a photo of it and posting it here, so that you could see how serene it looked, with all its many flowerpots full of outrageously blooming, colorful impatiens and riotously red geraniums.
But I knew that, to outsiders, the back patio would not seem so impressive in a photo. It is rather simple and has only serviceable (albeit comfortable) furniture. It is the blissful peace of a clear summer evening that gives the back patio all its charm and makes it such a blessing to me. You can’t capture that in a picture.
Now I wish I had taken that photo and posted it here for you, because last night, my back patio played host to a wonderful mommy deer and her young fawns who allegedly live under the trees a few backyards up the road, and I awoke to an almost denuded patio! Flowerpots had tumbled over hither and yon, an ancient geranium in full-bloom had been trampled upon, and only a handful of impatiens blossoms were left. The deer family ate them all!
The impatiens that were left, I have since moved to the front patio, which places them much closer to the house, the open windows, the constant monitoring of hissing cats, etc. So I doubt they will be eaten.
The front patio is nice and all, and has nicer furniture, but it also has an overhang that makes it difficult to see the stars when the evening comes. Plus there are less fireflies in front because the front yard is, of course, closer to the road.
I still plan on enjoying my (now even simpler) back patio, with its three herb pots and a thriving, flowerless, poinsettia from two Christmases ago. Here’s hoping the deer don’t like to eat cheap patio furniture, since that is basically all that’s left…
Okay, gang! Back to the re-writes around here. Thanks for visiting on this truly stormy Thursday afternoon! See ya.
The last several days, I put all writing on hold and have been concentrating solely on some Bentinho Massaro lessons (in the Trinfinity Academy), in order to get a better grip on my reality around here, as 2 major writing projects bottleneck each other in my brain.
It’s been a wonderful break. I wish I was one of those people who could follow Bentinho around and go on all his retreats. My life would be so different. However, I’m not sure that’s exactly the kind of “different life” I want… At least not yet.
Last evening was lovely. After a couple days of torrential downpours and high humidity, it was nice to sit out on my back patio again and watch the sun go down on the peace & quiet of the Hinterlands.
At dusk, when the fireflies were just emerging (around 8:45 PM), I saw a mommy raccoon and 5 (!!) youngsters hurrying across my neighbors backyard and up their pine tree. It was awesome, how many there were.
The other day, over in the park — I was the only person there and a mother deer and 5 young fawns appeared at the edge of the woods. Yes, 5.
This is astounding to me. 5 fawns; 5 raccoon cubs. To me, it shows that life thrives here in the Hinterlands.
I love raccoons, however, back at the old house, they made me nuts. I had a split-level house, which meant I had 2 roofs. One at the very top of the house, naturally, and one that extended over the first level, which was directly outside the bedroom windows on the 2nd story.
This lower-level roof was the delight of raccoons all over the neighborhood. Not only would they race around and play on this roof at all hours of the night, they would tear the heck out of my window screens, threatening to bounce directly into any/all of the bedrooms at any moment. It also gave them easier access to my main roof, in which they were fond of tearing gaping holes and then lowering themselves into my attic, which was a walk-up and right next to my bedroom. The door to the attic was in my bedroom. It was essentially a closet door, with no lock of any kind. The raccoons would race around and play in there, tearing up & down the attic stairs and frequently banging right into the attic door, waking me from a sound sleep and scaring the beejeebers out of me.
I definitely do not miss that.
I prefer watching them from a distance now, as they scurry happily up a tree.
All right. On that blissful note, I have to make some progress here with these scripts (the re-writes of the Untitled Cleveland TV pilot, once known as “Cleveland’s Burning,” and the One Act play version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story.) If my mind explodes from all this dual-thinking-creating, I will let you know… I am hoping that by the end of the summer, my life is going to be in a totally different, better, perhaps more-sorted-out place.
In the meantime, as Bentinho says, “Everything already exists, right here, right now,” which means that somewhere within reality exist my finished, re-written scripts and a very contented me. I’m off to go find them!
Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya!!
PS: To all of you who are downloading my free Ebooks at Smashwords this month, THANK YOU!! (See post below from July 3rd.)
Around here, the “4th of July” happened on Sunday, July 2nd. It was a most perfect day here in the Hinterlands. Hot but not humid at all, and an absolutely clear, cloudless sky all day long and well into the night.
The fireworks took place in the park at the end of my street, and as it turned out, I had a completely unhindered view of each & every firework just by standing at the end of the driveway. It was absolutely awesome. Not just because I had such a clear view, but also because it was effortless.
Living in New York City, you had to contend with, literally, millions of people if you wanted to get even a glimpse of the fireworks. For me, someone raised on smaller-town fireworks displays of the 1960s & 70s, where perhaps dozens of people showed up, but never millions, dealing with the Independence Day hordes in NYC got old fast. So I stopped going. But I really missed those long-ago 4th of July summers that seemed to have disappeared from our national landscape entirely. It has now become all about fireworks displays that are “bigger,” more “spectacular,” more expensive and thus in need of luring, yes, millions of people in order to make it worth the expense. It seems that the 4th of July is now all about overwhelming people.
I don’t need to be overwhelmed. I get up in the morning, and then simply discovering that I’m still alive is overwhelming enough, thank you.
However, here in the Hinterlands, it turns out that life is perfect.
This past “4th of July” was probably my most favorite July 4th ever, even though it was July 2nd. Around 8 PM, I took a beer with me out to the back patio and sat and watched the sun inch ever downward across the sky. All the neighbors were out in their own backyards; having cookouts, sitting around fire-pits, playing with their dogs, lighting sparklers, playing volleyball. The fireflies came out in abundance, along with the stars, and it was just like a 4th of July from yesteryear! I wasn’t thrilled about being alone, but other than that, it could not have been more perfect.
Then, when the signal came that the fireworks were ready to begin, all I had to do was walk to the end of the driveway to see all the lights exploding in the sky.
And all the other neighbors were standing at the ends of their own driveways; dark shapes, silhouetted against a sparkling sky. No crime to contend with; no litter, no noisy people, no millions of strangers jostling you for a better position, a better glimpse of a tiny slice of sky; no stress about wondering how long it’s going to take you to get home from there once everything is over. In fact, it was utter silence all along the street, as everyone stared up at the sky, each lost in his or her own splendid wonderment for half an hour.
I realize that many, many people seek far and wide to get away from all that is “Old Town America,” but I actually love it. And nowadays it’s “globalized;” everyone’s on the Internet, glued to smartphones; aware of what’s going on in the world; and also, most importantly to me, into all kinds of organic, non-GMO living. For me, it’s the best of all worlds; rolled into peace and quiet and remote living.
Then, as if it couldn’t get any more “Old Town America,” last night I went to the local summer stock theater and saw South Pacific!! Yay! I love that musical. Not only the anti-racism message of it, but the songs are so memorable and, in my opinion, so lovely.
The production was very well done, some really gifted voices in the cast. But try as I did to stay present and appreciative of what was happening in the moment in front of me, I couldn’t help wondering what it must have felt like, 70 or so years ago, when those first unsuspecting audiences saw South Pacific on Broadway for the first time, ever. With Mary Martin, no less. In the flesh. It must have truly blown people away.
Yes, as always; I was dying to live in the past! (That’s an interesting mixed-metaphor, isn’t it?) All right!!
Thanks for visiting on this rainy Thursday afternoon. I leave you with this really lovely, lovely song. (Unfortunately, I sang it a lot to Fluffy while she was dying last summer from cancer. Now the song pretty much breaks my heart, but such is life. And on we go.)
Over this past weekend, the folks at Smashwords began their 9th annual Summer/Winter eBook sale.
it is called “Summer/Winter” because some of us live in the Northern Hemisphere, while others among us live in the Southern Hemisphere. Hence, summer here; winter there.
Regardless of where in the world you live, July is that special time of year where we not only celebrate my BIRTHDAY (!!), but also download several of my eBooks for FREE.
That’s right, FREE.
I’m not sure why I continue to participate each year, because, truthfully, people download my eBooks like crazy on Smashwords when they are free, but only rarely do visitors to Smashwords buy one of my eBooks when they are not free.
In general, people buy my eBooks (and books) through Amazon, all over the world. And on Amazon, my books are never free.
Yes, Amazon the behemoth. Amazon the disrupt-er. Amazon who put a lot of indie bookstores that used to carry & sell all my books out of business. And yet. Amazon is where almost everyone in the English-, French-, and German-speaking world buy most of my books.
Still, team player that I often am, I continue to participate in the annual Smashwords sale (read: free giveaway).
So. On that note. I believe this is the link to my Smashwords page. If you scroll to the bottom, you will find links to 3 of my eBooks, any and all of which you can download for free in July.
Reader reviews: “…Twilight of the Immortal is a masterful book, perhaps a masterpiece. Once the first page is turned, life changes for the reader. It’s a book that immerses, educates, entertains, and enlightens. It’s a book that induces laughter and tears. It’s a book that the reader will savor until the last pages and then begrudgingly winnow down paragraph by paragraph to prevent the end from actually arriving because it’s hard to accept that this book won’t last forever.“
“…As soon as I read this quote, attributed to [Rudolph] Valentino: ‘Observe, Rosemary, how in Hollywood there is no difference between a knife and a smile,’ I knew for sure that I had found a gem! Twilight of the Immortal is both beautifully written and an engaging romp, an insider’s view (fictional though it may be) of life behind the scenes in the 1920’s movie industry, with Rudolph Valentino, Natacha Rambova, and Alla Nazimova, all figuring prominently in the story line. I enjoyed it immensely, from beginning to end.“
Freak Parade (award-winning literary erotic fiction, not suitable for children or for the in-any-way squeamish; drugs, sex, violence, and, yes, ROMANCE!)
Reader reviews: “Freak Parade chronicles the slow and sometimes painful resurrection of a previously-famous recording artist, Eugenia Sharpe. Her world is populated by those who are compromised in any number of ways, and that is perhaps the most refreshing part of this novel — nothing is clear cut and very little is as it seems…”
“…the book is intensely erotic with scorching sex scenes. It’s shocking and raw in places. It’s also warm and funny and sad and deeply emotional. It’s about destruction and redemption, friendship and desire, love and hate, pain and pleasure. It’s also a powerful romance. All of these things make Freak Parade an unforgettable read.”
Reader reviews of the early erotic stories of Marilyn Jaye Lewis: “…There’s authenticity in these stories but I don’t feel like I’m looking through a forbidden peephole to get a glimpse of her life. Her writing might even be too good for the erotica genre but I’m glad she’s writing because it restores my faith in what *can* be accomplished in sex writing. “
“Marilyn is a seriously good writer! These stories are erotic, nasty (in the very best sense of the word), witty, charming, and affecting, occasionally all at the same time. No easy trick…”
Okay, gang! There you have it! Thanks for visiting! See ya.
Do you ever reach that point where it seems that there simply is not enough coffee in the world to:
a.) keep you alive; b.) keep you thriving; c.) keep you productive; d.) keep you interested in remaining here on Earth when there is simply too much writing to do and not enough coffee with which to support it’s being done; and/or e.) all of the above?
I am absolutely exhausted. And I say this/type this as I contemplate the terrible dregs of my 3rd cup of coffee on this cloudy, humid Saturday morning in the Hinterlands, knowing that making another cup is not going to make life/my mental condition/my prospects for surviving this day ANY better!
I’m thinking only sleep will do that…
Oddly, though, I slept great last night. Had the AC on and the drapes closed and I slept a full 8 hours… When my bare feet hit the hardwood floor at 8 AM, I felt happy. But as soon as I once again remembered that there is simply too much to do, not enough money, no one to ever talk to… ennui times the power of 10 took over.
Loneliness. One of the drawbacks of living in obscurity in the Hinterlands. In fact, it’s the only drawback.
I really do still love living here, and even while I really don’t drink very much (anymore) (people who know me from my halcyon days will be shocked by this declaration and might hurry to click on the “About Me” page to make doubly-sure they are reading the blog of the correct Marilyn Jaye Lewis… haha) Anyway. I don’t drink much anymore but that does not keep me from missing those city days when the writing for the day was over, the sun was over the yardarm, and wine, or bourbon, or vodka martinis (and cigarettes) with friends at the local dive bar awaited! And we could all commiserate and/or celebrate the fruits of our heady days.
Yes, my friends; the Hinterlands is not full of writers… (Examine that strange sentence for its many questionable verb tenses if you dare!!)
Sandra, the actress in NYC that I write with/for, said: “Let me send you a plane ticket and you can come stay with me in Rhinebeck for a few days!” (Her sig-oh is currently in France.) But it isn’t a question of needing airfare; I can jump in my spiffy Honda Fit and head for the great wide-open, blue skies of Interstate 80 and be in Rhinebeck, NY before sundown. However, I don’t know a soul around here who can take care of my many CATS.
Sandra replied, “Girl, you really gotta start meeting people…”
I do meet people. But oddly enough, all the people who are in my age range are generally settled & married, with grown children, and even have grandchildren! I know nothing of this life. And am not likely to start knowing about it anytime soon.
I meet plenty of people around here that I enjoy, who are way younger than I am, and since I am perennially at age 12, I relate to them just fine, but it is not really reciprocal. Not just because I’m old(er), but because my frame of reference regarding life is vast, inexplicable and often strange. I might as well have spent all of my former years, up to moving to the Hinterlands, on Saturn. (Not just Saturn, but an X-rated, crime-ridden, fame-ridden Saturn, at that.)
It gets, well, discouraging is not the best word for it. Probably disheartening is better.
It gets disheartening. And yet, I have to ignore the tidal wave of disheartenment (yes, I know; not an actual word) because I have too much writing — stupefyingly precise and fantastic writing — to do this summer. (This long lonely summer.) But onward, gang.
Hope your 4th of July festivities are shaping up nicely — if you live State-side, that is. If you don’t, then I hope you just have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting, folks!!
(By the way, the next time I get to NYC and have some time to see a show that doesn’t involve Sandra, I cannot wait to see this one!! I am currently playing this song in my car, over & over & over.) I leave you to it!
A brief mid-afternoon conference call with the production company in Los Angeles yesterday revealed that more re-writes than I thought are needed on the Untitled Cleveland Drama (once fondly known as Cleveland’s Burning).
This is actually good news, gang. The brief phone chat showed me just how high they are aiming with this TV pilot (and eventual series). A lot is riding on this single opening episode. They nonchalantly said, “Just take one more pass at it and then we’ll be ready.” (Their confidence in me is staggering.)
The truly great thing about this is that their suggestions are targeted and specific, as to the acts as well as the characters, so half my job is actually done. I know I can make the changes they need and the whole thing is really, really exciting…
Loyal readers of this lofty blog will undoubtedly note that I also need to complete the rewrites on my theatrical version of Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story by the end of the summer, because this is when Sandra Caldwell (the actress I write with/for in NYC) will be handing out the script, along with the other play we collaborated on, The Guide to Being Fabulous, to potential directors, producers, casting agents, etc.
To quote Sandra’s text to me: “It’s about to be off the chain!” (followed by various and sundry far-flung emojis.) Off the chain, indeed.
Yes, life is exceptionally good right now, gang, but the coming summer months, here in the Hinterlands, are going to be chock-full of coffee (!!), writing, juggling my writing hours and general work, and then, hopefully, a few moments spent staring out at the evening, as the fireflies give way to the stars (with or without the occasional pint of British ale!).
Okay, gang. I hope things are going just as splendidly wherever you are and with whatever projects you’re working on! I’m off to the kitchen for another cup of coffee now, even as I type!
Thanks for visiting, and I leave you with this little ditty to keep your spirits high and your blood pumping!! (PS: I love playing this right when I get out of bed in the morning, singing and clapping along; it makes my cats zoom around the house like crazy! Too funny!) All righty, see ya!
Ah, yes, this is me in my latest selfie! I won’t even try to explain how I managed to take this picture of myself without appearing to be holding my phone in any way…
Happy, happy Tuesday, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!!
Work on my one-act play version of Tell My Bones, the play I’m writing about the Kentucky-based painter Helen LaFrance for the NYC-based actress, Sandra Caldwell, continues down its inspiring and happy path!
So, of course, pretty much the very moment I knew I had this 2-month deadline in which to write & complete the play, I finally got the feedback from the production company in Los Angeles regarding my revisions to my TV Pilot/series proposal (once called Cleveland’s Burning, now called the more memorable and illustrative, Untitled Cleveland Drama).
The feedback was truly terrific, gang! I was really just so thrilled. I still need to tweak the ending a bit, to make it more explosive, dramatic, etc. Nothing that involves too much labor — however, I do have to suddenly stop in midstream and switch gears completely. But that is A-Okay with me. I simply couldn’t be happier right now.
On another great note, one of my former writing students contacted me yesterday to tell me that a short-short story of his was selected for an upcoming (and first) short story collection for the James Patterson Masterclass! Wow! I am so crazy-happy for him.
It is so gratifying for me to see a former student stick with it. So many would-be writers who have plenty of skill and talent get bogged down in jobs, family, paying bills, rejection letters, etc., etc. Especially when they’re not living in key publishing/media cities like NYC, LA, or San Francisco. So I am just pleased as punch by his good news.
All righty, gang! The trees, the sky, the birds, the endless green fields, the train whistles early in the morning, the fireflies and the stars at night, and the occasional pints of British ale out on the back patio here in the Hinterlands continue to delight me! Things are going so good, gang. Hope all is well in your corner of the world.
I leave you with something I sing all the time now. Hope it inspires you to make the most of everything (and I mean everything!). Sing it loud and sing it proud! Thanks for visiting, gang! See ya!
Only a ten-day absence this time! Pretty good! (Of course, it’s still nothing like the years & years & years where I blogged every single solitary day, including Sundays & holidays! But onward!)
Okay! Remember that great news I couldn’t discuss in my last post? Well, it is now official and so I can share it. And I am so happy about it.
Sandra Caldwell, the actress in New York City that I write with/for, has just landed the leading role in Charm, a play by Philip Dawkins. It will be having its Off-Broadway debut as the fall season opener at Manhattan’s MCC Theater beginning Labor Day weekend.
(I’m planning on attending opening night and I’ve already bought a new dress for the occasion — one of those Calvin Klein floral fit & flare dresses that everyone is wearing these days.) (Although I might change my mind at the last minute, since I am usually a plain black sheath-wearing sort of gal… We’ll see if I ultimately opt once more for living in the past, or taking a bold leap into being like everybody else!)
I’m excited about this show for many reasons. One being that Sandra is my friend and this is her return to the New York stage after a long hiatus. Another reason being that her decision to focus again on stage work was made a couple years ago, wherein she hired me to not only help her with her one-woman musical, but also to be the head writer for her production company, with a focus on theater.
Charm was very well received in Chicago and promises to be a real winner in New York, as well, and it looks additionally promising that the one-woman musical Sandra and I have been working on for several years will get produced and find an off-Broadway stage in New York in the near future.
Even though I was a singer-songwriter for many, many years — in my halcyon days in New York, before switching to full-time fiction writing in the 1990s — theater was always my first love, ever since I was a wee bonnie lassie.
I love all kinds of theater: Jr. High and High School theater; college theater, Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway theater; and even the occasional “go down these dank ancient stairs and enter a clammy, dark, hell-hole abyss theater space” to watch stupifyingly experimental theater where none of the actors even get paid. I love it all.
And even while I’m really excited with the progress I’ve made the last several years with my TV Pilot scripts and TV MOW scripts, theater still excites me, probably even more. So with Sandra’s upcoming success (I know she is going to be superb), will come more and more opportunities to write theater projects for her.
Dare I say that I couldn’t be happier?? (Let us return briefly to the unbridled joy of the American Housewife! If my soul could project onto a screen or perhaps a hologram, it would look like her!)
Well, all righty, gang!!
And in terms of re-writes for my TV Pilot/MOW script, The Tea Cozy Murder Club: A Murder at Parsons Ridge — I have made great progress in re-thinking the story. Not the plot, not the characters, not the setting; but the story itself and how it gets told. I’ve been re-watching tons of old Midsomer Murders episodes and getting delightfully re-inspired. Even though graphically violent & angry police procedurals are all “the rage” now (excuse the pun) (and even the more recent Midsomer Murders have gone more in that direction), the older shows, with their intensely quirky characters interest me a lot more and that’s more in keeping with how I envision the Tea Cozy Murder Club characters. So off we go!
Okay, thanks for visiting, gang. And have a wonderful weekend, whatever you wind up doing! I leave you with this little ditty from Mame, it’s a song that I’ve pretty much lived my life by since childhood, come what may!