Saturday, November 04, 2017

First Night. They laughed. They cried. No wait, that was me.

Nervous writer + cel phone = not the best picture.
A while back, I wrote a three scene, one act play called DRIVER’S ED. The story was based on that terrifying parental experience, teaching a teenager to drive. Turns out driving wasn’t the scariest part of the scenario.

Since I grew up in the 60s, it surprised me that I was uncomfortable when my daughter started asking sex questions; which she invariably did on the drive to school. I realized what I thought I should say, and what I really wanted to say often diverged. DRIVER’S ED arose from the idea, what if the unspoken thoughts on both sides had a life of their own.

The play won a few awards on the circuit then went back into the drawer. On a whim I entered it in a Montana contest in which the prize was production, one night, in a theater, with a professional acting troup and director. And a real, live audience.

DRIVER’S ED was one of the winners.

I’ve had a couple of table reads in my career; both times with other writers. It seems to me that writers are dysfunctional in similar ways, and at both table reads I spent most of my time enjoying the goofiness of my peers. From quiet, internally focused writers to suddenly -- ACT-TORS – cracked me up and made me love ‘em for their willingness to let go and help.

Production on a real stage with genuine actors in front of a real live audience was something else all together.


And I had a week to ponder.

What if they hated it? What if they were offended? What if they were bored? What if they became enraged and formed a mad mob like the one that burned out Frankenstein’s monster? What if someone jumped up and hollered, “who wrote this crap?”

What if I just had a heart attack and succumbed right there in the theater?

Well, Mrs. Lincoln, except for that, how’d you like the play?

I’ve had a few surreal experiences in my screenwriting career. Having an Oscar winning screenwriter hand me my first screenwriting award.  Hearing an HBO executive quote my dialog back to me because it sounded cool to her. Listening to the director of a major screenwriting contest report how much the judges were enjoying my story.

Now add to those, sitting in the audience while my play was performed.

The audience laughed.

They applauded.

They didn’t burn down the theater.

Nobody cried. I made up that part.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Age Appropriate

So, I got one of these.

I wanted to see what my heart was doing and the sleep reports looked interesting.

Less interesting was how many steps I took in a day ‘cuz, I’m a writer. The most important steps are the ones that take me to my seat in front of the computer.

Turns out the thing is like that snoopy friend you never wanted.

Lots of intrusive questions.

Then after a couple of days, the reports filtered in.

The first heart report sounded good ... but ... what's that -- for a woman my age?

I beg your pardon. 

That's just a hop, skip and slippery slope to -- you're too old to do that. Or too young. Or too female. Or (these days) not female enough.

How rude. 

Besides what is hidden in the fine print is that the numbers show a resting heart rate, but not a real resting heart rate just an averaging of the heart rate over a day, so insult me with false findings why don't you? Thanks ever so.

Looking at the sleep report, it seemed like I don’t get much, over-laid with a heart rate strip that looked like a nine on the Richter scale.

Suddenly, this was too much information.

And the thing knew where I was all the time, what I was doing (bragged it could guess any activity after 15 minutes) what I’d been eating and how much I drank.

I am almost used to being tracked non-stop by the cell phone. This was one eye on me too many.

I took it off and tucked it into my sock drawer. I doubt it will cause any trouble there.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Back to the Golden State

Here are some of the pictures that ten pounds of camera equipment produced on a nostalgic trip down the California coast echoing trips I took when I was still in college.

Spent my birthday on the Rock. Alcatraz Island.

On to Point Lobos, where Edward Weston and Ansel Adams worked.

China Cove. Edward Weston made a famous photograph here. I stood in this exact spot when I was 19 and all I had was a camera and a future in front of me.

Then down to the relatively crowd-less Morro Bay which was teeming with wildlife.

Then back home where Montana tells me summer is over.

Goldilocks and the Travel Journal

My original travel journal setup was a pocket-size Moleskine with a couple of pens and a pencil, glue stick and folding scissors in a canvas case sold by an entrepreneur who has since gone out of business.

Then I stumbled onto the Midori Traveler’s Notebook universe and well … this happened.

Two! Passport and Regular in black.

 So, when a trip came up, I thought, let’s switch to a better travel journal – Moleskine paper not being what it used to be.

The regular Traveler’s Notebook was out of the question.


Especially when I’m already carrying ten pounds of camera equipment.

So this arrived. 

Passport size, in camel. Cool. Tucked right in the old canvas case.

Away we went.

It lasted one and a half trips before I realized it was TOO SMALL.

Since the addition of the polaroid printer – business card size photos were taking up lots of space. 

I hunted down a stationary store on the road and returned to the pocket Moleskine of yesteryear.  

Which was – JUST RIGHT.

And goes to show, that old adage is correct.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.