Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What Montana Needs and Doesn't Have ...

Although, if you're in a kayak on Canyon Ferry, it can seem like the North Sea.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Play's the Thing

For the third time, in two years, a stage play of mine has been produced.

One night only, with paid actors, and every time, the difference between being read, performed and heard, rocks me.

Every time.

The first time felt so weird to me. I was used to writing and sending the piece into the ether as a contest entry or query letter. Written feedback, acknowledged or ignored was de rigueur. A live audience was a new experience. It made me nervous.

The second time, with the same play, DRIVER’S ED, I learned, how the actors generated some of the laughs and the script did the rest. I lamented (only to myself) that the most important line got lost in the laugh previous. Interesting. But the audience started laughing at the first line and didn’t stop, so nerves be gone, and honey, that was WAY COOL.

This last time was different. The short play, titled ACTIVE SHOOTER, was not funny at all. It is about sexism and how we react to violence. How, I wondered, would I be able to tell if they liked it? They leaned in. Not as quantifiable as a laugh, but a work on its feet is a different animal.

I took an acting class a few years ago and it changed the way I write. I have a feeling that listening to an audience and watching actors interact with the material is about to change it again.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Mother of A Memory

One winter, when my daughter was almost six years old, she was preparing to perform a song for our community Christmas party. 

We live in a small mountain community outside Montana’s capital city. Our community association throws a potluck Christmas party every year and the local kids put on a talent show.

She sat in front of our stereo listening to cassette tapes. Song after song. Tape after tape. She was dedicated to finding just the right one.

She chose her song and called me into the room to tell me her selection. “A Jimmy Buffett song,” she said. “Nice,” I said. We all love Jimmy.

She had the tape ready and played, “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw,” definitely by Jimmy Buffett.

I didn’t think that vintage Buffett set quite the right tone for Christmas, so I tried to convince her to choose one of his more well-known songs. She decided to dance instead.

Night of the party, her dance went perfectly. Best in the show, if I do say so. And I do.

Santa arrived with his big bag and delivered a present to each child. After the kids and Santa were applauded, he made his way out the door.

My daughter handed me her, as yet unwrapped present, and said, “Let’s go see the reindeer.”

I convinced her to open her present first.

And, don’t you know it, by the time we got outside, Santa and his sleigh were gone.

On one hand, I didn’t fancy her seeing a neighbor stripping off the Santa suit before he climbed into his pickup. 

On the other hand, I wanted to see the reindeer too.

In that moment between when Santa went out the door and my daughter called to us, "let's go," there were reindeer outside the community hall.

Of everything being a parent gives a person, the most precious is possibilities.

You might get to see the reindeer.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Invention is a Mother

Last week, I received notice my play was going to be featured this summer at a conference. 

Yes, DRIVER’S ED, on her feet once again, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

The theater sent a contract and request – a bio, play description and a head shot.

Oh, I hate to write those. You’d think I grow accustomed to the process and every script, you’d be wrong.

But, wait, and a what?

A picture. 


I have enough camera equipment to shoot, film and record the end of the World, so one measly self portrait should be  e a s y.

Then I got a good idea.

I could put the little Oly on the tripod with the view screen deployed and watch myself while I posed for the picture.

Except –

With the Oly on a tripod the view screen can not be deployed.

I have 1597 pieces of GoPro connections, I could probably jury rig something.

 Almost, but not quite. Gave it the old college try though.

Put on makeup. Set up the Nikon. Went back and forth until I made a picture that didn’t make me cringe.

Sent everything off to the theater.

But wait. Good ideas don't have expiration dates. If I could get the Oly on a tripod on its side, the next time I want to take a picture while I stare at the camera, it would be easy.

Searched the Net. There are such devices costing $125 to $180 and all still block the screen.

Looking at those, I realized if I could attach an L brace to the camera, I'd be set.

All that’s needed is an L brace, brass screw, gaffer’s tape, a screwdriver and a husband handy with tools.

Husband not shown.
Made this.

Attaches like this.


Now, should the need ever arise again, I am set.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Snow Day

Everyone has cabin fever, but Montana won't listen.

Each one unique, so they say.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

You Might Be in Montana ...

If the spring time rose bush display sits next to the snow blowers.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Ja oder Nein?

 1 Fired a gun – yes, dear. This is Montana.
 2 Gone on a blind date – yes, ages ago.
 3 Watched someone give birth – yes.
 4 Watched someone die – unfortunately, yes.
 5 Visited Canada – yes, our neighbor to the north.
 6 Visited Hawaii – no, but I've heard of this fabled land where it's always warm.
 7 Visited Las Vegas – yep. It's between here and there.
 8 Visited Asia – No. Does Europe count?
 9 Visited Africa – No. Does Ireland count?
10 Visited Florida – no -- too hot. Too many giant bugs. 
11 Visited Mexico – Tijuana.
12 Visited Australia – No, that would be a really long way to go.
13 Seen the Grand Canyon in person – Yes.
14 Flown in a helicopter – Yes. It was like riding a dragonfly.
15 Flown in an airplane – yes and have piloted my own.
16 Served on a jury – once.
17 Visited L.A – You bet. Hollywood!
18 Been to New York City – I love the Big Apple. Would go again.
19 Cried yourself to sleep – yes.
20 Recently colored with pencils - no
21 Sang karaoke – no, but I always sing at the Uke Jam.
22 Paid for a meal with coins only – no.
23 Made prank phone calls – no. Are you twelve?
24 Laughed so much you cried – yes.
25 Caught a snowflake on your tongue – rite of passage in Montana.
26 Had children – yes, but you don't get to keep them.
27 Had a pet – always.
28 Been skinny dipping – no
29 Rappelled down a building / cliff – certainly not. Where are the stairs?
30 Been downhill skiing – yes and I was bad at it. Walked down the bunny hill.
31 Been water skiing – I prefer to stay in the boat.
32 Been camping in a tent – Yes and without one too.
33 Driven a motorcycle – yes. Does an ATV count. I love that thing.
34 Jumped out of a plane – seriously no.
35 Gone to a drive-in movie – those were the days. Yes.
36 Done something that could have killed you – oh yes. Amazed I lived this long.
37 Done something that you regret – regret is a waste of time.
38 Rode an elephant – no. Been to town and seen the elephant though.
39 Rode a camel – Montana had wild camels for a while, but no.
40 Eaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner – yes. And frosting.
41 Been on TV – yes.
42 Been in newspapers – yes.
43 Stolen any traffic signs – no and why?
44 Been in a car accident – Yes. Alas.
45 Stayed in Hospital – yes.
46 Donated blood – no
47 Had to pay a fine in the past 12 months – No.
48 Gotten a piercing – no.
49 Gotten a tattoo – sure. Evidence of a misspent youth.
50 Driven a standard car – yes.
51 Ever owned your dream car – in my youth.
52 Been Married – yes.
53 Been divorced - not yet.