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Ooh Ahh You Wish You Were A Senior

14 Jun

That’s what was written in shoe polish on the car in front of me this morning.

Through the lettering, I could see a perky girl sporting white sunglasses, bouncing along to the tunes blaring out her window. Her friend joining her in the chorus.

And I must say, it did give me pause. While we waited for that light to change from stop to go, it brought back memories of my high school days and graduation. The day that I thought a miracle would happen. I’d walk across that stage, go to my party, eat potato salad and then some kind of magic would occur. 

The reality was the next morning I got up, went to my grocery store cashier job, came home and did laundry.

Was this it?

Everyone makes such a big deal over graduating high school. And while it was a special day, the ones that followed were ho-hum.

And then I went off to college, spent a semester abroad, graduated, got a car, a place to live, a job and life REALLY began.

So while I might reminisce over the care-free days of being a high school senior, if I had the chance to tell my 18-year-old self what I know now here’s what I’d say…

You might think it’s just more of the same old, same old. But it won’t be. You’ll grow in ways you didn’t know were possible.

You will travel the world and that will change how you look at everything. It will be the single most amazing thing you’ll ever do.

Remember when you went to the theatre for the first time? At the tender age of 10, you’d tell your mother you want to do that one day in New York City.  And guess what? You will.

You’re an artistic person so you’re creative avenues will shift between different mediums. You’ll decide you enjoy writing and people will tell you that being a writer is a tough job. But you’ll do it anyway. You’ll have a weekly column in a newspaper, you’ll write articles for magazines and pen several books. You’ll be a playwright and your stuff will be produced in the big apple.  People will tell you it can’t be done. But you’ll say why not? And then you’ll just do it because…well…why not?

You thought you didn’t need a man. Relationships are great for having someone to be your date for holidays and things like weddings. Then one day, when you least expect it, a magnificent man will come out of no where, walk up and say “hi”.  Your world will be turned upside down and you won’t be able to imagine living one day without him.

While you always enjoyed the security of being close to mom and dad, you’ll move half way across the country and it will open doors for you in ways you never dreamed.

Most importantly, I’d tell Senior me that, while being 18 and graduating high school is pretty freakin’ awesome, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolution Set You Up For Failure

3 Jan

My sweetheart and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We go for a very, relaxing massage, then it’s time for yummy Thai food and board games with our friends. Sometimes we host. Sometimes they host. But it’s a fun, casual way to spend the evening just enjoying one another’s company.

At the end of the evening (actually, it was the early morning), I asked what their New Year’s resolutions were. She shrugged and said, “I don’t have any.” He made a disgruntled face and said, “I don’t make them anymore because I never keep them anyway.” 

He wasn’t my only friend that wasn’t participating in this yearly tradition. I felt the same way a few years ago, but I think it’s because we set our goals too high. New Year’s resolutions have become extreme edicts whereby we promise to drop 50 pounds by June 1. Where we will no longer eat carbs, drink soda and we promise to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. We’re going to save $10,000 in the next year and we will single-handedly bring about world peace.

Well no wonder we feel defeated before we ever get started.

Two years ago I decided that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t going to be so specific and demanding. I wouldn’t put a strict guideline on what I was or was not going to do. I was going to  make it broad and general and when the moment presented itself, I would make that resolution come true.

In 2009, my new year’s resolution was a quote. “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

On January 1, when I made that declaration, I had no idea what that was. I only knew that in the next 365 days I was going to attempt something.

In August of 2008, a director/actor friend and playwright/producer friend and I sat on my patio furniture and talked about wanting to finally do the work we wanted to do. Yes, we all had success with other theatre companies, directors, producers, etc. and we had enjoyed the work we had done. But we longed to do the things we really wanted to do. The roles we hadn’t played. The shows that we wanted to direct. The venues where we wanted to produce. So in April 2009, I wrote a comedy about the pitfalls of social media. About the same time, the three of us got together again and decided to make it happen.  That year, I wrote, produced and starred in not one, but two of my plays in NYC. Could it have failed? Well, sure. But did it? No. Because I didn’t even let that thought enter my mind. We played to a sold out run.

In 2010, I decided to go the way of the quote again. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – Harold Whitman

On February 8 of that year, I opened my Etsy shop.  I had been wanting to sell online and Etsy made it so easy. With them doing the nuts and bolts of having an online presence, I could concentrate on my artistic endeavors. This was also the year I was selected to be part of the Estrogenius Art Festival in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have three of my paintings in that art show.

It’s with no surprise, that I have decided to keep with my quote tradition. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution: “She decided to start living the life she had imagined.” (I believe this quote is taken from the book “She” by Kobi Yamada).

I’m excited! I have an entire year to do all the amazing things I have imagined doing. I’ll paint more. I’ll read lots. I’ll go to Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. I’ll float in my pool and leave the dusting for tomorrow. I’ll wear more sparkles. I’ll learn to walk in heels. I’ll cook new recipes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I learn to play the cello.

Happy Moment of the Day: That after all those holiday cookies, eggnog and delicious dinners out….I am still 40 pounds thinner than I was 2 years ago!

Mmmmm…Smells Good!

12 Jul

I want my books and plays to smell.

Not in a scratch and sniff kind of way, but rather I want the reader/audience member to experience the sense of smell in the scene. Not all scenes. Just ones where it would add another dimension to the piece.

In an effort to write more about smell, I decided to come up with a top five list of my favorite smells. Here goes…

1. Pie hot from the oven.

2. My man’s deodorant (especially when I am snuggled up in the nook of his arm).

3. Coffee in the morning.

4. Flowers. Any kind.

5. The air at the ocean.

What are you favorite smells? Are you writer? If so, how do you work in smells to your writing?

Happy Moment of the Day (actually a quote about smells—how apropos is that?): “Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth”.  ~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

Be the Butterfly and Spread Your Wings

14 Jun

So yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with Julie Gray. If you’re a writer, you should follow Julie’s Tweets. They are funny, insightful and I guarantee you’ll look forward to reading them. 

Julie Gray’s website Just Effing is chock full of great information for screenplay writers. And yesterday she announced that she was starting a podcast series called “The Doctor Is On Call“. It’s a bit like talk radio where a writer has the opportunity to phone in and discuss with Julie career advice, sticky problems in their script or just about anything involving screenwriting. 

My background is in theatre. I’ve worked a plethora of positions: actor, director, producer, costume designer, production assistant, marketing/pr, box office and playwright.

I’ve written for magazines and newspapers and am currently in the process of editing two novels.

I’m a writer. Writers write. Certainly there are forms we are very comfortable with and others that we’d like to learn more about, so that is why when Julie offered the opportunity to brain storm with her on matters of screenwriting, I jumped at the chance.

We talked about adapting one of my stage plays, that was produced in NYC two years ago to a short film, screenwriting software, the differences between scripts for the stage and scripts for the camera, and a few other things. Click here to hear the entire podcast.

A couple of things struck me after we had finished our chat:
1) Twitter is bridging the geographical gap between liked minded people.
2) Never ever miss an opportunity to learn something new.
3) Life is about making connections so extend your hand, smile and say hi.
4) Although the formatting may be different, writing is about conveying thoughts, emotions and making people think and look at the world they live in just a little bit different. If you’re a writer, you simply MUST engage in conversation with other writers. It’s good for your soul.
5) Our chat was just a little over 17 minutes, but it energized me to want to commit to the challenge of adapting my stage play to a screenplay. It opened a new avenue for me and I’m looking forward to the ride.

Happy Moment of the Day (saw it posted on Just Effing yesterday): Two seals kiss after being released back into the wild.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/13/seals-kiss-after-being-freed_n_876089.html

A Little Pick-Me-Up

15 Apr

Sometimes life goes zipping by so quickly that we forget to stop and take it all in. Whenever I go to a supermarket, I always make a point to stop and smell the roses. I figure no matter how busy I am, it’s good to just take a moment to enjoy some beauty. 

The other day I went to Whole Foods and picked up a petite bouquet. I had just received some really good news, my play was going well for Script Frenzy and my novel editing was soaring. I have the most gorgeous little bunch of roses, baby’s breath, gerbera daisies, greenery and some pretty little red berries sitting on my desk. 

All week, I have taken a few minutes here and there to stop and smell my posies and it has really been a great week for me.

So as you go into the weekend, make sure you stop and smell the flowers. And always remember it’s good to give YOURSELF a little pick-me-up.

Happy Weekend!

How Much Should I Reveal?

14 Apr

So it is a very busy writing month for me between the blog, Script Frenzy and editing my novel. I am all words all the time.

But writing for three different audiences is producing an “interesting” time for me. The biggest thing that I grapple with is  just how much I should reveal in a story.

When I blog, I try to keep it short and sweet. Since I don’t have a lot of time to spend reading pages and pages of other blogs, I figure someone else might appreciate it if I returned the favor.

For Script Frenzy, I am working on a new play. The best part of writing a play is the dialogue. I love creating snappy interactions between characters. And, unless there is a specific prop or a particular look that needs to happen on stage, I don’t get bogged down in those details. That’s why there is a director, a scenic designer, a costume designer, a sound designer and a prop mistress. It’s their job to handle all those little details.

But when it comes to my novel, I am all the aforementioned and then some. Since I come from a theatre background, dialogue is my strong suit. And, just like with the blogs, I don’t like to get smothered in the details of how someone is dressed, what the  curtains looked like or whether or not the tires on a car make a humming sound. I want to be in the middle of the action and hearing characters engage one another.  That’s why I don’t tend to write a lot of the other descriptive stuff in my novels. I set it up, give a feeling for what’s going on and then assume the reader will fill in the missing pieces for themselves.

Now, I have friends that think exactly as I do. They can see in their mind’s eye what the patrons at the restaurant look like or how that old wool sweater feels. They don’t want to have the author lay it out for them.

But, I also have friends that want to know every last detail right down to the speck of dust on the lamp. They want to know EXACTLY what I am seeing in my head so they can see it in theirs. So since I am editing my novel, thought I would pose the question: How Much Should I Reveal?

Well, I didn’t expect that

4 Apr

I sat down and wrote today’s blog post and ended up with a one minute play. Well, who woulda thunk?

Does that ever happen to you? You start doing one thing and it winds up being another? 

It must be a theme for me right now because I started my new play for Script Frenzy on Friday with something entirely different in mind. Then, I found some notes I had jotted down on a piece of paper which reminded me that I had expected to write a slightly different version of this play.

But, I actually think I can incorporate both ideas and the play is going to be stronger for it.

In the meantime, I am completely psyched to have a new play for the The International One Minute Play Festival.

Yeah, me!

The Decision Has Been Made…

1 Apr

Well, I narrowed down my choices and this evening I will begin my Script Frenzy efforts with a play that involves a survey, a high school reunion and cupcakes. I am most eager to get this party started and see where it takes me.

Script Frenzy T-shirt…check
Script Frenzy Travel mug…check
Script Frenzy page counter on blog…check

And away I go!

Are You My Inspiration?

30 Mar

I love to multi-task. It’s probably the reason why I also love to create across multiple mediums. At any given time, I can be working on a piece jewelry, while sewing a purse and painting with my acrylics or watercolors.

When inspiration strikes, I just give in to it. I learned (the hard way) that when a scene pops into my mind, to grab my laptop or nearest piece of paper and write it out. I’ve tried jotting down notes to remind me of what I wanted to say but it is never as good as when I am in that moment and text is flowing freely. It’s the same way when I paint. A color combination will present itself and, unless I grab those brushes and get that paint on the canvas, I won’t be able to recapture that feeling I had towards that palette.

I’ve been gathering ideas in preparation for Script Frenzy but I don’t know which ones will turn into that new play until I put fingers to keyboard on Friday.  And honestly, it might all depend on when I decide to start. If I go out for lunch and bring my laptop, I’m quite sure I will choose something different that if I begin writing Friday night. Yes, my environment influences my creativity. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who couldn’t believe I didn’t cook. I told her I wasn’t any good at it. She found this hard to believe. She told me cooking was just being creative with food instead of paints, paper or material.

Hmmm…

So I put on a gorgeous damask apron, played some opera and worked my artistic ways on a yummy Italian dinner.

And that tradition has continued three years later. Everything from the weather (a warm summer breeze makes me want to concoct delicious salads with watermelon, pine nuts and feta) to clothing (I am seeing a lot of pink this Spring, so I am eager to make cupcakes with a strawberry glaze), stirs something inside of me to express myself in a creative way.

So where do you find inspiration?

My Spring Want-To-Dos

29 Mar

In my first blog post, I talked about how Script Frenzy helped me to manage one of my want-to-dos (writing!)

Today Cait, who writes the Pretty and Fun blog, (which is FABULOUS) posted a beautiful list of the things she wants to do this Spring.  I was so inspired that I created one of my own.


What is on your Spring Want-To-Do list?