Friday, July 31, 2009

An occasional rainy day. . .

. . .can be a great thing.  It allows me to write without feeling guilty because I'm not outside doing some necessary homeowner kind of task.  Yesterday tasks, in fact, included a rather troubling moment, a sort of reverse rite of passage.  About 37 years ago, Bill Brewer and I bought a 22 foot metal ladder.  Most of you don't know Bill.  He was an English teacher with us back in the early days, who eventually went to law school.  Back then, Brew and I were summer housepainters, which is why we purchased the ladder.  It cost $22, $1 per foot.  When Bill went off to law school, I bought out his share of the ladder for $11.
               Over the years, I did summer painting with other teachers, and my ladder often came with me.  As it aged, it was given the nickname "old bounce and sway."  Linda always hated the ladder.  She hates and fears heights and can't understand why I don't.  The ladder served us often at home, particularly in the pre-cable days of roof antennae, that would get blown around a lot.
               Anyway, we have a tree farm growing in our gutters, and yesterday I got "old bounce and sway" out of the garage, only to discover that it was too big and cranky and stuck for me to handle.  Even though, I go to the Y three times a week and do all sorts of exercises, I lost a lot of strength in my bout with gall bladder complications in the winter, and it all hasn't come back.  I just couldn't horse the old beast open and up like I always had.  Troubling.  So, I put old bounce and sway, 37 years young, out to the curb with a "Free" sign on it. Before you know it, the ladder went off with its new unknown owner.
               I'm sure that Linda is thrilled with this occurrence.  As I said earlier, she did not care for "old bounce and sway."  But I am mildly troubled.  On my 50th birthday I did 51 pushups. Now, a week and a half after my 62nd, I'm not sure if I could do 1.  I'll now be hiring people to clean out the gutters, and I can't be tempted to hoist that ladder again.  I suppose a rite of passage can occur at any point in life.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

First, I need to say that I finally finished. . .

. . .the penultimate chapter of TISHA AND THE GIANT.  One chapter to go.  Then I have to read the whole book again, do final fixing, and put in the page numbers.  At that point, I'll go looking for an agent.
               Having gotten the writing part of this blog taken care of, I need to make an admission.
I have developed an addiction, and it has only taken a week.  Yes, I am addicted to the Home and Garden TV Network.
               I can't believe this addiction has occurred, and it has captured Linda, too.  It all started when we visited Jan and Chris.  They introduced us to HGTV and to programs like "House Hunters" and "First Time Buyers."  Because there was little to do at Linda's mom's house, we watched the shows there, too.  I can't believe how involved I got watching two young career women, one looking for a condo somewhere down South, I think, (with her mom helping), and the other searching for a house in Denver.  Then I got very concerned that this nice gay Canadian man would find the right condo overlooking the city of Vancouver.  I have to admit we had no patience for the Seattle couple who purchased this million dollar +, ostentatious, 45oo square foot, 5 bedroom, 3 story house, and tried to make the viewers believe their conspicuous consumption wasn't ludicrous because they tried to do everything "green."  Then last night, I was dumbfounded that I watched an entire "International" episode about a Korean-American guy who lived and worked in Argentina and was buying a vacation home in Uruguay.
Linda contended that the guy's girlfriend was just in the relationship for the monetary perks.
Tonight we watched again.  The best one was about this 7th grade teacher from Detroit, who bought a fantastic foreclosure for $77,000. She had really beautiful hair, but she got so excited by the freedom of owning her own home, that she cut almost all of it off, and bought a dog that seemed comatose.  I am fearful that we will continue watch HGTV everyday.  Even now as I sit blogging, I want to reach over and turn the TV on.  I wonder if the Betty Ford Clinic offers rehab for this cable abuse.  Does anyone else suffer so?
               Personal to Scott Rezsnyak.  I haven't blogged Scott any specific messages since the grammar and punctuation stuff.  Tonight, I went to Lions Club, and the Lions who saw ARTHUR REDUX were saying how much they enjoyed it.  One guy said, "I thought everyone was great, but the guy that really "stole the show" was that Merlin!  When he said that line about 'Bit of a coward, eh what,' I almost fell out of my chair laughing."  So there, Scott!  No more reason for dramatic doubt, eh what!  How's Steph?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We're back from visiting Linda's mom. . .

. . .in Lansingburgh, NY.   Though the trips are absolutely necessary, they drag out and are pretty trying on Linda.  On Monday afternoon, while Linda and her mother were grocery shopping, I decided to write my blog even though I had no computer.  I put a new legal pad on my knee.  I just love new pads and notebooks  Took up a Dr. Boule' pen.  These are fantastic, complimentary pens we get from our dentist, who is also fantastic, when we sign our check or credit card slip.  While you might write with a Bic, I write with a Boule'.  So armed, I began to write. . .
               When I last blogged, I said I had to write a cover letter to help market ARTHUR REDUX.  Cover letters and query letters are always discussed at writing conferences and written about at length in writing journals.  The latter are often used to query editors about a writing idea a writer has.  Often non-fiction, the writing idea is one the writer hopes the editor will agree to pay her or him to research and write about.  Some years when I was teaching creative writing, the students, (read that boys), were so sophomoric, (read that immature for seniors), that I couldn't say "query" without them giggling.
                A cover letter summarizes a completed piece of writing.  It may also provide biographical information about the author and other relevant material.  The following is the body of a cover letter I wrote for ARTHUR REDUX:

          "I love the Arthurian legend, and I love the oceanside towns of Cape Cod, Mass.  I combined these two favorites in the two act fantasy ARTHUR REDUX, which I wrote and directed for SUMMERPLAY, the Village of Chittenango's summer theatre in upstate New York.
          Subtitled "a modern morality play with a medieval touch," the play uses the idea expressed in the legend that Arthur will someday return to this world.  One morning Arthur and his magician friend Merlin find themselves in the lobby of  the Avalon Inn in Brewster, Ma., without any idea of how they got there or why they arrived.  In short order, Arthur discovers that one of his old nemeses, the witch Morgan LeFay, now called Fay Morgan, is still alive and evil, and she is trying to put a new slant on the Seven Deadly Sins by tying them to modern technology.  In just 24 hours, Arthur and Merlin must assemble a modern team to represent the Seven Blessed Virtues and find a leader capable of opposing Morgan LeFay.  
          ARTHUR REDUX is the ninth play I have written and directed, first for Chittenango High School, and now for the village.  The fantasy, as well as being a modern morality play, presents quite a bit of background about the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table.  Our production was a real success, playing to full houses for three of our four performances.
         Thank you for considering ARTHUR REDUX for publication."

               Eldridge Plays is the first publisher to whom I will try to market ARTHUR. What is great about Eldridge Plays is that it accepts online submissions.  I can send them my cover letter with a PDF of the play attached.  Eldridge publishes quite a few plays and has an extensive catalog.  They are a traditional publisher and even have a division for religious plays.  THE LAUGHING MAN was not their dramatic cup of tea.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they react to this "morality play."
               I have now completed my Wednesday blog on Monday afternoon on 2 and 1/2 scribbled pages of a no longer new legal pad.  I hope to send off the letter and PDF by Friday. I still have to read through the script and make the necessary changes.
               I am glad to be back to my computer.  New legal pads and Boule' pens are great, but I'll take an Imac anyday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Stacy Guhin Seubert posted. . .

. . .a truly challenging kind of challenge yesterday. It was to chose 15 books that have really stuck with you, and to do it in just 15 minutes.  I tried and was able to pull off the feat just as time ran out.  When I posed it to Linda, she went crazy.  We were in the car, and the only thing to write on were unused SUMMERPLAY tickets.  So using the back of 4 Thursday night ones, Linda quickly assembled a list of 25, which I forced her to pare down to 15.  The challenge continues to challenge me, though.  Since yesterday I've thought of a bunch of books that I wish I had included.  For example, I left WATERSHIP DOWN off my list, and I truly love that book, and memory of it sticks like glue.
          So today, I posed myself an easier challenge.  I said, "Self, choose your 3 favorite books.  Numbers 1 and 2 are for the ages.  Number 3 can change as the years go by.  The first 2 were easy for me.  Number 1 is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, which I believe is the greatest book ever written.  There is so much in the story about children, and friendship, and family, and courage, and doing the right thing, and being an adult, and on and on.  And of course, for me anyway, the amazing character Boo Radley, a sort of literary eye and hand of God.  Number 2 is OF MICE AND MEN.  I love the story, but my favorite aspect is the wonderful simplicity of style.  I think it's a textbook in developing simple settings and in writing dialogue.  Interesting, that my first two books have often been banned by libraries and schools, MOCKINGBIRD for racial issues, OF MICE AND MEN mainly for Curly's wife, aka "the tart."
          One of the earliest banned books was THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, which is still being banned.  HUCK wasn't banned at first for the way it dealt with race, though.  It was first banned because the characters were unclean, grammar-challenged lowlifes.
          HUCK FINN, although I really love it, isn't #3 on my short list.  It didn't even make my list of 15.  Maybe that's because I could never manage to teach HUCK as well as I wanted to. For now I think I will choose WATERSHIP DOWN even though I forget it yesterday.  Is there something strange about my identifying with rabbits, here?  Lennie wanted "to tend the rabbits, George,"and WATERSHIP DOWN is full of them.  Also, I don't know that WATERSHIP DOWN was ever banned, but maybe.  After all, you know what those rabbits are always doing.
           I'd love to hear other people's top three!!  Remember #3 is always subject to change.
           Sad news department, we found out this morning that the Old Hotel Cafe will be closing at the end of the month or thereabouts.  It's really sad, because it's a great place, run by great people, and it's where we go every Saturday for breakfast.  Apparently a cafe just can't make it in that location.  It also leaves another empty storefront in Chittenango, and that fact belongs in the sad news department, too.  Also, the Anthony house and the building that housed so many people's favorite restaurant, the Canteen, are going under the wrecker's ball.  I understand that the large lot will be offered for speculation buying.  I won't comment on the franchise I hope DON'T want to build there.
           What Chittenango village really needs to thrive are some nice apartments in the village.  The new homes are all to the west of downtown, and as a result, people who live there tend to do their buying on the way home from Syracuse.  As a result, village business have a hard time flourishing.
         If I were rich, I'd buy up a bunch of property that runs back to the creek on the west side of Genesee Street from just north of the Blue Barbecue.  I'd knock down the old buildings and build apartment houses on stilts, like the amazing beach houses in the Outer Banks.  Park your car underneath your apartment, and in the event of the creek going over its bank, you drive your car away, but your apartment and furnishings are high and dry.  Plus the apartment house yard can go nearly back to the creek and abut the Creek Walk.  Too bad I'm not rich.
         Finally, as we are going to take care of some family stuff, I won't be blogging until Wednesday.  The next writing thing I'm going to do is develop a cover letter to try to market ARTHUR REDUX with.  I'll use the letter as part of my blog.
         Be thinking about your list of 3!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bill Feher is responsible. . .

. . .for my blogging today.  Bill posed the following writing prompt:  OK, here's something new and fun. All you lit people - feel free to comment. The task was simple: "You are a comedian having a great night on stage, except for a heckler in the audience. You finish your set, and come down only to meet the heckler, and you realize it's (person you know)" Limit 500 words. write the scene.

Bill created a clever and realistic response to the prompt.  I decided to do one too.

        It was my first night back from what had been a successful trip to Vegas.  “Trip” may be the wrong word.  Heck, I lived there for over a year, making money by making people laugh.  But you need to come home every now and again, and so I was back on the gin and sweat stained stage where I had gotten my start.  All my old time audience was there, waiting for that first joke, the one I started every show with. It was part of my schtick.  Hey, it was a pretty bad joke, but the hometown audience always shouted back the right response.

        Up came the lights.  There was applause.  Lots of applause.  Man, they were glad I was back.  I waited for it to wane, then I grinned, stuck out my arms with my hands palms up, and said, “Hey, why’s it so bad if your arms fall off?”  And before my loyal audience could shout back, “Because you can’t pick them up!” some moron toward the back of the room called out, and I mean loud, “Not this tired joke again!”

        Well, the audience booed the idiot, but I knew he didn’t care, because I knew who the idiot was.  It was Timmy Tuberville, heckler extraordinaire, who I had known since we were in 3rd grade together.  Timmy heckled everybody.  I mean he heckled our Spanish teacher when she was doing the oral part on the regents.  When we played basketball together he heckled the coach--our coach!  Timmy would heckle at an autopsy.  While happily in Vega, I had forgotten about Timmy.

         It went on through my entire set.  Of course, the crowd was annoyed, but Timmy had no pride.  He lived to heckle, and heckle me he did.   About halfway through, I decided to get back at Timmy Tuberville, and to do that, I decided not to do one of my routines, one that involved a prop I had in my pocket.

         When I finished, I went to Timmy’s table.  He was sitting there, dopey grin on his face, waiting for me.  “Hey, Timmy,” I said when I got to him.

         “Hey, Artie,” Timmy grinned.  “I gotcha didn’t I?”

        “Yeh, you got me.”

        “How about when you were doin’ that friggin’ farmer’s daughter story. and I started to moo.  I gotcha, huh!”

          I nodded.

          “And when you told that lame sailor story, and I did the friggin’ foghorn. Gotcha!”

          That’s when I took the starter’s pistol from my pocket.  It’s part of a gun control parody I do, and it looks real.  I held it right up to Timmy’s chest, and he went all white.  “Don’t you know where I been, Timmy?” I asked.

         “Vegas!” he squeaked.

         “That was my cover.  I been in a friggin’ lunatic asylum.”  Then I pulled the trigger.  I use 38 caliber blanks.  Talk about a boom!  Timmy wet his pants.

           With the entire audience looking at us, I grinned at Timmy.  “Gotcha!”  I said.

(496 words)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This was a truly, truly. . .

. . .nice day, and for no particular reason.  I guess it was nice in its simplicity.  I didn't have to do too much rushing around.  The coffee at Panera's was good, the ride on my exercise bicycle not too painful, and the 100 ab crunches bearable.  I got to pamper Linda a little because it was her birthday.  And my afternoon nap was just fine.  I was able to write for an hour or so, which I haven't been able to do for the last couple of weeks.  TISHA AND THE GIANT in rewrite still isn't done;I've completely blown away my self-imposed deadline, but that's O.K.
                        As I sit here in my office with Lucy, the larger than life labrador, snoring on the floor, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am.  One day after my 62nd birthday, I feel pretty darn young for an old guy.  I am blessed with an amazing family--great wife, great daughter, super son-in-law, 86 year old parents who think they're 46, a brother who is also a great friend, and 3 terrific sisters, who live nearby.  I am blessed with the desire to be creative--to write, and think and share my thoughts with whoever will listen.  I am blessed with good health, which 2 years ago was a rather iffy proposition.  Prayer, faith, exercise, a low salt diet, and, of course, the amazing family, are tremendous curatives.  Another great blessing is the number of people I love.  I don't think you can be a good teacher (or play director) if you don't love your students (and your actors and techies).  I look around my room and see classroom photos, framed poems and prayers for teachers, posters from some of my plays, dancing licenses, honorary doctoral degrees, magazine covers, and photographs from GREASE, BYE,BYE BIRDIE, SOUTH PACIFIC, SUMMER BRAVE, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, STACEY FOXX, LITTLE WOMEN, WEIRD SISTERS, FIDDLER, ROMEO AND JULIET, A GIRL OF TWO WORLDS, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and . . .more. The faces in those photos are of people I love.  Of people I hold dear in my heart.
                    None of this is a surprise to me.  I've known it, though I may have forgotten it at times.  But thinking about it just now might be the particular reason that insured today would be such a truly, truly nice day.
there are three things that last forever:
Faith, hope, and love;
But the greatest of them all is love.

~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today is the day. . .

. . .to debunk the "wenis."  What, some people might be saying,  is he talking about? Is he getting crass in his old age (in that it's his 62nd birthday, which is the one that allows you to collect social security)?  Neither senility or crassness are involved here, although I may be suffering from a nagging need to debunk things.
               At 6ish on Saturday, as we lounged about the CrossRoads Community Theatre waiting for the final performance of ARTHUR REDUX, an otherwise intelligent, informed, and responsible young fellow suggested that the proper term for the skin on one's elbow was "wenis."  "No way," I contended, at which time I was shouted down by a roomful of equally intelligent, informed and responsible young people.  "Yes,  way!" they shouted.  One even claimed to have learned it in anatomy class.  I want to know who's teaching anatomy at Geneseo these days.
               It seemed immediately apparent to me that "wenis" was the creation of some sophomoric frat boy, whose greatest thrill was to shout "don't touch my wenis" every time a girl bumped into him on campus.  The only other possibility that I could imagine was that someone had been watching a romantic movie starring a romantic Rumanian, who when pointing at the night sky, grabbed his female co-star's elbow,  and romantically uttered, "that is Wenus!"
                But I chose to be fair.  Even though "wenis" seemed to be a very convenient term for those who enjoyed shouting it in a frivolous way, I chose to research the truth of it.  I searched the WEB.  I tried "wenis" and "wenus" and "weenus" and even the French, "wienese," and the German "weinutz," all to no avail.  But I did find this:  "The back of the elbow is called the Olecranal and the front of the elbow is called the Antecubital."  The skin there is called "the skin there."
                 So, guys, the next time a female grabs you by the elbow shout, "Don't touch my olecranal!"  And, special to Matt Mohr, you need to contact that anatomy professor of yours so he will know what he's talking about the next time he dissects a "wenis."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tomorrow my framed cover of "That's A Lie". . .

. . .will take its place on my office wall right next to my Phd. diploma from Miskatonic University, the Public Dance License from the Blue Moon Grille, and the Certificate of Occupancy for the Motel 3.  For those who weren't in the ARTHUR cast or didn't see the show, "That's A Lie" is the title of a magazine mentioned in the play.  The amazingly creative cast guided by the most amazing Alexis produced a wondrous 8 page glossy parody which I will cherish.  I will cherish the memory of the 5 shows in 4 days as well.  That kind of schedule provides a taste of what it's like to do theatre for a living. 
    In the mid-nineties, I think, I didn't look it up, an archaeological group thought they might have discovered the ruins of Camelot.  Eventually, it was proved that they weren't the ruins of Arthur's castle at all, and, I'm sorry to say, it wasn't the Mordred Society that debunked it, but a reputable group.  In spite of Emily's hope, it is almost certain that the Arthurian legend is just that.  We know the magic and the sword in the stone stuff didn't happen.  But probably the man didn't exist either.  If there was an Arthur in the 6th century, he didn't live during the era of towering castles, jousting, armor, and damsels in distress.  Things were more primitive in Great Britain then.  Also, much of Arthur's story suggests Christian symbolism.  A leader who forms a group of disciples.  A disciple who betrays him.  The willingness to break laws because it is the correct thing to do.  The fact that Sir Bedivere denies three times Arthur's request for him to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake.  And, of course, the suggestion that Arthur will someday return.  Probably those who created the earliest tales of Arthur were reinforcing their Chrisian beliefs.
               I subtitled ARTHUR REDUX a modern morality play, because morality plays,  made famous in the middle ages, were allegorical.  In allegory, characters represent and are often named for, specific vices, virtues, and aspects of the human condition.  The most famous morality play is EVERYMAN written by the very prolific Anonymous.   It is the story of "every man."  Facing the character Death, Everyman tries to line up support for himself to make it into heaven.  Though characters like Wealth fail him,  Knowledge follows him to the grave, and Good Deeds follows him to judgment.  I think that's pretty close to the story.  I haven't read it since about 1967 and didn't find it very exciting then.  That's why the fishergirls in AR were named Patience, Modesty, and Chastity, and why the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Blessed Virtures were characters in the play, and therefore, why ARTHUR REDUX is a morality play.
                 The different interpretations of the Arthurian legend are really interesting.  I started re-reading THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING that was one of my play gifts, and it's as delightful as I remembered it.  And don't think it's just Disney's THE SWORD IN THE STONE.  THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING is a fun and occasionally challenging book to read.  If you read Mallory, you will be sampling what are called "medieval romances."  They were the popular fiction of their day.  A really good one is "The Tale of Sir Gareth."  They're filled with chivalry, love for ladies, magic, secret identities and other good stuff.  I love Tennyson's IDYLLS OF THE KING.  The IDYLLS are lengthy poems about Arthur, and the saddest of the Arthurian interpretations, full of Victorian guilt and remorse, because that was the era in which Tennyson wrote.  They're all interesting, and Jacob Hess told me about a John Steinbeck version of the Arthurian legend which I'm sure is great, too.
                   Again, most noble cast, crew, and Alexis, thank you for these fine six weeks.  This message now officially delivered by blog to you.

Perhaps, I will be back. . .

. . .to blogging with a little more regularity now, which reminds of some tv commercials I can't stand. Watching a commercial about the yogurt that contains something like "ubiquitous regularis" is truly a draining experience.  I am always moved to turn off the tv.  And I really can't believe that Jamie Lee Curtis, who played the sort of virginal heroine in so many great 70's and 80's horror movies, has become a shill for laxative in a cup.
                 Horror movies are among my favorite guilty pleasures.  I love 'em and my wife hates 'em so I am truly happy for the advent of pay-PER-view.  I like horror movies even when they're pretty awful.  We were talking at the famous CrossRoads little theatre about that famous thespian Neil Patrick Harris.  My favorite NPH vehicle is the sci-fi/horror, bad and wonderful movie STARSHIP TROOPERS.  This movie has so many great/bad moments!   But NPH as a jackboot and full-length leather coat-wearing member of this futuristic gestapo/intelligence/
mind police organization is simply a bad/good performance for the ages. 
                  The first novel I ever finished writing was a horror novel.  I finished it sometime back in the very earlyseventies, when I was still a 20 something.  I wasn't successful in writing a horror novel,  but I was successful in writing a horrible novel.  I was really influenced by and envious of the early success of Stephen King, then, and publishers were releasing horror novels by the dozens.  My horrible novel was called "The Field."  It took place in Colorado.  That was a mistake.  I had driven through Colorado, once, and as I wrote, I didn't do any flora or fauna research or anything.  It was like Colorado was in Lakeport or something.  Secondly, the basic premise depended on the fact that there was a place (in Colorado and not too far from a major highway) where no human being had set foot in hundreds of years. Or perhaps, ever!  Because there were these altars of the dead, there.  Altars built by ghosts, if I remember correctly.  And they got annoyed when some people decided to build a house there.  I shudder trying to figure what I was thinking about.  The novel was chockful of eerie evening happenings, priests getting bitten by snakes, little kids getting sucked down into the earth, and a sort of virginal girl falling immediately into the arms of a handsome guy who happens to ride by on, (get this) his white horse.  I can't believe I am admitting this to anyone on the web (without spiders) who might chose to read it.
                    Right now, I have two partially completed horror novels in my filing cabinet.  They are ZOMBIES ARE US and MAGGIE AND THE GHOSTIES.  I feel they are considerably better than THE FIELD.  They have no dying priests, no poisonous snakes, and no little kids getting sucked down anywhere.  There are a few sort of virginal girls, and there are QUARRIES!! Those who have read earlier blogs no about me and quarries!
                   Thanks to those people who commented on my blog over the last few weeks, in particular Bill Feher.  I'm sorry I haven't replied very much, guys, but I'll try to better at it now that ARTHUR is shut down.
                  To my wonderful ARTHUR cast.  I'll blog about you guys later today.  I just had to get some kind of blog launched to make me feel like things are back to normal.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Both the dress rehearsal and opening night. . .

. . .of ARTHUR REDUX were good and rewarding and special.  I hope the rest of the weekend continues to shine, and I can't imagine how it wouldn't with the sterling cast performing at the little theatre at CrossRoads.  One thing I find interesting about ARTHUR is that I really don't know where the play came from.  THE LAUGHING MAN was pretty easy to write.  I just led the audience toward certain conclusions then took twists before they got where they thought they were going.  BLUE MOON GRILLE was fun to write because I simply opened this nice neighborhood grill, let people start to come in, and as they did, their stories developed.  But with ARTHUR, though the idea of a story with King Arthur has been with me for 30+ years, I can't quite figure how I made the story happen.  Throughout April and May, I struggled to finish ARTHUR, but I don't have quite the same sense of ease of creation as I did with the other plays. The story kind of fought me, then said, "all right, I'll come out," and finally did.  It's a little unsettling but nicely so.  And, I am finally happy with what I told, having seen it played out before an audience this week.  Maybe this feeling is with me because I spent the month of January in hospital limbo.  Sick, drugged up, and often throwing up.  I doubt this part of my blog makes much sense.  Sorry.
              As I thought, most of you who reacted to the W.C. Williams poems found them to be without much merit.  With so many really intelligent people reacting that way, I sometimes wonder why they have endured for nearly a hundred years. I sometimes wonder why I like them so much.    The poet Marianne Moore said something like, he wrote in "plain American which the dogs and cats could read" when talking about Williams simplicity in poetry.  I think if I write anymore about it, it will stop being simple.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm in the mood to blog. . .

. . .simply because it's Tuesday, funny but when it's Tuesday, I'm in the mood to blog.  (Random musical notes.)  I don't really feel like blogging because it's Tuesday, but the only way I could think of beginning was to pay homage to another old song.  Please pronounce "homage" in the proper Anglicized form "om-idge," not in the suddenly popular amongst the Hollywood folks French version, "oh-modge."  
          When I blogged on Saturday, I mentioned eating a plum for lunch which made me think of one of my favorite poets William Carlos Williams.  The simplicity of his style and the simple yet amazing depth of his messages just get to me.  These are a couple poems that I really wish I was smart enough to have written.

So much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


This Is Just To Say


I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

--both by William Carlos Williams

When I read "So Much Depends Upon," I imagine a child's brightly colored drawing of the scene, a crude wheelbarrow, clumsy chickens, and crayon-point raindrops in the air, the essence of simple beauty and its importance.  Beauty is truth; truth is beauty.

When I read "This is Just to Say," I, of course, see a note on a refrigerator.  (The drawing from "So Much" could be magnetted to the refrigerator, too.)  I am always overwhelmed by the sensory, sensual power of these few words.  "Plum" is such a great word.  It makes us see both purple and plump.

            Another great thing about these poems is that people usually love 'em or hate 'em.  I used "So Much Depends On" in the play "Saturday Night at the Blue Moon Grille," and all Virge could think to say about it was, "it don't rhyme."  But Beth felt enough about its beauty to use it in her valedictory address.

            In case you're wondering, I'm looking for some reactions.

            Rehearsal went really well last night.  I am really proud of the cast of ARTHUR REDUX. 

            "Today is Tuesday, you know what that means, we're gonna have a special guest!!"  Who can provide the source for this quote.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a blog at twilight. . .

. . . (insert a few musical notes here.)  Actually it's a little after twilight as I write tonight, but my reason for adapting/warping this bit of a song will become apparent.  And by the way, it truly has been one swell weekend.  (I almost split an infinitive back there.  Can you guess where?)
               After a good breakfast at the Old Hotel Cafe, I went home and vacuumed the convertible and trimmed the large, overgrown shrubbery in the front yard.  (Is that a shrubbery?)  Then Jan arrived, and it's always great to see her.  Soon though, she took off with her mom in my convertible to go to a shower for our niece in Rochester.  From  10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., when they returned, the house was mine.  And I didn't even have to build a stone for ARTHUR, because Colleen, brilliant stage creator that she is, created one.  So I made a salad with some leftover pork cut up in it and ate it and a plum in the family room, while watching TV.  Very relaxing.
                Then I decided to watch a pay-per-view movie.  God forbid, I should call this pay-for-view or the technological minions will come down upon me.  I searched the HD choices, and decided, probably against my own better judgment, to watch TWILIGHT, mainly because Jacob said, "if you think the book was bad, you oughta watch the movie!"  So, I watched it, although I did shut it off for awhile and took a nap.  (My sleep was not haunted by curvaceous vampires.) In one major way, I liked the movie better than the book.  It only took about two hours to watch the movie, and it seemed like it took two years to read the book.  Kind of like the old line, "I spent a month in Watertown last Saturday."  Another tiny bit of criticism.  I don't believe the girl who played Bella really joyfully smiled once in the entire film.  This is not simply teen/vampire angst but a true neurosis or psychosis.  I could understand if she had a missing front tooth, but she appeared to have rather spectacular dentition, worthy of real smiles even if her boyfriend is a mountain-jumping bloodsucker.
                  Linda and Jan arrived back from the shower bearing Bill Gray's cheeseburgers.  In an earlier blog, I waxed poetically about Zweigel's hot dogs from Rochester.  Suffice it to say that the cheeseburgers one can purchase at Bill Gray's are the quintessence of cheeseburger.
                 Church was its normally excellent self this morning, and then this afternoon, a bunch of the cast members and I built the tiny auditorium that will exist this week for ARTHUR REDUX.  Colleen Baldwin and her helpers dressed the set, which is friggin' terrific.  That's all I can say about it.
                 I am really psyched about this week which will culminate in four performances of ARTHUR in our 88 seat arena.  Friday is sold out, but tickets are still available for Thursday evening, and the Saturday matinee and evening performances.  Tickets are a paltry three bucks and can be purchased at Oneida Savings Bank on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.  The preceding was a shameless advertisement, but what else can you do when the fargin' newspapers around here don't publish your press releases anymore.
                 Final swell point of the weekend occurred when we went to dinner at Dominick's on Teale Avenue tonight.  It was an after the fact anniversary dinner, because we rehearsed on Wednesday, which was our anniversary.  Good size portions at Dominick's.  What's nice about getting older and having had gall bladder surgery is that you can't eat as much as you used to.  Ergo, I'll have Dominick's lasagna for supper again tomorrow night.
               Of my writing, I can only say I rewrote the little bit of TISHA AND THE GIANT which I wrote yesterday.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kudos to the Chittenango Lions Club, and in. . .

. . .particular Dick M., Jim E., Lee F., Marty I, Steve W., and Charlie K.  From where there was nothing, the lobby of the Good Ship Avalon rose in but two short days!  Amazing, guys!  I am particularly impressed in that I occasionally forget which end of a hammer is used for pounding.  I would have said "screw driver." but then I'd just open myself up to all those double entendres.
                  We had a problem with ticket sales for the play, compounded by the lack of publicity we are able to get in local papers.  The final decision is to sell all reserved tickets for the performances.  With only enough seating for about 90 per, the sales can't be general admission and at the door.  Forty-four tickets for Friday are already reserved.  Ergo, the following announcement will be attached to posters around the village:

Reserved Tickets for ARTHUR REDUX will be on sale in the lobby of Oneida Savings Bank on Friday, July 10 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, July 13 to 15, from 1 until 3 p.m.  All tickets are reserved and only 88 seats are available per performance.  Ticket price is $3.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Time for but a brief. . .

. . .and momentary blog.  Cape Cod was renewing as it always is, even though it rained for 2 of our 4 days there.  We saw a fabulous a capella group and ate at an amazing restaurant in Lenox, Mass. on our way home.  Fabulous food, outdoor seating, a waitress whose passion was the dance, one minor setback.  We didn't really check the menu before sitting down, and. . .it was one of those restaurant where everything is ala carte.  Say you wanted a salad with your entree.  The cheapest option was $11.  That's just for the salad.  The cheapest dessert--$9.50.  Ah well, it was an amazing gourmet experience, and I keep telling myself that.
      Good line rehearsal yesterday, despite minor outbreaks of giddiness, giggling and immaturity.  Still, several cast members are well along in their line memorization.  It would appear, from this cast, that line memorization comes easier to the fairer sex.
       Tonight we construct the towering structure which from this day on will always be know as the CrossRoads Bowl.  The Lions Club, "those old guys who can do anything" according to Chris Dwyer, will be there and ready to construct.
       I wish I could talk about some of the writing I have done, but it's not happenin' right now because of all the other stuff.  In fact, this morning I was in the sewer plant digging out props we had stored there.  Someone stole the bar from The Blue Moon Grille!  They may have stolen the bar, but they'll never stop the blog!