Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010!


It's a New Year in a new city with a new life!  2011...you're MINE!

Happy New Year everyone!  May all your wishes and dreams for this decade come true!

And don't forget...be kind to one another. 

Until next year...peace...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Banning the Buzz

I attended yet another holiday gathering last evening. Look at me; I’m becoming quite the social butterfly! As I sat serenely, sipping my glass of red wine, some of the other guests were getting giddy in the kitchen and decided to mix the abominable combination of Red Bull and vodka. Ya know…get the buzz and stay awake while doing it. Frankly, I was surprised simply because I associated that type of beverage with a college frat party and not with the sophisticated intellectual types that I was partying with. Hahaha!

Anyway, the alcohol/energy drink combo got us talking about the recent controversy regarding the drink Four Loko. The controversy being the fact that many states across the nation are banning the sale of this supposed “lethal” beverage. It makes me a wee bit nervous when folks start talking about banning things. I would like to think that we live in a country where we can make up our own minds about what we should and shouldn’t put into our bodies.

The Four Loko drink is the latest craze to come down the pike. If you believe the media, college kids are guzzling it by the truck load which is why it was originally marketed to this age group by packaging the cans in bright and shiny colors and offering the drink in delicious fruity flavors. I know college kids are known to drink and party heavily, but I would also like to give them a little bit more credit. I’m not sure that every college kid these days meanders around campus all day in a drunken stupor.

The drinks that were made by my fellow party guests were abandoned after one or two sips. They all returned to the sublime flavor of the Cabernet. I felt relieved. I was no longer at a frat party. I was once again among sophisticated intellectuals. Ahhhhh…..

Friday, December 24, 2010

Single Gals and the Bridal Registry Conundrum

Suddenly I am inundated with engagement and wedding announcements. Lots of friends are deciding to tie the knot in the upcoming year. It feels like an epidemic or something. So, with all these upcoming nuptials, I find myself online checking out the bridal registries and seeing what these people want/need/want. I, myself, as a single gal have always wanted to register for gifts. My audition monologue for grad school was actually about a single woman who wanted to register for gifts because it wasn’t fair that all her married friends got to have nice stuff and she had to buy her plates and flatware from the Dollar Tree. But, I digress…

I have noticed a common request among my engaged friends and it is for Mikasa dinnerware. Now, my mother has been talking about Mikasa for as long as I can remember. And now I know why. It’s beautiful, quality stuff. It’s simple, which I like, but it is also elegant. My mom sure knows what she’s talking about.

They also sell very reasonably priced home d├ęcor. Candleholders and picture frames, and really beautiful glass vases. I have now become a Mikasa fan. I know there was a Sex and the City episode where Carrie registered for gifts even though she wasn’t getting married. It’s not exactly an original idea (just like the monologue I used to perform.)

Would it be so terrible to allow single gals to register for the beautiful things they long to have? Really? Would the saleswomen at department stores across the country leap back in horror at a single woman registering for dinnerware and flatware and candlestick holders? The rules need to change. And with that being said, Mikasa has this beautiful cobalt blue bowl on sale for only $20. I truly love it. Anyone?

Update as of 1/12/11:
Guess what? Since being encouraged to write this post, I actually received the coveted cobalt blue bowl from one of my very generous readers. I’m not kidding. Here’s a photo of my beautiful new Mikasa bowl on my kitchen counter. I’m so pleased. Thank you readers! You don’t all have to send gifts, but if the mood strikes you, I won’t argue. It sure is nice!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Technological Peace of Mind


Like most people, I’ve become increasingly dependent on my computer for just about everything. And as a writer, my livelihood obviously depends upon the use of good equipment. I remember the days when I kicked and screamed and said I would only write long-hand. Ha! Who was I kidding? Nothing compares to the convenience and speed, not to mention the mobility, of a laptop computer.

I know the fear of getting into my car when the engine won’t turn over. It is pure unadulterated panic. I get the same feeling when my computer crashes. I break out into a cold sweat and think, “No! No! Not today!” To prevent this anxiety from occurring on a regular basis, I knew I needed to implement some IT services into my life as a precaution for any fatal computer disaster. And here’s what I found. A friend of mine recommended this computer whiz guy who can help me with any and all of my computer snafus. He uses a desktop support service that allows him to fix my (and other clients computers) software malfunctions remotely.

My tech support guy uses secure software by Bomgar. He doesn’t need to be anywhere in the vicinity of my location; he simply taps into his Blackberry remote access software and before I know it I’m wiping the beads of sweat off my brow and feeling my pulse return to normal. I don’t even need to leave my house and my tech support is with me every step of the way allowing me to smooth over the glitches and get me and my laptop back on its feet. It’s a miracle. It’s modern technology at its best. All I know is that I am in good hands, technologically speaking, and that in itself is worth its weight in gold.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Never Too Late to Improve Yourself!


I know I’ve blogged about this before, but since the New Year is upon us it’s time for reflection, resolutions and thinking about ways to improve our lives in 2011. The economy is still in the toilet and unemployment rates are still way too high. Is going back to school the ultimate answer to our money woes? If I increase my skill set, will I be more valuable in the marketplace? Hard to say, and the competition is tougher than ever out there.

Even though I’ve recently moved out of the area, it’s tempting to think about going back to school at a Southern California college. I love my new city, but let’s face it…nothing beats the climate and all the other amenities that So Cal has to offer. I fondly remember my days at the University of Redlands, and sometimes wish I had a time machine to go back and take the classes I should have taken in the first place. Please don’t get me wrong. I love being an artist. I’m not the 9 to 5 cubicle type. But the old adage “if I knew then what I know now,” holds true, and I would have been more practical at the ripe old age of 20.

If I could turn back the hands of time, perhaps I would have continued down the path with my love for theatre but maybe I would have double-majored and gotten a business degree as well. Now more than ever, artists need to be savvy when it comes to business and taking care of themselves when it comes to contracts and negotiations and such. Some of us learn the hard way, so it isn’t at all unreasonable to get your degree in what you love and in what you need.

It’s never too late to learn. It’s never too late to go back to school. It’s never too late to do anything. 2011 is upon us, and it’s not too late!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the Season for Some Holiday E.L.F.

I am a down-to-earth kind of gal and proud of it. I don’t care to wear fancy dresses or stiletto heels in order to look good. The best part of my writing occupation is I get to wear what I want…including my pj’s! But obviously, there comes a time when I have to spruce myself up, especially during the holidays when there are lots of social gatherings to attend.

Budgeting is always an issue, and since I don’t wear makeup that often, I didn’t want to invest an arm and leg to buy some basic necessities. Thank goodness I discovered a brand of cheap makeup that combines affordability with good quality.

E.L.F. (It stands for eyes, lips, face, and what a perfect name for the holiday season) is my latest discovery to help me get rid of my puffy eyes and sun-damaged freckled skin when I want to look my best. Their stuff is mineral-based which smoothes out my complexion—because lately, I hate to admit this, but my skin is looking a little blotchy. Maybe it’s the winter blues, but the E.L.F. concealer and pressed powder makes me look like a Victoria Secret model. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I really liked the way my skin looked after using this stuff.

Even when I’m not wearing makeup, I typically like to wear lipstick. For some reason, all I need is a dash of color on my lips and people usually think I’m wearing more makeup than I actually am. Lip color seems to make my eyes pop or glow, or something scientific like that. I love the E.L.F. sticks because the color lasts a long time and doesn’t feel icky or waxy when applying. They have a great choice of colors too, especially for redheads like me. I dig their Rosy Raisin lipstick because it goes really well with my coloring.

So, I got myself some cool new makeup. I guess it’s time to put on my party dress (or party pants as the case may be) and go do some holiday celebratin’. And I’m wishing all of you a very festive holiday season!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's ANYWAY, not ANYWAYS!!!


It has been very insidious...creeping up on us before we even knew it.  But suddenly...it's EVERYWHERE!  I'm talking about the misuse of the word ANYWAY.

I have no idea when it began, but I started to notice a few years ago that people were adding the letter "s" to the end of the word "anyway."  I noticed it mostly with my teen students, and of course, being the good teacher that I am, I always corrected them. 

I remember one of my students was doing a monologue without the script in her hand.  As she actively engaged in the piece she said, "So...anyways..."  I stopped her.  She thought I was going to give her an acting note.  I said, "Get the script," which she did.  I said, " What does it say in the script, EXACTLY.  Read from where you left off."

She looked, found the spot and said, "So...anyways..."

I said, "Really?"  Read it again."  She did.  The same way.  And then I said, "look at the words very, very carefully..."  So she did.  And she saw.  And she realized.  And she laughed.  And said, "There's no 's' at the end of anyway." 

No, there isn't!  There is no "S" on the end of "ANYWAY!"  But suddenly it's everywhere.  In film scripts, in television sit-coms and much to my dismay, it showed up in a book of short stories that I've recently been reading.  UGH!!!!!  This is an author I really like.  And don't tell me to chalk it up to the way her character speaks.  No.  This wasn't her character.  This was HER! I was so disappointed.

Why does this bother me so much?  People who should know better say it.  Intelligent, well-read, well-spoken people who I know and respect say it.  When I hear it, it is akin to fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.  I don't know why but it just kills me. Go ahead...call me anal retentive...I don't care.  I just don't like it!

I'm not perfect.  FAR from it.  And I'm no grammar diva either.  I make plenty of mistakes, believe me.  But come on people...this is just laziness.  How did this happen?  How did it become so pervasive? There are so many other things in the world today to be upset about.  But for now...this is my rant.  Do with it what you will.  And maybe, if you're guilty of this little English language faux pas, this post will help you see the light of day.  And you'll drop the "s."  Maybe. Hopefully.  I'm begging you!

So, anyway...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Theatrical November in New York

I am very happy to report that two of my plays will be produced in NYC this month.  It sure feels great to know that my work is getting out there.  Here's hoping that any of you who are reading this blog will be able to attend one or both of these shows. If you can, I would be very grateful!

First up is the Collective Theatre Company's staged reading of my play Triangle Logic

This play was originally produced in a fully-mounted version last December at the University of Central Florida and directed by my good friend Earl Weaver.  It was a wondrous experience for me and all those involved; both cast and crew were delightful to work with.  This time, Stephen Agosto will be holding down the directorial fort.  He is a consummate artist and I believe the play is in good hands!

By the way, the reading for Triangle Logic is FREE!  So if you're in NYC on November 19th, please go check it out at the Neighborhood Playhouse on New York's lovely Upper East Side.

And as previously mentioned on this blog, on November 27th for one-night only, The Second Fig Theatre Company will present a "Night of Sexy Shorts" which includes my sassy and sexy play Mind Control.

Lots of activity happening for me in the playwrighting department. November is certainly a month to be thankful! Here's wishing all of you a happy, healthy and bountiful Thanksgiving!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Juggling Life...

Life comes at us like a freight train sometimes, doesn't it?  Not necessarily a bad thing; I often think chaos is good for the soul.  In small doses, of course.

I've been juggling a lot of stuff lately.  The move of course was a huge task, and upon my arrival, there has been much to do to settle in to my new city. In addition to apartment searches, and furniture shopping, and map-reading, (I feel a bit challenged getting around this place...too many bridges!) I'm also needing to keep up my work load.  I'm happy to say I have plenty of assignments to keep me busy, but again, it all can be a bit overwhelming.  Throw in a social life (What?  Debbie has a social life?) and I've got a lot of balls in the air.

I'm learning to take things one day a time.  I'm learning to slow down a bit.  I'm learning to be patient with myself (if that's possible) and hopefully learning patience with others.  It's challenging to say the least, but I am dedicated to starting this new chapter. 

Juggling life is inevitable.  We all have to do it in some form or other.  The trick is to start slowly, adding in one element at a time, and to hopefully keep the momentum going.  It's all about momentum, don't ya know?

I'm attempting to set priorities but it's all a priority right now.  Time management and to-do lists... that's the way to go these days. It's all getting done, all being taken care of.  I just continue to breathe this incredibly fresh air, enjoy the moment and keep moving forward. 

It's all about keeping up the momentum...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Attention New Yorkers!


I'm happy to announce that my short play Mind Control will once again be produced in New York City.

For those of you who missed seeing the play this past July at the Samuel French Short Play Festival, you'll  now be able to catch a new production of Mind Control directed by Marielle Duke at The Second Fig Theatre Company in November!

Mind Control will be part of Second Fig's "Night of Sexy Shorts" and will be one of six short sexy plays for one night only on November 27th at the LABA Theatre on East 14th Street!  It is sure to be one hot evening of theatre! 

For more information on tickets, time and location, click here for The Second Fig Theatre Company's website.

Hope you can make it!  And a big thanks to everyone at Second Fig!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

On to the Next...


Ok, so if you're following this blog at all you will remember that I said I was embracing change way back in September.  I know for most of you, that was only a month ago...but for me, September was one of the longest days of my life.  Well, it felt like one long day.  One very long, tedious day. Why?  Because I moved.  I packed.  I schlepped.  I pondered my future and wondered if I was doing the right thing.   You all know what a drag moving can be.  So, yeah...it was a drag. But it had to be done.  I had to get out for a variety of reasons. 

And now?  Now, I am starting the next chapter.  After all that packing and schlepping and pondering, I drove 1,000 miles and am ready to take on this beautiful new city and all that it has to offer.

Am I tired?  You bet I'm tired!  Packing and moving and schlepping and pondering and driving 1,000 miles will do that to ya!  But I'm also seeing the newness in everything.  And I am so excited for the possibilities.  I am a writer.  I am in a new place.  My brain is working a mile a minute.  And for now...I am content.  I am happy.  I am hopeful.  I am terrified. 

I begin again...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Before and Now!

Organized Book Addiction!

Preparing the Book Addiction for Transport

And yes, I've heard of the Kindle...but I am old school and love the real deal.  I LOVE books!  What can I tell you?  I'm not ashamed of this hardcore obsession.  The bad news about being a bookaholic is it makes things quite difficult when you are trying to move.  Doesn't make me love them any less though.

BUT...

Books. Are. Heavy.  Books are cumbersome.  But books are life!  I have owned many of these lovelies for years and years and years.  I have schlepped them back and forth across this wonderful country of ours multiple times.  And now...here we go again. 

Believe it or not, I minimized as much as I could.  Donated 6 supersized shopping bags full of my lovely, precious, amazing books to my local Friends of the Library Bookshop.  Passing the love around.  But the rest...these stay with me. 

I will try to refrain from acquiring any new additions in the near future....but honestly?  I can't promise anything.  Not when it comes to my beloved books.  It's better than being addicted to cheeseburgers though, isn't it?  Well?  Isn't it?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Take a deep breath and LEAP!


I am too exhausted and full of angst to clearly express anything resembling coherence. So I shall turn to none other than Mr. Henry David Thoreau who agreed to help me out with today's post:

"happiness is like a butterfly:
the more you chase it
the more it will elude you.
but if you turn your attention
to other things, it will come
and sit softly on your shoulder..."
~henry david thoreau
I shall heed this advice. And turn my attention North...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Interview with Stage Directions Magazine

I was fortunate enough to be asked by Stage Directions Magazine and writer Lisa Mulcahy to be interviewed for a piece called "Keeping Up the Pace."

It's a great piece providing advice for actors who find themselves in a long run of a show and need to keep the motivation alive.  Other experts in the field are also quoted. 

It's a well-written article.  Thanks Lisa!  And thank you to Stage Directions Magazine!  Hope you enjoy the read!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Embracing Change...


September. It's always been a special month for me ever since I was a little kid. This particular month always represented a new year to me--even more than January. September brings a new school year. The Jewish New Year. My birthday. So many reasons to start anew.

And now here we are again. Another September and change is upon me. Major change. It took a lot of kicking up my heels before I finally was able to settle down, turn down the noise in my head, and listen to my heart. And as I listened, I realized that change was nothing to fear. It is challenging to say the least, and a bit scary, but once I was able to make my decision, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I'm not afraid. I'm excited for what may await me, and I know it won't be easy, but change rarely is. That's how we learn and grow.

This year I embrace September. With all the opportunities it brings for new beginnings. It's a new chapter for me, and I look forward to seeing how the story will unfold.

Happy Fall everyone! Happy Harvest! Happy Rosh Hashanah in the year of 5771! Happy new School Year! And Happy Birthday to all September-born (including me!)
Embrace the change...

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Book Promotion!

Weight Loss Empowerment: "50 Ways to Lose Your Luggage" by Kevin Graham

I recently edited this weight loss empowerment book by Kevin Graham and it is now ready for release.  I'm excited for Kevin!  He did a great job with the book.  It's easy to read and extremely motivating. This is not just another new way to diet; the book helps you change your perspective when it comes to food and it introduces a whole new way of thinking that  can really help you stay on track.  Not just with food, but with many other goals you'd like to achieve.  It's a fun and inspirational read, so check it out!  Congratulations Kevin!  I'm so happy for you!

The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or you can click right here to find it on Kevin's weight loss website.  And as Kevin says, "Let the vision empower you!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FOCUS!

Does this photo give you a headache?  Yeah...me too!  Welcome to my brain! Focusing on writing takes a whole lot of discipline my friends.  Especially when there are so many other things on my mind. 

However, I recently tried a technique to help me focus which was introduced to me by a writer acquaintance. Now I will share this method with you. By the way, this technique can be used to accomplish any task; obviously I'm using it to keep my writing on track.

Start by setting a timer for 50 minutes.  During that time, allow yourself to concentrate fully on your task.  Turn off your phone, disconnect your Internet to keep yourself away from emails and other distractions, and just WORK! Fully immerse yourself in the activity for 50 minutes.  When the timer rings, it's time to take a 10-minute break.  You need to walk away from whatever it is you were doing.  (In my case, I need to leave my desk.) You can take a quick walk, go get some water or food, but only take 10 minutes off.  Then do the entire thing again.  Reset the timer for 50 minutes and once again immerse yourself in your task.

I used this technique the other day.  It was difficult, but everything worth having is difficult, don't you think?  It's really intense to work this way, but I got a lot accomplished, so it is definitely a productive approach.  I wrote using this technique for about 6 hours and I will admit it was exhausting.  But rewarding!  Not sure I could work at this intensity level every day, but for a couple of hours a few times a week, it may be the way to go.

So if you've been having trouble focusing, you might want to try this out.  It's really important to take that 10 minute break, and then immediately go back to your task.  Don't let that 10 minutes turn into 15 or 20...you'll lose your momentum and then the focus is gone, gone, gone.

Give it a try...let me know if it works for you!




Friday, August 13, 2010

And here comes another Mercury Retrograde...

I have more than just a passing interest in astrology and in another life I might have actually been an astrologer.  In this life, however, I can't seem to wrap my brain around all the nuances that astrology has to offer.  It's not just about reading your horoscope in the LA Times.  There's a lot more to it, including math...I find it hard to interpret... and oy vey...I've never been very good with math.

So, I admire astrology from afar.  I read the reports of several highly respected astrologers, and more often than not, the things I read are accurate.  I don't live my life by these astrological summaries, but I will admit that I sometimes find them reassuring.  They seem to validate what I already know about myself and my life.

ANYWAY...it's Mercury Retrograde time.  I've written about this before because I definitely feel affected by this period of time. If you don't know what this is, I will try to succinctly explain it here.  Again, I will remind you that I am not an astrologer, and you will probably find a better explanation if you google it.

About 3 or 4 times per year, the planet Mercury, ruler of Communication slows down and actually travels backwards.  The result is a slowing down in our lives, breakdown in communication, electronics go haywire, tires go flat, air travel is affected, and there is a general feeling of malaise that seems to take over our everyday lives.  Once again, I encourage you to find a more specific explanation for Mercury Retrograde, but this should give you a general idea.  This time, the retrograde occurs during August 20th through September 12th...a three week period.  We will have the final retrograde of 2010 starting December 10th and going through until December 30th.

Astrologers say this doesn't have to be a negative period.  Actually, it can be quite productive if you know what to expect.  But as of right now, I'm already feeling a bit sluggish. These feelings have a lot to do with what is going on in my life right now, but I'm sure they are exacerbated by the retrograde which will be directly upon us next Friday.

In any event, I need to push through it and get things done.  I have much to do and am allowing it to overwhelm me.  Writing about it makes me feel better...as many of you know, I advocate writing to help you deal with your stuff!  So here I am...writing to deal with my lethargy and attempting to compartmentalize what I have to do rather than allowing it to overwhelm me.  HA!  Easier said than done, right?  Well...we do what we can.

So if you are feeling a little fuzzy in the head in these last days of summer, chalk it up to Mercury going retrograde.  Or take an inventory and see if you have too much going on in your life.  I say...SLOW DOWN!  Take the time to stop and smell the roses. Trust me, your life will still be there when you get back!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Damn--This Traffic Jam...

I know that when you live in a major urban city, traffic comes with the territory.  I know this.  I have given traffic the benefit of the doubt more times than not.  BUT...I've just about had it.  TRAFFIC...you can suck it!

There used to be a time when there was a window of opportunity; when you could get on that freeway between, say, 10AM and 2PM and sail on through.  Or maybe if you left really early, like at 5 or 6 AM there wouldn't be a problem.  It was hard not to notice when that window of opportunity began to shrink.  Slowly, incrementally; but shrink it did.  Now it seems, that window is nonexistent.

Back in the day, a long, time ago, people in Los Angeles used to proudly say, "you can get anywhere in 20 minutes." I think that's an urban legend. I don't think that was ever possible. Maybe in 1920 Los Angeles, but not lately. Not in the last 20 years...that's for sure. Twenty minutes?  You're lucky if you can get in a mile or two in 20 minutes. I'm not exaggerating!

I simply cannot wrap my head around the psychology of a traffic jam.  I know I'm not alone.  Sometimes, the reasons are obvious: rush hour, accidents, idiot drivers who don't know how to properly yield or change lanes...yeah buddy, I'm talking to you! But when I sit in traffic for TWO HOURS, and can never get out of second gear (Yes, I'm still one of the proud but few who drive a stick-shift...big mistake in traffic!) I don't get it.  I don't understand how one second we speed up, getting our hopes up, thinking "finally, finally, I'm going to see some open road," only to be slamming on those brakes just as things are starting to pick up.

I wouldn't mind so much if I had to go slow.  Really.  If I had to creep along at 25-30 miles, it would be okay.  As long as we kept MOVING!  But the stop and start and speeding up just to slow down is KILLING ME! 

Bottom line:  there are too many people here.  Yes, we have a great climate, we have movie stars and beaches and all sorts of cultural stimulation...but we also have earthquakes and fires and mudslides and TOO MANY DAMN PEOPLE! 

I know...I'm being crabby.  And when that happens, it's time to do something about it.  It's time to go.  It's time to leave LA.  And where will I go?  Where can I find the best of both worlds?  Where can I find the great climate, the lovely beaches, and the cultural stimulation (don't really care too much about the movie stars...)without all the crowding?  Is there such a place?  If it exists, it won't stay that way for too long. 

Only one cool thing happened the other day as a result of my being stuck in traffic.  I was sitting on the I-5 at a dead halt.  Same thing on the other side.  I was in the far left lane and I used the opportunity of being stopped to pull my hair up in a ponytail.  I glanced across the freeway partition to see a fairly attractive guy watching me.  I nodded and he broke out in a wide grin. He said, "hi there cutie!"  I busted up laughing.  Traffic--the new Match.com. Love on the 5 freeway!  Maybe something good can come out of it after all. 

But I'm still leaving...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flash Fiction: Snapshot on a City Bus

He took a seat directly in front of me on the city bus.  His faded black jean jacket looked thin and worn, explaining why he wore a dark hooded sweatshirt underneath the jacket.  It was very cold outside and he needed to stay warm. 

The hood was up over his head and his face seemed to disappear inside the folds of the thick fleece.  He reeked of cigarette smoke and as he slid into the seat and pushed his back against the window, he briefly glanced at me with piercing, paranoid green eyes.  He sat sideways and I could easily see his profile. He had a thin, gaunt face with an almost aristocratic nose.  A nose that perpetually dripped and he would use the back of his hand to wipe the snot away.

Out of his tattered backpack, he pulled out a flyer of some kind.  I couldn't read what it said, but as he pulled the paper close to his face and narrowed his eyes, he gnawed on his fingers as if they were an elegant delicacy. His fingernails were gone, the fingertips ravaged from constant sucking, biting, pulling away the skin.  It was like watching a rat who was fortunate enough to find a prized piece of some exotic fruit.  A rat...who couldn't stop nibbling on this delectable treat.

It was not unusual to see a rat on a city bus.  A stinky, squinty-eyed, anxiety-ridden little rat of a man on the bus.  I just wished I wasn't sitting so close to him...


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ya Gotta Have Friends!

Back from NYC and the playwrighting festival.  Wow!  Phew!  A whirlwind to say the least.  Nerve-wracking to say a bit more.   It was a profound experience; grateful to have been a part of it.  But folks, I think that's about all I'm going to say about it for now. 

What I will say is that I'm sincerely grateful and appreciative for all the friends who showed up to support me and my work.  I was kind of blown away.  And at the risk of sounding a bit like a corny greeting card, there is nothing more important than friendship. 

So this post is dedicated to all the friends who showed up for the festival and literally had my back!  It is dedicated to all the friends who couldn't be there but sent their good wishes via phone, email, Facebook or just generally through good vibes circulating through the Universe. I hope you all know how much I appreciate what each of you uniquely bring to my life. 

And as this post begins to more and more resemble a Hallmark card, I will send out one more thank you and call it a day. 

Now...on to the next...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'll be back next week!

Wish me luck everyone!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Quick Hello...


Stopping by to say a quick hello, since I haven't actively written since last Sunday.  It's been a busy week, and busy is good!  Earlier this week I spent a couple of days teaching some young up-and-coming performing artists and I have to say the experience was quite gratifying. 

I love teaching, but I did go through a bit of burn-out a while back. It's to be expected...teaching is a tough gig.  And I'm the type of person who puts my heart and soul into it as well, so it's no wonder that I went through some physical and emotional exhaustion.

But it felt really good to be back in the saddle so to speak. And working with students who are so eager to learn; they were sponges willing to soak up everything they could.  I love that!  I get to do it again next week, and then I'm off to the Big Apple for another grand adventure. 

I will do my best to get another post in before I leave.  But fear  not...you will hear all about the festival upon my return.

So, until the next time...if you're currently on the east coast of the USA...stay cool...and if you're anywhere else in this great big world of ours...hope you're enjoying what you've got!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blaze of Glory


I live on a hill and from this vantage point I am fortunate enough to simply walk out my front door and see three simultaneous fireworks displays.  I look directly in front of me, and I see the show my home town is producing at the park just down the hill.  To my right and left, neighboring towns set off their own fireworks and the night sky is filled with vibrant color and a cacophony of booms.

I've missed seeing the fireworks from atop my hill for the past two years since I hadn't been at home.  So it was lovely tonight, to see this stunning light show with a relatively quiet group of neighbors.  Even though tomorrow is a holiday, there is the distinctive feeling of Sunday night in the air.  Everyone was noticeably mellow. 

My favorite fireworks tonight were the stars that popped out from below, rose high in the sky and fizzled away.  And the grand finale was spectacular. Red, white and blue stars, and sizzling, squirmy bursts of light and gigantic chandeliers of color.  And the booming sounded like a torrential downpour of rain on the roof.  It was terrific.

Happy Birthday America! You deserve to have a grand celebration.  I hope you feel better soon.  I really do!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perspective


Yesterday I pulled into a parking lot and when I got out of the car, there were broken pieces of green glass neatly piled on the perimeter of the parking space.  It appeared that some kind-hearted person didn't want anyone driving over broken glass and puncturing the tires of the car. Thank you, kind-hearted person.

But here is the interesting part:  I didn't immediately think, "Oh no...broken glass...now I'm gonna get a flat tire..."  I thought, "wow...how beautiful...look at all the lovely emerald gemstones on the ground."

It was a very childish notion...it was a very idealistic thought...but spotting all that shattered green glass made me feel very happy for some unknown reason.  My attitude toward the glass surprised me.  My perspective had changed.  I wasn't thinking I was staring at some broken Heineken bottle...I was thinking..."that is quite enchanting!"

No, I did not stoop down and fill my pockets with broken green glass.  But I did let my gaze linger awhile, noticing and appreciating its beauty.  More importantly, I surprised myself and I love when that happens. It's a rare thing!

It's not that big a deal, this seemingly meaningless incident.  But to a writer, we have to notice everything.  And small occurrences such as this one are gold.  Or in this case...emerald!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Interview with Samuel French


Just a quick post to let everyone know my interview with Samuel French went up today. 

The festival is only three weeks away...anticipation grows but I'm doing my best to hold it in check.

The judges were announced the other day on Playbill. Lots of impressive heavy hitters on that list.  This opportunity is enormous.  I take a breath, give thanks to the Universe, and move forward.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Speak the Speech, I Pray You....OUT LOUD!

Writing is such a solitary occupation, and typically a quiet one. But I talk out loud to myself all the time. It's becoming pervasive...branching out into all areas of my life, and not just when I'm sitting at my desk working on a piece. I have been known to carry on full-length conversations with myself in public places like Target.

Here I am…in the toilet tissue aisle…talking. To no one…!

As I examine various rolls of toilet paper the conversation goes something like this:

"Hmmm…should I get the Northern bathroom tissue, or is the Angel Soft a better deal?"

No…that doesn’t really sound right. Actually, in reality the conversation probably goes something like this:

"Why have I been standing in front of the toilet paper for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the most for my money? Just pick one already, will you Deb?"

Yeah, that sounds more like me. I'm sure many people in Target have noticed my toilet paper diatribe and steered away from the odd woman who is obviously a bit tweaked in the head.

Ah well...occupational hazard.

As a playwright, it's essential that I read my work out loud. I need to hear the rhythm of the dialogue. I need to hear if the writing sounds natural; if it truly sounds like a conversation and not just words on a page. But I also think it’s useful to read any piece of writing out loud. It doesn’t have to be a play or a speech. Short stories, articles, advertising copy, even blog posts! I think it works to the writer’s benefit to hear the words spoken out loud and outside of their head.

If nothing else, it helps give me a sharper eye when proofreading. I’m more apt to spot an error if I hear it…sometimes my eye is lazy and doesn’t see a mistake, but I’ll hear if a sentence sounds weird, or a comma needs to be placed. You get the idea, right?

So whatever you happen to be working on…a press release, a journal entry, a poem, a blog, a memoir….sing out Louise! Let the words of your writing reverberate back to you…out loud…it’s kinda fun. I just wouldn’t recommend doing it in the middle of Target.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And now a few words from Carl Jung...



"The artist's life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him—on the one hand, the common longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire. There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire."
 - carl jung

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Time Management


I am working on so many projects simultaneously, I feel a bit overwhelmed.  In order to be as efficient as possible, I'm needing to write "to do" lists and set priorities...but sometimes, when my brain goes into overdrive, it simply freezes...like a deer in the headlights.  And then of course, I freeze, and feel like I can't move forward.

My projects are creative ones...lots and lots of writing.  Because I am a writer.  That's what I do.  Some of the stuff I'm working on is actually more creative than other stuff, so I am definitely using two different parts of my brain.   But at the end of the day, all I'm doing is dealing with the art of crafting words.  Plays, articles, blog posts, course outlines, cover letters...it's all words, words, words.  And as much as I love words...instead of having this constant running stream of words flowing through my brain, I sure could use a brief bit of quiet. There's so much noise in my head these days...I need to turn down the volume.

I truly believe that we create our own lives, and I have definitely created my life as a writer.  I welcome all the opportunities that are coming my way, but I also treasure the moments when I can put down the dictionary and the thesaurus, close my eyes, and see images rather than words.  I am a pretty cerebral gal, and usually think in terms of words and phrases---that in itself is not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just who I am. 

But I do wish I thought more in images...I wish my brain were more cinematic...sometimes it is...in my dreams it is...I see movies in my mind from time to time, and that actually helps me a lot when I'm constructing plays or short stories. But mostly I think in terms of ideas and concepts...sounds kinda boring, but actually if you were inside my head, you'd realize it's not boring at all. Trust me on that one!

Wow...I have really gotten off topic here...but I guess it's okay for my mind to wander like this.  After all, it's 3AM and I've got the rest of the day to prioritize and utilize my fabulous time management skills.  Yes, I'm writing a blog post at 3AM so I can write other stuff later in the day.  On a Sunday.  Freelancers never have a weekend.  I don't mind...I like what I do...but it would be nice to spend a Sunday flitting away the day looking at pretty pictures....

Please tell me--how do you organize your time?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Technical Assistance Please...


This post is specifically for my fellow bloggers...an SOS if you will.  I put out a cry for help on Facebook, but unfortunately to no avail. 

If you read this blog regularly, you may have noticed that I recently changed my template.  Blogger is now offering new designer templates.  I'm very happy with the look of the blog, but ever since I changed to the new template, I'm having some difficulties with a couple of the features.

First, I used to be able to click on my gadgets in the sidebar and they would immediately link  to their respective websites.  For some reason, it's not doing that anymore.  The URL addresses are all correctly written, and I've tried numerous times, but it won't link! I'M SO FRUSTRATED!

Second, some of the images I use start off centered in the center of the post, and then, for some reason, they move over and there's this extra white area surrounding and adding to the photo! I hate it.  It's driving my Virgo sensibilities crazy!

Can anyone help?  I've posted on the Google Blogger Help forum and no one has come to my aid.  Infuriating!  I don't really want to go back to the old template, but I may have to if I can't get these features to work properly. 

Hoping to hear from you kind-hearted souls out there!  Thank you in advance for your help!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Write On!


I submitted a proposal to teach a playwrighting course online and it was accepted!  I'm excited.  Now the work begins...I need to submit the curriculum and an outlined lesson plan by the end of the week.  When all of that is approved, and I know for certain the class will occur, I will post all the specifics here on the blog.

If there are any budding playwrights out there who may want to try their hand at this, I hope you'll stop by and sign up! It's a lot of fun. Even if you only have a tiny shred of theatricality coursing through your veins, you should give playwrighting a whirl.  It's a lot different than writing fiction, but equally rewarding.

I will let you know when I have all the details.  You may just be the next Tennessee Williams and not even know it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rest in Peace Sweet Friend...


Yesterday a dear friend of mine from days gone by passed away.  I hadn't seen or spoken to her in many years, but she lived in my heart.  Reading the tributes to her on her Facebook page, I realized she lived in many people's hearts.  She was a magical person.  I always thought so then...I know so now.

What is interesting to me, is my own grief.  We were no longer in each other's lives, yet my emotions run deep and my sadness is profound.  I suppose, with her passing, I am aware of the passing of time, and how things slip away from us before we even know it. 

She was a very bright light and loved life to its fullest.  So it does seem (I won't say unfair but maybe ironic) that one who embraced life with such gusto should be taken so young.  No one can understand these things.  We find ways to console ourselves and one another, and we move on. 

I spent a lot of time today mourning, and saying goodbye to her in my own private way.  And though I debated whether or not to blog about this very personal subject, I decided it was the least I could do to pay tribute to her.

So I send out to the Universe, my deepest gratitude for having known her, and my hope that she is truly at peace and out of pain. Rest in peace sweet friend.  You touched the lives of so many and you will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fruit and the BP Spill

I don't think it's irresponsible of me to NOT talk about the BP spill.  Discussions regarding that topic are all over the internet. Photographs abound of the wild life that is being destroyed because they can't seem to figure out how to PLUG IT UP!  So...I'm not going to talk about it.  If you want to talk about it, go to another blog.

I will change the topic dramatically by discussing WATERMELON!  I once wrote a monologue about watermelon being my favorite food. I think it may very well be the ideal fruit--second only to the banana.  I had a huge bowl of watermelon today for breakfast!  Wow! Talk about summer in my mouth.  It was delish.  I have no idea what I'm doing when I pick melons....but leave it to my beloved Trader Joe's to stock fantastic, ripe, red, juicy seedless mini melons.  Nectar of the Gods.

If it seems like I'm in denial over the bigger issues and wanting to write about something as mundane as watermelon...you're wrong.  First of all, watermelon is NOT mundane; and second, I'm not denying all the pain and suffering that is occurring as I write these words...but frankly, I needed a breather.  It's all too much sometimes, don't you think?

I am continually trying to make my life simpler and that includes the constant influx of information that bombards my brain every single second of the day.  It's not denial...it's survival. I breathe.  I acknowledge.  I do what I can.  And I move forward. 

Talking about fruit makes me feel better.  Don't ask me why.  Watermelon and bananas.  How simple can you get?


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blocked?

photo by psyberartist
The images of what I want to say are swirling around in my head but the words don't come. I won't give into calling this "writer's block," because I'm not blocked. Not exactly. I'm just having difficulty finding a through-line. Finding my voice. Finding my character's voice. Telling the story!

Ok...well, that might indeed be a block. It's just that everything is very chaotic these days, up there in that old attic head of mine. Lots of cobwebs, lots of clutter. And I have tales to tell and plays that want to be written, but they're hiding in the corner, collecting dust and reluctant to be found.
How do I begin to clean out the jumbled mess up there? Where do I start? I need to sidestep the frustration, roll up my sleeves and dig in.

I'd take a deep breath, but all this dust is giving me an asthma attack...
"Word Fall" by psyberartist

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Late, Great Dorothy Parker

I turn to her when I need to be inspired and amazed...she never lets me down.  Here's two from the incomparable Mrs. Parker:

"Symptom Recital"
I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again."

The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'cheque enclosed."

Some things never change, eh?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Choices...

My cluttered mind has never been more apparent than right now.  I was going to sit down and write a philosophical and meaningful post, but it came out as a mindless stream-of-conscious-rambling that bored the hell out of me; I can only imagine what it would have done for you. Click...I'm outta here....let's blow this self-indulgent pop stand!  Rantings from a very confused mind.  Maybe I should rename the blog:  Confessions of a Confused Mind.  Nah...I'll leave it. For now, anyway.

Here I am...once again at a crossroads.  Seems like I'm ALWAYS at a crossroads.  What's the matter with me? In the movie in my mind, I somehow seem to think that "this" (whatever "this" is) will be the next chapter of my life.  The next BIG moment.  And the orchestra swells, and we hear the strings, and the drums and the camera zooms in for a close-up...and then...as I gasp in anticipation... 

NOTHING happens. 

 Because it's not a movie.  It's my life.  Damn!  All this time I was hoping this was a movie.  If it were, I think it would be either an old-school Woody Allen flick, or a Wes Craven horror film.  "Don't go in there Deb...it's BAD in there."  Wouldn't that be great, if you heard that advice everytime you were about to make a terrible decision?  "Don't do it...it's bad..."
Ah well...life just doesn't work that way, does it?

I'm trying to reinvent myself; yet, it seems all the good inventions have been taken.  Anybody got any ideas?  I can use all the help I can get...


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Edamame


Yeah, I know...I'm a little late coming to this party--but it's only recently that I discovered the joys of edamame.  What?  You know what this is, right?  Of course you do.  They're soybeans.  And who woulda thought they would be SO delish?

I'm sure there are tons of ways to enjoy them/prepare them, but frankly, I like snacking on them right out of the shell.  I know they're available out of the shell, but I like the work of getting them out of the shell and into my mouth.  That's part of the fun.

Here's the thing folks:  I'm a snacker. (That's snacker, not slacker!)  Sad, but true.  And when I'm sitting at my computer working on my writing assignments, or editing a manuscript, or reading screenplays and writing coverage, it's very easy for me to chomp away on a bag of peanut M&M's or some other easy-to-munch convenience snack that will cause detriment to my body, mind and soul.

BUT edamame...aahhh.....I have one bowl filled with them on one side of the desk...and another empty bowl on the other side (for the empty shells) and I've got that whole hand to mouth coordination thing going, while I snack away on something healthy and fun to eat.

I get a frozen bag of them (in the shell, slightly salted) at my local Trader Joe's (where else would I shop...my loyalty to Joe is amazing!) I heat them up for a quick 2 minutes ( I like them warm, but you can eat them cold) and I'm good to go!  Plus, they are WAY LESS expensive than a megabag of Peanut M&M's.  Not to mention SO MUCH better for you! And no crash from the sugar rush.  I see this as a win-win situation.

So tell me...do you know about this wonder food?  Do you like it?  How do you eat them?  In the shell or out?  Warm or cold? I'm now on the edamame band wagon and want to know what you think about this fun and delicious snack!  I eagerly await your comments!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mind Control

By Joe Notaro
I'm always in awe of artists who see things in a visual way.  Painters, sculpters, photographers, graphic designers...I might be able to paint pictures with words, but I wish I could actually paint with images.  I wish I had that gift. Unfortunately, I don't.

My friend Joe, whom I've known since forever, does have the gift and he recently helped me out with the graphics for the poster for my upcoming short play, MIND CONTROL, in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. I sent him the script, he read it, and immediately came up with this great concept for the poster.  He was able to do it quickly, and when he sent it to me, I immediately loved it.

A little nip and tuck here, a little tweaking there, and it was done!  Sent it in to the Samuel French PR people and they loved it too!

So I'm sending a huge shout out to Joe Notaro for helping me and creating this really cool artwork. THANK YOU JOE!! I appreciate this so, so much!

What do you think of the poster? Does it make you wonder what the play is about?  Does it titillate you to want to know more?  As always, I welcome your comments and am eager to hear your thoughts!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Continuing Education?

Every artist I know goes through periods of doubt regarding whether or not they are following the right path. I go through this all the time. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of stuff in my email inbox about choosing other careers. I wonder if the Universe is trying to tell me something.

Sometimes, I wonder what might have been if I had pursued a business degree or studied marketing. When I first went off to college to the University of Redlands, all I wanted to do was be an actor. I was so narrow-minded at the time, I never allowed myself to look around to see all that this beautiful Southern California University had to offer.

Recently, I took a drive out to the desert, and passed through the Inland Empire on my way to Palm Springs. I forgot how gorgeous that area is. I remember my parents being amused when they visited me at school one time and saw all these girls sunbathing on the lawn while snow-peaked mountains hovered over us in all their splendor. That’s California for ya!

I have often thought of going back to school; enrolling in a continued education program. You know that old adage: “If I knew then, what I know now…” Well, if I knew then what I know now, I would have definitely taken some courses to sharpen my business and marketing skills. I sure could use some of those skills these days. I think if anyone was looking for a California business school, U of R would be a great place to go. I remember this great little 24-hour doughnut shop very close to the campus. Not sure if that doughnut shop is still there, but we used to make doughnut runs for our 1AM study sessions and we’d get the apple fritters hot out of the oven. That, of course, is not the best reason to go back to college, but it’s a great place to start, don’t you think? And if you got your degree in business, think of all the doughnut shops you could open!

Anyway, let me know what schools, colleges or universities you like, and if you have or are considering continuing your education. I’d really love to hear your stories!