Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Single Mother

It's bragging day on the artistic corner! I know this is something I do well, considering I have the most beautiful and talented children on the planet, but today is not about them. In fact, it's not even about me, my novel or Thomas' novel, but about a wonderful film entitled, The Single Mother. This thought-provoking short is currently touring the festival circuit and was written and directed by a friend of mine from way back, Ryan Logan. While he was much younger than me when we shared the stage in our hometown of Independence, KS, it didn't take much for me to know that this kid had something special. This summer-via facebook-I was able to reconnect with him only to learn that he'd turned into an amazing young man with great artistic vision. So I asked if I could share some of the information on his film in my blog and he agreed.

The plot outline for The Single Mother is listed as the following on its website:

Meet The Single Mother - a big-hearted transvestite reincarnation of June Cleaver, who embarks on a perilous journey to obtain the nuclear family featured in his tattered Home & Garden magazines. With the unfortunate predicament of being unable to conceive himself (but not for lack of trying), he pursues increasingly desperate means to procure a child of his own. He attempts adoption. He strives to become a nanny. He even makes a run at luring hyperactive children out of a park using candy. When anatomy gets in the way of destiny... the oven mitts are off.

Obviously, I've seen the film and I can tell you regardless of the characters intentions it opened up something in me I could never have imagined.
The main character struggles with his dream of wanting a child to raise. What I love about it, is regardless of everything else he goes for it, at all costs. This could be any of us, it could be any of our dreams; rather its wanting a child, to be a published author or to be the CEO of a company. In fact, this week I had a moment like his, in which I awoke feeling like I was right there on the edge of it all. As the rare Omaha thunderstorm awoke me at 1:30 in the morning-clearly calling to the soul of a girl who grew up watching storms roll across Kansas-I felt something new, something changing and knowing that I was at the point I would stop at nothing to obtain it. If you could talk to this character and ask him his feelings when he opened his eyes everyday, I imagine that it would be something like that, well minus the storm. Honestly, the scene in which he is trying to lure the children from the park with candy made me laugh so loud. However, at the same time that is the game I feel like I am playing with literary agents.

The coloring contrast of the film adds to the journey the character takes on his path to his deepest desire. The variety leads us through the story, allowing us to easily be invited into the character's world and leave ours for awhile; which is the ultimate goal of any movie maker. I shared this with Ryan, that I was drawn in by the colors, but I wasn't the only one who felt that way. When the QSaltLake did a spread on the film they said the film was, "A colorful story...filmed with dream sequences that rival the art found in Hedwig and the Angry Inch."

So, as the film tours the circuit this year, I urge you to go see it. Buy yourself a ticket and enjoy this marvelous film. As Ryan says, you may love it or you may hate it, but at least it's only six minutes. It premiered at the Rhode Island Film Festival in August winning the Alternative Spirit Award. You can catch it at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay film festival on October 18th. The film will have its international debut at the Image + Nation in Montreal, Canada, the week of October 22nd through the 31st. And lastly, in Chicago at the Reeling International Film Festival in November. As it is accepted to more(and believe me this incredible film will be) I will keep all of you updated. You can also get more information on Ryan's blog or on the film's IMBD page.

Thank you Ryan for bringing us this lovely film. I hope it continues to stir the hearts of all your viewers out there, the way it did mine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Sweet Escape

This week, a friend of mine has spurred memories of my childhood. With that, I have been feeling a bit nostalgic. While I'm deep in the editing process on my novel, I've also taken some time to do my other passion, reading-I know real original. When I put down True Blue by LuAnne Rice at two o'clock in the morning, my recent feelings had to ask how I had become this way? What in my life influenced me to spend all my time either reading or writing?

In order to come to the truth, I didn't have to dig far. Some of you who read this blog have known me since I was a child, so the answer will come as no surprise. For the rest of you, I will be showing a side of my past I often don't speak about.
The answer is escape. I wasn't raised in the best home situation. In the first grade, I was introduced to the wonderful book, Charlotte's Web. The lives of the characters intrigued me and pulled me in to a whole different type of world. By the second grade, I learned that I could read at a much faster pace and began to read everything put in front of me. During the screaming and the fighting, I would escape to a special corner in the backyard, where I would loose myself in another universe.I learned how other people lived; ones who didn't have the same problems as me and ones who did. The hours I spent in others worlds refreshed me.

After moving to a new town in the fourth grade, I found myself homesick for my friends. My grandfather phoned to inform me that my dog since I was a baby had died. It was that year that I wrote my first full length story. This project was of course a school assignment, but I put my heart into every word. My dog was the subject and she had returned to welcome me to my new home. Looking back, it seems like such a simple thing to write about, but it taught me that I could write stories, like the ones I had read.

Through the years, I have been ridiculed for my obsessions. I was that girl whose nose was always stuck in a book while the world around me faded away. Talking to myself was often a problem, as I worked out my projects in my head before I put them on paper. Even now it happens when people chuckle at me, because they learned that I spent the majority of my recent time off work, in front of the computer finishing my novel.

I'm thankful though that the family I'm surrounded by, understands my craziness. Just the other night, my husband came to bed and said, "I thought you were only going to read one chapter?" Of course, he's just as bad as I am, but even worse when he's writing. Last year as he wrote his latest novel, I had to cook many meals, because he was busy and I don't cook. My mother-in-law chuckled to learn that I'd read an entire novel in one day. My sister frequently supplies me with unique names that she has learned, knowing that I have a hard time coming up with them.

I don't need the escape anymore, nothing like before. Now, I simply fall in love with the story I'm reading or writing and don't stop till I finish it. Every book I read helps to increase my skills as a writer. What ever causes us to start these obsessions is different, but I know I'm not alone in this world. Millions of people have a love for the same past time. Our tastes may vary, but the characters continue to draw us in, page after page. So read on my friends and don't be afraid to write what you know, those stories may be the best of all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This week has really been a bit of a crazy mess. I have been to two different sets of auditions for our daughter, not to mention to start of a new year of ballet classes. The first audition, being the annual production of The Nutcracker, and the second Annie. I hate going to these, in fact I often try to bribe Veronica to go in my place, but alas I had to go to both. However, I have found that even though these things take hours out of my day and I generally end up dreading the thought of being there. those crazy STAGE MOMS always make me laugh.

If you know anything about the life of an actor, or if you have watched TV at all, you know the extremes of what these moms do. We have all heard the stories of the screaming moms tearing into directors or choreographers, or the ones that push their children to the point of breaking. I have also witnessed firsthand the mom chowing down on McDonald's and doughnuts, while feeding their ballerina daughters nothing, but dry carrot sticks and only letting them drink water so they will be skinny enough to play Clara, or the moms that will do anything(and I mean ANYTHING) to get their children a part. Although, some of these are scary to think about they are worse to be involved with directly, some of these moms have been right in my face as a director for a show. Still they are not the ones that I want to talk about really...even though they give me plenty of material to work with.

Like I said before these STAGE MOMS make me laugh, I like the ones that are just over the top enough to be on the funny end of things. For instance, the moms that have the same contemporary haircut as their daughters ,because it makes them look like sisters, or for some reason makes them believe they will get their own ticket into the world of modeling and acting side by side with their child. This kind of mom is not harmful like the previous ones, although their children may argue differently with me, but still no one is being threatened. Last night I got to witness the whole variety of these types of funny moms. I saw two kicked out of the auditorium for sneaking in to watch their daughters dance for a role in ANNIE, and then I watched them immediately walk up the stairs and try to get in through the balcony entrance. There was also a group of moms standing around plotting car pooling because they knew which one of their daughters would be Annie and the others orphans for sure, even though over 150 children were auditioning for 26 total roles. Yet, these moms already had it figured out before auditions even started. Lastly, somehow I got to be part of a discussion from a group of moms that were all wanting my opinion on the song their children should be singing for an audition, because I had been talking to a friend of ours explaining it was not the best idea to have her niece sing HARD KNOCK LIFE. I somehow became a guru for these moms and they all thought I had the magic key and would not stop asking for it until I told them that as a director I never wanted to hear the same song, sung badly by 90 kids and that I would pick the kid that dared to sing something different even if they weren't the best...and then I got watch the moms scramble through their Broadway Song Books looking for a new song five minutes before their children walked into sing.

Now, as funny as these moms were, the ones of Saturday was just as hilarious to me. The Nutcracker is a mess all of its own, and Ballet Moms are a special breed too. These moms will try to sabotage the other children by bringing cookies, brownies, cake, doughnuts everything you can imagine to eat...but you will notice their daughters never touch the stuff. The studio were the auditions were held, made for a very interesting experience for me this year. The rooms have very small 2'X2' viewing window, but the blinds had been pulled and about a three inch gap remained. In this little gap, moms were pushing and nudging, but nicely no meanies here, to get an eye full of the glory of the heavenly view of the inside of the studio where their daughters were dancing. Although, you could see what was happening none of it made any since to them, because what the saw were girls standing in a line being told to sit, stand, walk, stop, stand, walk, sit, stand, and sit again. However, from this little slat of a glorious viewing arena the cast had been selected in several of their minds. These moms congratulated each other. announcing the titles of the characters fellow moms would be proud to have for their daughters, and they began discussing gifts they should look into buying for the show.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am one of the proudest dads in the world when Cloudya lands a role or gets an audition for a national commercial. Still, I can honestly say that when I see these moms twice a week, and more during rehearsals, every time I simply end up shaking my head and wondering what in the world we have done to ourselves. Cloudya being the child that wants to be on stage and having two parents with a strong background in the arts does not have the edge that these moms think they are giving their daughters. Instead, Cloudya will forever have to suffer with the mother that says "Well honey if you want to do it go ahead and audition, but remember you may not get the part you want, or you may not get one at all" not to to mention having a father that does not want to go to auditions except to stare and laugh at all the crazy STAGE MOMS full on in their antics.

So just remember moms that I might be there and I will be watching you and more then likely I will write about you

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Working and Writing

After two months of what seemed like a plethora of writing time, I had to head back to the real world this week. Yes, it's true, the doctor okayed me to go back to work. So, needless to say on Friday morning I got up at six in the morning and headed back to my local Wal-mart. Now the real challenge becomes, not killing my creative time. After all, this summer I've written two short screenplays, a full length and finished my novel. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty productive time.

Pre-published authors all deal with the same situation. How do you balance working a full-time job(in my case 60 hours a week), your family and attempting to write a screenplay that "might" win an Academy Award someday? The truth is I'm not the greatest example of dealing with the balancing act. For years, I put off my writing using my job and family commitments as an excuse and that's exactly what it was, an excuse. All my life I loved to write; I often got teased for having a notebook(pre-laptop days) permanently attached to my hand.

So in the last couple of years, I've really put the peddle to to the metal. At first, when I got back into the writing groove I set a goal for myself. It was simple: Write everyday! It sounded easy at the time, but it wasn't. After awhile I've mastered it. I may only conquer a paragraph or I could tackle a whole chapter. Nowadays, if I don't do something in the process, I feel like I cheated myself. In fact, last night I attempted it, to go to bed without writing even a sentence. That lasted for about thirty minutes, when I couldn't turn my creative brain off. So, I flipped on the light, grabbed my notebook(I keep one by the bed) and jotted down some of the ideas I'd been batting around for my next project. It was a nice try.

Then there is the kids, since my work does keep me away from them, every free moment I can spend with them is precious. It doesn't answer the question of: When do you write? I like to jot stuff down throughout the day, but the process needs, a process. When my beloved little ones go to bed at nine o'clock, I get my time to hit the computer for a while. In the two hours, I have before my own bedtime I work out what I can. On my days off, which are usually during the week, I spend extra quality time on my projects. This year my goal is too get myself on a timeline, as in to set specific goals that I would like to get accomplished each week.

To sum it all up, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. My process isn't perfect, but it will have to work until I join the ranks of the published. For all of you writers out there who are doing the same juggling act, keep at it! I write, because I learned along time ago that I couldn't live without it and when I tried I was miserable.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Editing Bliss

The editing process and I have a love-hate relationship. I adore the fact that I've reached a milestone and completed my manuscript, but I loathe the ripping apart of it and then comes the attempt to put it back together. However, the project has to go on. This part of the writing process is almost as important as the writing itself. One shouldn't stop and sit back as soon as a project is "complete." After all its not really done until you've put the polishing touches on it. Then you have to ask yourself what you wrote it for in the first place. Did you spend months possibly years working on something that no one else will ever read? Seems like a big waste doesn't it. Sure we're artists and we are known for having self esteem issues. But I say get over it and get done.
After editing get that query letter ready to mail out to agents. Once their in the mail begin work on the next project or you'll go mad waiting. Take rejection with a grain of salt. Agents are humans, believe it or not and each of them have their own taste and style just like we do.
Kudos to those out there that have taken that step towards getting published. Its a grueling process, but in the end it pays off. For those of you who have that project growing dust on your shelf, because you don't want to polish her off, shame on you. You'll never know if you don't try.