Friday, July 27, 2007

We all scream for island....And so today concludes our two-week stay on the tiny and seemingly remote Cliff Island located in Casco Bay, Maine (off of Portland via the convenient Casco Bay Lines ferry service).

In two weeks we managed to tan, swim, walk, toast marshmallows, read, relax, visit Portland twice, and eat tons of lobster and striper (the sea bass was caught by a friend of ours visiting the first weekend and later in the week by our son off the ledges adjacent to the cottage's rocky beach).

I also reached FADE OUT yet again. This time with version number six of my Inuit tale. For the first time in a long time I was able to retain probably about fifteen scenes with few edits. Those who know me realize that I am a toss and begin from scratch writer, so that's a huge accomplishment and tells me I am actually nearing the end of my Creative Thesis project. Woo hoo: perhaps I may actually be able to graduate after this, my G-4 semester at Goddard.

Hope you're enjoying summer! Thanks for dropping by.

(Above photos from the Cliff Island website. The top features the oddly shaped Cliff Island; the second photo features the Murphy Cottage, which is where we stayed these past two weeks. Thanks to the Murphy Family for making their cottage available for rental.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sun sets on Cliff Island…

…and on the technological wizardry of an anxious traveler.

Earlier this evening I attempted to set-up one of those automated e-mail messages that cheerily tells the e-mailer right away that I am at Cliff Island in Casco Bay, Maine (off of Portland) where wifi is sporadic and about a half mile’s walk away…so not to expect a reply from me for a couple of days or so.

Somehow I managed to send the message out at once to EVERY message sitting in my in-box. All 1070 of them.

If you’re one of the unfortunate many who received several e-mails from me on Friday the 13th, I humbly apologize. Really, I am truly sorry.

Feel free to post an angry message here for me and for everyone to read. Post it several times even. I’ll understand. Completely.

Have a good day?


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Home stretch...For those of you still keeping track of my grad school process—and I am genuinely surprised and pleased by how many of you there are—I thought I’d quickly outline what’s to come for me during this, my FINAL semester at Goddard College.

Lifting directly from my semester’s Study Plan (all such text is italicized), here’s where I am sitting as I head into the last laps:

I am in my G-4 Semester. I have completed 40 Annotations, my two short critical papers, my twenty-page critical paper, my teaching practicum and teaching paper, and I have written two feature length screenplays with the help and guidance of my advisors.

And my specific goals for the semester are:

To complete the final semester degree requirements including:
- the final twenty-page process paper
- the course equivalents
- the annotated bibliography
- the complete bibliography
- my final five annotations
- my publishable graduating draft of my Creative Thesis

I will work with my advisor and my second reader as I revise and hone my Creative Thesis, my latest screenplay which is currently in its fifth draft form.

In addition, I am writing a series of related ten-minute plays that I hope to be able to share (at least in part) with my advisor during the packet process.

Here’s my calendar for the semester:
Packet #1, due Aug. 27, though I am aiming for Aug. 6th:
(Sent to BOTH my advisor and second reader)
- Process Letter
- Creative Thesis, revised (Draft #6)

Packet #2, due Sept. 17:
(Sent to my Advisor)
- Process Letter
- Three Annotations
- Annotated Bibliography
- Course Equivalents & Course Descriptions, First Draft
- Overall/General Bibliography
- Creative Work, my secondary Play Project
- Copies of all my self & faculty evaluations

Packet #3, due Oct. 8:
(Sent to my Advisor)
- Process Letter
- Two Annotations
- Process Paper, First Draft
- Creative Thesis: scenes I may need read before the next draft
- Creative Work, my secondary Play Project

Packet #4, due Oct. 29:
(Sent to my Advisor and my Second Reader)
- Process Letter
- Creative Thesis, (Draft # 7, “Final Draft”)

Packet #5, due Nov. 19:
(Sent to my Advisor)
- Process Letter
- Rewritten Process Paper, if necessary
- Rewritten Course Equivalents, if necessary
- Rewritten Annotated Bibliography, if necessary
- Creative Thesis: rewritten scenes, as necessary
- Creative Thesis Reading: possibly a first draft of my ten-minute graduate reading
- Creative Work, possibly some pages from my secondary Play Project

And how will all the work of my final semester address the degree requirements for Goddard’s MFA degree program?

I will complete my graduation binder requirements including a publishable draft of my Creative Thesis. I will also complete the literature component of my degree requirements by writing my final five annotations.

The final note on the Study Plan is our Bibliography. It’s long, so I’ll spare you that.

And that’s it. Accomplish all this and I will receive my graduate degree on January 6, 2008. It’s been an incredible journey! Thanks for tagging along.

(Top photo taken of a New Hampshire farm by my husband; the pines and chairs are from the Goddard College website--a beautiful place to study.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Son's set...
So my latest published work may not have the sort of panache that comes with length. But as a scriptwriter, and a former radio news and ad writer, at least I can write short...occasionally. It also happens to pay better than most of my previous gigs.

You can read about our last summer's drive to “Boring Nowhere” (as our son thinks of it) here: Laugh Lines on the Reader's Digest website. Scroll down to "Life in These United States."Enjoy!

(Photo above taken at Cliff Island, Maine by my husband last summer.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Field Notes...Am just back from a crazy, hectic, exhilarating week of residency at Goddard College and am diving into the numerous tasks here at home…including printing off an “A” boarding pass for my husband as he prepares to visit his stepfather tomorrow.

It will be a trip that reconnects the two of them. As I help him pack, I remember to slip a copy of STORIES OF STRENGTH inside his briefcase so he may share with his stepfather the poem he wrote in tribute to him. (The collection was edited by Jenna Glatzer in 2005 and dedicated to the Survivors of Hurricane Katrina.)

Hope you enjoy the poem. And that you may connect with your friends and loved ones soon.

written by Jan P. Myskowski

After each of those endless days riding
Bulldozers or loaders across the plains
Of construction sites, every one the same,
Pushing and pulling levers, pushing dirt
Into piles, lifting it onto the backs
Of trucks, before the days of heated cabs,

His relief was to crack a beer in the
Garage, throw the switch on the arc welder
And make a hitch or trailer frame for some
Friend he’d made himself indebted to just
For the excuse to lay those luminous
Beads, and make blue light flash rectangular

In the conifer trees that lined the drive.
Day after day he gave his body up
To the unforgiving sun, gunmetal
Cold, and long endured atrophy’s triumph.
So many days he walked stooped to his truck,
Lunchbox in hand, squinting all the way home.

But see him there now, large in his spark-proof
Jacket, long-cuffed gloves, the omnipotent,
Stoic mask, watching through the tinted glass
The firmament, formed as electrons jump
The arc to make steel know his intentions,
With flux smoke rising like greasy incense.

(Field photo above taken in the Quaker District of our small New Hampshire town by my husband.)