Monday, December 22, 2008

Countdown to Christmas...
I just submitted my final student's grade for the semester, and only have about a half day's paperwork left to go before I'm officially done with this fall's university chores.

Then onto a grant application that's due January first for an organization I'm volunteering with, and writing press releases for the New Hampshire Film & Television Office's Script Competition for the Stage Reading Series.

Plus, of course, plenty of my own writing to do, and reading and editing to accomplish (yes, Kyle, your latest novel revision is on my to do list; actually, it's on my "can't wait to get to it" list!).
But the presents are wrapped and beneath the tree, as I sit in my newly created living room* listening to Frank Sinatra's holiday album and watching the birds eat the seed I just scattered for them on the stairs outside the sliding glass doors. (*I love shifting furniture around; the latest change has turned my dining room into my living room and vice versa.)

Okay, back to work.  For me.  You too, if it applies.  Happy holidays!

(Photos above taken after last week's ice storm: a marble in a hanging sculpture thingy I once bought, and the gloves are my own garden sculpture design.  Yes, I am that odd.  Thank you for noticing.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like brrrrrrrrr...
Can you guess where these icicles once hung?
I know: I should simply post these to my Flickr account since this is no more than a post of photos, but I'm in a hurry.  On my way to a Town Water Resources Subcommittee Meeting.  Seems ironic, eh?

A winter wonderland. Of course that's easy for me to that we have power again.  Spent the first 36+ hours of the storm cooking on the wood stove and helping ourselves to plenty of gravity-fed water.  While we played Scattergories by candlelight and via built-in lights on the bills of our LL Bean baseball caps.  Made some fun memories this storm.  


Friday, December 05, 2008

How do I procrastinate?
Let me count the ways.

Ever notice that when you have ONE thing you must accomplish, EVERYTHING else on your to-do list suddenly gets done?  And then you blog about it....

And while I have not one revision to show for PLOWING UP A SNAKE today, I did read all my students' essays, grade them and the late papers and quizzes that came in this week, posted the grades, even submitted a final grade for one of my Independent studies, and answered all my e-mail that's been backlogged for a couple weeks today.  I even answered today's mail.  Oh, and I did the laundry.

And now as I place the final touches on my latest essay and on a short story I've been working on, I am peeking at the clock and worrying over the fact that I probably will not get to my screenplay.  At least not today.  

It's not so much the curse of the blank screen or writer's block.  It's just been so long since the reading that I have to pull out all my notes, digest them again, and then plan my attack.  Let's face it: writing's hard work.  Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or one lucky you-know-what.

And yet occasionally writing flows easily for me.  I have a couple new short plays that I'm partial to.  Actually three new ones since the PLOWING reading.  And the short story simply streamed from my consciousness, too.  So why am I whining?  

Okay. I feel better now.  Hope I've helped you too.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

LIGHT SLEEPER wins my sleeper award for best original screenplay

Review by Dana Biscotti Myskowski

Part drug dealer, part counselor, all drifter, the forty-something character John LeTour of Paul Schrader’s LIGHT SLEEPER is both charming and captivating.  We might despise what he does for a living, but because he genuinely cares about the people that surround him, other readers may find themselves as I did: rooting for this unlikely hero.

The script is a quick and delightful read because Schrader writes for his audience.  Sure, ideally the screenplay will eventually serve as a blueprint for a film as this one did.  But before it can make its way to the can it must first capture the attention, admiration, and accolades of the film financiers, actors, agents, cinematographer, studio execs, and more.

One of the difficulties in reading most screenplays is the inclusion of industry formatting.  Instead of using standard slug lines, Schrader begins one sequence with the title “CONFESSOR LETOUR.”  In the next line we learn when and where we are, but from the onset we understand the thrust of the story.  Hence we read on anxious to learn about this remarkable character who is more than just a drug dealer to his clients, but a confidant, a counselor, an in-person hotline operator, and even—occasionally—a friend.

The dialogue is equally enthralling.  Call me picky, but I enjoy hearing characters actually speaking to each other—listening or deliberately not listening—rather than diving into tangents as the writer suddenly realizes he needs to develop a plot thread. 

Schrader also writes as people speak.  In short sentences. Using nouns and verbs.  One word, when necessary.  Really.  And an occasional simple expression, foul or not.  It makes for a quick and enjoyable read, one that can easily fit into the hectic routine of just about any reader. 

Grab LIGHT SLEEPER* and slip it into your beach bag, carry on, or glove box to read the next time you need to fill a few minutes.  You’ll be glad you did, even if the subject matter falls a bit outside your ordinary world…or triangularly within it.

Schrader, Paul.  Light Sleeper. London: Faber and Faber, 1992.

 * Now you'll have to settle for the trilogy collection of Schrader works that includes the mesmerizing TAXI DRIVER, LIGHT SLEEPER and AMERICAN GIGOLO, also published by Faber & Faber. (Apparently they've discontinued the single issue screenplays of LIGHT SLEEPER and TAXI DRIVER, though you can score a used copy.)  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The State of Giving Thanks...

We moved to New Hampshire on my son's 10th birthday, leaving behind the rural Berkshires and moving to the somewhat more populated hill town of Henniker, home of Pat's Peak Ski Area.

"This is the worst birthday ever!" our son scolded us as we loaded up the minivan that morning.  Two hours of pouting later we pulled into our new driveway and unloaded.  "Can we play now?" my son and his younger sister wanted to know.  "After you unpack your underwear," I answered, handing them each a box.

The kids plodded to their rooms, resentful of having to complete yet more work. Within minutes a screech erupted as they found not skivvies, but scooters.  

They took to our suburban-esque street: a quarter-mile paved loop with about twenty or so houses facing an open green.  Within three passes on their new scooters, they trailed kids like the Pied Piper.  Stopping for a quick drink of town water from the tap--a luxury we well-users had never before known--my son proclaimed, "This is the best birthday ever!" and within seconds he returned to the street with his new posse of friends.

Moving to New Hampshire meant introducing my children to the Old Man. Fortunately, I wasted no time.  Just days after I'd acquired my new "Live Free or Die" plates, we made the trek to that now infamously faceless ridge.  All three of us marveled that the jagged rock really did resemble a man, before hopping back into the van and driving south to meet dad for dinner.

A couple years later I was tapped to write a climate change script for the state's Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.  Upon interviewing scientists, I learned that the corridor of air mass that moves over the White Mountains and out to sea is charmingly nicknamed the Exhaust Pipe of the country, for all the pollutants that the wind currents carry our way. 

As I stare at the back of our year-2000 state quarter, I speculate that perhaps the Old Man couldn't hack the air up there anymore.  

Tomorrow as we greet refugees to our country in a volunteer holiday dinner at a church in the state's capitol, I wonder if they'll consider their first Thanksgiving their best day ever or the worst.  I'll have to bring along a New Hampshire quarter and introduce them to the Old Man; I think he would have liked that, with or without a new scooter to cruise around on.

(NOTE: The above was inspired after stumbling upon NPR's State by State story that they did earlier this fall, and that they will discuss on Thanksgiving Day.  The story on Blog of the Nation will focus on the book State By State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, compiled by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey and featuring 51 writers.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!
I just received my first e-greeting of the upcoming holiday.  I responded with my own colorful e-mail that took me some time to construct, complete with a photo.  "Give time, not money."  It's a mantra that I've been hearing more and more of as we head into this holiday season.  It's like the stay-cation slogan of the holiday season.  And I must admit: I'm thankful to hear it.
Thanksgiving is the holiday when I most miss my father.  It was his favorite holiday since the emphasis is on what we have to be thankful for, and spending time with friends and family, without any of the pressure of having to purchase gifts for everyone.

A few years ago, when our kids were much younger, we began a tradition: Thanksgiving Hands.  We cut out hands--like grade schoolers do for their Thanksgiving turkey art projects--and give one to each person present at our dinner table.  Each person writes what he or she is thankful for, places the hands into a hat, and once all the hands are collected and shuffled, we each take one, careful to avoid taking our own in the process, read it aloud, and try to guess who wrote the message on the hand.  It's a fun way to get to know each other a bit better.

Do you have a tradition during the holidays that emphasizes the "give time, not money" mantra?  Or a favorite recipe?  Please feel free to share it here.  Who knows? By taking a few moments of our time, perhaps we'll all develop new family traditions that will keep on giving for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time to take back my blog...I began this blog in a workshop sponsored by the NH Writers' Project.  I didn't give much thought to what I intended to do with it then, but now, as I reflect upon the last few years, I realize my original intent was not so much born of desperation--just to get blogging during the workshop--but ignited from my passion for screenwriting.

I took a slight tangent as I covered the twists and turns of my four semesters studying in Goddard College's low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program, graduating earlier this year, in January.  These past few months I've wandered all over the place, lost because my plans to turn my degree into a full-time teaching post did not turn out as hoped.

So, while I may still be puzzling out exactly what I might do in the future, I have decided to return to my original idea for this post: to share my love of the art of the creative process in writing screenplays.  
We'll begin with the short script.  And take it slowly, but steadily.  One post a week is what I'm hoping to accomplish, begging your indulgence if I should become bogged down with another project or in my many volunteer or adjunct teaching commitments.  

Since I'm teaching Intro to Scriptwriting again next semester at the University of New Hampshire-Manchester, I'll make it my early New Year's Resolution now to begin blogging about the art of crafting the short script in January 2009.  I'll begin posting blogs when the UNH semester begins.  See you then!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Art His Story
Last week my daughter drove us north to pick up my son's art portfolio from a university art department to which he was recently accepted.  We happened to catch the director of the program who gushed over his illustrations.  Her compliments reinforced our

road-less-traveled decision to pull him from high school his sophomore year, help him earn his GED, and enroll him in a four-year bachelor's program in an art institute.  He's now a sophomore in what should be his senior year, and doing great as he considers transferring to a university where he can double major in art and science. 

And Her Story

Now our daughter is traveling a similar path.  She is home schooling now and begins her college career next semester.  When her classmates
graduate with their high school diplomas, she'll receive her Associates in Arts degree.

And she and he, and my husband and I shall each be the better for this decision to follow the grassy path wanting wear.  Whether or not we later tell this with a sigh, only ages and ages hence will determine. 

(Top: Study of Autumn Gourds by Leo, charcoal, 24.5" x 19.5"; Work Boots by Leo, graphite, 19.75" x 23.5"; Washing Dishes by Abby, water color pencils, 22.5" x 18.5"; extremely amateurish attempt to photograph my children's art work by Mom; sorry, kids.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photographic Weekend...
I'm learning to use my husband's huge Nikon D70-S.  

Many lessons yet to go, as you can plainly see....
Life is a road we can either choose to travel, or sit by the side and watch as others pass us by.  "Get up.  Get going," I try to remind myself daily.  Now if I can only remember to grab the camera....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A One-Stop Barnstorm...
Please join us this Thursday evening for the stage reading of Plowing Up A Snake at Red River Theatres

Thanks for dropping by,

(Photo from our weekend trip to Madison, NH, to visit friends.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Poster Wild...
We're looking for that perfect photo that captures the story, the essence, and the mood of PLOWING UP A SNAKE for the upcoming reading.  
 Without more time, I probably won't find that PERFECT pic, but each of these is close.
Well, in that there are a couple on a farm, one on a river near a bridge, and the final one captures the ominous mood we need.
What we really need is a photo (or painting) of a foggy farm in winter with a snaking river and bridge beyond...and maybe a few dairy cows in the field.

I'd love to hear from you if you happen to have just such a picture.  And if you'd be willing to share it for the reading.  You'll get credit, naturally.  And perhaps even a warm fuzzy feeling, though there are no guarantees.

(Photos above by me hubby: of a Quaker District farm in Henniker, of Gleason Falls in Hillsborough, and of gnarly trees off of Depot Hill Road in Henniker.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Drag" by Artist Lisa Rae Winant
Image used by permission of the Artist
11 x 17.5/oil on panel

It's an early-autumn day like any other in upstate New Hampshire: chilly, breezy, and fragrant.  Well, fragrant if you happen to enjoy the scent of wood smoke billowing from every chimney in the village.

"You don't smoke," Clay admonishes his cousin's widow.

"Not those stale, nasty cigarettes Hatch likes," Marjorie responds.  "But a smooth, carefully hand-rolled cigar..."  She pauses as she takes a drag, " like the gentle caress of an accomplished lover."

A corner of Clay's mouth rises, though in truth he's uncomfortable hearing a woman speak so bluntly, so seductively.  It is, after all, the mid 1950s and Clay's been a one-woman man in a small town all these years.  Until now.  But what’s adultery stacked up against the multiple murders that have recently plagued this sleepy hamlet?

He settles back into his chair and swallows his scotch--nearly choking on it.  As he struggles for air, he manages to sputter, "Soda...there's no soda in it."

"There's supposed to be soda in it?" Marjorie asks.

Clay wonders if she's hurt by his reaction.  Guessing she is, he says, "No, no.  Scotch this good doesn't need soda."  He sips gingerly the second time around.

And as he and Marjorie settle into their coy game, outside the razor-thin windows the first snow begins to fall, bringing with it an appearance of unearned innocence and silence echoing the eternal silence that has already frozen their river-bound valley town.

(A micro-fictionalized, recast excerpt of the screenplay PLOWING UP A SNAKE, an adaptation by Dana of Merle Drown's novel of the same name.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I've added a new blog for you to check out sometime soon:

It tracks the progress of my latest screenplay adaptation of the novel by the same name, which was penned by Merle Drown.

Our little New Hampshire yarn of murder and a town-wide conspiracy to protect the self-appointed executioners will be stage read in an event presented by the New Hampshire Film and Television Office in partnership with Red River Theatres on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.  

Tickets on sale now!  ORDER HERE.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Welcome Media Writing Students!

Today is the first day of  a semester of blogging; hope you all enjoy it...and that we don't need to resort to using life jackets to stay afloat this semester.


Friday, August 29, 2008

21 years!
It's our 21st anniversary today.

These days that seems a road less traveled, though a friend just e-mailed that he and his wife are celebrating 43 years together this year.  And we recently joined our friends to celebrate their 25th.  So maybe more of us are choosing the grassy path in want of wear; it's a conscious choice to continue to walk that path together.  And it has made all the difference in my life.

Happy Anniversary, my love (should you stop by here).  And thank you, Mr. Frost, for helping me find my words.

(Photo above taken last summer by me hubby.  Even this post is a joint effort....)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

...A time to try a few new things on for size. Or to sleep, if you're lucky enough to be the dog. 

So this summer I've been gardening.  (Yes, those of you who know my long history of killing plants--this girl who was [remarkably] raised on a farm and a ranch for the better part of her youth--has finally realized how to nurture green things.)  And now armed with my new electric rototiller, my husband figures we'll be grassless by the end of September.  My latest garden covers what must be 25 or so feet between two of our large maples.  It's a gorgeous (if I do say so myself) shade garden full of huge leafy things.  (I'm not much of a name dropper since I can't seem to ever recall what it is I've purchased or planted.)

And, naturally, I've been writing.  Mostly working on the two adaptations I've mentioned in my "About Me" section.  But I've also been writing short stories and essays again.  I just can't contain myself!

The meetings have begun again, too.  I'm chairing the committee to select screenplays for the NH Film and Television Office newest screenplay reading series venture with Red River Theatres in Concord, NH.  News will be released in a few weeks of our upcoming reading scheduled for October.  At the reading we will unveil the details of submitting scripts for consideration in future readings.

And I've begun work toward producing a few Fall 2009 Southern New Hampshire performances of Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark, a play penned by Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Ariel Dorfman that features the incredibly true-stories of many remarkable Human Rights Defenders from around the globe.  The one-hour reading is based upon the book written by Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and edited by Nan Richardson, which features stunning photographs by Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Eddie Adams.  The NH performances are being sponsored by Jayme's Fund for Social Justice where I am fortunate to be working with the dedicated and passionate Caren Lipkin-Moore.

I am also serving as the secretary to the Water Conservation Subcommittee for our town, which is looking at both underground water sources and above ground resources and what we can do to encourage conservation and a commitment to keeping our waterways clean.  As the only non-technical/scientific person on the committee, I'm learning a great deal in the process.  And having a grand time while I feel at least a bit useful in the community.

We'll be looking at colleges next week.  Our college sophomore is considering moving from his urban digs at the NH Institute of Art to a more remote setting.  Top on his list (and ours) is the University of Maine at Machias; we're taking three days to travel there and visit the campus and the area.  It's a mere one or two towns south of the Canadian border on the coast of Maine.  We'll also be day tripping to Vermont where we have stops planned at Green Mountain College and a drive through of Castleton State with one of my girlfriends and her daughter who enters her junior year in high school this fall. 

And of course, our week's vacation in Maine is almost here.  Every year we head to one of the islands in the Casco Bay region, but this year we're headed inland to a cozy cottage on a lake.  I was outvoted; this year the teens chose warmer waters in which to swim over lazy lobster dinners and crashing waves.

We are also changing our diet and our lifestyle a bit--trying to go greener and healthier.  We no longer have a gas-guzzling riding mower, opting for the reel mower powered by human energy.  We even have two so we can get the lawn cut sort-of quickly if we need to.  And my hubby traded in his truck for a much more gas-friendly Honda Accord.  He also added another bike to his repertoire.  If not for the suit he needs to work in, I think he might be tempted to ride the 35-plus miles each way to work.

And while our daughter has gone vegetarian, the rest of us have left red meat behind completely, but not quite weaned ourselves from chicken and fish.  Still, we eat much more leafy things and seasonal fruits and veges (some of which we grow ourselves!) and have added whole-grains to our diet.  I even baked my first two loaves of bread the other day, sans the help of a bread machine!  Better yet, my family loved it, even loaded as it was with whole wheat flour and oats.

So that's what's going on here.  What are you up to this summer?

(Photo above of our rescued greyhound, Ellory, who turned 11 this month.  She's an angel and a pro at enjoying the good life!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This just in from the Nunavut and Circumpolar Regions Yahoo Group Digest (number 861) posted by moderator George Lessard (as published by the Associated Press):

AP: Polar bear to be a protected species

Posted by: "George Lessard" media@web.netthemediamentor

Wed May 14, 2008 4:29 pm (PDT)

Polar bear to be a protected species
Associated Press
May 14, 2008

(AP) -- The Interior Department declared the polar bear a threatened species Wednesday, saying it must be protected because of the decline in Arctic sea ice from global warming.

Interior Secretary Dir Kempthorne cited dramatic declines in sea ice over the last three decades and projections of continued losses. These declines, he told a news conference, mean the polar bear is a species likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future.

Kempthorne also said, though, that it would be "inappropriate" to use the protection of the bear to reduce greenhouse gases, or to broadly address climate change.

Reflecting views recently expressed by President Bush, Kempthorne said the Endangered Species Act was "never meant to regulate global climate change."

He said the decision to list the bear includes administrative actions aimed at limiting the impact of the decision on energy development and other climate related activities.

"This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting," said Kempthorne. He said he had consulted with the White House on the decision, but "at no time was there ever a suggestion that this was not my decision."

Kempthorne cited as support for his decision conclusions by the department's scientists that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.

Notwithstanding the secretary's disclaimers, this is the first time the Endangered Species Act has been used to protect a species threatened by the impacts of global warming. There has been concern within the business community that such an action could have far-reaching impact and could be used to regulate carbon dioxide.

Kempthorne proposed 15 months ago to investigate whether the polar bear should be declared threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

That triggered a year of studies into the threats facing the bear and its survival prospects at a time when scientists predict a continuing warming and loss of Arctic sea ice. The Arctic sea ice serves as a primary habitat for the bear and is critical to its survival, scientists say.

"The science is absolutely clear that polar bear needs protection under the Endangered Species Act," said Andrew Wetzler, director of the endangered species program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A decision had been expected early this year, but the Interior Department said it needed more time to work out many of the details, prompting criticism from members of Congress and environmentalists.
Environmentalists filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing a decision and a federal court on April 29 set a May 15 deadline for a decision.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Keeping it reel...
After how many years of home ownership now--14, I believe--I finally bought the kind of lawn mower I've ALWAYS craved: a reel mower.  You know, the kind our immigrant grandparents used on their new American lawns, where people provided the power.  

I LOVE it!  

I can't even describe the thrill of mowing my 3/4 acre lot with this 16-inch wide thing.  We'll see how I feel by summer's end, but after my son helped me attach the handle, I mowed the entire about two hours.  The teens laughed as I smiled and cut and re-cut entire patches of the green stuff.  After all, it's early May, so only small patches are actually growing yet, making following my own tracks nearly impossible.

But where it needed mowing, the lawn now looks great!

So what prompted my sudden green turn?  It all began with half a case of organic beer.  Not drunk all at once, mind you.  Inside the Wolaver's Sampler Pack came a $50 coupon good toward a Neuton electric lawn mower.  So, after going round and round with operators at the company who had never heard of mower coupons or organic beer before, I finally found someone who cheerily told me that I might be the first person to take them up on the offer.  

Problem was, it would take four to six weeks to receive my new mower.

So, rather than risk the wrath of the neighbors over a possibly overgrown lawn (Heaven forbid!), I picked up the reel mower at the local hardware store.  Naturally, the Neuton arrived the same day that my son and I connected the handle.  But I don't care.  I now have two ways to mow my green stuff...uh, greenly.

We'll soon see how long it takes us to mow our portion of the Village Green, which we share with 21 other homes, of which only about a half dozen neighbors bother to do their share of mowing.  But that's another problem.  And I've recently taken a new vow to try not to complain anymore.

My husband has also gone somewhat green--having just two weeks ago trading in his gas guzzling truck for a Honda Accord Coupe that nearly doubles his gas mileage.  And while we still fill my van with people--we took six teens and adults, plus our adopted greyhound for ice cream tonight--and with stuff--dump runs and I just moved my son out of his dorm yesterday--I am dreaming of a day, soon, I hope, after I land a job (IF I ever land a job) when I will finally buy a Prius.  Or at least an extremely fuel efficient smaller car.

Gas prices?  Well, yeah, of course those bug me.  But I've had an eye on the environment for a while now.  (Haven't we all?)  Especially after speaking with all those scientists when conducting research for my climate change multi media script that I penned for the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium.  And with my recent screenplay that touches on environmental problems in the Arctic regions of Nunavut, Canada.

But I digress.  So rather than bore you with more information than you desire, I shall sign off for the evening.  And daydream of the next time I get to mow my lawn with my new reel mower...where I also benefit from the real workout it provides.

Thanks for dropping by!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Join us Thursday, April 17
for a Free Public Reading
of my Graduate Thesis
7 p.m.
400 Commercial Street
3rd Floor Auditorium
Read by
Students, Staff, & Profs

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Life after Graduation…People are sweet, wanting to know what I’m up to now that I’m free from the harried packet schedule of grad school. So here’s a rundown:

Job Applications are OUT: I collected my last reference letter over graduation weekend, returned home and sent out applications to EVERY commutable university and private high school position in the state (all beginning in the Fall of 2008)—even when the job was somewhat of a stretch for my credentials.

Shorts are IN: Am working on two short screenplays in anticipation of possible 2008 shoots. One is the long anticipated PROVIDER/NEXT IN LINE (The “Niki” short, as Director Mark Constance, DGA AD, and I refer to it) and the other is an all new Nathan Hale project with DGA Director Adam Jones who, last I knew, was hanging around 66th and 3rd in NYC.

Short plays are IN, too: I am writing to contest specifications for a ten-minute coffee-house setting with 2 to 4 actors. I’ll have it read next weekend at playwrights group where, as I understand it, three or more members ALSO have written plays for the contest. Yey team! I’m also trying a Hale-Jones experiment in the coffee house…can’t wait to see if it perks.

The Adjunct is IN the building: and in the classroom as of NEXT week. I’m scrambling to prepare my two classes. I’ll be teaching Image & Sound, filling in for a professor on sabbatical, so I am stressing out as I try to sort through all the material. (I do have the first five quizzes typed up and in to be copied, and I’ve sketched out the first two classes already….) And I’m teaching Media Writing for the second time ever; a few changes to the virgin syllabus from last semester, plus the AP Stylebook is newly updated, which changed seven of my ten quizzes. Ouch.

The Individual Adjunct is also IN: I’m excited to be working with a gifted writer in an Independent Study arrangement as he pens a feature-length script. I’ll be dusting off PLOWING UP A SNAKE, an adaptation of the Merle Drown novel by the same name, as I revise along with my student and exchange ten pages of script with him each week. And I’ve also begun advising on two internships—one student is at High Point Communications this semester, while the other is interning at WMUR TV. Fun!

The Son is MOVED: and onto semester number two. He has a cell phone this semester…and if he doesn’t answer my every call, he soon won’t have a cell phone this semester (consider that a warning, kiddo!). He has TWO entries in this year’s Minimalist Exhibit at the NH Institute of Art. One, in particular, is fabulous…and I’m hoping to add it to my own collection when the sale begins on the 1/17. KA-CHING!

The Daughter is pondering: whether to remain at her current high school or transfer to another. We’ll all make a decision in another two weeks. It’s rough going back and forth in the meantime. And this week she faces midterms, but she heads into them well-positioned. All A’s and B’s. She’s incredibly hard working, as also evidenced by her work schedule at the ski resort in town. Cool!

Another contest popped up this week: a flash fiction around the theme “beneath the bed.” I had just been to the dentist for a filling, an event that meant nightmares for me beforehand (I am soooo dramatic!). Guess what was under my bed in the story? We’ll see if the contest organizers think my idea has any teeth….

And I’ve been pondering an “Are we there yet?” writing prompt for Symphony Space’s latest Selected Shorts competition. I penned an essay that I enjoy, but it’s not the short story they’re looking for. I still have time, however. Who knows if it’ll come to me.

And of course I’ve been polishing NIKI SWEET TALK MOVES and am ready to move the latest draft out to my producer once the Writer’s Strike lifts. Here’s hoping that negotiations happen SOON.

In the meantime, I’m casting for the reading of NIKI SWEET TALK MOVES, to be held at UNH-M on April 17th at 7 p.m. Need to get to the character breakdowns this week and make a few calls to folks who have expressed an interest.

I’m also moving UP: to a first-floor in-home office! It’s exciting…but too much WORK. Oy. I’m hoping to be settled by the time classes start at UNH.

So that’s it. Nothing but the same old, same old, without the packet schedule. Except that a friend of mine and I ARE adhering to the packet exchange schedule in an effort to remain focused as writers. Gotta stick to that Mosley time, after all. In our G-1 semester, visiting novelist Walter Mosley advised us that if we are to succeed as writers, we must set aside at least two hours a day to devote to our craft. Preferably the same two hours each day, uninterrupted. So please refrain from contacting me between 4 and 6 a.m. Thank you!

And thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

(Photos: From the top - after uploading graduation pictures, I noticed the late afternoon sunshine casting cool shadows and making everyday objects look cool. An animated me reads behind the podium at graduation weekend. A couple more from my impromptu afternoon shooting--leftover candy canes and sun behind a stained glass star that my mom made. Finally, a pic of one of my daughter's window cling arts that she made.)

Monday, January 07, 2008

I've graduated!!!Even the ocean celebrates.

Congratulations to all of my classmates who walked and talked Sunday!

The trudge is over....

And yet it's just beginning.

Good luck 2008 graduates!

Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog all these semesters. An update as to what is next will soon follow....


(Photo above features rocks off the coast of Cliff Island, Casco Bay, Maine, taken by my hubby; the sketch is one of my son's early drawings, one that did not make the cut of his art school portfolio, but which has always been one of my favorites.)