Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My introduction to Theater...

It all began many moons ago. At my age, this requires a great memory...or something. Anyhow, at around age 8 or 9 I landed the role as the male lead in a production of a play at Slovenian Home in Cleveland.

I grew up in an ethnic neighborhood. The kids all spoke fluent English as well as fluent Slovenian. How did I land the role? I guess I had three qualifications they needed...plus they must not have had much to pick from. Even though I was the youngest kid in the group, I was the tallest and looked 'older', I spoke Slovenian, had a good memory and could remember the lines and as a bonus...I could polka, which was part of 'the part'.

Roughly, the play was about a guy who went back to the 'old country' and met up with the girl he left behind. While he was gone, this other dude kinda got 'hung up' on the girl in question. Jealousy raised it's head...big time. But in a funny way. Sound like a pretty 'adult' concept for a bunch of kids to pull off? Nah, we grew up 'fun lovingly' early.

Anyhow, I can still remember one of my lines from the play. I'll paraphrase it in English 'cause my 'second language spelling' is rustier than a forgotten nail in the rain. A loose translation would be, "Mary, my Mary, how the heck are you? Long time no see." Then the fun began. And the music. And the polkas.

I think that's when I got hooked on musicals, theater and the 'backstage', behind the scenes interest that's grown over the years. I really did have a lot of fun growing up...even if I had to do it faster than most kids.

I promised to buy her a stone...

Sylvia was a lady who loved fine jewelry. If it wasn't 'real' she would do without rather than have a 'look alike'. Anyhow, when it came to rings, she wore more than one when she went out...among other 'adorable adornments'.

Anyhow...I always told her I'd buy her a 'larger stone' to replace the one in her engagement ring.
I was thinking in terms of in the neighborhood of 2 1/2 carats. Never in my wildest dreams/nightmares would she play the role of Sleeping Beauty and change the whole picture.

Now the 'stone' is in the neighborhood of the 'cemetery' and the stone I'll be getting her will be a 'tombstone'. But a promise is a promise...and when I promised my honey something, I got it for her...even if it took awhile. This is one of the things I'm designing in my mind. It's what we used to do when we had our jeweler in Reno come up with a 'one-of-a -kind' piece.

I'm writing this late at night, not because I feel the sense of loss but because I feel that Syl and I are closer than we were even when she was sleeping beside me. She's in my heart the same way she's always been but we communicate 'differently'. And I still can get 'in trouble' when I can 'feel' her saying, "You're not going to leave it there...are you? or Exactly what are you planning on doing with that? If you don't need it, get rid of it. We don't need a 'junked up house.

Sylvia Romanelli Crocker was and is a wonderfully, funny and inspiring woman. And yet she could make the timbers shiver with...'the look.' A wonderfully individualist human being with a charisma that could light up a room. Where is this 'stone' going to be? A picture speaks a thousand words...and I took one to save on the ink.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It was a 'grab a shovel' kinda day...

Sometimes it's EZ to be in 'la la land' when most everything is going hunky dorey. But what happens when Murphy's Law shows up to screw up the works? Shooosh. This is when size 13 'feet of clay' trips me up and I forget...'everything happens for a reason'.

The morning began as usual. I woke up. I found out later that I'd slept through a mega thunder and lightening storm. The sun was shining, the pup was still snoozin' so I had some 'free time'.
I poured a cup of 'last night's coffee' (because I forgot to set up the pot) and went out to grab the morning paper off the back porch. :-( No paper!

Then I went to the computer to see how much my paycheck was so I could figure out my bills.
The error message informed me that I had no internet connection. :-(

Next stop...the TV. I turned it on. I saw the channel numbers and could change channels but the screen was black...no picture. :-(

Then the telephone idea popped into my head. I could call for...HELP. They would know how to fix things. No dial tone and I don't own a cell phone. :-(

A pay phone. :-) Except I couldn't figure out where there was one. So...I jumped in the car and drove six blocks to where I work and asked to use theirs. After 'explaining' my situation and then apologizing to the poor guy on the other end of the line who was trying to help me, arrangements were made to have a 'problem solver' come to the house and fix it all.

Next stop. Home. I was dying for a fresh cup of coffee. After getting it all set up, I found out that it too stopped working. I'd have to buy another pot. :-( And then...I started laughing. I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

The long and short of it is that I accomplished more before I left for work than I would have imagined. And the day turned out amazingly...blessed! I thought about what to do when I'm deep in 'do do'. Start shoveling and grow something.

I've grown 11 hours older, the time is 11:11PM, everything is fixed, and I've successfully made a few wiser choices along the way because of it. Thanks to the fact that I had 'something' to shovel. Everything happens for a reason.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Once upon a time...she gave me a 'book'.

Before Sylvia and I were married, I told her I wanted to 'write a book'. As fate would have it I also married my biggest fan and supporter. Over the years, I took several 'writing classes' and my honey gifted me with quite a few books on writing.

With each one, she'd inscribe it with special words that showed she was beside me and behind me in my 'dream'. Up until that ONE Christmas, the genre I was focused on was historical fiction. But...and there's always a 'but' when a major turning point comes up...she missed the mark and gave me a book by Stephen R. Donaldson, 'The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, White Gold Wielder."

It was my introduction to 'fantasy fiction which is the LAST thing I would enjoy because it was in the #1 spot on my Uninterested List. But to be polite...and not to let her know my 'feelings' about it, I read it. It seemed like Tommy and I did have something in common. We both wore 'white gold wedding bands' but his power was in his ring. Hmmm. When I found out that it was part of a trilogy it became like a 'peanut'...one was not enough. I read another. Then the other.
And found out there was another trilogy and I was off in a 'new direction'. I pivoted genres like a ballet dancer on point.

Then I discovered 'by another accident' that Writers' Village University was having a 'free' f2k writing class. The price was right so I took it. That's where I learned to write the way I do. The support was incredible...and Mortimer P. Snodgrass, the fly on the wall, first came to life and has been flying with me ever since.

My honey, not the most patient person God ever created, would read my 'unpublished' writing and ask me..."When exactly are you planning on writing 'the book'?" I'd say, "When the time is right." Now Sylvia is no longer by my side...but she's still in my heart and asking the same question. And my response hasn't changed a bit. "When the time is right." I trust the timing...for everything.

The end of one story...the beginning of another.