Thursday, September 29, 2016

Day Dreamin'

It is a gorgeous fall day outside. The sun-drenched trees are showing the slightest sign that those leaves are ready to turn from green to vibrant shades of yellow, red and orange. Meanwhile, I am stuck inside. Stuck behind an old wooden desk, on top of which sits a - possibly - even older computer. I would rather be out in the world.

Today is one of those days when I wish I were a full-time writer. Instead of sitting here in this ergonomically incorrect chair, behind this hard, cold wooden desk in this former dorm room, turned office, I wish I were sitting in my own leather desk chair typing on my laptop. Or maybe I would be in a cafe somewhere. I could be at a park reading a book that informs and inspires my current writing project. Then I would go home, get comfortable and write for three hours straight.

This freedom of being a full-time writer would allow me to create. No other obligations to distract me. No meetings to attend. No last minute changes to my To Do list. Instead, my mind would be in that joyous state of "flow".  Ideas would stream out effortlessly. Words would form into delicious sentences, rich with meaning and all grammatically correct.

At least, that is how I envision my life as a full-time writer. In reality, I go home after a day at the office sit down at the computer and try to get back into the mindset of my characters. I try to sink into the feel of their settings And I try to type out a few paragraphs. If I'm lucky, I might eke out a few pages.

Ah, if only...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Few Things I'm Working On

I haven't written a blog for a few weeks. I have been a bit preoccupied. Here a few things that are taking up most of my time.

Bent, Not Broken

A screenplay that follows three women as they navigate the end of relationships. Clara Diaz begins her post-college "adult" life with enthusiasm, and why not? She has everything, a great first job, a boyfriend away at law school. Her life is full of promise. Until her roommate moves out to live with a guy she barely knows, and her boyfriend doesn't seem to have any time for her. Is it really law school he is preoccupied with? Lisa Simmons realizes her long distance relationship has run its course and puts it to bed. So now what? She has been at her current job over five years, the longest she has stayed in one place in her adult life. Is it time to move on? Does the end of a relationship always have to mean reinventing your life? Sloan Heidelberg has recently reconnected with a former crush and things are going well. Until they aren't. He isn't returning her calls or texts. He seems to have disappeared. But why? 

My Secret Life
Reality TV star Dakota Whitt's real life is nothing like what the viewers see on TV each week. The show, the lifestyle, even the family, is all a sham. In fact, not even her name is real. It has all been cobbled together by her hot mess of a mother and an opportunist TV producer. But Dakota has only one year left before she can leave the family and go off to college. So, while she wishes her life were different, she's stuck for now. Letting the secret out would do more harm than good, especially for her younger sister and brother who deserve a chance at a better life. So for now, she will go along with the charade. But how long can this cast of misfit characters keep the secret?

Jo Clark struggles to cope with the loss of her best friend and partner. A struggle that led to the loss of her beloved job with the FBI - at least temporarily. She takes a temporary position teaching Criminal Profiling at a small, quiet campus. The perfect place to get away from it all for a while. Or so she thought. Antioch State College might be a little too close to home for Jo. Triggering past traumas that Jo thought she had long since buried. Through her therapist, friends, family and interesting new people, Jo learns not only to cope but to survive.

Joselyn Streeter was the sweetheart of Major League Baseball coverage for a popular all-sports network. At least until she got into a social media spat with baseball star Clay Pierson. Now she finds herself unemployed and either a hero or a heel depending on who you ask. She uses her vast array of contacts to claw her way back out of this mess and resurrect her once promising career. The most frustrating thing for Joselyn is that being a sports reporter wasn't even what she wanted. The coveted job with the sports network just landed in her lap - how could she turn them down? But now faced with starting over again, Joselyn  realizes the power of getting back to basics. Maybe she can have the career she always dreamed of after all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Being Part of 'Husker Nation'

Growing up in Nebraska, I learned about football early in life. Nebraska Cornhusker football is an honored tradition. It is a community builder in a state that outsiders often forgot about. It is a rallying point for everyone from Omaha to Scottsbluff. Even though I don't live in Nebraska anymore, I never miss a game. It just wouldn't seem right.

In Nebraska, we have only one team. Our loyalty to the Huskers, as they are affectionately known, is solid. It doesn't matter if you were an alum of the University of Nebraska or if you never went to college anywhere. If you grew up in Nebraska, the Huskers are your team, you are a part of Husker Nation. Occasionally outsiders will ask "What is a Husker?" We don't really know, but we do know what it means to be a part of Husker Nation. It makes strangers, become like family. People simply ask, "Did you catch the game?" or they'd proudly say, "I got tickets to the game Saturday." Everyone knew The Game, was the Huskers' game. It was the only one that mattered.

During my childhood, the football season always culminated in the big showdown between Nebraska and Oklahoma. It was a classic match-up of good versus evil. The tall, stoic, Tom Osborne looking and acting more like a Presbyterian minister than a football coach, versus the not so tall, not so quiet, Barry Switzer, whose language was as colorful as the wild stories he liked to tell. My dad hated Barry Switzer. My dad is a kind, civil, man, but bumper stickers that read Bury Barry, amused him.

This annual showdown, televised on ABC - often with the deep booming voice of Keith Jackson - was so intense that as a child, I couldn't watch. Back in the days before all-sports television networks, the Nebraska-Oklahoma game was sometimes the only game the Husker's played on TV, all year. It was the one day out of the fall harvest season that my dad, and other farmers around the state, would stop work and sit down in front of the TV. Turns out, Dad had some colorful language of his own. Clearly, this game was important. Was it possibly 'end of the world' important?

In the next room, away from the TV but within earshot of every groan and curse that signaled a fumble, or penalty on 'our side', I wondered what would happen should Nebraska lose? Surely they hadn't. I had seen the signs proclaiming Nebraska Number 1! I had visions of a bawdy crowd of crimson-clad fans storming over the Kansas prairie, led by a little white wagon pulled by two white horses. Fans were waving crimson flags with the ominous letters OU in the middle. They were all signing this awful, repetitive song - something about Boomer Sooner - while a marching band followed behind. It was a horrible image. It wasn't until years later that I learned the Huskers did actually lose some of those games. Yet the nightmare never happened. Each year, both teams went home and got ready for next year when they would do it all over again.

Those big showdowns with Oklahoma are long since gone. But every year, the Huskers still lace up their sneakers, tape up their ankles and take on whatever appointment is on the schedule. And win or lose, Nebraska is still number 1 in Husker Nation.