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Friday, September 16, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things v.3

It's Friday! Guess what that means? A night of wild partying? Not quite. I'm a writer, remember.

If you must know, I'm spending the evening at the theater, to watch the second performance of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, which I was honored to direct.

BUT before the show, I'm here to continue a new tradition on this oh-so-fun blog of mine.

Every Friday I list a few of my favorite things to share with any kind soul who takes the time to read this.

On today's list...

1. Piña Colada Julius. I refer to this drink as "the main reason I go to Dairy Queen." It's pure perfection. As a child, I frequented Orange Julius at my local mall. It was kitschy, a little bizarre (let's not forget their mascot at one point was a cartoon devil, complete with pitchfork), and other worldly. Today, I'm still baffled by the merging with Dairy Queen, but happy it still exists. When I accidentally discovered this drink not too long ago, it was like discovering the nectar of the gods.

2. Queen Sugar. This new series is everything great television should be. This heart-wrenching and tear-jerking ensemble show is TV at its best. Created by the brilliant Ava DuVernay and produced by a goddess named Oprah (the show airs on her network OWN), this tale about a broken family trying to mend will have strong universal appeal. The cast, the writing, the cinematography - it's all breathtaking. In other words, watch this show.

3. Oldschool. This CD from German rock star Nena actually came out a year-and-a-half ago. While none of these tracks can touch her quintessential masterpiece 99 Luftballons, the music here is catchy, clever, and (for me) serves as a fantastic German lesson during my commute.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Feeling of Completing a Manuscript

There's really nothing quite like it. I always experience a rush of excitement and a feeling of accomplishment when I send a manuscript to my (awesome) editor. Today was no exception.

Backfire is now complete.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things v.2

It's Friday! Guess what that means? A night of wild partying? Not quite. I'm a writer, remember.

If you must know, I'm spending the evening line editing my upcoming novelette Backfire to send to my very patient editor Tina Marie (who has the best editor name ever, by the way). And then I'm going grocery shopping and making lasagna and salad. Glamorous and exciting, I know.

BUT I'm taking a little break from that to continue a new tradition here on this oh-so-fun blog of mine.

Every Friday I list a few of my favorite things to share with any kind soul who takes the time to read this.

On today's list...

1. Horse Girls, a new play by Jenny Rachel Weiner. I just read the script this week and I can't stop about it. It's fantastic. I'm hoping to produce it next year. Here's the official synopsis: Twelve-year-old Ashleigh rules the Lady Jean Ladies, South Florida’s most exclusive horse club. News that her family’s stables are being sold and their horses killed for meat throws the Ladies into crisis in this dark comedy of middle school deception and lies. Horse Girls is a play about pre-teens: their obsessions, their insecurities, their desperate need to find a place in the world.

2. Grand Hotel, a gorgeous and riveting TV series from Spain. My obsession with this show is directly competing with my obsession for Velvet. Both are on Netflix. Both are addicting. Watch them. Now.

3. I've been a fan of the LA-based, Latina-fused, kick-ass girl band Go Betty Go for years now. So I have officially geeked out over their new EP Reboot. Every track is just as fantastic as you would expect it to be. They're an indie band who (gasp) actually play instruments and write their own songs. Show them some well-deserved love by getting this new release. You'll be rocking out in no time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Look at Drama Queens

Super excited to share this first look at the streaming series Drama Queens, a new show I created for young people.

The characters and storylines grew from my one-act play Stay.

Here is what the show is about:

All about the performing arts students at Avalon Performing Arts Academy, Drama Queens is an independent television series that explores the young artist's life. Fed up with the superficiality that surrounds her, aspiring actress Allison Freeman decides to make drastic changes in her life, starting with forgiving the absent mother she hasn't heard from in five years. Cracking under the pressure from being the daughter of the high school principal, diva-in-training Raquel is finding it impossible to meet the high expectations of her demanding mother. Tired of being the glue that keeps her family together, Sofia Mendoza embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery and seeks comfort in her complicated friendship with Rindy Sinclair, the non-conforming star of every school musical. Intervening and inspiring when she can, Penelope Garrison is the high school guidance counselor with the best intentions, who is soon overwhelmed by the complicated lives of her students.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Words to Live By: Toni Morrison

I came across this terrific quote, posted online by my good friend of many years, Kimberly Greenberg. Like most great quotes, this one flashed on my radar just when I needed it most. The universe has a funny way of doing this to me. Lately, I've finally gotten smart enough to shut up, pay attention, and listen.

This quote captures my greatest struggle: letting go of dead weight. A people-pleaser to a fault, this ridiculous need to make others happy, to be pliable, agreeable, and just plain nice has caused me more heartache than any other of my many flaws. Not too long ago I woke up one day and realized more than half of the people in my life were causing me anxiety, self doubt, depression, and pain. The worst part: I was allowing all of this to happen. No one was to blame except for me.

We are the company we keep. It's so true. If you feel your life has gone to hell, look at your social circle. It's an all-too-true reflection of who you are. Don't like yourself? Change the people who surround you. Find a new circle. Or navigate the world alone. Don't be friends with people just for the sake of fending off loneliness. Filling the void with fly-by-night fair weather folks is a recipe for a broken heart. Every time.

I started embracing this quote and enforcing it in my life long before I knew it existed. This year alone has required me to stand up for myself in various situations (for various reasons) more than I ever have before. Sure, it's empowering - but it's also terrifying. Realizing your own power, your own strength, your own worth is remarkable and exhilarating, but for me it's been a bit sad. I want to go back now and tell my younger self, "There is no need for you to put up with the bullshit you're being asked to deal with. Say no. Get up. Walk away. Love yourself a whole lot more."

Since I can't do that, I'm moving forward in my life with fewer friends, a longer list of people I've pissed off, and the reassurance that speaking up for myself and insisting to be treated with a certain level of respect is necessary. Otherwise, those around us can take our strength and use it against us to hold us down.

I've always known I've had the ability to fly. I just didn't realize how many people my wings were trying to carry.

No more, I say. This journey is mine and mine alone.

I'm not sharing this flight with anyone.

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