Winter Revisions, Spring Transitions, and Some Exciting News

(April 7, 2023)

Since I last wrote, Richard and I continued working on our revisions to the script for Weaving Penelope based on all the wonderful feedback we got last year from our actors and audiences involved with the workshop staged readings. We finished the revisions plus all the supplemental materials that would be included with the script (notes to directors, historical references, pronunciation guides, etc.) by the end of February.

We are really pleased with the script and the changes we’ve made, and in early March, we officially submitted it to one small liberal arts university with a terrific theatre program in hopes they will be interested in the possibility of including a full production in a future season in the next couple of years. We have also compiled a list of various other places to submit the script for possible production (other college programs, contests, theatre companies known for producing new work, etc.), so if we hear from the first university that they are unable to do the show, we will already have a backup plan in place. This means the project officially goes on the back burner for a while, and it becomes a waiting game until we hear back about that first proposal.

March was a transition month for me, and I spent it going back through the manuscript for my new memoir, That Day, And What Came After: Finding and Losing the Love of My Life in Six Short Years. I wanted to give it one last look to eliminate any awkward phrases or misspellings I might have missed, so it can be in the best possible shape when it goes to the Sunbury editorial staff. As I went through the manuscript again, I was looking for places to add photo illustrations.

I expect most peoplewouldn’t necessarily think of a grief story as the kind of thing that would have illustrations, but so much of our life together had been photographed that I decided to add some images. So, as I went back through the manuscript, I made notes about photos that could enhance each part of the story and make it more personal. I shared a few last time and wanted to do the same this month as I wait for formal editing to begin

The photos I shared before were mostly of Skip with our grandkids. This time, I’ll focus on some of our trips together. He was a wonderful travel companion, and I called him my “geezer model,” thanks to his willingness to be my photo subject whenever we were on the road.

Our first trip together was a long weekend to Quebec City in 2005. It was our first romantic getaway after becoming a couple. Fellow tourists did us the favor of taking our photo, and we took theirs, too. We were all enjoying the view of the old city with the St. Lawrence River in the distance, from an area around La Citadelle du Québec, which was just a short walk from our hotel.

A year later, while I was on an earned leave from teaching, we took a seven-week drive across Canada, down the west coast of the US (with a stop in Oregon to see friends and family), then into numerous native and national parks in the SW, and eventually headed home across the central US. Skip enjoyed getting to know my brother better when we made our stop in Oregon.

We also had one delightful European adventure in 2008 to visit friends and family abroad and do a bit of sightseeing while we were at it. We started in England where Skip had a cousin, then to France to visit two of my close childhood friends, then to Ireland to meet up with our neighbor and good friend who was renting a house in Dingle for a month. Of course, we couldn’t go to England and not stop to visit Stonehenge.

Whenever possible, Skip went along to my academic conferences and special speaking appearances. In the spring of 2009, he accompanied me to Arlington, VA, for a talk I was invited to give on women stage directors at the Shirlington Public Library. While in the area, we visited many of the monuments and memorials on the mall in Washington, DC. Skip had a high school friend who had been killed in Viet Nam, and he was able to find his name on the Veterans Memorial Wall.

Before I close this newsletter, here’s my exciting news! Last year, I decided to enter Keeping the Lights on for Ike in the “Legacy” category (published more than two years ago) for the Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Last month, I got word that my 2019 book was a finalist for their special da Vinci prize for cover design. My parents deserve recognition as well because it was Dad’s photography and Mom’s scrapbook where she kept that last letter to him during WWII that inspired the cover designer to put them together. The prize itself will be awarded later this spring, but I can officially claim finalist status and use their special seal in my publicity materials for the book from this point forward.

Next time I write, I hope to have a release date for the new grief memoir and be close to the end of the editing and book design phase for That Day, And What Came After.

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