Storytelling Magic

When Gabe and I met is a little unclear to us. It was most likely during a meeting with the Cochise Art Club. I was trying to dig up students to audition for Measure for Measure that I was planning on directing during the Spring semester 2018. I had seen him act in The Glass Menagerie at a local community theatre and thought he would be perfect to play Angelo the play’s villain. I was extremely happy that he decided to audition. I hope you enjoy my conversation with him as much as I did.

Gabe grew up in Honduras until he was in second grade. The family moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona where he lives still.

Because of his father’s stories, Gabe became attached to storytelling. He attended Northern Arizona University studying film. He is now a Brazilian American Actor working in productions in Tucson, Bisbee, and Sierra Vista. He was also an actor in the Tombstone, Arizona reenactments of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral for a time. Gabe also performs with the Whiz Bang Chick’n Plucked Skiffle Band, a local group in which he plays the tub base. When the pandemic is over, he plans to go back to acting and playing in the band.

Stories We Discussed

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Beakman’s World TV series (1992 – 1997)

The Walking Dead TV series (2010 – present) Created by Robert Kirkman

Storytelling programs you might be interested in: Maricopa Community College, East Tennessee State University, South Mountain Community College, School of Storytelling at Emerson College. These are just a few programs available.

Chris Rock – Comedian 

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones Directors

Tombstone City Live reenactment of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

The Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie

The Yellow Trailer Musical, by Rachel Sky Performed April 14 2019 in Bisbee, Arizona 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

His Majesty’s Dragon, book one of The Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist

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An Opportunity As the Darkness Comes

Tarantula Nebula

I have always loved traveling at night. I feel enveloped by the warmth of the darkness. I’m invisible and can be alone with my thoughts at such times. I have gotten answers to questions when I’m driving in the dark. For example, what to name by first novel. I had just turned onto King’s Ranch Road, the last stretch to home one night coming home from teaching a class at the college. It was a beautiful clear night and the stars were so prominent because there was no moon. As I looked up in wonder at the stars, a Beatles song came on my iPod and it had a phrase about space and time in it. That’s when the title, The Space Between Time came to me as the perfect title for my book.

Another time as I was driving home, the stars reminded me of an incident when I was twelve years old. Our family had been attending a church conference and we were driving home late at night. We lived in a small town with lots of open country surrounding it. With no light pollution, the sky was bright with stars. My dad and I were the only ones awake in the car. That memory was so vivid I wrote it out as a scene for possible use in a book one day. I’ll include it at the end of this post.

My point is that I’m rarely afraid of the dark except perhaps the darkness inside myself. But I’ve even learned to embrace the parts of me that are not loving, kind, and compassionate. It’s taken lots of years to accept and love myself but the work has been worth it.

For the past few months, since we’ve been coping with the Covid crisis, at first I reveled in being ordered to stay home. I had plenty of time to meditate, create, and dream of the future. But as time has drug on, I’ve become restive as if some message was trying to get through to me. 

Finally, it came while writing in my journal. Parts of my past still needed healing. I’ve lived long enough to know that healing is never over and done with in one sweeping passthrough. Healing, like grief, is a process. It takes diligence and willingness to go back and let go of resentment, to forgive what happened, and to accept oneself. 

So, I plan to take this opportunity to do another round of healing while sinking into the darkest part of the year. I hope you can find comfort in the coming darkness as well because the light always follows very soon after.

Here is the scene I wrote. I hope you enjoy it.

Night Visions

By Lucinda Sage-Midgorden

Nighttime was her favorite time. She especially loved riding in the car at night where her mind could wander as the stars enveloped her in their bright embrace. Tonight as her father drove the family home from the long day at church meetings, the sky was particularly beautiful, with wisps of clouds softening the starlight and the moon transforming the landscape into silver edged alien shapes; the hills, rocks and trees glowing as if from within.

The other passengers of the car were asleep. Her brother sat opposite her with their two year old sister in between, her head on the girl’s lap. Occasionally, as she stroked her sister’s hair, she would rouse from her night dreams and look over the front seat to see if her father was nodding. His face was lit with the glow from the dashboard instruments. To her, his face looked angelic. He seemed content with the events of the day and happy to have her mother’s head resting on his shoulder. 

The girl laughed inwardly and hugged herself. It was always the same. Her mother would vow to remain awake with her father, but invariably the night would seduce her to sleep. There was something so comforting about the scene. From time to time her mother would awaken to yawn and say, “I don’t know why I’m so sleepy. How are you feeling?” To which her father would give the same answer, “I’m fine honey. You know I love driving at night. Go back to sleep.” But her mother would try valiantly to remain awake to insure that no accident occurred. The inevitable night seduction would overcome her, however, and she would soon sleep again with her head on her husband’s shoulder. 

The car, following the curve in the road, made the moon shine in on the girl from the side window. It’s silver light permeating her being.  She felt someone looking at her and moved her attention to look in her father’s direction. He had taken his attention off the road briefly to lock eyes with her through the rear view mirror. The familiar feeling of unspoken agreement enveloped her. They were alike in many ways. Though they had never spoken of their mutual love of the night, each knew they shared it. To them the night was like a warm comforter on a cold night making the bed warm and welcoming. On such nights dreams could dance vividly through their imaginations. As they looked at each other, this night seemed especially magical and full of enchantment.

Her father winked at her and smiled. The girl, stroking her sister’s hair, smiled back. He returned his attention to the long stretch of empty silver ribbon road. There were not many other travelers tonight. They each, father and daughter, returned to their reveries. 

The girl leaned her head on the car door, not to sleep, but to get a better view of the night sky. The events of the day flitted through her mind, conversations with friends , the church meetings and the food. None of them stuck. As each thought came in photograph images, they would fade again making room for the next and the next. 

Eventually other thoughts came, or not thoughts exactly. They were thought/feelings. What’s out there? She wondered as she looked at the sky sending a part of her soul out for the answer. Everything, came the reply. Everything. Yes, I see that! Possibility too. The steady beat of her heart told her she had been given a great secret. Everything that ever was and ever will be is out there isn’t it? She held her breath for the answer. Yes, the voice in her heart breathed. She smiled inwardly. I’m part of all that was and all that will ever be and its part of me. This was a certainty and she felt a shift in her inner being. Her body seemed to expand. Her skin was no longer holding in her essence. She was becoming one with the night, stars, moon, passing country side, all of creation. Her family through the generations were a part of her too. For a brief moment she was in ecstasy. Her vision was both inward and outward and it was all one.

“I don’t know why I’m so sleepy.” Her mother said with a start and broke the spell. Yet, it could never be broken. “How are you feeling?” “I’m fine Honey. Go back to sleep, “ her father said with his customary calm. “Okay, we’re almost home,” her mother said settling her head again on her husband’s shoulder with the surety that they would be safe now. She was soon snoring softly.

For the second time during that ride, the girl’s father locked eyes with her through the rear view mirror. They smiled at each other. The oneness she had just felt, enveloped her again. It emanated from her father’s soft gaze into her eyes. You felt it too! She thought to her father. His eyes sparkled with a deep fire as if to say, yes. The girl felt the bonds grow even tighter and deeper between them. This was their secret and would link them forever. 

He turned his attention back to his task and she to her reverie out the window with an altered awareness as the night road stretched in front of them like an empty silver ribbon. 

Thank you to my new followers and for reading. I hope you are safe and well. Feel free to leave a comment, share with a friend, or just like.

My next Story~Power Podcast will air October 28. It’s titled “Storytelling Magic.” I’ve had some amazing conversations so far and am looking forward to chatting with the guests I’m lining up for the new year. You can find the episodes on Apple, Google, or Spotify. Look for Story-Power. The show notes and audio are here on my website as well.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

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It’s The Simple Things

“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.” ~ Norman Lear

I’ve been feeling very discombobulated lately. I’m tired all the time. When I try to think of what I want to accomplish during the day, the list I hold in my head fragments and I can’t make a decision about which is the most important. I didn’t want to admit that after all these months, I’m wallowing. I don’t want to teach any more. I want to concentrate on my writing and podcasts because when I’m teaching that takes up most of my time. I was complaining to almost anyone who would listen about having to go to the campus to teach online from an empty room. Why couldn’t I teach from my home office? It’s what I did last spring. I had to admit I was in a rut.

Finally, one day in meditation I heard this clear message. Slow down. Rest and reflect. So, I did. Yesterday I was re-reading the sixth book in The Circle of Ceridwen, series, Silver Hammer, Golden Cross in preparation for the seventh book launch of Windswept this past week. These are historical fiction books by Octavia Randolph about the Danish invasion and subsequent settling of Northern England in the 9th century. The segment I was reading was about two of my favorite characters. They were participating in a Summer Solstice celebration and something about the joy the characters were taking in the simple pleasure of being together as a community made me cry. And I knew that for the last few months, I have rarely focused on the simple pleasures of life. Since gratitude is one of the most important spiritual tenants, I thought I’d share with you some of the simple things that bring me joy. These are in no particular order.

Many people enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea. I’m not one of them. I get my caffeine fix from a large cup of hot chocolate. I make the mix myself with baking cocoa and Cadbury Drinking Chocolate. I add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and some almond milk, blend it then savor every sip. The day is always a little bit better after my cup of chocolate.

As you may know, we live in the country. One of my great joys is watching the wildlife in our yard. I gain the most pleasure from watching the large quail family come out to drink and eat the birdseed we put out every day. There is something so comforting about the coos and calls they make to each other. In fact, I won a screen print, the photo at the top of this post, of quail at last year’s Cochise Writer’s Celebration. I’m sorry the artist didn’t sign it because I’d like to give him or her credit. In any case, I love having it in my office. 

Another joy is watching the woodpecker hang onto the bird feeder, gather seeds in it’s beak and then transfer them to a branch on the same tree and store those seeds in the hole s/he has made there. Other special moments are visits from the deer, javelina, and even coyotes and bobcats that occasionally stroll through. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the roadrunners. They are fun to watch too.

This time of year, I’m comforted by the moon rises on my drive home from teaching. Last week the appearance of Mars just above the horizon as I got home was a rare treat. I understand it won’t be this close to Earth again until many years in the future. 

Living in Southern Arizona, where we don’t have much light pollution, is a true gift. We get a clear vision of the stars and most of the celestial phenomenon throughout the year. The only time we’re hindered is during Monsoon when the skies are often shrouded by clouds. But after living the Portland, Oregon where we rarely got to see the stars at night, I’m grateful to be able to see them most of the year round.

Covid-19 has brought another blessing. Barry has been working from home since the middle of March. Our offices are right next to each other and I love hearing him talk to himself as he’s working on projects. We get to share lunch together, and step into each other’s offices for a quick kiss. He also has great taste in music which I sometimes hear wafting my way. I think the thing I’ve appreciated the most about Barry being home is that we get to practice what life will be like when we both retire from working at jobs outside the home and get to create our own projects.

I’m extremely grateful for the leisurely time in the mornings to meditate, write in my journal, and stretch. I’ve never been comfortable rising early so taking time to ease into the day is a wonderful blessing.

Conversely, I love reading in bed before I go to sleep. It’s a routine I’ve maintained for many years and if I don’t read, I don’t go to sleep easily.

Finally, I’m so grateful I had the courage to start my podcast, Story~Power. I love everything about the process from recording the conversations with my wonderful guests, to editing, to uploading for publication. It’s been a blessing already and I’m looking forward to preparing the posts for 2021.

There are so many things to be grateful for, so many little things to take pleasure in every day. What are the things you’re grateful for? What things bring you joy? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings to all of you. I hope you are safe and happy.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

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From Basketball to Theatre With A Little Romance Thown In

I have been privileged to have so many wonderful students over my years of teaching at Cochise College in southern Arizona. David was a student who wanted to try acting after having a sports career in high school. I’m so happy he walked into my acting class. It was a pleasure to watch David’s work on his scenes and in Twelfth Night. Since he graduated from Cochise College he’s off to new adventures at a new college to finish up his degree. I hope you enjoy our lively conversation.

David Featherston is a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. He is infatuated with movies and adventure. Some of his hobbies include basketball, and almost any other sport. But his favorite hobby is acting, which has a very special place in his heart. He plans to continue his acting education and perhaps one day make it his career.

David and I talked so long that I had to cut out a few segments, so if we refer to something you didn’t hear previously in the conversation, it’s because of the cuts to shorten the episode.

Plays and Movies 

The Moors by Jen Silverman

Language Archive by Julia Cho 

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Will Smith Movies and TV

Hitch (2005)

Seven Pounds (2008)

Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990 – 1996) 

I am Legend (2007)

Independence Day (1996)

I Robot (2004)

Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

More Movies

Castaway 

Mark Wallberg

Favorite Genres: Drama, Romantic Drama

Movie Resource: IMDb

Mission Impossible (1996)

Star Wars series

Avengers, MCU

Netflix Series and Movies

Love is Blind (2020)

All the Bright Places (2020)

Even More Movies

Sliding Doors (1998)

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Mountain Between Us (2017)

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Thor etc. as Heimdall (beginning in 2011)

Dark Tower (2017)

Intersteller (2014)

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Jordan Peele’s Work

Us (2019)

Get Out (2017)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Invasion (1956, 1978, 2007)

Dracula (Original title 1958 Hammer Studios)

John Krasinski’s Work

A Quiet Place (2018)

The Office (2005 – 2013)

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018 – present)

Suggestions

Bicentennial Man (1999) 

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Die Hard (1999)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Turner Classic Movies with Ben Mankiewicz

Christmas Movies by Jeremy Arnold

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist

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What The Words Mean

The election deadline in the U.S. is three weeks away and I have to say, I’ve never seen any election like this one. It’s indescribable. And since I’m a writer and am sensitive to how words are used and what they really mean, I thought I’d write about some words that are being used in the campaign.

Political campaigns always give new meanings to words for use as propaganda. That’s nothing new. But that means we have to be vigilant about what the politicians are actually saying. We have to examine the words they use, and their motives for using them.

The word Socialist has been shot at progressive and even moderate candidates hoping that the emotional charge it carries will cause fear in the hearts of the voters. But what is Socialism? Here’s the dictionary definition: “1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.” (Dictionary App)

Okay, I get why this word is used as a weapon and sticks in some people’s craw. People hear the word socialism and think of Communism, which is based on definition #3. “the Marxist theory that socialism is the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collective principles.” (Dictionary App) 

Well, we know how well Communism worked out for most of the countries that subscribed to that form of government. Not so well. But Socialism has worked out well for most of the European countries. For the most part their people are happy and prosperous.

We, the people of The United States, have socialistic programs. We own The White House, The Capital Building, The Supreme Court Building, and thousands, if not millions, of acres of public lands. We share them and are responsible for maintaining them with our tax dollars. We also share roads, bridges, and lots of other things. We also have social programs like, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a whole slew of other programs for our people from Vets to school children. Many citizens benefit from these programs. In my opinion these programs help people live happier, healthier lives and that makes our country stronger.

I think moving toward socialism and away from capitalism, is a good thing and I base that on the definition of capitalism: “1. an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” Okay, that right there tells me, I don’t want our country to operate on capitalism any longer, because the top 1% who control everything don’t share well with the rest of us. And the bottom 99% are getting poorer all the time. Let me give you a personal example. 

My sister and her family live in Renton, Washington. When they moved there, they had to rent a house because of some financial set backs. They’ve lived in this house for five years. It is falling down around their ears. It’s owned by a huge corporation that owns many rental properties all over the country. They pay almost $3000 a month for this trashy house, which they have a hard time getting repairs for. When the Covid-19 virus hit, my sister was working as a massage therapist. They needed both incomes to make ends meet. However, because she takes care of my 88 year old mother, she took the option to stay home and receive unemployment benefits so that she could protect the family, but most particularly my mom. They are caught in the trap of a huge corporation that charges any amount of money they want for substandard housing. 

I know of young people who work, but can’t afford to rent apartments, or to buy houses, so they live with their parents. And of other people who can’t afford the medicines they need. I’m sure you do too. It’s obvious to me that we need to make some changes so that everyone can have a roof over their head, a good education, meaningful work, and proper health care.

Perhaps getting rid of privately owned businesses isn’t the answer. Maybe we need to come up with a new financial system that benefits all the people and allows for financial innovation. I’m not an economist but I bet there are some creative people out there who could come up with something great.

To compare our system of government to socialism here is the definition of a Republic, which the United States is currently: “1. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. 3. a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.” 

I would like to point out that that the people having a say in running the government applies to many Socialist countries as well. They have constitutions, they vote for their leaders. Even countries, like England that have a Monarch, are not ruled by that Monarch alone. It’s the Prime Minister and her or his coalition of elected officials the run the country in tandem with the Monarch.

It seems to me that we’re getting all hot and bothered by words that have been used as weapons to sway voters to particular candidates for so many years, we’ve stopped taking the time to examine just what the catch phrases mean. That’s why I did some research for this post. I wanted to be sure I knew exactly what I was talking about and voting for.

But ultimately for me, this election is about which candidates care for his or her fellow citizens? Getting to the bottom of that isn’t very hard. It’s said that actions speak louder than words. So we should be looking at the actions of all the candidates running up and down the ballot. What is their core driving intent? What kind of character do they have? I’m not going to answer that one for you. You have to drop all the rhetoric and look at how each candidate running for office treats people. Have they learned anything from their mistakes? Are they willing to put the people they govern first? If not, I’m not voting for them. You are free to make your own decisions about who to vote for in this election.

Welcome new followers. Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I hope you stay safe and well.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

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