Unexpected Turns

 

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Oscar Wilde

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Have you ever felt like you want to go in one direction, but for some reason the universe, God, or circumstances pull you in another? That’s been my life for the last year and a half.

This was frustrating at first, because all I wanted to do was concentrate on writing and recording the audio for my books. But, no, I got a clear message that I needed to make the most of my new friendship with Dave Dahl. He’s the theatre professional who came out of the ethers to help me when I directed Measure for Measure. After that I invited him to be a guest artist and work with my acting students. Wow, did he make a big difference. I even got reenergized after so many years of teaching. Hmm, maybe there was a good reason for me to stay where I was, at least for now.

As last year progressed, I shared with Dave my frustrations about the way the arts in general have been basically ignored by the administration at the college. That after so many years of beating my head against the wall, I felt demoralized. And, I never felt I was well equipped to bring about big change in any case.

As we talked we got the idea to find out if Dave would have the credentials to direct the plays. If we produced one play a semester, that might be just the thing to garner interest in developing a true theatre program. So, if Dave was eligible, we’d revamp the class schedule to make that happen. Tanya, our department chair, was willing to go to bat for us and after lots of hoops to jump through, Dave was hired.

Rehearsals are now in full swing for Twelfth Night. My role is to help Dave navigate all the college bureaucracy to get to the production to final performances. Occasionally, I also attend rehearsals to offer a second opinion. After attending an early first rehearsal, I came home and said to Barry, “Everyone is going to be blown away by the quality of this production.”

There have been times when Dave and I are working with my acting students, or I’m at rehearsals, that I have an overwhelming feeling of being just where I’m supposed to be at the moment. It’s not that my dream of being a full-time writer has been replaced, it’s just not yet time for it to come to fruition. I have to release my expectations, go with the flow and trust that the Higher Ups know what they are doing. Since there is no way I can see the big picture from where I’m sitting, I must trust that there is a larger purpose that will be beneficial in the end.

Dave and I are just laying bricks right now, hoping that the administration, and community will take notice and give our efforts support. We believe that it’s through art that we have an opportunity to understand what it means to be a human being. We both feel it’s one great way to learn empathy. And I’m willing to do what it takes to help empathy grow.

Struggling to go my own way has made me extremely tired. Finally, in this last week, I’ve decided to surrender and see where my current path leads. I can almost hear God laughing.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Welcome new followers. Have a blessed weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

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. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Women’s Stories

Working Mom

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” ~ Mark Anthony, The Beautiful Truth

This week I’ve been immersed in stories. Dave, my acting friend, had auditions for Twelfth Night on the weekend. I was there since I am, as one of the cast members labeled me, the “Producer”. It was a long weekend, but watching actors bring characters to life is an exhilarating experience. Twelfth Night has a female protagonist who must dress up like a man so she can survive the loss of her brother and all her possessions. And just now as I write this I’m putting the dots together, that I’ve been immersing myself in women’s stories for quite some time.

Also in Dramatic Structure class this week, we watched the movie, Easy Virtue, which has a female protagonist played by Jessica Biel. She’s recovering from the trauma of the terrible illness and death of her first husband when she meets a fresh young man and falls in love with and marries him. He takes her home to his family’s estate, and there, as an American, she has a difficult time fitting in. Living in the English countryside with people who are, for the most part, close minded, almost ruins her. But she’s a survivor.

When I was choosing the movies for the class, I realized almost half of them had female protagonists. At first I thought the young men in the class might not be able to connect with these movies because of that. But, I think I underestimated them. They seem to have enjoyed the female driven movies we’ve watched so far as much as the male driven ones. It’s encouraging to hear their insights when we discuss the movies.

This desire to immerse myself in women’s stories started several years ago. I realized that I was reading books that were almost exclusively by and about women. And that the stories I love the most are about characters who find themselves in unusual situations in which they must learn to adapt. The other stories that speak to me are the ones where the characters have unusual relationships that lead them to profound self-discovery.

Maybe I’m drawn to these kinds of stories because they are personal. I’ve had to navigate new situations often because I’ve moved a lot. Taking the lay of the land and how I can fit into the new situation is a skill I’m glad I’ve developed. And self-discovery has been a lifelong theme for me.

Immersing myself in the stories of other people has been beneficial for me in some profound ways. Even though I was born with empathetic skills, I’ve developed them to a higher degree because of analyzing the stories I watch and read. I understand human behavior and motivation better now than I did when I was younger. That helps me be more tolerant but also makes me want to dig deeper into what makes up human nature. I love it when I get aha moments that allow me to get new insights about who we are and why we’re here.

Stories are food for my soul and I love sharing the meal with others.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. It’s a lovely time of year. I hope you get to go out and enjoy nature.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

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. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Reading Lessons

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~ Charles W. Eliot

Reading grasped me when I was a senior in high school. We studied British Literature that year. I was enamored with A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and Shakespeare. Everything we read opened up my perspective on history, and how the different characters lived. I knew I didn’t want to be like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. On the other hand I very much liked Jane Eyre’s self-confidence, and A Tale of Two Cities immersed me in the horrors of The French Revolution.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been a reader before, but we didn’t have access to libraries, except for the school libraries, in the small towns in which I grew up. The Scholastic Book Fair was always a treat and I did buy books that I enjoyed reading. But those were held only once or twice a year, and so it was often months between reading the books I wanted to read, and the ones I had to read for school.

But senior year I became a real reader. What I mean by that is that a real reader is always on the lookout for the next book they are going to read. And now that I’m semi-retired, and have more time for reading, I feel uneasy if I have to wait even a day to find the next book to sink into. That rarely happens, though, because most of the time, I have a list of two or three possibilities waiting in line.

The advent of social media groups like Goodreads has helped me up my reading game with their yearly reading challenge. For the last few years I’ve pledged to read 50 books a year. I know for some people that’s not a lot, but I like to read a book slowly, savoring and living within the lives of the characters.

I’ve tried to understand why I feel this need to sink into other people’s lives. I do it with movies and TV too. Maybe I’m a voyeur, but I think it’s because I’m just one person and I can’t possibly experience every aspect of life. Yet I have this need to understand the world from different perspectives. And when I talk or listen to other readers, they say similar things about why they read.

I secretly wanted to be a writer for many years. When I finally acknowledged that fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write effectively. After all my degrees are not in English. But when I read a quote I believe was by Stephen King, “You can’t be a good writer if you don’t read,” that made me feel better. I am learning how to be a good writer by reading both good and bad books. A poorly written book can sometimes teach me more than great ones because they show me in glaring detail the mistakes I make, or ones I need to avoid.

On the other hand there are great books that I still think about many years after I first read them. And maybe that’s the highest praise I can give an author, to continue to contemplate their work and how it affected me. And then try to write as powerfully as they did, only using my personal experiences and point of view.

I’m grateful to be a reader. It’s hard for me to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t read. I think it would be lots smaller and maybe even sadder. Reading about characters who experience terrible things, then grow, and even flourish as a result, gives me great hope.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, 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 on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Writing Prompts from the Universe

Thunderstorm over Corfu

“Without disruptions in life, where would we be?” ~ Sarah Gadon

Just lately I have found inspiration for my second novel from some unusual places.

A week or so ago, my husband and I watched My Mother and Other Strangers on our local PBS station. It’s the story of the narrator remembering his childhood during WW II in Northern Ireland. His reflections are about his mother an English woman living in a foreign land. For the most part she’s lived a happy life, teaching at the local school, helping her husband with his grocery store, and pub. Then the Americans establish a training base for flyers nearby. Rose, the narrator’s mother, is most affected by the arrival of the Americans, though the entire village is disrupted by prejudice and resentment.

In the first episode, the base liaison officer, Captain Dreyfuss meets Rose Coyne on her daily walk by the lake shore. He surprises her by quoting her favorite poet and that more than anything disturbs her efforts to be content in a place she never felt she truly belonged. They meet again when Captain Dreyfuss is looking to establish a relationship with a local person with whom he can work to solve issues pertaining to the base and their presence in the town. His intention is to ask Rose’s husband Michael to be that person, but due to Michael’s schedule, Rose ends up taking on the role.

As I was watching Rose’s awakening to the forgotten parts of herself she left behind when she married, I felt I could understand her. And Rose’s experience prompted me to think about Jenna, Morgan, and the other women in the novel I’m working on in a new way. They are all struggling with being a women in their respective time periods. It’s such a complicated situation for each group of women. I want to show how my characters deal with their personal and political struggles. How does their involvement in their respective women’s movements affect their families, and their communities?

Life can be capricious. Sometimes it’s just a little thing that happens to disrupt our view of ourselves but when it happens it feels like a tsunami. All the pieces of our nicely constructed lives fall apart and we have to decided to rebuild it exactly as it was before, or build something new.

Then last night Barry and I were watching the third season of Shakespeare Uncovered, again on PBS. The segment we watched was about The Merchant of Venice, a play Barry and I did his first year in college. It’s how we began getting to know one another. When the segment was over, Barry said, “I don’t remember us discussing, or stressing all those layers of meaning in our production.” And I had to agree with him. It was forty years ago, after all. But having just directed a Shakespeare play last spring, and taking two classes studying his plays, I have to say that Shakespeare was a master of intertwining many themes into his stories. One director and cast could pick one play, do it every year or so, and still keep learning from it.

And listening to F. Murray Abraham talk to cast members, directors, and scholars about the play, sent me back to my novel. The best stories, in my opinion, have many different themes, like all of Shakespeare’s plays. I guess that’s why we have used stories for centuries to teach our values to our children, define our cultures, and figure out the complexities of life. The stories that survive do that so well that we can still relate to them centuries later.

I want to write a story like that one day. I’ll never be Shakespeare, but if I keep practicing writing, I may write a story that will live on past my lifetime. Is it presumptuous to have such a goal?

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I’ll have another post for you next Saturday. Have a fantastic weekend.

Lucinda Sage-MIdgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, 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 on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.