Hilltop Diary, February 22, 2023

Crystal and Oliver in 2022

Since last I wrote, life has been a kaleidoscope. First, here is an update on our cat named Oliver. After three weeks on his new thyroid medicine we had his blood tested again. The “normal” on the scale is 0 – 4 points. Last time he was at 14! This time he was down to 8.5, which is encouraging, though he did not yet manage to gain any much-needed weight. So the next step is to try using a stronger dose.

01 Front of Card with Caption Low ResCrystal and I had an early Valentine’s Day on Sunday the 12th, because the 14th was on a Tuesday, when she had to teach school all day and then go to a rehearsal that night. Early Sunday morning, we drove southeast 90 minutes to a little town called Hohenwald, which means “high forest” in German. It was indeed in the forest, but we saw one of our favorite priest friends, Father O’Neil, the pastor of a tiny church there. Then we drove over to the nearby sleepy hamlet of Columbia, TN, where we had a classic high tea with all sorts of little crustless sandwiches and scones on one of those tiered trays. After visiting a charming antique shop, we enjoyed the drive home on that beautiful and sunny afternoon. Loved it.

Last week I had a very helpful phone call with a published author of several books in L.A. It was set up by a mutual friend for this author to advise me on how to find a publisher for my first fantasy fiction novel. My book has been completed for over a year, and I keep reminding myself that for a year the Harry Potter books were rejected by the first twelve publishers to whom they were submitted. I’m up to five rejections, I think. This author kindly gave me the names of several contacts and some great advice. Lucy__Charlie_Brown_Kicking_the_BallOne thing I’ve been failing to do till now, she said, is to contact the right publishers and literary agents who specialize in my genre of book, called the “realistic fantasy novel.” So, I’m in the process of submitting the book to one agent of that sort at a time and may have to wait six weeks to hear back from each, before I can send my stuff to the next.

Also in the Never-Give-Up! category, a few days from now there were to be scheduled the auditions for a new production of my musical theater show, Dear Miss Barrett in Murfreesboro, TN. However, as the days got shorter, the sign-up sheet still appeared empty! But most local actors didn’t see the show last year and simply don’t know it at all, and Murfreesboro is a long drive for many, and there are a lot of other well-known shows here auditioning around the same time. So the director has made the decision to put the auditions off another week until March 6 & 7 and try to publicize the auditions a bit more. Then if the show must be canceled for lack of a cast, so be it. If it is meant to happen, it will, and vice-versa. I take these things in stride. If anyone might just want to know more about what the show is like before auditioning, please e-mail me or the director, Keri Boe, and we’ll send you a link to a private video of a full production of the entire show.

Switching gears, last Friday I had a very fun lunch out with an old friend, country singer and theatrical performer and songwriter Patrick Thomas, who was a contestant on “The Voice” television show and wrote and performed in the cast of the musical “The Battle of Franklin.” I never had any luck with country songwriting myself but can say I did give it a try, years ago. People said my few attempts sounded more like Cole Porter or Jerome Kern with “Y’all” in the lyrics! In this case, I knew it was not meant for me to keep trying. There is a saying: “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” To this I add a third possibility: “You just can’t put country into a boy, if it’s not there!”

Switching gears to something that has actually been succeeding, here is an update on my ballet. I’ve now written and edited 2/3 of the music, and it’s time and will be exciting to get our choreographer hired and on board! Our impresario (the boss who hired me) has a famous Russian choreographer (now living in Prague) lined up for a Zoom call about it for the three of us next week. If this guy signs on, I’ll tell you his name and more about him. Fingers crossed.

Finally, during these last two weeks I was also invited to be a speaker at the 2023 National Convention of the Fellowship oftruth Catholic Scholars to be held at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in September. The conference has the theme “truth in art.” I’m neither technically a “scholar” nor crazy about air travel these days but gratefully accepted the honor of such an offer. The icing on the cake is that upon my arrival the night before my talk, I have already been invited to be taken by a childhood friend, now a D.C. attorney, to the famous Joe’s Seafood, right by the White House! King crab legs with melted butter!

Mona LisaSo, in closing, here’s one “truth about art.” (Don’t worry, this one won’t be in my talk!) I think that when the greatest artists in history painted their great oil masterpieces for the glory of God, those paintings probably looked no better to God than a child’s crayon drawings look to us. However, I think God still taped them proudly onto the door of his big, giant refrigerator in heaven and smiled with love. And then maybe God made some nice steaks for his angels on his giant gas cooktop up there. Truth! 


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One comment

  1. Love that last paragraph. 🙂


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