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        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania!  And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved publication...so I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  Thank you!!!

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All Content © Mil Scott                                                                                                         www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The July/August
Issue of Mil Mania!

Volume 2, Issue 7, July/Aug. 2006


Music Mayhem

As noted in the December edition of Mil Mania, I will continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com.  In addition,  for each issue I will also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, of course, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist: 


Gavin DeGraw —

     If you’ve flipped on
any adult contemporary
radio station in the past
two years or so, you’ve
surely heard at least one
song by this artist...and
quite possible
only one, since his first single, “I Don’t Wanna Be”, seemed to stay suspended in heavy rotation indefinitely.  In fact, it’s still not unlikely you might hear it at any given time — and it’s in fact more likely you’ll hear this than the scattered follow-ups from the same album and/or a couple of soundtracks that have hit the airwaves since.

     Be that as it may, I must confess that I still stop to listen every time it does come on the radio, and I also still stop to check out any live performances by Gavin DeGraw when they pop up on TV.  As a result, I’ve decided to at last acknowledge him here as this month’s featured artist.
     Another reason for doing so, however, is that I once heard him interviewed by Scott and Todd of New York City’s WPLJ, and found him witty, articulate — and better yet, refreshingly humble.  He was also clearly passionate about not only his own work (the major factor contributing to my own appreciation of this) but about a surprisingly mature mix of classic R&B influences, as illustration of which he performed live a very pleasing rendition of Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears”.

     As I know very little else about him, however, in preparing this piece I paid a quick visit to the official Gavin DeGraw website, where I learned he is reportedly in the process of (at last!) creating a second studio album, and currently on tour abroad. 

     If you’d like to learn more yourself, go to www.gavindegraw.com.



Third Eye Blind released a greatest hits compilation on July 18th.  You can read more about this, including the track listing and other info here.


Brian Fitzpatrick returns to the stage once again for a performance at the Black River Music Festival in Chester, NJ on Aug. 19th.  You can go to the following website for all details...


Michael McDermott ‘s 5th Annual Birthday Celebration continues — with a deadline for submissions of August 18th.  So, if you’re a fan, friend and/or in any way a supporter of his work, go to www.artistin-
RIGHT NOW for all the details of how to get involved in this special event.

     In other McDermott news, it seems Michael has at last been signed to a record label (the identity of which is yet to be disclosed pending finalization of “the deal”) — a good news/bad news scenario as it will most likely mean a larger audience for his upcoming release, but a pushed off date for this to “hit the streets”.  As of this writing, Feb. 2007 represents the latest projection

     If you live in CA or the Midwest, however, the news for you is all good as Michael will be playing these regions for several shows currently scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. 
      And, of course, keep visiting Michael’s page at
myspace.com for updated tour info, blogs by the artist, and brand new songs for his Monday Morning Madness every week. 

Ravings of

a Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ravings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.

This month’s selection:  Rumor Has It...


     Upon watching the first few minutes of this film, and quickly being charmed by the creative premise and colorful characters, I must confess I watched the rest rather anxiously – half expecting the enjoyment, wit and wonder to fizzle into a disappointment that ultimately overtakes far too many at first promising films.  Thankfully (with the exception of an I suppose obligatory, all too “cute” line near the film’s end), I am very happy to report my fears were utterly unfounded.  In fact, my positive impression not only grew as the film progressed, but it remains so strong days later that I can’t help feeling compelled to make it the subject of this issue’s “Ravings of a Mad Woman” review.

     The story begins with Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston) narrating the explanation of an affair between an older woman and a younger man – an affair interrupted when the man began sleeping with the woman’s daughter, who was roughly his own age.  Lest this sound vaguely familiar, it’s indeed the setup of a tale that’s been told before – in the form of the 1960’s Dustin Hoffman vehicle, The Graduate.  The clever twist separating this later work, however, is the assertion that the former was in fact based on Sarah’s family – starting with her grandmother (played with wonderfully humorous pith by Shirley MacLaine), moving on to her late mother, and inevitably (as one already knows if you’ve seen the previews), continuing with (the at the time engaged) Sarah herself..

     That particular bit of predictability, however, is not characteristic of all aspects of the film, which is in fact quite cleverly written and very well acted.  Featuring a cameo by the always spectacular Kathy Bates (still another woman of the Huttinger clan who has fallen prey to the womanizing charms of the “legendary” Beau Burroughs), and a superb supporting performance by Richard Jenkins (as Sarah’s dad), the film features surprisingly fleshed out characters for a “romantic comedy”, including a few moments of unexpected emotional grounding that – for me, anyway – inspired more tears by their ironic and bittersweet beauty than the “funny parts” did laughs (although there are indeed several excellent moments of those as well).

     It also features a fantastic portrait of a womanizer and his workings in the form of Costner’s Burroughs.  Beautifully understated in his quiet confidence and a solicitous attention that lulls Sarah into a comfort zone that only too late becomes all too uncomfortable, we feel with her the confusion of where his truths end and schmooze begins, questioning anew for ourselves whether the latter is the reality even after the ending credits roll.   Of course, that also raises another pointed question left unanswered; but I think I speak for most viewers when I say there are matters of fictional works that make one thankful they’re indeed fiction – and on which no one wishes to dwell too long…

     That aside, there are just a couple of inconsistencies I’m a little surprised weren’t thought out more completely before shooting began – for example, the casting of Mena Suvari (who would be hard pressed to pass for over twenty-five) as the only 5-years-younger sister of Aniston’s character, who it’s repeatedly established is over 40.   A similar argument could be made in the casting of Costner, who though in his early fifties seems a bit of a stretch to be playing 62.  Of course, I suppose the filmmakers realized to pair a Harrison Ford or someone else more closely age-appropriate with the much younger Aniston might seem, well, a little creepy – and real-life romantic entanglements as they pertain to Mr. Ford aside, I’ve got to admit, I quite strongly agree.

     In conclusion, then, with this review it might be said I’m starting my own rumor…that the romantic comedy genre has “graduated” to a whole new level with the advent of this truly noteworthy entry.  But don’t take it on my “hearsay”…go rent Rumor Has It…on your next trip to the video store, and get the facts (while thoroughly enjoying the fiction) for yourself.


Click here for a review of another excellent recent video store find.

                            (If you haven’t met me yet, you might want to read the
Dec. issue first.)


                           As usual, I must start out with a big thank you to my readers for all your kind correspondences.  I do so love getting mail!  And, this month I also want to send an extra big thank you to the wonderful hu-woman who sent this question-laden paragraph that has given me much to grind my teeth down on in recent nights.   But, I’ll let you read what she has to say before I say any more myself...


Dear Molly,


I’m in the midst of a truly brilliant and timeless fantasy for younger readers that makes me think of you, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien (1971).  I’m sure that there are elements in the tale that you can identify with.  Mrs. Frisby is a field mouse living on a farm and unexpectedly finds herself as a single parent of four young children, one gravely ill.  To provide for her family, Mrs. Frisby takes incredible risks, entrusts her fellow wildlife neighbors, even some that instinct tells her to be wary of.  She accepts a ride on a crow’s back to seek counsel from the owl that could simply snap her up with his razor sharp beak to leave her children orphaned.  The owl lives high atop a tree deep in the nearby forest.  Getting there on the crow’s back is the most precarious situation ever, but she is desperate.  The owl knows the solution to her predicament but holds back his wisdom. He really has no need to help this mouse or most any mouse.  Departing the owl’s hollow, withered heart filled with woe, the owl curiously asks her name.  Learning that she is the widow of the late Mr. Frisby, he instructs her to seek the help of the ingenious rats, escapees from NIMH, that also have made their home on the farm like she has.  In her mind the rats are most unlikely allies—they’re complete loners—but she doesn’t question the owl’s insight. The rats, too, can’t be bothered with her request—until they discover her name.  If you haven’t read the story, I don’t want to give much more away (I’m sure your boys would love to read it).  Molly, there are so many glints of human behavior in this engaging story told through animals’ perspectives—what we/they will do to move along in life.  Do you feel that life is mainly all about who you know and working the relationships to one’s advantage?  Or is there more?  Do we come into alignment with each other to discover potential—our own as well as the other person’s?  Am I supposed to act on encountering the homeless fellow asleep in the doorway that I pass by most every morning at 5:30?  If so, how?  Thinking about your homelessness, I’m curious for your perspective.  There is a pearl of a song lyric by a gifted songwriter who I think you may be acquainted with, Michael McDermott, that drifts into my mind when I start gnawing on things like this:  “Is it all in Godly hands or is it up to us choose?”  The first, the latter, both?  What do you think, Molly? 


                                                                        A Musing Mona Lisa


     Oh, my, that is a lot to gnaw on and I think you’ve already been nibbling on some of my own thoughts about the matter by quoting that music hu-man.  For starters, then, my simple answer to the single question posed by him would indeed be “both”.  However, that’s a mighty small slice of a very big pie (one my fa-vorite foods by the way — especially pecan, perhaps because with an adoptive mom who dresses me up in all those outfits and a beloved aunt who makes them, I’ve been told there’s nothing closer to my heart than a great big nut!  But, I digress...) The littler questions are much harder — I suppose because it’s the teeny-tiny crumbs that are the toughest to get hold of (especially for critters like me who don’t have thumbs...).

     I do think life is all about relationships, but I don’t know that I’d characterize that in terms of the exact phrase “who we know” — simply because it seems there are far too many folks caught up on “who someone is” in determining his or her “value”.  And, needless to say to an insightful hu-woman like you, I’m sure, that’s very mixed up.   As for working those relationships to our advantage, however, I think we have to be very careful to keep in mind the importance of balance — in other words, while we need to realize how much we depend on others (no matter how fond we may be of asserting our independence by darting to the end of the couch and hiding out of sight under the slipcover sometimes), we also need to make sure we do our best to give all we can to the individuals (be they hu-mens, hu-women, or rats) we meet along our way.  Maybe they, too, are alone and scared out in the cold, sitting desperately under a mailbox we just can’t see for whatever reason.  Or maybe they once were or knew someone who was and really appreciate the “kindness of strangers” who could become family or friends...which I know from firsthand experience are the most wonderful things.

     My mom told me once about the ancient Greeks and a group of these called “Sophists”.  She said she took a class about Greek plays and that one of the assignments asked her to think about these in terms of the Sophistic theory that, in any given situation, “man will probably and by nature act in a way that is to his advantage”.  The play this was specifically tied to was Medea, in which a very angry hu-woman seeks revenge against her philandering husband...hmmm, guess that problem among certain hu-mens goes back a VERY long way, doesn’t it?  Anyway, if you haven’t read the story you might want to skip a few lines here...for the rest of you, Medea tried to get revenge by killing her husband’s children — her children.  So, in acting according to her “nature”,  in a way she somehow must have thought to her “advantage”, she actually acted in the way farthest from anything she could really ever have wanted...and lost everything she had, and everything she loved.  The point, then, it seems to me, is that it’s when we get caught up in ourselves and what we want that we’re least likely to get it.  And, when we instead focus our efforts on the advantage of others — or “do the opposite”, as humorously worked for a TV sitcom character I was secretly listening to one night from that hiding place under the slipcover, we often find it’s we who get the most wondrous rewards (sometimes — if you can believe — things even better than pie!).

     As the concept applies to your questions,  however, we’re really not talking about working things out to our advantage in terms of getting things we want, but rather merely finding the courage to seek out real solutions to very real needs.  I do think we “come into alignment” with those who can help us just when we “need” them to do so — such meetings indeed reliant upon “Godly hands” (in my case God having provided a literal pair of hands to pick me up when I needed most) — but how we react when these situations present themselves is indeed for “us to choose”. I guess the way I see those two concepts combining is that I believe we’re more likely to have “Godly hands” provide an opportunity for “us to choose” to act on if we’ve already treated others in such a way they might actually want to help us out when we need it...as I suspect, without having read the book you speak of (yet!) Mr. Frisby probably did, with the result of his widow ultimately being treated well by virtue of “who she knew”...and, of course, the love and courage she chose to enact herself.




                           Molly Madvises 

                      (by... Molly, of course!)








                                 Newsletter Spotlight 




Comments from Mil Mania readers
                  on the June issue...

In A Nutshell

                                       Lest you were
                                  wondering whether you
ever receive
                                  another issue of
, have no fear.  The
                                  publication is alive and
                                  well.  With July ebbing
                                  away and still several
                                  sections of the latest
                                  issue yet to be completed,
                                  however, I decided to give it a bit of its own “summer vacation” by creating a larger, combined July/August edition rather than scrambling to throw together the then still missing items.  And, as I’ve heard from several of you in the interim that you’re actually scrambling yourselves in this season of travel, outdoor activities — and
escaping the outdoors during the heat waves sweeping much of the U.S., it seems this has proved an especially good idea.  Of course, as things settle down to an only moderately frenzied pace(!) next month, regular monthly issues are scheduled to resume in Sept.

     To preview a bit of what’s included here, however, you can see from the photo at right, that I’ve at last got around to taking photos of the rodent members of my menagerie in their summer finery.  Thanks again to Marna for her amazing creativity and fun spirit in making the latest collection of these possible.  I also hope to update a page of the other non-human members of my family (dogs, cats, and whatever else shows up on the doorstep!) in a future issue coming soon.
     The “Temporary Insanity” column features an excerpt from a longer essay some of you may have read on the “Random Rants” section of my website...if so, I apologize for the redundancy.  However, for reasons noted therein, it seemed a fitting choice and something I believe those new to its contents will especially enjoy.
     Also to be especially enjoyed is another lengthy correspondence requesting Molly’s “madvice” — quite a challenging bit of philosophical reflection...and a book recommendation to boot!  By all means, check it out — and, of course, please keep those letters to Molly coming.  Truly, they are appreciated.
     You’ll also find a new novel chapter, plus the usual news and reviews covering music, films and books — the last of which categories has been given a little space of its own this time around (no I don’t get paid to advertise for this author!) as it pertains to perennial fiction favorite, Laura Lippman.  If you haven’t read any of her work to date, this might be the ideal place to start.  Curling up in front of an air conditioner with a good book seems like a perfect summer activity to me!

     Last but not least, thanks once again for so enthusiastically sharing my insanity — it’s proved wonderfully catching.          

  Writings From The Asylum

                                  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),
       Chapter 9   “...Almost as Much as It Hates Being Alone”

     The band was assembled onstage once again, with Josh at the microphone to share “Secrets”, one of the many songs written during his recent burst of creativity.  A full week had passed since Tommy’s visit to the apartment, and although rehearsals had been a bit tense, neither had brought up the matter of when or where they might be recording.  Josh had, however, questioned the always neutral Chuck as to whether Tommy had said anything to him, thereby learning that he was apparently still stalling the label execs while hoping Josh would either come to his senses or some amicable arrangement could be worked out to both satisfy his sudden adoption of the role “immovable force” -- and preserve their record deal.

     Tonight was their first appearance since Julie’s death, which also meant the first at their old haunt, The Rock Warehouse.  And, even as he sang, Josh was aware of how odd it still felt to know that her absence in the front row didn’t mean she was merely on duty at the diner up the street, to know that he couldn’t just go there after the show to find her questioning gaze meet him as he and the band walked in, her eyes anxiously asking how the show went, even as her lips asked the customers at the table before her for their order.

     Order – what an odd word, he thought.  A command…decorum…time frame…organization of events – in other words, just yet another piece of the English language that had dropped out of his world…or rather, his new world filled with chaos and interminable, random days of time marching on helter skelter…while he stood still.

     At least for a few days, so it seemed, he had made time stop.  No nightmares, no frustration from urgent overnight correspondences (perhaps because he’d refrained from checking his surely now bulging mailbox all week), and no human contact beyond the daily rehearsals for this gig.  He’d just continued holing up in the apartment (although he’d indeed spent last Sunday on some major house and body cleaning – not that he’d admit that to Tommy), and writing songs.   Perhaps it was the running stream of these compositions arriving with him at each rehearsal that had kept things (relatively) peaceful with his friend turned (not quite) foe, and led to the (almost) truce they were currently “enjoying”.

     Having backed away from the mic, free to lose himself in his thoughts during the musical bridge, Josh stepped back to center stage to sing the final verse.  This was the last song of the night, an encore, in fact, selected as the impromptu choice of thanks to the sold-out house – a circumstance which had come as a surprise to the band.  Although their popularity had grown steadily over the past couple of years – a circumstance obviously not lost on the label who’d so recently signed them – it still came as a bit of a shock to see so many people packed into this sweaty, darkened room -- just to see them…a hugely welcome reminder to Josh that not all shocks are painful.

     The lights went down as the final notes echoed into silence, and the band made their way backstage feeling almost like a unit again for a moment as the continuing applause washed them out of the rear exit in search of some cool, fresh air.

     “Good gig, man,” Tommy said simply.

     Josh absently nodded in response and offered a short grunt of agreement.  After a moment of strangely comfortable silence, he asked at last, “So….we gonna load out first or pick up our gear after the diner?”

     Tommy finished off his cigarette and rubbed it out under his boot as though he hadn’t heard.  Randy and Matt looked at each other behind Josh’s back, Matt pointedly mouthing the words, “What the hell?”  Surprisingly, it was the normally non-decision-making Chuck who answered for them all, “After works” – winning him a glare from Tommy, to which he responded with the innocent question, “What?”  Tommy frowned and shook his head in dismissive disgust, then gestured with one hand to Josh, “Lead on.”


     The diner was quiet at this hour, the only other patrons a toothless wino near the window nursing a cup of coffee and a smattering of teenagers from the last showing at the movie theater nearby.   Allison breezed out of the kitchen with an armful of steaming dishes and cast them a quick smile en route to a table of the latter. 
     “Hey, guys.  You can go sit down.  I’ll be right with you.”

     “Thanks, Allison,” Josh answered, as he and the others set off for their usual spot.  “Take your time.”


    As they slid into the booth Josh had last occupied ten days ago, he felt anew the warmth that visit had unexpectedly provided – even without drinking his coffee.  And, as they all opened the menus Randy had grabbed on their way past the hostess station – menus they still looked at out of habit, despite the fact any of them could recite every item added to or dropped  from them over the last decade – he couldn’t deny the equally unexpected feeling of anticipation he was experiencing now.

     A sudden shout from the doorway interrupted Josh’s thoughts, as a twenty-something couple who had been at the club earlier noticed them across the room and came over to say hello.  The male half of this duo had attended many of their shows at The Rock over the years, the female was the latest in a string of generic blonds that had come and gone with him every few weeks for the duration.  Based on her annoyingly giddy demeanor Josh fervently hoped this one’s “going” might be “coming” very soon.

     Randy, by contrast, was clearly far more approving, and wasted no time in attempting to practice his own rather vacant brand of charm in return.

     “Hey, Dan, you gonna introduce us to your be-u-tiful friend?”  he asked with a cheery grin. “I don’t think any of us has had the pleasure.”

     “I’m Gina,” the blond gushed, offering Randy her hand before her companion could open his mouth.  Then, doing the same to each of the others, she asked for their names in turn, noting something about getting them all confused from the stage.  “Amazing,” Josh thought, but managed to mumble a semi-polite greeting, his optimistic mood beginning to crack ever so slightly under the weightless burden of her giggly emptiness.   But, his emotions took yet another unexpected turn when she stopped at Tommy.

     “I know you already,” Gina giggled.  “From the movies last week, remember?  What was the name of your girlfriend…Angie?  Audrey?  No that’s not right –“

     “Allison,” Tommy answered, turning several shades of red.  “She’s not my girlfriend – I mean, we’ve only been out on a couple of dates --”

     “Hey, there she is!” Gina exclaimed as Allison turned from finishing up at another table to make her way to the band’s at last.  Glimpsing Gina, her gaze moved instinctively to Josh, who quickly looked away.   But, before she’d even fully uttered the word, “Sh—” under her breath, the wino by the window called out, “Miss!  Yoohoo!  I’ve been trying to get a refill here for the last ten minutes,” forcing her to turn away – a moment Josh seized to nudge Chuck none too gently out of the booth beside him.

     “I don’t want anything.  I’m gonna go,” he tersely announced, prompting surprised looks from Randy and Matt as he quickly rose and glanced toward Allison on her way back to the kitchen for fresh coffee.

     “Josh, wait --” Tommy said, starting to rise himself.

     “No, no,” Josh stopped him, adding words he was clearly far from feeling.  “Everything’s cool.  It’s -- totally good.  Dan, good to see you.  Gina, nice meeting you.  Later, guys.”

     Allison was just returning with the steaming carafe as Josh passed by on his way to the door.  He could feel her gaze on him as he walked by, willing him to look back and confusing his muddled mind even that much further.  He didn’t know why he’d felt the way he had when he walked in.  What kind of dog would be interested in starting something with another woman two weeks after his girlfriend had committed suicide, anyway?  But, it wasn’t that he was trying to start something.  It was more that something had started, something he didn’t expect and wasn’t at all planning to act on.  He’d just liked feeling – okay – or normal – or maybe almost good for a few minutes ten days ago, and was hoping that by coming back here tonight – and maybe in another ten days – or ten days after that – he might, even if only for a few minutes, finally feel that way again.   Now, instead he was feeling like an idiot.  Like himself, he told himself.

     And, as Allison stood waiting by the door out of the kitchen, he kept going toward another door…a closed one.  But, at least this was one door he could afford to open.  He did, quickly, and stepped outside, into a darkness that had long since become only too familiar.

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the prose “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall.  While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the days after the funeral…(you can catch up on all prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

The following is a response to June’s “Temporary Insanity” piece about my late father.  It’s from someone who worked with him — in fact, my dad was his boss...a bit of info I point out merely because I doubt too many bosses ever receive this kind of appreciation.  I therefore can’t help sharing it with you as a means of expressing my own appreciation to this gentleman for sending it to me...

Hi Mil,
     Now you have hit on something, girl! ...something to really be proud of...my 12 years with your dad!
     So many great memories that would fill a book for sure. He made an impact on so many. Those who worked for and with him will never forget his high standards, fairness and appreciation of his staff. Working for Charlie was always an adventure...like 'living on the edge' most times. A genius & very complex guy. We had lots of 'hollering sessions' to be sure! His motivational 'cussing out' got reaction...pretty fiery stuff!
     He taught me so much...he gave me so much more...like belief in myself. His loyalty to 'his guys' was above reproach. Many times you would get credit for carrying out one of his ideas as if it were your own. I know of
very few who would do that! We all know that his own career may have suffered a bit because of these things too. My successful working career owes so much to 'Charlie'. He set the tone. I will always love him for that & much more.







Text Box: He taught me so much...he gave me so much more...like belief in myself. His loyalty to 'his guys' was above reproach. Many times you would get credit for carrying out one of his ideas as if it were your own. I know of very few who would do that! We all know that his own career may have suffered abit because of these things too. My successful working career owes so much to 'Charlie'. He set the tone. I will always love him for that & much more.

Text Box:  

Text Box: I won't forget the softness too of his later years...of getting to know the family through my music...your Mom taping all my stuff...enjoying dinners with your Grandparents you & Chuck...remember that BIG poster of me that Andre hated?! You guys made me feel like a 'Star'!

Text Box:  

Text Box: I really don't know much about life or death anymore, the older I get the more doubts and questions I have. I've had way too many life altering events knock the pins out from under me. But one thing I do know is we only have today, right now and I just had to write this to tell you how I feel and how much you have all meant to me thru these years. Sorry, just pretty emotional stuff & it's hard to see thru the tears.

Text Box:  

Text Box: Love Always,

Text Box: Dave


Text Box:         As always, feel free to drop by 
                      my “space” at

     Since the heat of summer is the season during which more people (in the Northern Hemisphere at least!) take vacations than any other, it therefore seems a most appropriate time to present this (humorous?) essay on one means many will use (in attempting*^&*#*) to reach their destinations...


     To begin, I have to explain that neither I nor my husband is a very big fan of flying. Yes, I've heard all the statistics regarding its being among the safest forms of travel, and yes, I appreciate the fact that the time required to reach…say, Atlanta…by car can be reduced by about 11 hours or so by air, still there's something about the idea of what basically constitutes an oversized tin can hurtling through the clouds at blinding speed against which my mind inexplicably rebels. I don't know -- maybe, despite being perfectly aware of the laws of physics and the advanced technology that allow this to take place, still the nature I proudly profess all over my website to be ruled by "insanity" is, in fact, far more logical than I'm sometimes willing to admit. In other words, experience tells me that despite the very real possibility of a fatality occurring on the road, cars can frequently be involved in "fender benders" with no real harm coming to their occupants. Should one of those oversized tin cans, by contrast -- tin cans filled to a startling capacity with jet fuel, no less… and a tin can in which I happen to be traveling -- for whatever reason fall out of the sky… Well, let's just say that odds are the result ain't gonna be pretty. And, when so faced with thoughts of 11 hours extra travel time versus a speeded-up eternity, somehow 11 hours extra travel time starts to sound like a really good deal.
     Okay, maybe I
am crazy. But that's still a separate issue.
     I've read there's a chemical in the body that controls what's described as a "fight or flight" mechanism. Based on the preceding explanation, it’s arguable that my system has become slightly imbalanced and converted mine to a "fright of flight" mechanism instead. Be that as it may, this "ailment" has never really posed a serious problem in my life (nor has his similar "dysfunction" posed one for my husband) until about three years ago when a good friend of ours became a pilot for a major airline. And, of course, shortly thereafter -- in addition to continually repeating ad nauseam (not at all unlike an oversized parrot, it seemed to me) those statistics about the safety of air travel -- wouldn't you know he promptly started in on how we could now come visit him (in Atlanta) any time at virtually no cost using "buddy passes" with which he, as an airline employee, would be supplied. "Buddy passes". Ah yes, what a "buddy" he was indeed.
     Well, to make a long story short, we staved off his advances regarding use of this tremendous "privilege" for over two years, and actually thought the matter we'd basically ignored would eventually go away when last winter our friend appeared on our doorstep for a three-day stay. We were thrilled -- truly. We've always very much enjoyed each other's company and by this late date felt certain we'd eluded danger for so long, there was no way it would catch us now. Until that is, just before leaving to head back for Atlanta, our friend rummaged through his bag to emerge with a sly smile and these two rather scary-looking cards. He said they were those "wonderful" things called "buddy passes" in real-life tangible form. We, on the other hand, saw them as a new variation on the "dead man's hand". Reluctant to even touch such dreaded objects, we nonchalantly suggested he leave them on the kitchen table. He (far too) cheerily did so, reminding us on his way out that they would expire in Oct. so we'd need to use them before that. Fat chance.
     Sometimes it's really aggravating when you find you're a better person in some ways than you want to be. You know, like you really want to just be a self-oriented soul bent on preserving your beloved little quirk of viewing the entire planet as a no-fly-zone, but somehow the thought of disappointing a friend unwittingly chips away at your resolve until before you know it you're on the phone with him in August attempting to inquire how these "buddy passes" work exactly… just in case, you should….no promises, mind you…but theoretically if one were to…at least consider….possibly using them to (gulp)
fly to…well, let's say…Atlanta.
     Unfortunately, having opened the door of possibility that far, seemingly of its own accord it was soon flung wide, and we found ourselves faced with -- short of death, anyway -- no way out of making this fateful trip.. Ironically, the problem was I felt sure death would be the result; it was merely the order of events that would be reversed.
     As I've said before, sometimes I hate being right. By the same token, however, that means sometimes it's fantastic to be wrong. And the fact that you're reading the tale of this entire (mis)adventure proves that I might have been just, well, a wee, tiny, miniscule fraction of a marginal bit off-course in my assessment of air travel. But don't let that fool you. I've heard it said one definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior while expecting different results. And since I have no doubt the next time I'm sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane I'll be every bit as convinced that death is imminent as I was on that first night, clearly I
am crazy. But that's still a separate issue.
     Anyway, I would guess that if someone who knows me well were asked what is the greatest (at least, apparent) paradox in my character, he would say that of faith versus common sense. For, in truth, the bulk of my "insanity" (I'm talking about the artistic variety now, not the "real" variety described above as it pertains to flying -- and, hey, we all know that's not insanity anyway…it's just plain
fear) is really a simple matter of believing that more is possible than most people realize, that it's intangibles of beauty and greatness that add up to true success, that good is stronger than evil, that ultimately justice will prevail, etc. That's faith. And I'm not talking about just hoping that they might; I'm talking about really believing that they will. I mean, that's the whole difference between hope and faith, you know? We all hear the words faith and hope in religious services or on a warm, fuzzy family TV drama and throw them in one pot. But they're not at all the same.
     Hope is the first step toward faith, but it isn't faith itself. Hope is merely opening oneself to the possibility that something less than concrete
might be obtained. Faith by contrast is the absolute belief that it will…i.e. I hope the plane on which I'm traveling stays in the air for the duration of the scheduled flight. The pilot and flight attendants who view the same plane as their everyday workplace have complete faith that it will do so. There's a difference.
     By the same token, I tend to proceed from my faith-centered life philosophy in a logical way…by which I mean, I use my God-given common sense to take what I perceive as logical steps to proceed through life in the direction of my goals. It's merely the goals and/or things on which I place extreme importance in life that many of the more "sane" (or more cynical, less faith-driven) inhabitants of the world question as logical pursuits.
     In any case, clearly sometimes both hope and faith do prove fully justified. For, we and all the other passengers with whom we traveled indeed safely made it to Atlanta and back again to tell the tale. And, based on that I must confess I'm encouraged to learn that the rest of the world may itself be a little more "insane" than they care to admit…at least in their own way. Be that as it may, I still feel compelled to remind you of the aforementioned form of insanity that repeats the same behavior expecting different results. Because where flying is concerned, you can bet I'm certifiable…as opposed to our friend in Atlanta who's well, just plain unrelenting.
     Late last week the phone rang. It was him. And, what do you suppose were the first words out of his mouth? "I just got the new year's supply of buddy passes. When are you coming down?"
     I tried to swallow the lump of panic rising from the images conjured by that last phrase, but didn't bother telling him how much I resented his particular choice of words. In the face of his aviational faith, it just didn't seem a very logical response.
     "I'm thinking after Christmas sometime," I answered his unintended double entendre, adding one of my own to clarify.
     "Or, I should say… I hope.”

Temporary Insanity








The Novelist


This morning I arose, quickly put on my

And decided it was time to at last help try
     and solve

All the problems of the world -- or if not,
     again begin

On that book I want to write, one to surely
     score a win

Of a Pulitzer perhaps, or an Edgar or a White

Only wish the dialogue didn’t sound like
     such a fright…

Ah, well, just before I do, I’ll print out that

For that course I plan to take, the one on
     mental motivation.

Oh, but now it’s nearly noon, I should really
     grab a bite;

When I come back after lunch I will try again
     to write.

Has it really been 3 hours since I left – how
     time does fly!

But, of course, I couldn’t come back without
     first a quick swing by

The nearest Borders to seek out that tape on
     publishing a book –

Why on earth slave over work that might not
     even get one look?

Can’t believe it’s 9 already; it’s time for my
     favorite show!

And, of course, right after that the news,
     then off to bed I go.

We creative types, you understand, must
     surely get our rest,

To keep our brain cells fresh, our typing fin-
     gers at their best.

How apropos the words, “so much to do, so
     little time”!

Such a shame somebody else actually beat
     me to that line!

But, no matter, I’ve no doubt that I’ll soon
     think up one better;

Only first I have to do the wash, of course,
     and mail that letter…

From BlueCat Screenplay Competition:

“The basic premise - a rockstar who falls for a “regular” woman - is a good one and, although it is reminiscent of other stories, the author manages to give this script a fresh feel. I really like how Josh is not a rock cliche - he even goes so far as to state this during the story. The fact that Josh is not a rock cliche really makes him likable and avoids all sorts of potential pitfalls for this type of story.
     The relationship between the bandmates [is] well written. It really felt like these were real people who had been in a band together for years. There is a great cut on page five where Sam faints after seeing Josh - the author takes us right to the climax of that scene and then snatches it away leaving this sense of wanting more.
     I [also] really like the theme of falling and how the author integrated it into this story in both a literal and philosophical sense. There is the falling in love, the literal falling down and then the use of “fall” as a kind of overarching symbol for a loss of control and taking chances or handing oneself over to fate. Overall this [is] an intelligent script… strong moments and a premise with a lot of potential.”







   New Praise For  The Screenplay

   Taking The Fall  by Mildred Scott

Text Box: An Added Raving of a Mad Woman…
      Laura Lippman’s latest Tess Monaghan mystery, No Good Deeds, is now available...go to your local bookstore or www.lauralippman.com for more details.
At last — I can read her prior book, To The Power of Three!!! (NOTE:  See last Dec’s Mil Mania lest that statement sound even crazier than you’d expect from an artistinsane!)

The June issue’s promise has been fulfilled...a new page of fashions by “ratwear” designer, Marna!  Click the photo below or go to www.artistinsane.com/pet_peeves_pics_7-06.htm







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