It's been a busy month. I've been to an Arvon writing course, sold plays, directed the play (ongoing) torn my hair out at things going wrong, son had major surgery, grandson started school, wrote a one act play that I didn't mean to write, and now it's carnival day.
Let's take those one at a time. Arvon is a writing course. You go for a week, stay at one of their centres, taught by successful writers and industry insiders, and get to make lots of new friends. I went to Yorkshire to learn about plays. Timothy Sheader was supposed to teach us but had a minor heart attack and couldn't come. Get better soon, Tim.
The other teacher was Rebecca Lenkiewics, and she was joined by Chris Thorpe. They were wonderful, very generous and I learned a lot. Can't wait till the chance to go on another course. Thoroughly recommended.
When I got back, I had a message from Limelight Scripts. I'd sent him five of my plays before I went away. He is going to publish four of them. That's not a bad average, is it? And it isn't every day you can say I sold four plays in one go. I was on air.
The summer has been a nightmare for directing. What with actors on holiday, and others with personal crises having to pull out - I've torn out my hair in clumps. But I think we now have the cast we need and the cast we should have. Please God. I'm down to the roots. Please pray for this project.
My son, aged 20, had his shoulder reconstructed. I know he is going to be off work for about three months, and deep down he knows it too, but he plays this little game where he says he's only off for a couple of weeks. At 20, they think they're indestructible. He sends me grey.
My four year old grandson informs me he's a big boy now, because he started big school. So far, he loves it. (It's only been three days.) He plays in the playground and looks at books, apparently. He has school dinners and wears his uniform proudly... long may it continue. I got a bit choked, seeing him in his uniform. It only seems five minutes since he was born. Now he's nearly five and out in the big wide world.
One act play: I had an idea to write a series of sketches to put together for an evening's entertainment as part of our Church evangelical mission in November 2008. The idea was to write a piece about Jesus told from a witness point of view. A fun evening, with a message.
The first two sketches seemed to be something else. So I went with it. Within a week, I had the first draft of a one act play tentatively entitled "Beyond Redemption?" It's the story of Jacob, a temple guard whose life is made difficult by the antics of one maverick preacher from Galilee. Jacob's home is destroyed, his family compromised, his promotion prospects damaged. Then he is detailed to arrest the preacher. His frustration boils over and for the first time in his life, he abuses a prisoner. Does that put him beyond redemption?
I showed it to Chris Thorpe and got some very positive feedback on the writing. A lady in Australia who read and critted it for me asked about her church group staging it. And I am hoping our Vicar will like it enough to put it into the Mission.
And now it's Carnival day. Carnivals in Sussex are something else. There is the day time stuff for the kiddies, of course, but the real procession starts at 7.15pm when we set off to march round Crowborough. Marching bands, floats on lorries, carnival princesses - walking tableaux and carnival societies from all the towns around about will go through the town carrying flaming torches which will be thrown on the huge bonfire about 10.30pm when we get to the end of the march. Then there's a firework display and those who are really up for it can stay to the fun fair. Lot of sore heads tomorrow.
Our drama group is walking round, advertising the play which comes up in October. Wish us luck.