February 22, 2005
Planting Seeds…

Projects proliferate. In January, we launched the Hitchhikers’ Cabaret Cauldron, a monthly open performance circle in Sebastopol, with a featured artist each month, a bunch of open-mike sign-ups, and audience participation. We aimed for the group energy of a good ritual, with the celebratory generosity of a living-room salon, and I think we achieved a lot of that. About sixty people at the premiere, with very panicked preparations on our part, despite lots of volunteer help, and a lot of enthusiasm. Elizabeth and I co-hosted, and along with cohorts Kym Trippsmith and Bob Engel did a new comedy piece, “Seeds,” a dialogue between a Naked Lady lily, a marijuana plant, and a genetically engineered soybean.

And further workshops on the play we premiere in May at Foothill Theatre in Nevada City, Long Shadow based on a local murder in 1944. Now just finishing the fourth draft and very eager to move into rehearsal in April. Meantime, other writing projects are moving forward slowly. A rewrite on Drake’s Drum, which we’re producing in Sebastopol this September with Sonoma County Repertory. A screenplay version of our play Tapdancer, which we finished in January and which is now making the rounds–a long shot, but worth taking. The first rough notes on a new piece–be it play or novel or screenplay I have no idea yet–about space aliens, which means immersing myself uncontrollably in the huge UFO literature.

And we’ve started a non-fiction book, the working title of which is ”Co-Creation”. It’s a very daunting task, starting with our meeting in 1960 and spanning the 44+ years of our connection as lovers, mates, co-workers, parents–all that. The intent is to be both inspirational and dead honest–two features that rarely go together. There’s not a huge likelihood of finding a publisher, as we’re not well known as artists, and we don’t have the psychotherapeutic credentials to write a how-to-be-married book. But we’ll do what we can, and in the meantime it’s a consuming challenge for us personally to revisit a lifetime together.

One product of that lifetime is our daughter Johanna, who visited in January from Tuscany, where’s she’s lived the past six years. Now working as a translator, she had to spend a couple of nights of her week and a half in the Bay Area finishing undone projects, but it was glorious to have the family together–her brother Eli now lives in San Francisco. Much of their early growing up was on tour in the back of a Dodge maxi-van (check our Chronicle for the bird’s-eye view), and in that kind of circumstance you either grow up loving each other a lot or hating each other with a passion. We lucked out on that score.

Still driving a Dodge maxi-van, in fact, though several vehicles down the assembly line. And fortunately we’ve logged well over a million miles without an accident other than backing our behemoth into someone’s bumper in a parking lot. Which isn’t really enough of a psychological shield to prevent me starting to get very nervous behind the wheel as I continue to do interviews for an upcoming radio feature on [[HHradio]] on … yes, car crashes. About a dozen interviews so far, with many more to go, about that moment of impact that changed lives significantly. I never have liked driving, and now I’m liking it less. But the program will be great.