NANOWRIMO: National Novel Writing Month

Update: As of Tuesday Nov 25th, I have over 49,190 new words written – (about 277 typewritten double spaced pages)

I signed up at www.nanowrimo.org. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth (NANOWRIMO.)

Our goal is to write a 50,000 word novel (about 150 single spaced pages) in one month (November.)

I started on Halloween night (October 31st midnight) and will stop at midnight the day before Thanksgiving.

So every day, for 27 days, I need to write 1850 words. I predict it will consume between 4 to 5 hours per day.

The title of the novel will be a A Wandering Heart.

I currently have a one page synopsis (see below) and twelve page outline of the eleven chapters in hand.

I plan to take the unedited novel with me to Palm Springs in December and celebrate the 7th anniversary of my open heart surgery (November 9, 2007 at noon.)

The photos below were taken at Walden Pond.

The protagonist’s name in my novel will be Walden.

Brief Synopsis of A Wandering Heart

A boy who goes from age six to seventy-six fails to follow his better instincts and as a consequence, is often ill-equipped to deal with most of life’s toughest challenges. In the end, a long held dream becomes a sweet reality and a major childhood scar is healed, just in the nick of time.

The dream for an emotional and physical bond lies secret and dormant, out of societal condemnation, insecurity and fear. The scar, a wounding result of the absence of affection, is compounded by a sudden and unexplained loss.

Difficult life lessons bring him a measure of inner peace and the opportunity to make a difference in several people’s lives…

It is unwise to wander too far from the good voices of your heart. Following your true instincts will rarely lead you astray. Trying to live up to another’s expectations only delays your dreams and injures your character.

Loss can indeed be dealt with, but only gradually and over time. Openness and honesty are critical to genuine connection and forgiveness is required to move on from hurt and neglect. Lessons learned late are still valuable. Answers are not always necessary. It’s never too late to change yourself.

Everyone’s life is more complicated than we knoweven our own.

A Wandering Heart

A work in progress

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Original location of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond

2010-05-02 15.17.07

A replica of Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden Pond

Barbra Streisand Songbook

I attended a performance by Ann Hampton Callaway with the Oregon Symphony conducted by Jeff Tyzik at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland Oregon at 3 p.m. October 19, 2014. It was a delightful trip down memory lane to be able to listen to a live performance of some of my favorite Streisand music by an incredible artist. I especially enjoyed her singing of: “The Way We Were,” ” People,” “At the Same Time,” Evergreen,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “I’ve Dreamed of You.”

A quote from the website www.annhamptoncallaway.com states:

“Ann Hampton Callaway’s Streisand Songbook evening is a perfect convergence of wonderful things: iconic songs associated with one of the best-loved singers of our time, beautiful orchestrations, and – of course – the gorgeous voice and unmatched musical intelligence of Ann Hampton Callaway.”
-Keith Lockhart, The Boston Pops

From Wikipedia.org:

“Ann Hampton Callaway (born May 30, 1958) is a multiplatinum-selling singer, composer, lyricist, pianist, and actress. She is best known for writing and singing the theme to the TV series The Nanny, writing songs for Barbra Streisand and starring in the Broadway musical Swing!.” and

“Callaway composed over 250 songs for television, Broadway, off-Broadway and several of today’s leading interpreters of songs. Her music and lyrics have been performed and recorded by Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Michael Feinstein, Blossom Dearie, Peter Nero, Karrin Allyson, Donna McKechnie, Harvey Fierstein, Lillias White, Barbara Carrol, Amanda McBroom, Liz Callaway and Carole King. She composed “At the Same Time” for Barbra Streisand and that recording, Higher Ground, debuted nationally at #1, giving Ann her first of three platinum records. Ms. Streisand asked Ann to write lyrics to a Rolf Lovland melody which she entitled “I’ve Dreamed of You” which Ms. Streisand sang to James Brolin at their wedding. The song was later recorded on her CD, “A Love Like Ours”, released as a single and selected for the album,The Essential Barbra Streisand. Ms. Streisand performed both of these songs on her live double CD, Timeless. Ms. Streisand later chose Ann’s song “A Christmas Lullaby” for her holiday CD, Christmas Memories.”

Below are the songs listed in the program.

A NORMAN LEYDEN CELEBRATION
PORTER Begin the Beguine
MILLER Moonlight Serenade
MEACHAM American Patrol
GOLDSTEIN Come Rain Or Come Shine
SEBESKY A Sleepin’ Bee
WALDEN Cry Me A River
CALLAWAY/MAYS A Cockeyed Optimist
MOUNSEY At the Same Time
WALDEN Over the Rainbow
EVERLY Don’t Rain On My Parade

INTERMISSION

SHIRE Starting Here, Starting Now
ROSS/LUBBOCK The Way We Were
SEBESKY Evergreen
TUNICK People/Being Alive
NEWSOM/BARTON Lover Come Back To Me
FARBER I’ve Dreamed of You
Streisandesque Improv
PURCELL A Piece of Sky
SEBESKY On A Clear Day/Happy Days

 

50 Years of Student Success: Lane Community College

I attended the celebration of fifty years of service to the community by Lane Community College in Eugene Oregon on October 15, 2014.

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I had the pleasure of teaching at LCC part-time for about five years in their Mathematics department. It was a joy being a member of the very caring faculty. Lane students are a highly motivated lot, making teaching at Lane a real pleasure.

On October 19, 1964 the voters in a 5 to 1 margin founded Lane Community College.

On September 24th of this year Lane Community College was selected as one of 16 community colleges for the 2014 cohort of Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges. Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national non-profit which helps low-come and students of color to stay in school to earn a college certificate or degree.

Please see LCC’s anniversary website at https://www.lanecc.edu/50

In addition to others, speakers at the celebration included Mary Spilde (President of LCC for the last 14 years), Doctor John Kitzhaber (Three term and current Governor of Oregon) and U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (Longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon history.)

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Governor Kitzahaber

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President Mary Spilde introducing “Ty.”

 

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U.S. Congressperson Peter De Fazio (attended TUFTS University while I was there.)

 

 

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Wild turkeys on campus

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Labyrinth on campus (walked many times before and after my open heart surgery)

Greg Louganis visits the Rose City

A packed Cinema 21 theatre in Portland Oregon watched an 86 minute documentary (Back on Board) about Greg Louganis’s incredible life and listened to him answer questions from the audience. It was the opening of the 2014 Queer Film Festival.

The festival’s brochure states: “Back on Board: Greg Louganis is an intimate portrait of the public triumphs and private struggles of trailblazing openly gay athlete Greg Louganis.”

Greg is a four time Olympic champion, often acclaimed the greatest diver in history. He is the only male to take the 3m and 10m diving events in consecutive Olympic events. He accomplished this in the 1984 and the 1988 Olympics. He has a total of five Olympic medals, five world championship titles and 47 national titles.

His autobiography spent five weeks on the New York Times’ best seller list. It is titled: “Breaking the Surface.

He came out as a gay man early on. He shared publicly his HIV status.

He has cemented his place in sports history, gay history and HIV history.

I took a few notes (these may not be exact quotes) of what he shared in his talk with the audience after the film:

  • His business card reads: Peak Performance is Meditation in Motion.
  • It’s not a matter of perfection; it’s a matter of making the least mistakes.
  • Making the film was an amazing journey.
  • Robin Williams is still teaching in his death.
  • By sharing your weaknesses you are actually showing your strengths.
  • Other’s should never underestimate an act of rudeness because one never know how far it will reach.
  • Use the energy of competition as inspiration
  • Diving should be poetry.

The film director is Cheryl Furjanic. She was also in attendance and spoke to the audience about the importance of the film reaching a wide audience.

I encourage everyone to see the film. It is inspirational beyond expectation.

In the meantime, please visit www.pdxqueerfilm.com and support Cinema 21 in Portland Oregon by visiting: www.cinema21.com/kickstarter

Cinema 21 Theatre in Portland Oregon

Cinema 21 Theatre in Portland Oregon

Itzhak Perlman Visits Eugene Oregon

The virtuoso of the violin, Itzhak Perlman, performed with the Eugene Symphony Sunday night September 28, 2014.

The first half of the program Danial Rachev conducted the orchestra in the performance of three works:

  • Beethoven’s Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
  • Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
  • Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy

What a beautiful threesome! Loved them all. Romeo and Juliet has been one of my life-long favorites.

To quote the program notes: “the Overture-Fantasy features three main themes, representing Friar Laurence, the struggle between the Montagues and the Capulets, and Romeo and Juliet’s love.”

After the intermission the guest artist Itzhak Perlman performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.61

“Magical!”

 

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Itzhak Perlman was born in Israel in 1945. Over the his lifetime he has been granted many awards including: a Kennedy Center Honor in 2003, four Emmy awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008,  the Medal of Liberty in 1986, The National Medal of Arts in 2000, a Juilliard Centennial Medal in 2005  and many honorary degrees including ones from Juilliard, Harvard, Yale and Brandeis.

I have been a symphony season subscriber for over a dozen years and tonight’s program was the highlight of my Eugene symphony experience.

AIDS Walk: Vancouver BC Canada 2014

vancouver aids walk

I attended the 6.75 kilometer 29th annual AIDS Walk in Vancouver BC Canada on Sunday September 21st. Walkers and volunteers gathered on the lawn facing English Bay at 10 a.m. It was a beautiful sunny and clear autumn morning. The walk began shortly entertainment at about 11:30 a.m. The crowd of young and old sauntered along the bay’s seawall, into Stanley Park and then encircled the Lost Lagoon before returning by 1 p.m. back at Sunset Beach. Along the walk, volunteers supplied walkers with water and encouragement, the Rainbow Concert Band played and The Vancouver Men’s Chorus sang as we passed by the AIDS Memorial wall.

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For more information about the Vancouver British Columbia’s AIDS Memorial,

Please see http://www.aidsmemorial.info/memorial/id=24/vancouver_aids_memorial.html

A beautiful quote of George Santayana is engraved on the wall; it reads:

“With you a part of me hath passed away;

For in the peopled forest of my mind

A tree made leafless by this wintry wind

Shall never don again its green array.

Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,

Have something of their friendliness resigned;

Another, if I would, I could not find,

And I am grown much older in a day.

But yet I treasure in my memory

Your gift of charity, your mellow ease,

And the dear honour of your amity;

For these once mine, my life is rich with these.

And I scarce know which part may greater be,–

What I keep of you, or you rob of me.”

Please see http://www.aidswalkvancouver.ca

Vancouver Men’s Chorus next to the AIDS Memorial Wall during AIDS Walk 2014

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Vancouver’s Rainbow Concert Band plays for walkers along the route.

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