Archive for Writing Posts

Shaping Our Lives – Lessons Learned from Eyebrows & Play Scripts

 

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”

― Joshua Becker

What do eyebrows have to do with a play script…and more importantly, what do they have to do with you?

I was looking in the mirror the other day and it occurred to me (not for the first time) that I scarcely have any eyebrows left.

I’m not the only who has noticed this. In the summer, a friend (after one too many drinks, mind you) commented that I looked “rather like an egg.” With such candid friends, who need adversaries?

Anyhoo…last week I paid a visit to my hairdresser and she offered to wax my brows.

“NO!” I cried. “I have nothing left to wax. I already look like an EGG!”

“Trust me,” she said.

So I did. A few strips and several plucks later, she leaned back from her handiwork and smiled. “Voila!”

I looked in the mirror and low and behold, I had eyebrows again.

By removing the “peach fuzz” (her words not mine; 14-year-old boys have peach fuzz, not 50-year-old women) from around the actual brow, she’d given shape and clarity to my eyebrows. They were still thin but at least you could SEE them.

Maryanne in Saviour play workshop, Jan 2019

Fast forward a couple of days and I found myself in yet another workshopping of my play script, Saviour, throught the Alberta Playwrights Network. The last time my Big Fat Greek Play Script had been workshopped by professional actors, it was a whopping 143 pages. That bad boy sized script would translate to more than two and a half hours performance-time.

Ugh.

This time around, however, I was heading into the workshop with a 119-page script…better but it still needed a good trim. My goal is to get the script to about 100 pages (which would translate to approximately one hour and forty-five minutes performance time).

Thankfully, this workshop was only 3 hours – versus the 8-hour workshop I had in 2017. This meant that after the actors had read the script out loud, there was limited time left for discussion. So what little discussion we had was very focused and succinct…and therefore extremely helpful to me, the playwright.

L to R: Col Cseke, Kathryn Kerbes & Trevor Rueger in Saviour workshop at APN, Jan 2019

 

Kathryn Kerbes reading the part of Virginia Woolf

 

L to R: Trevor Rueger & Val Lieske reading Saviour at APN, Jan 2019

I left the workshop with a very clear idea of what had to be cut and what sections needed clarification. I went home and, while it was still fresh in my mind, immediately made the rough changes on the actual printed copy of the script. The next morning, I sat down at my computer and started making the changes in the word doc.

And voila! My Pleasantly Plump Play began to shrink even further…and low and behold, the essence of the play emerged.

Just like the brow trimming, it was only by removing the extraneous bits in my script (that I had been unable to see) that my play began to take shape.

My challenge to you (and me) for 2019

What extraneous bits could you trim from your life? Are there any habits, behaviours, attitudes, beliefs, thought-patterns, relationships or activities that you could delete (or at least cut back on) that might help give you more clarity about your purpose?

Just as it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees (or the eyebrows for the peach fuzz), so too can it be difficult to live up to our potential when we are being pulled in a dozen different directions…many of which are likely NOT helping get us where we want to go.

If the shape of your life is not quite as you’d like it, I challenge you to trim a component (or two) that is no longer serving you. And I shall do the same 😊

Related blog by Maryanne

Perilous Playwriting – Let’s Air Some Dirty Laundry Shall We? 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Beauty, Creativity, Inspiration, Travel, Writing by Maryanne | October 10, 2018 | 2 Comments

Showing Up & Tuning In to Sedona Magic

 

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

You don’t need to be surrounded by beauty in order to tap into your creativity…but it doesn’t hurt.

This past week, I was very fortunate to be able to return to Sedona, Arizona to focus on a single writing project for an entire week. No e-mail, no social media, no internet, no cell phone service. No people…not even a dog 🙁

All I did was write, hike, think, reflect, eat, sleep and write some more. It was a powerful and productive week…but not for the faint of heart. Sedona is a sacred center known for it’s vortexes – swirling centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration.

In my experience, Sedona doesn’t just inspire creativity, it also seems to open up a pathway to…some sort of source, if you will.

Whether I’m sitting quietly with my morning coffee, in the midst of writing a scene, mindfully putting one foot in the front of the other on the trail, or listening to music in the evening, the answers and insights – personal and professional – bubble to the surface, slowly but surely.

The key word, I suspect, is SLOW. Regardless of where we are (geographically or our stage of life) I think we need to slow down enough to be able to interpret what the universe – and/or the soft voice of our own soul – may be trying to tell us. And we may not always like what we hear.

When I was in Sedona (for the first time) seven months ago, I made a promise to myself to return again soon to work on a specific project…a very spiritual one, to say the least.

So this past week, I did just that and boy oh boy, did the magic happen!

“Show up, show up, show up, and after awhile, the muse shows up too.”

– Isabel Allende

Here are some more shots of stunning Sedona:

Check out that massive sink hole!

Evening light on the mountains behind my casita

 

MA & Serena in Flagstaff

On my last night, I went to Flagstaff (an hour north of Sedona) to have dinner with Serena, a student at Northern Arizona University. Serena is the great great granddaughter of Nell Shipman, the silent screen star featured in my God’s Country screenplay. (Hint: this is also a clue to the geographical location I will be blogging about next!)

Take care and have a magically mindful week 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

 

A Widow’s Awakening Novel is Now Available!

 

“I fear acceptance of his death because I know that will lead to apathy. Somehow positive change has to come out of this.”

– Maryanne Pope, A Widow’s Awakening

100% of proceeds from first 1000 copies sold goes to JPMF

On September 29th, 2000, Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service fell to his death during the investigation of a break and enter complaint at a warehouse. John was searching the mezzanine level when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below and died of brain injuries.

There was no safety railing in place to warn him – or anyone else – of the danger. There ended up being no intruder in the building; it was a false alarm.

John was 32. We both were. So began my journey as a young widow.

About the JPMF

Shortly after John’s death, several of his police recruit classmates started the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF). 18 years later the JPMF is still going strong. The Fund is a registered Canadian charity that raises public awareness about why and how to ensure workplaces are safe for everyone, including emergency responders.

For further information and/or to view the JPMF’s safety videos and public service announcements, please visit the JPMF website.

Since John’s death in 2000, thousands and thousands of people have died at work or as the result of an occupational-related illness. Thousands more have been seriously impacted by life-altering injuries.

About A Widow’s Awakening

September 29th, 2000 was the worst day of my life…and to be perfectly honest, things got a lot worse before they began to get better. When John died, I lost my husband, best friend, lover, soul mate and my biggest fan. I was beyond devastated; something deep inside me had broken and I didn’t know how to fix it.

A Widow’s Awakening captures the tumultuous first year of my grief. It is a candid story about my search to find meaning in John’s death while learning how to accept the unacceptable and transform loss into positive change – both through the workplace safety educational initiatives of the JPMF as well as through my own life and my writing.

To become a writer was my life long dream. John’s dream had been to become a police officer. Paradoxically, his line of duty death gave me the financial freedom to write…and the kick in the ass I needed to do the work.

A bit of background about the book

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may be aware that A Widow’s Awakening was originally self-published as a creative non-fiction book in 2008. Over the next decade, it sold 2000 copies. In 2017, the publisher BHC Press picked it up for publication and is releasing it on September 13th, 2018 as a fictional novel based on a true story.

The novel is very similar in style and content to the creative non-fiction edition. There have been a few editorial changes plus a new afterword and, of course, a beautiful new cover!

To order the book

A Widow’s Awakening is available in print (softcover) and as an e-book. For a list of on-line retailers where the book is available, please visit the A Widow’s Awakening page at BHC Press.

If you would like to purchase a signed copy of the print book ($19.95 plus $5 shipping), you can order it through the Pink Gazelle store or the JPMF storeAll proceeds from the first 1000 copies sold goes to JPMF.

What readers are saying

Over the years, I am honoured to have heard back from dozens of readers with their thoughts on the book. Please click here to read some of the testimonials.

Here are a few reviews from the advance reading copy of the novel:

“As a safety professional and a Threads of Life volunteer, I recommend reading “A Widow’s Awakening.” It provides a vivid, heartbreaking reality of the consequences of an unsafe workplace and the personal costs of a workplace fatality. It brings home the message that we must ensure our workplaces are safe, not only for the workers, managers and public on a daily basis but also the Emergency First Responders who may be called there to help. One life lost is one too many.” 

– Laura Synyard

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening, is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency.  With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you.” 

– Sharon Ehlers, Grief Reiki

“A Widow’s Awakening expresses the gripping pain of losing someone you love, tragically and unexpectedly. Yes, it’s a novel….but the candid truth of this widow’s suffering is real. It’s Maryanne’s personal story, but it’s more than her story. It’s for anyone who has suffered a tragic loss…she captures the essence of a grieving soul. In a strange way you may feel relief because you’ve had some of those same feelings as she did that others often judge. You realize you are not alone.”

– Robin Chodak, Grief Coach

For further information

For further details about the book, including a list of niche markets, please visit the A Widow’s Awakening home page on the Pink Gazelle site.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.