• Vignettes

    Father Christmas South African Style

    Growing up in South Africa we didn’t have Santa. We had Father Christmas who still pops in to see us every year if we’re lucky ;o) Much like the U.S.A., South Africa is a melting pot of immigrants. The only real natives of South Africa are the San or Bushman people, so over the years we South Africans have merged traditions with those around us. ‘Monkey see, monkey do’, has made us marvelously adaptable. To that point, when we lived in South West Africa (before it was Namibia) there wasn’t a German person in our broadest circle, but my family adopted the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas eve from…

  • Vignettes

    Happy 2020!

    I know, I know, everyone says it, I sing it “…If I die younnng…” and “Liiiiiiive like you are dying…” and guess what? They’re just words that are incredibly easy to say. Struggling to find something interesting to share with my friends after our quiet holidays, this morning on the loo (my only place for quiet contemplation) I read the words “You may die today”. I had a genuine “Ahaaaa” moment. In this world of worry, I’m guilty as hell and a step away from the gallows (too much Netflix…Wait! That’s an oxymoron!) I’m always looking forward to “my next closing” or “when my books become movies or series” or…

  • Vignettes,  Zebra

    Thanks, Gratitude And A Zebra

    Thanksgiving Day has come and gone but I’ve promised myself to at least strive to be thankful 365 days a year. We forget sometimes – when our dog’s under the weather and our clients’ roof leaks before closing and our sister’s on our case and our crown (as in tooth not tiara) popped off eating a brownie…WAIT! I can say “Thank you for rescuing my expensive crown before it disappeared down my gullet.” And how about “Thank you for sparing me the extra calories by doing the crown thing and making me forget how good the chewy brownies were.”  I reckon as long as we’re saying “Thank you” somebody up…

  • Vignettes

    London With My Besties

    We three Besties, two from South Africa and I from sunny FLA, arrived at last, in London. We’d anticipated this coming together for more than a year. Our flat in the heart of Shepherds Bush, was advertised as an “elegant one bedroom apartment.” It was cuteish, clean, and functional – for tiny people. Boy! One skilled videographer used his super-duper-wide-angle lens effectively! My friends – both organized sorts – chose corners for their stuff and stayed within that radius, while my always-open suitcase looked like a giant disemboweled rag doll spewing clothes.  Girl-stuff, like hot lava, spread from window to front door. Ridiculously rabid radiator heat forced us to keep…

  • Vignettes

    Teachers, Blows & Migraines!

    Teachers and nurses get the short end of the pointer/thermometer. Patience is their middle name. Nurturers of mind and body, they perform at optimum in spite of the abuse they take from kids, patients, headmasters, doctors, parents, and family members. They could never be paid what they’re truly worth. I know two great teachers – the youngest is my Pretty who spawned this vignette. “Pretty” is my name for the daughter of our Bestie, Kitty. A divine young woman, Pretty shines her light on all of us lucky enough to catch a ride on her shimmering wake. She lavishes unconditional love, supreme kindness, gentle guidance, and her intuitive essence onto…

  • Vignettes

    UN-Fortune-Ate Encounter

    Before marriage, my friends and I were ravenous for a peep into our futures. If I’d saved all the money I spent on fortune tellers over the years, I’d live in a home directly on the ocean. In Malibu. Though we promised never to take our visits too seriously, most of the bad stuff lingered – like when our friend Kitty was told her brother would die “shortly.” Terrifying right? Fortunately he’s reached a ripe old age. Phew! We three friends can relax after 4.2 decades! Tea leaves and Tarot cards were our staple. The general consensus from a multitude of mediums was I would travel the world, marry a…

  • Vignettes

    Music, Milk Bottles & Mayhem!

    I grew up in a musical family. My mother occasionally taught syncopation, my father played the harmonica like James Cotton. Our house was filled with everything from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to honky tonk. When they weren’t practicing, jamming, or having sing-songs with their friends, they danced to tunes emitting loudly from the record player. There was something about French in my house. Whenever “La Vie en Rose” played on the radio, my dad would dip my mom in a seductive tango over the bubbling dinner gravy, while dogs barked, and I twirled in my new ballet shoes. The only reason my mom schlepped me to ballet was because she’d discovered…

  • Vignettes,  War Serenade

    Mountains, Miracles, And Santorini

    I am all about “If you dream it you can do it.” War Serenade in tangible form is proof of that. I dreamed about “her” for 40 years until I did something to make her happen. I learned the screenwriting craft only because the story demanded it – I saw it in moving pictures, and writing a script was the means to an end. What came in the guise of my first miracle was a one year movie option – wow! One year to work with a producer to raise the $8 million needed and shine my script into something special people might pay to see. I – the antithesis…

  • Vignettes

    Goodbye

    Coming to live in America from South Africa in the late 80s was steeped in differences, but not for obvious reasons. Yes, we spoke the same language, but we held our forks in left hands; drove on the “right” side of the road; and we said “Have a nice day,” and meant it. We bought our trendy threads at boutiques not voluminous clothing stores with too many choices. Our norm was to endure an airport-worthy, single-body-scan-tubes before entering our local bank to draw money.  Imagine then, the shock of cruising casually in and out of a drive-through to cash a check! The chasm was as wide as being served a…

  • Vignettes,  War Serenade

    Listen

    One of my very best birthday gifts from my husband a decade ago was a week’s worth of boot camp for screenwriters given by one of the most sought after gurus in LA. I flew across the country with completed script in hand, excited and somewhat confident. It was, after all, the second screenplay I was working on – my first was optioned – so I was as high as the 747 whisking me off to Hollywood. Jim Mercurio – our esteemed pundit – not only taught master classes in screenwriting, he directed and produced movies. Jim’s irrepressible energy, dynamic delivery, and years of experience blew the minds off our…