Sunday, June 4, 2017


She came in the summer, and stayed for the rest of her life.

My friends take on greyhounds from the track - rescue dogs.  They are invariably precious, sweet dogs.  They have lived hard lives, and when they come to the comfort of a real home, they seem amazed and grateful.  Always grateful.

So it was with Ocho - "eight," in Spanish.  She came to my friends' home in 2013, after they had lost a great girl named Ivy.  They were looking for a dog who would be a good match for their older gentleman greyhound Scruff - unaptly named before the adoption (unless you were looking for irony).  Ocho was a perfect fit for him, and for their family.

Though Ocho wasn't exactly the right name for her, either.  It needed to be softened just a little bit, in an endearing way.  "Ochita" was a favorite.  "Ochi" was, as well.  Ochi seemed to be the name we called her.  I can almost see her wagging her tail in joy as I think of her name.  She loved her humans and she loved when they would call for her.

She was a brindle-colored dog, a color name unfamiliar to me before I met her.  She truly was beautiful, both in color and in demeanor.  She had this way of walking with her toes splayed out a little - a condition that likely didn't help her much on the track (probably to her benefit, as she was able to "retire" a little earlier because of it).  But it didn't stop her from going down stairs. Another dog may have refused - her gait was slow as she would make her way down the stairs, one by one, to go outside - but Ochi insisted on making her own way, mostly because my friends asked her to try and somehow she knew (early on) that she could trust them to know her limits.

She was such a perfect match for Scruff too - a beautiful dog in his own right, but slowing down with age.  She was gentle, and so was gentle around him.  Scruffy passed away awhile ago, and so she was an only dog for awhile.  I think she missed him but also accepted, with grace, that cycle of life.

In the meantime, she aimed to please.  She kept us company quietly but insistently.  She was one to "hold space" for others, I think.  She was at home, finally.

Last fall, she had a cyst on her leg that the vet drained, but it was expected to return.  It would be her demise, my friends knew.  So long as she wasn't in pain, they'd continue.  And she did well, after that. I was able to see her many times, and wondered if she wouldn't just beat that cyst.  Walking down the stairs became a struggle, and sometimes she had to be carried, but she fought her way back and insisted on trying until she mastered those stairs once more.  I admired her for trying - walking at an angle (as she always had), figuring out how to make it to the landing, always trusting that my friends would not ask of her more than she could do.

The cyst came back, and the day came when life was more than she could manage.  She trusted my friends then, too, as they made the difficult - but right - decision to put her to sleep.  She'd arrived at their home as a ready-made friend - to them, to Scruff, to me.  She seemed happiest when she made others happy.  She was perhaps the sweetest dog I've ever met.  I'm glad she's not in pain anymore - but I can't help but miss her.  She was a good, and great, girl.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Exciting News - "Until the End of the Ninth" screenplay

Exciting news!  The screenplay UNTIL THE END OF THE NINTH is a semi-finalist in the Seattle International Film Festival, and is one of only ten scripts to be recognized!  We'll be headed to Seattle for events during the last week of the festival, which runs from May 18th through June 11th.  I'm excited not just because of the success, but also because this story is such a compelling one, about great men who played good baseball, but who tragically died in a bus crash in 1946, before their time. It was the season just after World War II.  Nine of the 16 men on the bus died, and 8 of the 9 had served in the War.  I chose to tell the story as if their men's spirits could have lived on after the crash, and imagined what that may have looked like.  Would they have gotten help from the other side?  I hope that is true. I'm grateful that SIFF sees the merits of this story.

Here is the news article, announcing the winners:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Man From Rome/Seville Communion

I'm happy to announce my writing work on THE MAN FROM ROME, a film in development that is the adaptation of Arturo Perez-Riverte's novel "The Seville Communion."  A plot summary:  
A computer hacker penetrates Vatican security and sends an urgent anonymous plea to the pope. Handsome Father Quart, of the church's Institute of External Affairs, an arm of the Vatican intelligence, is dispatched to investigate. The message of the hacker concerns a crumbling 17th century Baroque church in the heart of Seville that apparently "kills to defend itself".

Here is an IMDB page for the project:

Here is my IMDB page (which will be growing in the next couple weeks as I add all my projects):

Here is a link to the book's Amazon page:

THE MAN FROM ROME is a great project.  Watch for it as it goes from script to screen.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Socially Relevant Film Festival - Finalist!

We are finalists in the Socially Relevant Film Festival screenwriting contest for the script AGAINST.  I am the screenwriter and Chicago director Justin Jackola is a co-writer as well as the concept creator of this compelling story.

Our website is:

A portion of the screenplay will be read at the Film Festival in New York City on March 16, 2017 - the film fest's website is:

As noted at our website and the festival's website, the log line is:  Portrayed in a fantasy world of medieval combat that parallels her ordinary world, a girl joins an unusual suicide prevention group to figure out how to stop her secretly abusive father and reclaim her own life. 

I will be in NYC for the reading.  We are all very excited!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Blue Bloods, Gangs, and "This Is Not Chiraq"

I watch the show Blue Bloods.  I like it.  I expect I'm not the typical viewer, since I'm not conservative - at all.  But it's usually well written, and only slightly expository (an Achilles heel for many hour-long procedurals on TV).  Sometimes the dialogue is clunky, and I usually am able to identify the writer on those occasions.  It's the same one who wrote the last clunky episode.

This most recent episode - taking down gangs - was particularly painful and wooden, however.  The writing had its problems, but it was the substance of the writing that caused the most grimacing for me.  Basically, gangs are bad and weak - some lip service to "I had it tough as a kid" is sandwiched between "we are evil people."  I'm not saying gangs are good - far from it.  But this portrayal did little to create any bridge of any sort - usually a hallmark for Blue Bloods.

There is a proposed TV show out of Chicago, all Chicago made (including actors), called "This Is Not Chiraq."  Although not yet picked up as a show yet, it has all the right makings of trying to figure out how to address gangs and violence from the inside out.  It's a well thought out drama with a realistic approach to solving very real problems on the street.  Since its inception, I've noticed some of the Dick Wolf Chicago shows attempt real conversations about gangs and violence (admittedly with a little more success than Blue Bloods did on 2/3/17), but the approach is still law centric.

We need a show like This Is Not Chiraq.  It was shown at the Black Harvest Film Festival in Chicago this past August, with a great audience and an incredible talk back session. 

Here is its trailer:

Here is its Facebook page:

Here is its website: