It’s the Twilight of the Summer

I cannot believe that I last wrote to you at Christmas, just after Dad died. Now, it’s bloody nine months later. I could have had a baby (but I didn’t).

The gardens have been incredible this year. And next year, they will be even better. I can’t tell you how much pleasure they give us, especially the wildflowers. People on the street stop and comment all the time. Lots of bulbs, too; you’ll be inundated with photos today — but the wildflowers really give us the most pleasure, and they are all from seed.

This is, of course, Labour Day weekend. I am committed to publishing this by Monday. I have a shitload of other things to write. I need to finish The Move to Canada Bible. I need to rewrite the DogStar script and get it out there. I need to rewrite I Know You’re Out There Somewhere (another script) to add the conflict I finally came up with. So, what am I doing? Writing to you. 🤣🤣🤣 It’s much more pleasant than mopping the floors or doing laundry, which I will actually do in order not to write sometimes. Go figure.

I guess my basic problem at the moment, however, isn’t avoidance. It’s distraction. I’ve been so terribly distracted this week. You might remember a Christmas script from geez, two years ago now, more than (!)… called The Lights of Christmas. And if you recall, I had pretty high hopes for it. And now, all this time later, it has made it up a lot of ladders at Hallmark, and they will let us know by the week of September 11 (at the latest) if we have a sale. It’s not huge money, but it would be a start.  Odd to say, “…but it would be a start” at 68 years old. I’ve got a lot of years to make up for.

Nicole Kidman and Elton John pay tribute to Margaritaville singer Jimmy  Buffett | Ents & Arts News | Sky News

And, then, I wake up Saturday, September 2, to a post from my sister informing me that Jimmy Buffett died last night. Damn. I suspected he may be quite sick when he “postponed” the latter part of his tour in May to deal with an undisclosed illness. The man had a great life and died at home surrounded by family, friends and his dog, so he had a good death. He was 76, which seems young today by about a decade. But you can’t cheat death, we learn once again. When it’s time, it’s time. 

I will challenge anyone who tries to tell me he wasn’t authentic, despite actually being a billionaire from his restaurants, hotels, radio show and now senior assisted care residences. He was a very capable entrepreneur and super creative (also wrote some books and was a brilliant songwriter). Yet, he was always authentic. Never went for the super high concert ticket prices, managed himself and wasn’t “in” the industry.

JB announced in the 90s that he no longer lived the Margaritaville lifestyle, had quit the high-grade drinking and drugging and was embarking on a new phase of his life. Nobody faulted it for him, and we still wore parrots on our heads (as did he). He got uber-wealthy, but his vibe stayed the same. He founded good charities and supported many others as well. And he kept his tickets priced reasonably, even with soaring costs, because he could afford to.  And he didn’t parade around proclaiming, “I’m that good.” His ego stayed in check. I’m sure he’s resting in peace.

I’m sad JB has left this world, our loss, but I’m very glad that I experienced his music and words and very glad they influenced me as they did. But okay, can’t lie; a song of his just came on the radio and tears formed in my eyes (Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude). He had the right attitude until the day he died. I’m sure he had his boots on, too. Enough said. A tip of the hat (or head) when his songs come on and a silent thank you and keep playing his music. I do love his music. Wise man. A bit of a shock this morning. But life goes on and death happens.

I have a new death app – it’s free on the app store — WeCroak — it gives five quotes every day (notifications) about death. Because we are all going to die, no doubt about that.

Okay… what has gone on in the last six months? I’ve been thinking a lot. I did write another script, but it’s in rewrite mode now. It’s a good one, I think. Time will tell (title, for the moment, is: I Know You’re Out There Somewhere). It’s “sitting” for the moment, but the 3rd draft is in process.  And the gardens are winding down; things are dying. So, I am tidying up a bit. I’m still getting lots of tomatoes, though. We are very much enjoying the dome. And the wildflowers in the backyard. Those especially.

We had our final summer company depart this morning and enjoyed their visit. Our weather has cooled a bit (mid-20s C – low 70s), but it could stay like this for a couple of months. So, while we’re pulling dead things out of the vegetable garden, it’s not time for a major attack on the fall tasks yet. I guess we just have to watch the weather. But the light sure has changed. It’s not light now until 6 am, and it starts to get dark around 8ish or maybe 8:15, and it wouldn’t be so bad except we know what’s coming. In about three months, it will be dark until almost 8 a.m. and dark again at 5 p.m. So I need to be more in the “now,” I guess. And we must pay for those long summer days (before 5 am to 11 pm). Everything is a trade-off in life. The sooner you learn that, the easier it is.

My sister sent me a book, 4,000 Weeks, and it’s interesting. We don’t have time to do it all. It’s a physical impossibility. Yet we try and stress when we don’t. I’m happy to be backing off on that somewhat, but only because I’ve spent the last 50 years developing a craft I can make a living at. I’ve had so many jobs that I didn’t want (but they weren’t bad jobs or anything, just not me).

Here I am, on Sunday, September 3 – and thinking about Jimmy Buffett almost all day again. I heard a great song of his from his upcoming (now to be posthumous) LP called Bubbles Up, which I first thought was referencing champagne but then realized was referring to scuba diving (if you get disoriented and can’t figure out how to get back to the surface, stop, relax, breath, and watch the bubbles — follow them to the surface). He knew he was dying (skin cancer, a rare one that spreads quickly) and, much like Warren Zevon, wrote songs that referenced his death but not overtly. It’s a nicely done song, and I hope it’s still up there because it’s pre-release.  Really worth listening to.  CLICK HERE .

I think I’m going to get a Jimmy tattoo. One of his lyrics. I will keep you posted. LOL. I just have a sad heart today, and yesterday and imagine I will have for a little while. I have to remind myself that he had a great life, which he loved and was vocal about and grateful for, and had a good death. The best that you can ask for. I’m sad for me, I guess for us, his fans. And it feels like the end of a real musical era to me. Something big ended on September 1. A life that mattered very much. I may end up doing a lot more writing tomorrow. But it’s still the weekend, just the long one.

And now it is Monday. Woke up with one thought: JB is dead. It will be for a couple of days. He is still here (as much as he ever was here-here) in his music, yes. But he died. And I wanted just to read a bit more about him, but the stories are dying off… will become lesser now that we know what he died of (Merkel cell skin cancer) and then he’ll (to quote himself) “finally disappear”.

That’s what I liked about Mexico. They don’t disappear. They come back every Day of the Dead to visit. Anyway, the wake of the death will dissipate over the next few days, and the memory will be kinder to the person remembering. I think of Jane, 46 or 47 years with him and then his kids. They must really miss him a lot. I think I may do a tattoo from that song, One Particular Harbour.  He had so many songs it’s hard to choose. But I have to let him go. I think I’ll still be pretty sad today. And sad for weeks to come. But I know now that he’s gone. And it’s okay. For the record, I also felt bad when Frank Sinatra died. Not that I was a huge fan, but I always liked him. There aren’t that many I like as people. Musicians are pretty much ego maniacs, for the most part.

Margaritaville singer Jimmy Buffett was a treasured entertainer – Elton  John | The Independent

So, onward and upward, I guess. I’m still pretty preoccupied three days later, but I’ll try to write something else. I’m not too concerned, it seems, about Hallmark. Even though this is likely “do or die” … as in, will I have the strength to do this again if it doesn’t work? Probably not. You can only beat your head against a wall so long before you realize there’s no point. I must admit I am also kind of excited about I Know You’re Out There Somewhere (IKYOTS), and it’s getting good feedback, but it needs work. Does it ever end? Or will I just keep writing things no one buys until I’m too old and senile to realize I’m eating dog food?

It’s kind of scary to think if you don’t write something that sells, you don’t eat. That’s not exactly the case, but it’s also not like we can stop writing – we don’t have enough money to live until we die without working. This house cost almost 3X what our house sold for on the island six years earlier. And we broke even on the Mexico house, which sold for less than half of what this house cost us. Bad timing, but that’s how it goes.

At least we have MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) in Canada. And I’m not kidding – when we are older and can’t move around and just look out the window and can’t do things for ourselves, fuck it, I’m not hanging around any longer than necessary. And nobody get your knickers in a knot about that … in the end, we can pay off the mortgage and then take a reverse mortgage or something. We’ll figure it out, but even if we had JB’s money, we wouldn’t hang around like vegetables going bad.

I am communicating with an old Florida friend via text about Jimmy now. Texted out of the blue. JB friends are a tribe – no doubt about that. It’s comforting. And I’m getting used to it now. It’s settled in, I believe it, well, of course, I always ‘believed’ it, I should I say, I “know” it now. Every time the thought comes up, it’s no longer a kick in the gut. It’s an ‘oh yeah, right’.  And I almost hate to get over it. That’s what happens when people die, you think about them less and less. And that’s why Day of the Dead is so important. I can easily do an altar this year, I have tubs of DOD stuff, plus marigolds growing like weeds. I guess I could start collecting photos now.

Ok, I actually rewrote a few more pages of IKYOTS. That’s progress and it’s really slow going because I want another 3-5 (preferably 5) to push the first act climax back (from what was the inciting incident). But it’s in process. And I’m getting there.

I do keep thinking about death — only natural I guess given who died. FM. Just when I thought I could write a normal blog. Anything else? I mean, it’s been since Christmas, there must be something else…

All right, can’t do it today I have too much else to do including five more pages before the act 1 climax in IKYOTS. That’s discipline. I’m going to add photos and publish. I do also need to do more on The Move to  Canada Bible and make it less boring, plus I need 15,000 – 20,000 more words…I better get bloody going.

If I sell a script to Hallmark, I’ll write again immediately. I promise. And if not, I’ll probably write a few days later just to get all my disappointment out. You are your own shrink, right?

Ok kids, gotta leave you with a JB song, just need to decide which one. Until next time, write if you get work.

I don’t know why I picked this one, but my gut said do it.

Vaya Con Dios, Mr. Buffett. You were our fearless leader.


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