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  • J.M. Kessler

The First One

Last month I wrote my first screenplay. It took longer than I'd expected, considering it's for a short film and is based on a radio play that I wrote. Me thinking, oh, this'll be easy. But in fact, it was an opportunity for revision and also to explore the characters and story. When I wrote the radio play, I was just starting out, with two short plays to my name, both of which had been produced and were maybe a little better. Revisiting this play has shown me what I've learned since then. So I have mixed feelings about my early work. One feeling is embarrassment, the other feeling is a kind of wonder and relief that life allows for continuous improvement. Shooting for the film, A Rose by Another Name, is set for later this summer.

In squirrellier (I'm determined that this is a word) news, I just received the first draft of the stage musical version of my middle grade book, The Squirrelly Nut Gig. The idea for this version started a long time ago, but not from me. John Lant, a producer and director, and my other half, has long been championing this idea, despite my inability to visualize it. (Squirrels on stage?) At some point, I decided that if he could see it, he could make it work, so here we are. The script is written by his friend and partner Jim Blanchette. It's absolutely delightful! (By the way, if haven't already, do check out the Emmy eligible nine-episode web series My Big Fat Blonde Musical, a courageously funny and heartfelt look at body image and making it in Hollywood, directed by Jim's wife, Lisa K. Wyatt.) In the meantime, I'm working on short stories, a novella, and developing a follow-up book to The Squirrelly Nut Gig.

  • What I'm eating: Medjool dates. They're a bit sticky and gooey, but delightfully sweet. Nature's candy. Also, French Market Coffee & Chicory (decaf). Not sure if I like it yet. Maybe if I had a beignet or two to go with it...

  • What I'm reading: This Way to Paradise: Dancing on the Tables by Willard Manus, a memoir of his life in Greece from the '60s through the '90s.

  • What I'm watching: Crikey! It's the Irwins (the zoo has reopened and, yay tiger cubs!), and Meerkat Manor. (I'm also waiting for the next season of The Great Pottery Throw Down, so binge-worthy for creatives! And of course, awaiting the next season of Doctor Who.)

  • What I'm seeing in nature: goslings grow up fast. Two weeks after learning how to hop out of a pool, they're half the size of their parents.

Baby gosling hopping out of a fountain pool.
Photo by J. M. Kessler
Geese and goslings on the grass.
Photo by J. M. Kessler

I hope you are well and safe.

Best Wishes!


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