Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Summer of '09

As the dog days fade into the diminished evenings, all I can say is that it's been a grueling summer. Here are some landmarks, as I also remember my mother, who passed away a year ago today.

My daughters went to summer school, grumbling at first, then appreciating that they had fun climbing walls, taking photos, playacting and volleyball. A summer vacation we had intended to take for two weeks ended in a bitter way, so we came home early from Wisconsin's gorgeous Door County. At American Folklore Theatre in beautiful Peninsula Park, we saw "Cheeseheads: The Musical." An udder delight.

Before we left town, I published two books -- "The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome" and "The Audacity of Help." It wasn't my plan to send them out into the world within two months of each other; the first book was delayed by a year. I promoted them on radio, TV and in the blogosphere across the country. No human being should do this. It resulted in some painful health effects in early August. I'm still recovering as I launch into the Audacity promotion in full swing.

Shows I had the most fun doing include Thom Hartmann, Ron Reagan, Wisconsin Public Radio and Rick Kogan on WGN Radio.

We slipped out to see some Shakespeare at our favorite outdoor bard venue: American Player's Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Their production of "Winter's Tale" was competent, but their Comedy of Errors was one for the ages. I started working on bringing a production of Comedy of Errors to my community. If our "Bard in the Barn" succeeds, we'll do it in an outdoor venue.

When I had a chance, I read some excellent books:

* Jean Baker's biography of Mary Todd Lincoln (I hope to do a play on the first lady).

* $20 per Gallon by Christopher Steiner (a tour de force on rising energy prices).

* Matthew Fox's "The Hidden Spirituality of Men," (what guys need to do to embrace their inner Buddha and Christ).

* "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan (Frank Lloyd Wright's tragic affair with Mamah Cheney)

Mostly I worked and watched the rain fall this summer, started to meditate and rest.

The summer really ended yesterday with some bad news on my wife Kathleen's health. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

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