A Relieving Return to Script-Writing

That title looks grand doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice to believe that all our troubles were over? Alas, there are wounds. I have photo albums filled with once marvellous friends and relations that I may never hear from again due to them having sold their souls to device technology and social media. Wounds as such cannot fade. Time can heal but this grief is an entirely new phenomenon. The uncertainty of repair is staggering and loud. The change in human behaviour to something so close to the docile Eloi of “The Time Machine” is horrific.

Good people come forward, though. They are new friends and companions, people fed-up with what’s happened. We share this bond with each other. My woes are their woes. There is still that little denial of, “It’s not so bad,” but that denial has receded greatly in this year, 2017. We know it is all very, very bad, indeed.

And yet… shades of delightful 20th Century habits come back to us. Selecting real books to enjoy, real albums to play, true conversation in person and on paper. Recipes to cook, scrubbing to be done. Dishes to be washed. Clothing to be picked out for the weather of the week to come. The seasons remind us that we are of The Earth and of The Heavens.


 

As I sit at my desk and stare into Morning Glory Circle on Bewitched, with two characters from Maine about to knock upon The Stephens door, a wonderful thing finally occurs: The characters let me know what they likely would say to each other. Samantha Stephens is being introduced to Sam Evans of Collinsport and Captain Daniel Gregg of Schooner Bay, at long last.

Samantha

It isn’t coming out as I expected either! I predicted it would get very silly, and Endora’s arrival might have Captain Gregg hiding behind Sam in fear. The thing is Captain Gregg doesn’t really behave that way when set in motion to face a potential adversary, even if that adversary has put him through dire straits as Endora did previously in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows. And so far Samantha hasn’t scolded Endora for what she did, but I feel that ought to be in there somewhere, really. (Besides, I am itching to do an Elizabeth Montgomery impression of, “Mother!”)

A book on sea-faring language, that Osheen once suggested, has come in quite handy. I had a little trouble with what Gregg would say until I opened that up. I still have to determine where Tabitha might be, but I notice they don’t always worry about that on Bewitched so maybe it doesn’t matter. (This is a rough-draft, afterall.)

Looking at the word count now I still have plenty of room. Scenes are already mapped out for Chris Jennings, Amy Jennings, Hoffman, Stokes, and later on it appears that bypassing Mr. Wells death and allowing him to live will be easier than I thought. In fact, I found him barricading the door for Chris rather than simply locking it from the outside. After The Blairs staying in Room 13? Mr. Wells is done with being curious about noise. He just wants there not to be any.

 

Vic and Mor 1

That leaves us in wondering what to do with The Addams Family, Victoria Winters and Peter Bradford. Some ideas are there. I’ve made a list of pastimes The Addams Family engage in and I must say, it’s longer than the list of odd recipes they’ve mentioned.

I know that for Victoria there will be further exercises in her powers, but that doesn’t mean she can’t just enjoy herself in a new home she’s almost gotten used to. An interest in history is even there if Wednesday’s dolls have anything to do with it. I smell a rapport happening between those two.

The main thing is finding the discussion between Victoria, Peter and The Addams Family. There is a slice-of-life element to The Addams Family that I didn’t notice before, but it was the more Gothic type I’d been rather wanting for so long. Having a problem to solve needn’t be necessary at all. It’s a staple of television shows but The Addams Family always operate so differently. A great deal of the show itself is often hanging out or goofing off. Whatever problems that come usually take a long time to be solved as they are so busy with all of their hobbies, pets, and basic housekeeping.

So far The Pit scenes I have for The Addams Family have been quite reflective. There was the great cliff-hanger in Episode 13 with, “We need you, Grandmama. It’s Victoria! …She has the gift!” And that got identified in Episode 15 with spell work, as Grandmama stared aghast at Reverend Trask’s stark image via Victoria’s memories projected on vapour. It mayn’t have been due to Grandmama having any aversion to a widow’s peak hairstyle, but the severity of Trask’s widow’s peak can rather blow all of our minds, can’t it?

For Episode 18 I am doubtful any new spell work with Victoria will take place. Perhaps some chat of doing more whilst playing a game of some kind. I still haven’t gotten a spot where Peter is enjoying the delights of Gomez and his trains. There is also Peter Bradford being Peter Bradford in official documents. With either man having practised law, however antiquated like Peter, or out-of-step like Gomez, I’m sure they could devise some method in which they fulfil that requirement neatly enough.

But will Victoria take the name of Bradford? Not yet. I wager she will eventually after discovering enough about her own history and her parents. But she started this life as a Winters and shall continue being one for sometime, married or not.


 

Still, I remain puzzled at what happened with Dark Shadows fans for so many decades that they wanted more horror, twisted troubles, and bizarre romantic pairings in the fanfiction all this time. Were libraries with bummer books and ghastly stories always out of reach? Did the wealth of horror movies not suffice? Perhaps it was a lack of having the program to enjoy that made them want to write down what happened so they could enjoy it that way, and then got caught up in altering it in random directions? Did Roger Corman’s films have anything to do with it?

I’m fine with creativity,  or getting wacky, heck, after I watched “200 Motels” a la Frank Zappa? It was pretty clear anything goes in some areas of entertainment. But Dark Shadows is huge on its own. So huge I’m not sure I’d want to repeat the entire thing over and over again. So with the fanwork I have to wonder if something happened to these fans. Too many drugs in the 1970’s? Sadness that the show ended and re-runs were unheard of at the time? Bafflement at Sam Hall’s wrap-up? (I just listened to Roger Davis read it and shrugged, myself.) I can’t imagine that life was so comfortable that they were in want of more drama. The puzzle remains for me.

 


 

As time goes on, I do want to do more for our Old House couple and family in the pages of “Margaret Josette Dupres”. But discussion of it is necessary and the practice of discussion itself is low. There is only so much I can do for Barnabas and Maggie’s marriage details as it’s based on Dark Shadows which is finished, and The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows which is not.

When a waitress is on holiday might Maggie fill in at The Coffee Shop just for kicks? Sarah and Caleb as children shan’t be a thorn-free bed of roses. Caleb has become a witch’s son after all. Will Barnabas finally get comfortable with being a vampire who is less affected by sunlight? (I have my doubts.) The only surety is the love never fades. What to do on a daily basis with that love? That’s the question. ❤

Of course, as has been very usual, people will listen to me asking for the discussion on the novel during the podcasts, or read this log entry where I explain the practicality of discussion, and rather than send an email or telephone me about it? They will blink and wonder why no one else is doing so. Time has become less of a worry with this new technology. What has really been lost with it is the art of conversation.

Cat’s got your tongue, as they say.

Looks like this time, she’s kept it, too. 😉

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Why Bashing Doesn’t Work

Now that much of the online hokum due to bizarro fans I never wanted to deal with has been relieved by pen pals who give a darn, I’m finding simple reflections in things I dearly missed. A breeze, a delightful flower, the simple odour of pines, the feel of paper and a cosy outfit.

And I have to giggle at statistical weirdness. I swear to Zeus, people straggle through, find The Pit script, skip the lot, go straight to the last episode and likely are as baffled as when they started. We’re on 16, it’s a cliffhanger, there is NO wrap up currently to this show! Doi!

I’ve lived through a lotta weird decades, but this one has to be the stupidest I’ve encountered. I’ve heard the 1950’s were pretty dumb from people who lived during it, baring a few beatniks, I guess. I’m trying to imagine it in comparison to these 2010’s. There was sure a ton of products to dazzle, wanting people to lavishly spend like crazy after WWII and keep the money flowing which would maintain our removal from what happened during The Great Depression (hence we have planned obsolescence and stuff that breaks more often so we have to re buy it). But the depth of dopiness doesn’t feel like it was quite so rampant as it is now.

Maybe it was the Establishment vibe that made the 1950’s run differently. This 2010’s decade is flopping all over the place. It dares to be different except you are only allowed to be different through the New Establishment of constantly being connected online. Rather than being shunned for not upholding the status-quo of online connection? You just go unseen and more or less wiped from people’s own memories. It’s a bit like the disappearance of Tony Peterson on Dark Shadows. Things with him and Carolyn were fine, he just kinda didn’t show up anymore.

I have had some good chats with fed-up companions who only briefly tried Facebook. Sudden contact with so many people they hadn’t heard from in decades, and weren’t really that close to at all, “Now they’re all up in my business! Wanting me to look at crap, wanting me to click things that don’t pertain to either of us. After three months? I was done! Bleh!”

Another nice lady was good enough to express a two-day yuck of even trying to understand the point of the social network. “I kept looking and I just had to get as far away as I could!” she explained, in a physical gesture of removing herself from the table where we were having our dinner.

I really do remember when television did some crappy things to people. They’d get all into a favourite movie airing after a hard day at work and someone would need a lift by car. The joy sank out of their grasp as they went to deal with it. We know it’s the honourable thing to do to help a person in need, but that needy person is now tainted with the association of missing out on the company of fictional characters that warm the heart more than living people do. That was the old world.

This new world is scattered with indecision, distraction, and abundance of overwhelming choices far worse than cable or satellite television could provide. It’s also indoctrinated with a TV-screen version of friendship, hygienic connection to people we once knew or have never met in person. It is so hygienic and sporadic that it stifles the flow of natural mood, aggravates the senses, removes facial recognition and tone of voice, all while the eyes are constantly staring at artificial light. “Relaxing” reading is done by tablet, again we’re staring at artificial light. (My own preference is for the paper-screen e reader, by the way.)

Rather than seeing a person you know and starting up a conversation, lights and boxes pop out. Jingles and alarming noises zing in the air. What could be gleaned easier in person is covered entirely with gadgetry.  Then? Paranoia sets in, “How honest is this person being with me?”

How are you to know, eh?

The wealth of human details are cut away from the conversation. Even a personal thing like handwriting doesn’t show in prefabricated textual lettering. Tech wizards always claim that these things will improve with more tinkering. Really? After social media do you think we’re going to trust what tech wizards tell us?

Reminds me of a favourite line in The Golden Girls when Rose confesses they didn’t have a television set in her household because someone felt, “It hadn’t been perfected yet.”

I used to believe my childhood and teen years were so horrendous, and in light of the severe ostracising and constant discouragement to do anything productive, while also being picked-on for not being productive (?????) it is true. However, I’m reconsidering some of the basics like yelling matches and getting fisticuffs with other kids, sometimes out of anger, sometimes from self-defence. I’m not sure this current generation has that much of that. And all that energy and loneliness just wells up inside them so there is this need to bash and be insulting to get it out because it is the only option that’s left! I used to wonder why outdoor sports and competition was considered “healthy”. I think I know now.

But then why get all bent out of shape about Dark Shadows? I’m concerned some of these younger fans don’t understand the format. (And honestly? I’m not too sure the elder fans understand it either.)

I knew other soap-operas. I was very aware of the format going in. Eastenders was probably my favourite. It just got nice and dull, and sometimes I couldn’t understand what the people were even saying anyway. (It confused my sister when she walked in. She knew more British comedy. She was waiting for Eastenders to get funny and… it wasn’t really getting funny. Very perplexing!)

To me soap-operas and their characters were very disposable. I expected Dark Shadows to be nothing more than that. It’s spooky and spooky is my thing. It’s based on old-books which are also my thing. So it’ll be somewhat higher grade but we’ll get some cheesiness from it being so old. We even giggled a ton upon Dr. Woodard’s death with Sam finding him, and his deep and meaningful close-up, staring straight into the camera lens, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” We kept laughing. We played it again and again and again, “Those eyes… what were the last thing they saw to be looking like that?” Woo! Going for an award, Mr. Ford!

Then there was humour, real humour coming right from Roger Collins about the séance, Carolyn & Buzz making fun of Jason, The Caretaker just on his own with his comical Edward Gorey woefulness. My goodness! This is incredibly entertaining! I didn’t expect that! I can’t binge on this however much I want to. I gotta re-watch that disk! Made for TV movies like “The Beast” (1996)? That was disposable. But this soap-opera isn’t. How the heck did that happen?

So in that light I can see the appeal. But we, as humans, have the need for closure. Loose ends bug us. A good story degrading irritates us. If we get a tear in our sleeve we want to fix it, or replace the whole shirt. That’s why I went searching five years for a relief-series before starting my own. Someone must have created a relief-series by the 21st Century, right?

Sadly most people go for the band-aid manoeuvre. And considering the bumper-sticker length of attention spans these days? That’s about all most people can do at all. It’s applicable to listeners who get angry at my podcast intros. They don’t want the whole picture. They want it in bite sizes. Molly-coddled and babied for years now? What is the result?

“Waaaaaaa!!! Mommy Internet isn’t giving me what I want! Waaaaaaaaaaa!!! This person is trying to make me think! Waaaaaaaa!!! I don’t like thinking! I just want to make fun of Barnabas Collins being sad! Waaaaaaaa!!!”

They want something to scoff at because they’re mostly trained to do nothing but scoff. Rushing around in a hurry for no reason while they long for these olden days and “simpler times”. (You’ll find it in old books, my dears. It isn’t necessarily online.)

I’m speculating the creation of a stigma for this stupidity. We actually had that with the hipper crowds in the 1990’s. Too much television = moron. Books were approved of, but be wary of the author. If it was an easy read or a very popular author you might as well be watching television. The more obscure it was the cooler you looked. Hoopy froods got uppity if someone read things to them, “What? You think I’m too ignorant not to be able to read it myself?!”

This should explain to you why I don’t care about popularity and I have retaliated against online rudeness with some of my own. Growing up we were made to feel the pain of being an idiot. It was the days of Sophia Petrillo Unbound, my friends. But as she likes to say, “It wasn’t pretty,” which means I’ve also got a ton of patience for better people who really do want to learn and be educated.

Curiously, I see some of that stigma might have morphed into this need to be very randomly insulting and rude. Once upon a time that snootiness truly was meant to encourage self-improvement in a twisted way. Like Sophia would tell Rose, “Quit bein’ an idiot!”

I’m not sure how this mutated into the encouragement to be dim-witted and nasty, as this decade is showing, but that appears to be what’s happened. Cruel=Funny=Cool. A sense of “belonging” by shared hates? Doesn’t work. We tried it with the third “Anne of Green Gables” mini-series Kevin Sullivan put out in 2000. We rallied around online to bitch and moan over how non-canon it was. I made a few friends via email. The friendships themselves were short-lived. Why didn’t those friendships last?

We never discussed what we enjoyed about the original book series.

We were angry at Sullivan for taking our beloved characters through disasters that didn’t occur in the books and not giving us the old joys his production crews had managed closely enough to the books with the first two installments. We wanted enjoyment but as one irritated fan said, “This was more like Lara Croft of Green Gables.”

I still chuckle heartily at her hilarious description. But… those friendships didn’t last.

We didn’t share with each other what we did love. We were too fixated on what we hated. No seeds were planted, we cited nothing to grow from, there were no blossoms we were bringing to life. There was nothing to nurture towards each other.

We had only banded together to frown at the dirt.

The “Happy Idea” Pen Pals

 

With the lengthy podcast for June out and being listened to (however little it’s content is properly digested) I have noticed a great number of lurkers wandering over to this site. The statistics lead me to believe many lovers of my work who can’t be arsed to admit it or, maybe, write or phone me, (sorry if I missed your call,) are awaiting further fun goodies. Fun goodies that they are incapable of understanding to begin with so it’s all rather nonsensical.

Meanwhile, what has Daryl been doing? Corresponding like the dickens!

I enjoyed picking up sixteen letters & postcards recently, then setting them on the table during a visit with new friends to announce the old chestnut, “No one writes letters anymore.” We all chuckled merrily over the joke, were awed by the abundance and gushed at the artistry on many of the envelopes.

And this just in from a dear pen friend, “I have to agree on Facebook, it’s a bunch of crap now. I get more forwards now then ever. Not much in the way of actual posts of what some folks have done. So I have pretty much signed off completely… It used to be a cool thing, games, actual talking between people, but now it is such an addicting thing for so many, and that some actually believe that all those people they are ‘friends’ with, are really their friends. But now it’s just a bunch of haters, forwarding stupid forwards, some that make no sense. And the ones I dislike are the ‘answer and repost if you really care.’ And now some bullies have really taken over social media as a whole, and it sucks. Not at all like what I was hoping for, instant message and fun, and it hasn’t been that way in a long time. You’re not missing anything on it, believe me. Just glad I never let it destroy me, like it has for so many.”

Amen!


 

Now onto the point of this log entry…

I received this card in the mail from a pen friend I’ve been in contact with for about a year. Like many pen pals, she is having problems getting people who will consistently write to her. She wonders,

“I always think it’s odd when people sign up for snail mail correspondence and then stop writing. I was really lucky that my first _____ pen pals were yourself and another gal. We all still correspond. The few people afterwards stopped after one letter! So odd! I don’t think anyone has expectations to get a letter every week or something but still… why even sign up to do it?”

To which I have responded:

“As for the deterioration of letter-writing among those who sign up to pen pal? I found more evidence of why during my Facebook Friday: There are two [I will label these as First and Second] strong proponents of pen palling that require a fee for membership, and have Facebook groups only open to paid members. A good idea in theory, yes?
“My use of Facebook induced a struggle in addiction that is extremely like nicotine. I’ve broken the cycle by carefully scheduling my use of it to once every two weeks. (I’m now moving to three weeks.) This took almost a year for me to accomplish.

 
“However, the First pen pal organization with a Facebook group has members who were once writing to me. One, a man who sent me my first quill pen, is active there. He has often promised to write when he notices me and? Never does. I wrote to him recently and he never wrote back. [Pardon this entry if you have just written, my dear!]

 
“The Second also uses Facebook with a few groups. They boast of this on their website and in their newsletters. (Their fees are higher and periodic – as opposed to the First which has a very low one-time fee.)

 
“This encouragement to Facebook greatly demotes the act of letter-writing into the ‘happy idea’ that its Facebook users are engaging effusively in this activity. Facebook posts will ask questions about letter-writing preferences, but… anyone can pretend to know and have preferences about something they once did or never do. That’s easy.

 
“In the end? Many people are signing up for pen pals because it’s a happy or romantic idea for them. The long-term effort doesn’t take hold in reality. In short this is known as living-in-denial. It’s also the reason one can find so much unused stationery in thrift shops.

 

“The ‘happy idea’ pen pals who rarely do it? They like to buy much in the way of supplies for their future hobby. That gives them the tactile proof they will see-it-through. (Similar to when people purchase exercise equipment to lose weight.) They may hold on to masses of stationery for years, but it eventually has to go. It makes very little sense to drop off used stationery to a thrift store, doesn’t it?”


 

Of course the “happy idea” style of people come in all sorts: famous novelist, delightful actor, slim-as-a-rail beauty, voracious reader of books, award-winning architect, and so on. It’s fun to daydream. Daydreams can dismiss a wealth of calendar days and fulfill hours of time. And social media often manages to push people out of reality and far into daydreams. Much like the The Mirror of Erised in the lore of Harry Potter.

The Mirror of Erised is a mirror, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, shows the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”

Dumbledore warns Harry, “Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible.”

Such is the case I see in social media where once I saw this with television.

In the meantime, between letters and shows, studies and healing (however sour I feel about the state of modern life) I am managing to get a little book reading done, and am currently on Chapter 6 of The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr. It’s helping to explain so very much that is, forthwith, ruining our intelligence, skills, and wisdom.

The Glass Cage

One thing cheering me up as I go are a few pen pals enjoying the show on CD. They never cease thanking me for reaching out to them and sharing it and my company with them.

It is to them I can finally say, “You’re welcome.” ❤

The Pen Pals Are Here (For Real This Time)

Just picked up the mail and I am reveling in the fun of it! My stationery horde is dwindling and I’m discovering people who like to savour The Pit as it was meant to be savoured. Hallelujah!

Today I opened this delightful missive which says, “I’m glad that we’re pen friends! You’re the only pen friend I have who sends murder mystery parties with your letters, and I can attend these parties in my PJs!! Woo hoo!”

She also sent some very fun ticket stickers which read: “Admit One”. I am actually trying to get rid of all my crazy stickers but when I saw hers on the back of her envelope I suddenly desired stickers like that. Then? Inside the envelope she had included eighteen of them for me! It was this way of expressing that my show ought to be sent with those tickets as that signifies the theater feeling The Pit brings. What a bloody JOY! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Another pal drives frequently so the CD version of The Pit episodes are perfect for her long hauls. It’s funny because I often anticipated truckers would enjoy The Pit but I’ve yet to hear from any of them. Hopefully this was never due to Maggie expressing a bit of distaste to Barnabas in Episode 10 with,

coffee shop

“Oh, Barnabas, you’ve obviously never encountered a collection of all-night truck drivers swapping suggestive tales over their greasy breakfast plates.”

But who knows?

There are a few listeners of The Pit who don’t quite pick up the knack of the discussion questions as being guidelines to expressing what they enjoy per scene. That’s okay, though. The method that we once had to express our delight and the fun in our entertainment is very much more the “dying art” than letter-writing ever was or has been.

While it became extremely trendy to Hate-On so much in our abundance, the enjoyment of discussing what we were entertained by took a serious nose-dive when we were offered the alternative thumbs-up buttons. There are now even pesky hearts on youtube and iTunes to degrade our faculties even further. If there was an app for making these happy-buttons disappear I would consider PAYING for it. Monthly! (I already enjoy advertisement blockers on my equipment so I have little idea what kind of scary billboard world a great deal of my online audience is being suffocated with. 😦  )

The other difficulty we currently face is having too much choice. I’m immune to that being difficult as I already pruned my needs in the last twenty years. Even before the internet I had far too much thrown in my direction that I could never understand why I just had to like. Another reason I live on Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” song; All around me are people who really do want “Freedom FROM Choice”. It’s not a matter of a good lead to something they would naturally be interested in, but just floating through life waiting for others to send them in whatever direction another wishes them to go.

That became the worse problem imaginable as my audio entertainment was finally noticed and suddenly I had to see the same style of Dark Shadows fanfiction I was tired of reading and trying to avoid. My work, articles, and podcasts made it extremely clear what my interests and goals were in that department. Then, rather than find the specific niche audience I was looking for, it was the bummer-city, cliché types coming forward with precisely what I spent five years finding and did not enjoy at all. It’s as if most the online world is so flabbergasted with too much information that listening to a person or a fictional character is well-nigh impossible for them to do.

This is why correspondence, and the skill of it, is so important. It slows us down to start digesting information at our own human pace. This works because human beings are what we are, regardless of how desperate we seem to be to become The Borg or The Cybermen instead. It’s also exactly why we attained creations such as The Borg and The Cybermen in our storytelling: It’s a warning of things that could very much happen to us in the future. (Or right now.)

Cybermen_formation_Doomsday
As for Episode 17 in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, whose current title is “A Bio-Exorcist Comes To Collinwood”, I am working on the audio, yes, but I am also taking my time with the pen pals and letter-writing to heal myself back to being a better person. I’m often thanking each and every individual that I write to for helping me with this, even when they are so grateful to me for giving them the gift of my episodes. For me it’s a shared process and precisely how I always wanted to do all of this. “Go Online” wasn’t the worst option for me, it was the obvious one. But the human touch of going online was losing ground and I didn’t know that. Nobody seemed to know it, but they definitely defended it, that’s for sure. (It’s much easier to be dismissive, isn’t it?)

The audio itself is grueling and my format from doing voice performances back and forth in one go has shifted toward doing each voice separately. Doing that slows down the creation time. But this is a technique that most audio dramas are created by, having each performer in separate cubicles with a script and a headset, so it makes sense to switch to get each character’s voice better. I’m also finding that using a more caricature performance is as important as the accuracy in their speech patterns. The caricature voice differentiates who is speaking more easily so that it’s less likely a listener will lose track of which character is saying what. However, our too-friendly bio-exorcist is pretty damned easy to spot. Ha ha ha!

its showtime
The romance is sparking for our three couples now, Barnabas & Maggie, Tony & Carolyn, and Julia & Eliot. I really love how Elizabeth and Barnabas were running things at this point in the original Dark Shadows, but with Elizabeth on her voyage to England for my show, I’ve had to move away from that and am irked for a solution as to who will invite Amy Jennings to stay at Collinwood, eventually. *sigh* I thought, “Well, I could find some hilarious, sarcastic way that Roger would be encountering her instead and deciding, ‘Why the hell not?’” But that didn’t give me much enthusiasm.

Carolyn and Tony
The great answer came last night… Carolyn & Tony! Or it could just be Carolyn, or heck, Carolyn AND Carolyn, Stoddard & Muir. Who knows? But in any case I finally hit on how to keep Tony Peterson and Carolyn Stoddard’s romance alive: Do exactly what was done before. Have them solve problems together! In The Pit that is what reignited their romance, which is similar in many couples both fictional and real. (That kissing you hear in The Pit for these couples is obviously not me smooching my arm! That is me and my own sweetie. He’s been shy about it, but hey, he’s getting kissed! He’s not going to say no to me for that offer. 😉 )

So, for those who aren’t writing to me on paper or via email, there is a big reason my online activity has dwindled. I have returned to pen pals and am enjoying it immensely.

write a letter cover

No happy-buttons or flinging of links is going to get any of us more of the work and it never did before. Correspondence and discussion about the show(s) is what makes that happen and always did. When I receive insight and feedback from a listener I get to their responses a whole lot faster because this is my passion and my calling. But there are some pen pals who have no interest and that is also fine by me. They keep me company with other interactive details about life in general. That’s healthy and very healing all around. (People writing to me by email, private message, or even postal mail, who love the work but avoid the topic keeps me more at bay with them. This should be a surprise to no one. And really, why would it be?)

I do have a potential “Pit Update April 2017” started but I’m hoping I won’t have to create and release it. I prefer getting to the actual work. And strangely enough it is the quiet discussions of the characters on the demo and in the “editing room” that rivets me more than that fight scene everyone is waiting for! Maggie and Sam with their awesome percolator, Tony and Carolyn going for a drive, Dr. Hoffman and Professor Stokes having a quiet, studious discussion with romance interlaced, while Lily and Elizabeth enjoy the delights of mingling on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth ship. Those happier scenes are what keep me going.

I’m also working on the script for Episode # 18, “Braving The Waters” but that will take more Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Bewitched studying, of course. Chris Jennings may make his first appearance and there is fun already planned for that, similar to on the original Dark Shadows but much more humourous. Hee hee hee! Bill Malloy’s ghost should encounter Lily and Elizabeth. Lily can have tons of fun with Bill. I really like Lily as this cousin to dissuade Elizabeth needing to fear ghosts and the like, and Melissa has told me how wonderful it is for Elizabeth to finally have a girlfriend to pal around with, “She just never had that on the original show. This is really good for her!”

Liz and Lily

When we discussed it over the phone neither of us could quite figure out which of the two of them is “the straight man” in the relationship as that role sort of bounces back and forth between Elizabeth Stoddard and Lily Munster. Elizabeth shrugs at any clues that Lily is a daylight-walking vampire with even odder family members, and Lily doesn’t seem to notice Elizabeth being far more mundane than Munster, since to her Munster is mundane.

pop and magz
Another great thing is keeping Sam Evans alive and stretching out his weird psychic trips from his DS: First Year characteristics into being a reincarnation of Andre du Pres. This helps in the extreme with Maggie Evans processing her own reincarnation experiences.

If they had aimed to pull it off on Dark Shadows, which is what I saw them reaching toward, I’m not sure how Maggie could have handled that on her own. Her father, Sam, is the perfect bolster for that, especially if he’s already going through it himself. So in sorting out the main reason I started all of this, it ends up being a wonderful help in solving a lot of other dilemmas I might have faced if that wasn’t the reason I began.

Willie pensive Wadsworth looking down
My struggles with Willie Loomis have reached that safer harbour with him now as Wadsworth’s presence has helped to calm him down and I am very much looking forward to healing right along with him. His history is a mystery and should mostly remain so as it did on Dark Shadows. The main point with him is growth and learning better battles to pick, even if some are merely with his pen. Now that I have pen pals by snail mail I can practice my own calligraphy a bit more. ❤

As for the marriage novel, I’m still working on the next chapter which will be quite romantic. (And *cough* “adult”.) Their exploration of old memories will drift through, and I might add a card game in it rather than ending it with them planning to play one. It takes a lot out of me to go into Barnabas-mode, but it’s rewarding. As Sam himself mentions the couple in Chapter 22 of the novel, “…driving through the town of Collinsport to get to The Old House, where my daughter now lived with her excessively romantic husband…” He sure is!

I’ve complained he won’t let me write scenery, but the main thing I’ve had to admit to myself is that Barnabas, on his own terms, would hardly write scenery. The scenery he is forever looking at is his loving bride, Maggie, who is Kitty and Josette and herself. There is a lot to look at in a gal like that! (Even Cousin Lily can see the affection there. 😉 )

lily maggie and barnabas
Hopefully that’s updated everyone enough as to the state of things with me. I’m still determined and passionate, but I’m also healing from three years of shock, devastation in friendship loss, watching this science-fiction nightmare made of our lives happen unabated, and all of it being defended by masses of people who can’t bear to blame themselves for being misguided.

Now I get to editing, my letters, corresponding with new friends, and racing to the door when my sweetheart comes home. Then I look at my wine bottle and, after three years, I am finally able to say, “I don’t need that tonight. I’ll finish it tomorrow.”

love,

                                                                                           Daryl

P.S. If some of you out there, as several pen pals have expressed, mainly know Dark Shadows from the 2012 film of it and therefore believe I must automatically “hate” you? No. I don’t. It just got trendy to hate that film like a whole lot else got trendy to hate.

Hate became a disease online as it garnered attention. It’s a junior-high and high-school condition, and can also happen with spoiled louts in college. Whatever occurs to cause that; it’s a phase and a fad. I love the 2012 film, actually. I love a lot things that get a lot of hate. I always have, so I don’t worry about it. ❤

For Newbies, Pen Pals and Old Hats

Hi, everyone!

I’m still here. I’m rusty at creating a radio drama episode but, like with any form of creative expression, the knack should return with practice.

I maintained Facebook abstinence for the full two-week stretch from the new pen pals and people I’m mailing CDs to. I love it! This is what I wanted and it’s the world that I know. My postman is also very happy with me. He says, “You tell them that I’m happy with what you’re doing and I look forward to getting a hug from you when I see you. You tell them that.”

There. Told. 🙂

The repeating cold/flu is still floating around. Clover and I got Version 2.0, Jonah didn’t, and my sweetheart is now on Version 3.0. I received tons of wonderful goodies for my birthday but I have to wait to have him to myself again.

So for my pen pals now getting the CDs of The Pit? Bless your hearts that you didn’t let the dead-weight of social media keep you from what you loved. And it’s fascinating to find out what you’ve been up to in the years we didn’t know each other as I struggled in the vicious Red Queen’s Race of anti-social networks. You also know it takes time to build something, so my own accomplishments might seem fantastic but not impossible to you.

And with my downgrading back to human? Other humans are doing it too. I hear from people more by email and private messages away from the social networks. Sadly some of these folks are still playing the “avoid-the-podcast-topic-game”, but not everyone. Some finally realized playing that game is dysfunctional and annoys me enough to get cranky on the podcasts! Good! I’d rather have fun on those shows, not feel the need to display rank bitterness. (Spraying metaphoric Lysol on my woes ends up making them worse. It messes up the voice-acting for the radio-drama too, just from the stress.)

In any case I’m very pleased to be spending my time getting rid of my horde of stationery. Like most forms of collecting things, too much comes when life is empty or there is a void one feels the need to fill. Now I’m releasing all the fun goodies I saved, and as I send them along? I keep finding new areas in which I’ve hoarded more! But it makes way for further space as I go. This is a good thing.

The pen pals who are interested are eager for more but in the manner they know better: The human paced postal system. However there are some trying to get links to work in a somewhat desperate sense. I always know when they do get the links to work because I tend to never hear from them again. I see the statistical growth, but the silence is a recurring problem and one I doubt I’ll ever really get used to.

barn and wads

Is a Jonathan Frid character hanging out with a Tim Curry character just too sexy? Maybe!

With the lack of information I used to have, but now am being provided with, I’m discovering an important point we all forgot about. The poor and suffering are the most appreciative of good entertainment. They were often the people I was seeking, too. Still am. It’s the especially wealthy and comfortable that have been the worst problem. They’re watching a soap-opera because, for the most part, they have few troubles, desire drama and don’t empathise much with people outside of themselves. They can download the podcast easily and get angry at me for struggling and suffering. They’re greedy and want the silver-spoon version of The Pit. Catering to people like that is detrimental. Rewarding rudeness is nothing short of despicable.

Not all rich people are this way, though. There have been many well-to-do types of privilege. I am currently thinking of a fictional one though, and one fictional character many proclaim as empty-headed and bubbly:

friends2

Josette du Pres

She is a rare wealthy character on Dark Shadows who cares about classes below hers. Her concern and desire for comradeship with Angelique is unusual for someone of her own designation in 1795. We see something quite similar with that of Barnabas Collins and Ben Stokes, too. And when we think about Barnabas and Josette both being as such? That is certainly a match made in Heaven. ❤

Barnabas and Josette

We require wealthy people that empathise with those who suffer to make the difference, as we also need the suffering to appreciate each other. To me that’s what our stories show us.

Social media turned that story-telling, which changed our lives for the better, into mindless nostalgia of photos to thumb-up. It preys on the obsessive-compulsive-disorder which resounds in us to click happy-buttons and lose the heart of who we are. The happy-buttons, rewards of hearts and stars, regress us into kindergarteners. Kindergartners are easy to manipulate.

I didn’t know this was happening for so long because I had barely touched the social media. I was very involved in vision-therapy, librivox audio books, and creating The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows while watching and taking notes of all the shows that blend into it. I knew something of the smartphone phenomenon but we all joked about that long ago. The Blackberry phone came out with its whistles and bells and what did we call it?

The Crackberry.

A lady at church told me it was once a faux-pas to like-click posts on Facebook. She also recalls a friend asking her, “What’s with all these bumper stickers? I’m seeing them everywhere. All these images with quotations. What a waste!”

As it turns out there are others like me who didn’t see this happening either. We still used the internet to educate ourselves and keep in touch with loved ones. We had to hear less and less from those loved ones to begin recognizing we’d suddenly been left in the lurch. That led to many walks of life without similar interests reaching out to at least support each other in that one obvious fact. We were alone, very alone. A guy on a Gothic forum told me, “Some of the most artistic and rebellious people I have ever known have been siphoned by this conformity.” No kidding! I’ve seen it too.

In any event, those of similar interests are finding each other again, however slowly and I am very grateful. Several pen pals don’t fear discussing The Pit episodes. They enjoy it. They didn’t know it even existed. Now they look forward to more and express:

“Please keep up with this – you will be glad you followed your muse when she called you. But please don’t burn out on it—it would change the tone. You have such a happy enjoyable tone of joy with it. Yeah, that’s it—it’s JOYFUL! Ride this mule, baby!”

Now that’s more like it! And it’s what I like to do for others.

So for all the newbies:

I bid you welcome to The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows!

logo-collage-five

And for the old-hats? I welcomed you a long time ago, and I still do. But we must keep something in mind. We have flaws. That is human. You’ve felt guilty and uncertain because you fed into the bystander-effect, got caught up in only paying attention to the drama, lost the ability to talk about what you enjoyed. Is this all your fault? I don’t think so. But you still feel guilty and uncertain about me and the fact you played the “avoid-the-podcast-topic-game”. You really should stop playing that game. It’s not a fun game and no one wins it. (I prefer Kill Doctor Lucky and Tabloid Teasers, myself.)

But… what if you admitted to your flaws? What if you felt sorry and explained? In what light would you be seen if you owned up to a mistake or even several? Who would you be very akin to if you exhibited some remorse or apologetic forms of expression?

That would show you to be similar to one of our most beloved characters in the world:

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Barnabas Collins. ❤

Working on Lisa’s Interview and Episodes on CD

Hello everyone from various corners from the world! Well, I’m still here. I’m editing Lisa’s interview and that is super cozy and enjoyable, although cutting the superfluous sentence fragments, the “ums”, the “y’knows”, extra “ands, buts, and sos” that we don’t need should have always been the height of my problems. I enjoy the work but unfortunately there is always that dreadful reminder of the garbage labels that have been tossed at me; “writer” and that’s it, “podcaster” and that’s it. My pal Lynn picked up a better term when she heard me use “entertainer” and as a nut-shell sum-up of me that is likely best.

I got in touch with another podcaster I’d asked for help from back in 2013 via email. Leaving the carbon copy of previous emails she remembered who I was,  nodded approvingly at one of the pointers she gave in her podcast that I appreciated, which was doing things you enjoy or believe in with other people, and let me know how busy she presently is with her podcast as well as librivox books she does readings for. Wow! Didn’t know she was on the team, so to speak. Glad to hear it.

I dread returning to Facebook. It’s just so much hopelessness and a sea of confusion. I know there are many out there who use it sparingly and wisely but that’s never been what I’ve seen over all. Then there is Google Plus in which I get notifications of image after image after image being posted to the point I wonder if any of the posters or visitors remember why they even are interested in what those images represent.

One of my pen friends, that I’m still in touch with, got back into Facebook, caved-in, really and wrote this:

“Would love to hear about your 2-week abstinence plan for Facebook. So far it’s been pretty boring. I text anyone who I want to talk to.  ______ has coined the phrase ‘facebook religion’ after a day of discussing how everyone posts these religious sayings but you know [they] aren’t even slightly religious. I sometimes wonder how people have so much time to re-post stuff. Let alone, why they re-post so much. It’s as if they have ceased to have original thoughts. Which is sad because they are highly intelligent people in person.”

No kidding!

Another pen pal I chatted with had some sage things to say in regards to my quandaries, but I will stress he isn’t one for censoring himself. I told him:

“I do not understand the attraction of spending all day posting and sharing memes one doesn’t believe in. Is it like a video game for people who hate video games?”

He replied:

“It’s a c**k hobby. I prefer to actually DO things… Some people aren’t used to bold honesty.  I say it like it is. There just isn’t any other way to be for me. I think the things I watched/listened to the past several years gave me the push to be honest and not two-faced. Plus noticing how p***ified my surrounding people are just makes me want to oust them by doing better things… Better to be proactive and do instead of talk. That’s why a lot of channels/projects START and don’t PICK UP. Because there’s a lot of talk about videos they wanna do and not actually doing it.”

A third pen pal had this to express when I proposed it was the deeper thoughts I have that people can’t handle:

“I think that’s exactly why people are afraid of you, and really tend to pass people who require them to think outside the box, more deeply and have conversations of real substance as crazy. Most people can’t comprehend much anymore than sharing things on Facebook, memes that they agree with but in reality would never live up to. I think there are people who post things that have meaning to them and positive things.  That’s one thing I can understand. But what I find annoying is how girls will put up relationships quotes, and such. It’s like they base that meme of a relationship for what a relationship should be like… or they are trying to send a message to their mate to be more like the quote. (lol) Either way it’s a lack of communication.

I do think they would rather annihilate what you say than face it. It’s much easier and gives them time to save face and go back to their bubble. Requiring them to think is literally like stomping on their dreams and creating a nightmare in their minds that what they are thinking isn’t really true at all, and of course they can’t have that. (Lol)”

Well said and very true.

Pen pals have made the biggest impact for improving my life and the lives of others. I’m happy I returned to engaging in that realm further. So many were pushing more internet and more social media. Now we all have to admit the gains were low and foibles were high for promoting this project in such a fashion. Of course those that encouraged the social media are often the types who can’t stand admitting to errors. How one’s life is to improve without making mistakes is a strange concept to me. Many of the things I learned happened through watching the blunders of others both in real-life and in fiction. Nagging someone just prolongs a problem rather than solving it.

The good news is that with the enthusiasm of pen pals I am in the process of revising older episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows for the CD mailings. Episodes 1 through 5 have more sound effects and added music that was missing. Also the compact disk version of the episodes provides a format that is completely disengaged from the internet and all its impending interruptions. Listeners can focus on the audio drama without having to worry about pinging notifications coming from elsewhere, or getting it to their mp3 player, etc. A couple do confess to listening on boring road trips. Traffic jams become almost non-existent as the adventures of what the characters are doing soaks in. Also the new CD’s have separate tracks per scene which makes it much easier for people to find their place if they left off somewhere.

I’ve also tweaked with some of the voice performances. Maybe somewhere along the way Carolyn Stoddard shan’t sound so much like she is on helium!

So if any of my readers have gotten the CD versions that have massive tracks? I offer an exchange. I can replace your old CD episodes for these better, newer ones and I know just what to do with the old copies. I shan’t divulge that here, though.  😉

Lisa’s interview should be done soon. The talk is wonderful and she has long-term study and Dark Shadows goodies she’s been ordering and collecting for decades. It should be a wondrous earful and infused with plenty of nostalgia for old fans.  Then I have to prepare and perform the additions to a podcast for that.

Episode 17 in The Pit is still before me wanting one more scene for the sake of its current brevity. If listeners have my email address I’d love to workshop something new. I keep thinking we need more Willie… but then again, who doesn’t need more Willie? ❤

As for Facebook, again, I’m not looking forward to returning. If I could remove the damn notifications of those pesky like-clicks it would be better. I actually miss response comments because the programming there is more about wasting time with like-clicks or what someone else “liked” somewhere else that had nothing to do with you. Bleh…

Then one meme falls in your face…. And then another one… And before you know it your perception of what a simple colour is changes, and your mental processes loop into oblivion as you vaguely wonder why the dishes have piled up so high and still aren’t cleaned yet. “Ahhh, another day is shot,” you think, “and I didn’t do diddly-squat.” But something in the human spirit needs a regular dose of going nowhere fast.

So scroll while you can, and use the passing rare real update about that rare real friend as ink-blot tests of your recovering sanity, and may all your social media goals be blissfully pointless.

Pit Update August 2016

update august 2016

 

Just me, no music. Discussion about things, hopefully, getting better, and how to keep that going. The importance of correspondence especially.

Clear reasons why I, and many others, lose their tempers. (Gets a bit loud while this is explained. Not really a rant, more an exclamation of disbelief in contradictory behaviour.) Deep appreciation for the nice people and tools for how to avoid the bummer types, too!

“Spoilers” over scenes one through five, in Episode 16, that are being worked on, as well as the intricate technical aspects that make the idea of critiquing them severely unwanted and unwarranted. (Audio Dramatists? Listen up. You’ll probably enjoy this bit.) Plenty of talk about “Hawkeye” finally being included and what’s happening in scene four with him. I’m not concerned about spoilers when it comes to this radio drama. People can barely remember what they enjoyed in all the other episodes, so why worry? winking

My old internet days, Sailor Moon, chat rooms, etc. Why fans identify with Angelique and some may not even know it.

A reading from me of Osheen’s review for Episode 7 about one year before this podcast, and my hearty enjoyment of that!

Understanding of the idea of “independence” and how much of an illusion that is.

Not included in this podcast is my suggestion here: If you are wealthy and dissatisfied with your life? Please enjoy the film “The Amazing Adventure” with Cary Grant. Thanks. You’re welcome.

podomatic link here

podbay link here

archive dot org link here

Also available on iTunes