I missed the “CONGRATULATIONS” part of the letter. I focused on the “thank you so much for your submission.” Well, at least, the theatre company wrote back I thought. Then I read “we are happy to tell you.” Okay. Start over. Slow down. My 10-minute play, Jornada del Muerto, will be produced at the Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre Ten-Minute Festival in January 2019. My sweet sister, Kate, told me I was getting closer to Hollywood. I like her thinking. I will be submitting another “short” play this month to a regional competition. The winners will most likely be notified in December. Waiting is what playwrights do. While we wait, it is recommended that we write. So I am. I’ve started a new play. I have ten typed pages. I have a long way to go to reach “full length” category. The play takes place in Austin or, maybe, Marfa. Five older women constitute the cast. I’m still developing the characters and then there’s the whole plot and arc thing. The research is a little more involved than I initially thought. But, I do like to be as accurate as possible.

I listen to a lot of music when I write – to set the mood as it were. I retrieved my Mother’s CD box set of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys to play. I took my Mother to see Asleep at the Wheel at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston many years ago. She loved the performance. She told me the story of when her Aunt Viva would listen to Bob Wills on the radio. She said she kept very still for thirty minutes while Bob sang to her aunt. Keeping still is a luxury for farmers and their families. Maybe for that thirty minutes life was less troublesome. I imagine a little girl wearing a plain cotton dress, sitting at the kitchen table in an Oklahoma farm house, watching her aunt intently listen as Bob Wills’ music pours out of the old radio. A faded black oscillating fan churns the hot summer air through the room. Her aunt smiles. “Take it away, Leon.” Perhaps life is not so hard after all.