Idaho Writers & Readers Rendezvous

If you were a member of the Idaho Screenwriter’s Association, I have some wonderful news for you. This year at the Rendezvous, we are honored to present Steve Kirwan, Executive Director of the American Screenwriters Association.  Please don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with an amazing man.

Steven Kirwan is the Executive Director of the American Screenwriters Association, and a screenwriter himself.

Steven spent his early career selling electronic components, and following his entrepreneurial spirit, started an IT support business, and currently provides IT support for small office/home office clients in the greater Boise, ID region. He also runs a flourishing Internet Marketing consultancy helping clients develop and implement social marketing strategies.

His love for writing began at a young age. A prolifoc writer of traditional styled poetry and fantasy-adventure short stories, he found that writing a novel was “just plain too slow,” and wrote his first full length fiction as a screenplay. “Hard Drive” is currently in production, Additional screenplays include “Outside In,” Short Time,” and “Faster Than You.”

American Screenwriters Association, once the preeminent organization for emerging screenwriters, is flourishing under Steven’s guidance and direction. After its dissolution in 2008, it is back on track to re-emerge as the ultimate Screenwriter’s Association and resource community.

Falling


Okay, so this is going back a few years, but I wanted to share another one of those amazing times of my life with you. It was just after my thirtieth birthday. You see it was that time of my life when I found myself single, and a mother of two. I worked hard all day, spent my free time with my children, and on an occasional evening went out with the girls. It happened in the late spring, that one of my girlfriends, also a single mother, a widow to be exact, invited me to a ‘single parent’s ‘ group that she had started attending. It was a way to talk about your life and common struggles with others that were going through the same thing. A support network of sorts. Okay, it was a way for us all to meet someone new! And meet someone new is exactly what hap-pened to me. His name was Mark and his wife had run off and left him with their three children. He was a doll with those red freckles all over his cheeks and those stunning green eyes. How could I not be enchanted? He asked if I was a model. I thought he was a genius! So Mark and I started dating. We went skiing, dancing, dining and more. We were doing great until the day he told me he wanted to learn how to skydive. I simply had to go with him, he said. The class was a week long, and then we would jump on a Saturday. Jump? From a plane? Did I understand him right; he wanted me to jump out of a perfectly good plane, as a date? Something was wrong with this picture, but those delightful green eyes tricked me somehow, and I said, “Oh Mark, I’d love to!” I chalk that up to a brief brush with insanity. Summer was beautiful in Washington where we lived. And the day had come for us to go skydiving, now that the classroom, which was the easy part, was done. Jump. From a perfectly good airplane. Green eyes, I just had to keep telling myself how much I loved those emerald green eyes, those cute freckles, and oh damn it, jump out of a perfectly good airplane? For a date? We got out to a small airfield. My children went with us to watch, they were so excited. I laughed nervously. The plane was a small Cessna, it had only one seat in it, and that was for the pilot. Lucky him. He didn’t have to jump out of the plane; he was the only sane one of the bunch. And while there were a dozen or so in our class, I was the only female. I should have known something was up! Our instructor, the Jumpmaster, came up to me and said, “You have to jump first. The rule always is, if there’s a woman in the class, she jumps first. Because if she doesn’t back out, the men can’t back out!” Why didn’t that make me feel any better, I wondered. We got in the small plane. One guy sat on the floor behind the pilot, I sat on the floor beside the pilot, and the Jumpmaster sat on the floor behind me. “Okay,” I thought, “I can do this.” The pilot started the plane and yelled out to us, “Lean forward so we can take off.” I started to laugh, “You’re joking, right?” He looked at me dead serious. “No! Lean forward so we can take off!” I gulped. I leaned forward and placed my head over my knees and asked God to please let me live through this! The plane started to move, we left my stomach somewhere thirty or forty feet back there. Too late, the plane was airborne. After we reached our cruising altitude, the Jumpmaster leaned forward and told me that he was going to open the door next to me, and for me to turn and dangle my legs out of the door, just to get used to it for a moment. Dangle? Dangle my legs out of a plane flying 150+ mph? He pulled the door open, and my body just went on auto pilot since I had left my brain and all logic some few thousand feet below. I let my legs dangle out of the plane. Funny thing that happens when you hang your legs over the edge flying at that speed, they don’t dangle! They get swept sideways rather quickly. And all the breath in my lungs went with them! I gasped trying to breathe! Okay, I’m still alive, I thought. How much worse could it get? The Jumpmaster leaned forward and spoke in my ear again. Damn him! He pointed to the strut that went from the bottom of the plane out to the end of the wing. He told me to reach out, grab a hold of the strut and pull myself out to where it met the wing. Well, logic and brain were somewhere far below, so my body did as he said. I grabbed a hold, inched my way out, and found myself holding onto the strut of the plane, where it met the wing, my body flying parallel to the plane. I wondered what the definition of insanity was? I looked back at the Jumpmaster now in the doorway of the plane, lucky him. He yelled for me to “let go!” I couldn’t actually hear him, but I saw his lips move. At least that’s what I think he said. I sure hope that’s what he said because at that moment, that exact precise moment in time, my fingers let go of that strut, and the plane left me! It just kept flying and I began to fall! No strut, no plane, no Jumpmaster! Thank God for parachutes. I was on a static line, which means it automatically pulled the rip cord after a few seconds and my beautiful parachute opened up. Oh how I loved that parachute, it had not abandoned me like the plane and the Jumpmaster! They say you fall a hundred feet a second. But something miraculous happened just then. My parachute was turned and caught the wind in such a way that it seemed to stand still. I found myself hanging a thousand feet in the air, and in perfect silence. How was this possible? I couldn’t hear the wind, the plane, the beating of my heart. I couldn’t hear anything. Absolute and complete silence. I turned ever so slightly and began to float down. I felt like a gentle feather swaying back and forth in the hand of God on my way to the earth below. Silence. It was so profound. That moment of being there in the sky, alone, silent, I was transformed. I had fallen in love that day. Not with a green-eyed, freckle-faced man, but with God. I felt His touch. I heard Him tell me, ‘It’s okay, I have you now.

Turning Fifty

There are certain turning points in one’s life, and turning fifty was one of mine. I’m one of those people who love to give parties, and had given my husband quite a few surprise birthday parties over the years. And I was thinking, which was my first mistake, that he might give me a birthday party for my fiftieth, being such a landmark birthday. But he didn’t plan a party, or anything special. He asked me if there was anything I wanted to do for my birthday. Since we didn’t have much money, I said that I would love to just spend the day going for a drive in the hills, maybe take a picnic, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. But he didn’t have time. So we did nothing. He didn’t buy me a gift, or take me any place special, and he certainly didn’t throw me a surprise birthday party. No party at all. I cried for a week. I realized later that it wasn’t his fault I had such a rotten birthday. If I hadn’t had the expectations, I could never have been let down. But still, I was fifty. I wasn’t young and perky any more. At fifty, I was not only feeling old, I was feeling lonely, useless, and unfulfilled. No wonder I cried for a week! Two years later I got divorced and moved 120 miles away, back to my hometown where my parents and siblings were. Life took a new direction. Fifty plus is proving to be an interesting time of life. My kids are grown; I’m single and reinventing myself. I thought at first I was rediscovering myself, but then I realized the person I had been the first fifty years was no longer there. It was time to be someone better.

Eclectic Idaho

I’m a native Idahoan.  Something you don’t find so much these days.  Although I have moved around the country, and even Europe, I have come back home to Idaho.  There’s no greener grass than at home!
One thing I love doing is traveling around this beautiful state and taking in the many sights.  This is a photograph I took one weekend when we drove to Idaho City for the day.  It’s an amazing little town in the mountains just north east of Boise.  Once a thriving mining town, now it’s just a small town time has somewhat forgot.  But if you get the chance to go to Idaho City, check out this place.  I’m sorry to say it’s closed now, so you can’t go in.  But oh what treasures you will find just walking around it!

All around the world there are places like this.  Amazing spots that have incredible stories to tell.  What stories this place could tell!  Won’t you come and listen?

Searching for Research

I’m writing a book that is a collection of short stories that are all centered around a small town on the Oregon coast.  I know this town because I used to live there, many, many years ago.

So I went back last week to reaquaint myself with the area.  It had changed.  But everything changes.  Although I have to say Garibaldi, Oregon hadn’t changed much.  It’s still a small fishing village and Coast Guard base situated in Tillamook Bay.  And it’s interesting that Tillamook on one side and Rockaway Beach on the other side are both tourist towns, Garibaldi is not.

And that’s what draws me to it.

I got a lot of great pictures of the small town with a population of approximately 700, and talked to some warm and friendly inhabitants of the community.  Garibaldi holds a lot of secrets, some of which will soon spill onto the pages of my book!

FREEDOM

I love the 4th of July, the barbeques, the hot summer days, the brilliant fireworks at night.  I’m easily lost in time at moments like this, remembering when I was a child, sitting on a quilt in the Caldwell city park with my grandparents, aunts and uncles.  It was magic as we sat there eating watermelon and oohing and ahhing over the outburst of splendor in the night sky.

I love the memories of my childhood that make me smile, and fill my heart with warmth.  I miss my parents, and my grandparents.  But in the brilliance of a 4th of July fireworks, I always feel them sitting near me, just out of sight.

Freedom comes from many things, wars fought, battles won, and the choice to rise above what seemed to hold us back.  Be free today, and every day.   Enjoy the life God has given you.

Music Video

This is my first Music Video that I’ve produced, hope you’ll enjoy it. Please share it with your friends – we need the “likes”!

While this isn’t the type of music I normally listen to, I agreed to produce the video because I do feel strongly about the message of the song: “beware of people you meet over the internet”.

Please share this video with your friends!

What’s Your Story?

Everything in life is a story. Our work, our relationships, our successes and failures. They all create the stories that are our life. What is the story of your life? Have you thought about it?

Have you been around someone who is so charismatic, that people flock to listen to them entertain them with, yes, another story. Everyone is a story teller. Some stories are interesting and some are not, but they are still all stories! There are stories that make us laugh, and stories that make us cry. Scary stories to tell by the camp fire, or stories that inspire the spirit.

Is your story going the way you want it to? Can you rewrite it? Think about the elements in your life’s story, and what can be changed to achieve the outcome you desire. You have the ability to make that change. It’s called ‘free will’. Think about writing an outline that is your life. Where is it weak? Where is it strong? Just like crafting a fictional story, you can craft your life’s story. After all, it’s your story, it should be what you want it to be!

Memorial Day

This day means many things to many people.  A time to remember those that gave their lives for this country’s freedom, a time to remember those family and friends that are no longer with us, or just enjoying a three-day weekend!  So many people have touched my life, and I am a better person today because of their past influence.  I miss them.  I think of them often.

I invite you to add your comment here about one person who has touched your life.  Who were they?  What did they do for you?  I would love to share in your memory.  We do not mourn their loss today, but rather celebrate their life.  Remember them with the joy and passion that that loved you with.

I remember my great grandma Briscoe, and smile at my early childhood memories of playing in her yard in the bright summer days, tickled at watching the magical dragonflies dart in and out of her tall and colorful hollyhocks.

Idaho Writers & Readers Rendezvous

As a board member of the Idaho Writers Guild, I get the privilege of working on one of Boise’s premiere writing events each year, the Idaho Writers & Readers Rendezvous. This year it was held at the Boise Centre May 2-4, 2013. If you didn’t attend, you missed out. But if you did attend, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

The thing I enjoy the most about conferences and writing workshops, is the heightened sense of enthusiasm that fills the air and increases in intensity as it travels from person to person, and room to room. I have attended so many writing conferences over the years, I begin to think “There’s nothing else new to learn, what can I hear that I haven’t heard before?” And yet, every year, I am astounded at the new revelations and ideas that I receive. This year was no exception. In fact this year, was more amazing than I thought possible! Connections that I made sent my writing career around the next corner on the path to success. And I learned that it’s not about forcing what you want, but letting go of what you don’t want, and that opens the door for your destiny to unfold!

I also had the joy of meeting and hearing some amazing speakers, like David James Duncan, who was so incredible I went right out and bought two of his books for him to autograph. I can’t wait to read them! I also heard Ron Carlson, a very entertaining speaker and teacher that enriches the lives of so many writers.

If you can mark your calendars now, I hope you do for next year’s Rendezvous, here in Boise on May 1-3, 2014. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Author, speaker