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October 3, 2017:

THE EARLY DRAFT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this month is flying by, like a gazelle eating Turkish Taffy, Swedish Fish, and Armenian Gumballs. I myself have not eaten any of those things recently, although I have had a craving for Armenian Gumballs, but who hasn’t. I’ll tell you an amazingly amazing little story of something I found buried in one of the many boxes we went through: A notebook (three-ring) containing about 122 oddly spaced pages of what became my first novel, Benjamin Kritzer. What’s interesting about it is that this was printed after I’d decided what the actual story of the book was going to be. As you may or may not know, when I began writing Benjamin Kritzer I had no idea how to write a book, I just wrote and it became a series of remembrances or anecdotes that I really enjoyed writing. The first change I made at the beginning was turning Chapter One into the Prologue and starting the actual story of Benjamin’s life with Chapter One (and I also found THOSE early pages out there, too). I wrote, Muse Margaret read and loved what she was reading and was very encouraging, and somewhere around chapter six I wrote a seven-page recounting of the first girl I ever liked, back in grammar school. I wrote it quickly, it made me laugh and it made me cry because I’d never forgotten her and our time together before she moved away. In real life, that all happened within a three or four month span of time. I was really emotional after I finished (late one evening), and just went to bed thinking what a heartfelt chapter that would be. But I’d already expressed concern to Muse Margaret about what the book was actually going to be – an entire series of anecdotes straight through to the end, with no real plot and I’d finally thought, well, maybe that’s okay.

I woke up the next morning and reread the seven pages – I thought most of it was really good and it moved me once again. And as I sat there a light went off in the cranium and I thought, wait, that’s the story, that’s what this book is about, this wonderful relationship with this girl and how it affects Benjamin when it ends. Bingo – I had my story. So, I just kept writing the anecdotes, which kept pushing the story further down, as I needed to know how I actually got to that point. But I decided that the book would now be in two parts – part one, the anecdotal stuff, part two, meeting Susan and the story of that relationship. I was so happy with that turn of events. I wrote right up to part two, did that title page and song quote, and then began writing the first chapter of part two, which even then I called Susan Pomeroy. And on that page there’s but one paragraph, the rest of the page is blank, and the next page is two-thirds blank and then it picks up with the original seven page version of the Susan story, so I obviously wanted to read it up to that point, and that’s as far as this goes.

The original placement of the story was a few weeks after Benjamin sees Foreign Intrigue on a family vacation in La Jolla. In the finished book, he doesn’t meet her for several months after that event. So, it was really fascinating reading it – my paragraphs were hilarious, sometimes one paragraph stretching on for pages – all that got fixed later. And while the writing of that story is occasionally rough, it’s basically still in the book – especially the meet cute, which is almost verbatim what I originally wrote (with some bad stuff excised, thank goodness). The entire story until she moves in this first short version, is just a few little moments here and there – there is nothing about Marty’s Bike and Candy shop and no details at all – just happens the way it really happened. But for the purposes of the two-part book, of course, I expanded the story to last a lot longer and the relationship was a lot more than it really was in real life. But it’s the way I would have liked it to have been. And of course, doing all that story and relationship stuff, and having their love be so pure and deep, only made the revelation of the move much more emotional. By the time I actually got to that section I was a basket case because I knew it was coming. I smoothed out a lot of it, changed one key thing for Benjamin’s reaction to it, and once the long version was down I never changed one single word of anything in part two. Anyway, I thought I’d share it because I had no idea I still had a copy of that original short version. And no, it’s not going in the Indiegogo campaign.

Speaking of the Indiegogo campaign, yesterday I got eight hours of sleep, got up, and immediately added perks and then started to do the puuuuuuuush. I thought long and hard about whether to wait a few days, due to the horror of what happened in Las Vegas, but in the end and sadly not a day goes by when there’s not something horrific going on in this world gone mad. So, I went ahead and did it. And we did go up to 78% – I was hoping for 80% and we certainly got close to it. I think at this stage of the game the percentage goes up more slowly – but we’re close to 10K right now and I’m still hopeful that by the end of this week we’ll have reached our goal and can then go into our stretch goal of covering the Indiegogo fees and Paypal fees, then seeing if we can actually go as high as funding a cast album.

At some point I went and had a chili, cheese, and onion hot dog and a few fries, then picked up the important mail (whew), did some banking, then came home and decided I really needed to not do any work other than keep my eye on the Indiegogo thing. But, I did finish casting the two kids for Levi – originally Hayley Shukiar was going to be the girl, but she booked the live TV musical version of A Christmas Story and so she’s doing that. So, I immediately turned to Hadley Belle Miller and she’s happily on board, and I’m just waiting for confirmation on the boy. I’m still lacking one male role that we have to bring in, as there’s no one in the department who fits the bill. I may have to have a casting session if no one steps forward.

I had many telephonic conversations with many different people, did spend quite a bit of time going over the charts for Levi with Lanny (his synth mock-ups sound great) – just making small adjustments here and there. Then I had to do the same with Richard Allen, as he wasn’t quite understanding what I wanted with a running musical motif. We got that straightened out and things are all good and forging ahead. It’s amazing to think we actually begin in sixteen days.

I went to Gelson’s at some point, got a couple of drumettes, a tiny bit of hatch chili mac-and-cheese, and some cucumber roll for my evening snacks, which I parsed out. Other than that, I listened to music. And I forgot to mention the somewhat positive (at least the way I read it) e-mail about the important project that gave me hope that it might actually happen – so please send your strongest most excellent vibes and xylophones that we hear positive news. If we do, I’ll fast track this baby so fast you won’t even believe it.

Today, I have to be up very early for a nine o’clock meeting with the fellow I hope is doing sound design for Levi. We have to hammer out the deal and I can only hope he’ll be understanding about LACC and how much money we can actually spend. But I really want it to be him. After that, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll finish casting the Kritzerland show, I’m hoping the Indiegogo campaign keeps going up, percentage-wise – there are more original artworks that I put up last night, so do check them out – here’s the handy-dandy linkarooni.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/levi-a-new-musical-by-the-sherman-brothers/x/9165600#/

Tomorrow I’m hoping to have a brief visit with Richard Sherman, Thursday I’m seeing Hamilton, and then the rest of the week and weekend is Kritzerland show stuff, Indiegogo stuff, and making some rough demos of the Levi songs for our cast.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a morning meeting, hopefully pick up packages, cast the Kritzerland show, work the Indiegogo thing, and relax – and hope for some very positive news about the important project. Today’s topic of discussion: Who was your very first crush? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have perused that very early draft of Benjamin Kritzer and also really happy to have reached 78%.

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