Ray Bradbury’s Writing Wisdom #19

I had to write a 260 page screenplay. That’s six hours. Jack said, “Well now you’ve got to cut out 40 pages.” I said, “God, I can’t.” He said, “Go ahead, I know you can do it. I’ll be behind you.” So I cut 40 pages out. He said, “OK, now you’ve got to get another 40 pages out.” But I got it down to 180 pages. And then Jack said, “Thirty more.” And I said “Impossible, impossible!” OK, I got it down to 150 pages. He said, “OK now thirty more.” Well, he kept telling me I could do it. And, by God, I went through a final time and got it down to 120 pages. It was better. ~ Ray Bradbury

Vinnie’s Mom Wonders if Her Day Can Get Worse


Vinnie’s mom’s eyes glaze over. She sees herself walking along a deserted beach surrounded by sandpipers. The only sounds are the rhythm of the surf rolling onto the shore and seagulls circling the beach looking for food. Suddenly, she’s transported into the present moment.

“Mom, Mom, Mom,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom travels one-thousand miles in the blink of an eye, “Yes, Vinnie?”

“You’re not paying attention, Mom. Your mind is somewhere else,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom gets indignant, “It is not. I was paying attention.”

“No, Mom. Mrs. Navis says the same thing to me when I get the same look on my face. Where were you?”

“Is this part of the challenge round?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad steals a glance toward Vinnie’s Mom, “I’d like to know. Was I with you wherever you were?”

Vinnie’s mom makes a deep sigh, “If you both must know. I was thinking about dinner and where we should go tonight. I was thinking we’ll go for pizza at Mario’s Sport’s Bar and we can all watch the ballgame while we eat.” Vinnie’s mom immediately regrets her words. She hates sport’s bars. She tired of pizza. And she doesn’t know who’s playing and she doesn’t care who wins. And, she just blew the private date she and Vinnie’s dad agreed to earlier.”

“Wow, Mom. I hate having a baby sitter. This is so cool. This day is already getting better and I didn’t think it could get any better. Can Rupert come? I promise he’ll behave,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom is thinking about seeing a present moment coach. She can’t back out of this one. Her day is like a winter storm when forecaster says, “Hold on, the storms going to get worse before it gets better. I hope there’s plenty of food in fridge.”

Vinnie’s dad says, “Great idea. I’ll invite Mike and Michelle to join us. That’s the bar where they met.”

Vinnie’s mom thinks, ‘Can this day get worse? Yes, it has and there’s no telling how bad it is going to get.”

“Mom doesn’t like Michelle. She thinks she uses too much makeup. Isn’t that what you told Marsha? Dad. Can we invite Larry and his mom. At least I’ll have someone to talk to besides you both,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom wants to deny what Vinnie said, but can’t she knows she said it. She makes a mental note not to be candid with anyone if Vinnie’s awake and then she can’t be sure if he’s sleeping. She says, “Can we get the challenge round over with?”

Vinnie smiles. He says, “Great. Let’s do the challenge round then I’ll invite Larry and his mom.”

Vinnie’s dad raises his hands up, “Hold on, Vinnie. We didn’t agree to inviting Larry and his Mom to Mario’s tonight.”

“But, Dad. You didn’t say no,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom sensing an opportunity for payback, says, “Vinnie makes a point, Dear.”

Vinnie’s dad hearing his words repeated back to him feels as if he’s driving into a cul de sac and has no escape, “I thought you didn’t like Emily.”

Vinnie glances at his Mom. “You don’t like Larry’s mom, Mom? Why? I’m making this the first part of the challenge round, so you have to answer it.”

Vinnie’s mom prays silently, ‘Mary, Mother of God, help me. I’m dying here. I’m trapped in deep pit and they’re tossing dirt on top of me.’ Vinnie’s mom forces a smile, “Of course I like Emily, Vinnie.”

“But Dad said you don’t like Emily. Dad, why did you say Mom didn’t like Emily if she says she likes Emily?”

Vinnie’s dad doesn’t dare glance at Vinnie’s Mom. He can feel her shooting large jagged icicles at him. He says, “Can we take the original question? I was ready to answer it.”

Vinnie says, “I’ll have to talk to Rupert and Dexter about this rule change.”

‘Oh, dear God, I’m at the mercy of a stuffed animal and a beagle,’ mutters Vinnie’s  Mom.

Sorrow Is Like a Ceaseless Rain

When I began writing Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again I was unsure I’d find my way through the grieving process. I began Chapter 1 with the poem, Sorrow, by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  His poem expressed how I felt. Here is the poem as I placed it at the beginning of Chapter 1 in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:


Sorrow like a ceaseless rain

Beats upon my heart.

People twist and scream in pain,

Dawn will find them still again;

This has neither wax nor wane,

Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;

I sit in my chair.

All my thoughts are slow and brown:

Standing up or sitting down

Little matters, or what gown

Or what shoes I wear.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. Available in paperback and ebook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo.

Excerpt From

Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again

Raymond Calabrese

This material is copyright protected

Vinnie Returns Tomorrow – Are Their Hotlines for Moms With Sons Like Vinnie?

Vinnie doesn’t let up on his mom and dad. They must have the patience of saints. LOL Vinnie returns Monday.

Ray Bradbury’s Writing Wisdom #18

We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.  ~ Ray Bradbury

Vinnie Returns Monday Testing His Mom’s Limits

Vinnie can’t help himself, he’s an 8-year old boy with a vivid imagination. He returns on Monday.

Ray Bradbury’s Writing Wisdom #17

Dandelion Wine, like most of my books and stories was a surprise. I began to learn the nature of such surprises, thank God, when I was fairly young as a writer. … No one told me to surprise myself … I learned to let my senses and past, tell me all that was somehow true. ~ Ray Bradbury