Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rita Reveries OR You're not in Texas Anymore

Hurricane Rita may have turned into a non-event for my part of Houston from a meteorological standpont, but it certainly created many events in every other regard.

Evacuation, Cypress: We left town, terrified of the Cat 5 hurricane apparently bearing down directly to the West of us. At 8:45 AM on Thursday, September 22, we set out on a back road, thinking we would avoid the traffic by sneaking around it. Hah! Eleven hours later, we had traveled about 50 miles, to Brenham, Texas. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Judi, who works for Omni hotels, when a room cancellation left an unexpected opening at the Omni West Park in Dallas, we got a room for that night. We got there at about 1:30 AM Friday. It was grueling. The best way to illustrate the experience is to explain that we traveled from Omaha, Nebraska back to Cypress in the same 17 hours that it took us to travel from Cypress to Dallas on evacuation day!

Destination, Kansas City: Because we got in to Dallas so late, we slept in a little and didn't get on the road until 1:00 PM. That made getting to Omaha difficult, so we arranged to go to Julia's parents house in Parkville, Missouri for the night Friday. Steve and Ellen offered us gracious hospitality and a lovely Saturday morning brunch. Considering that we had never met before, their kindness was even more welcome. Now we have officially met both parental sides of Julia's family, so at least we won't be meeting at the church when Nick and Julia get married.

Destination, Omaha: We got to Omaha in time for my niece Jeni's little boy Mitchell's second birthday party. I haven't been a room so full of infants in years! (The grandmother urges are just driving me nutz ... ) Jeni anhd her husband Jeff are nice young people and Mitchell is so smart it is amazing. At two, he speaks in complete sentences and with an understanding that is far beyond normal two-year-old development. I have had three of my own - who I thought were pretty darn smart - and Mitchell is still a wonder. He loved Victoria and the two of them laughed and giggled up a storm both times we visited their house. My brother Mark and sister-in-law Judi were so nice to us and made us completely welcome. It stopped being an evacuation and turned into a lovely family visit for a couple of days.

Consternation, Cats: Our cats hated every minute of the evacuation and ensuing travel. I can not describe how unhappy they were. We had gotten tranquilizers for them, but those did not seem to work well, so we stopped using them and bought gardening gloves for our own protection instead. We rearranged the cars so I had all of our goods and Michael had a little cat spa in the back of his vehicle .... although the cats didn't find it too appealing. They did survive and recognized home as soon as we got back. They have been surprizingly friendly towards us since arriving back at the ranch.

Reconfiguration, Calendar: Everything is turned upside down. Appointments missed, events canceled and rescheduled. MY PLAY'S OPENING CHANGED TO OCTOBER 7. It's going to take a lot of time to get everything back on track.

We survived evacuating Hurricane Rita. That's enough.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Impressive Press Release (Minus my Phone Number. Sorry.)

Contact: Lane Devereux,



Northwest Houston playwright fulfills promise with newest production timed to kick-off October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

HOUSTON (Sept. 14, 2005) – Houston resident Lane Devereux will fulfill a promise to a friend this month when In the Wings Productions presents the world premiere of her play, "Like Fish Swimming through Rock," September 30, 2005 at the Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, 2201 Preston in Houston.

The play will run for six performances, through October 8, in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Written by Houstonian Lane G. Devereux, “Like Fish Swimming through Rock” depicts the three pivotal days between two women whose love, friendship and rivalry extends more than 20 years and encompasses college; feminism; marriage, children, divorce; and competitive business careers. One’s looming death from breast cancer seems to be the only unconquerable challenge these two women have ever faced and, in the play, they face it together and unflinchingly.

Set in St. Louis, the play memorializes a close friend of Devereux’s who died in 1991. “She worried that her grandchildren would never know her, because she was just 42 years old when she died, so she made her friends promise to preserve the outrageous, but true, stories of her life for posterity. This is my gift to her memory,” Devereux remarked. “It is also a tribute to breast cancer patients and the people who love them. Breast cancer is a terrible disease.”

The production company is working with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to present educational talk-backs after each performance. In the Wings Productions is generously contributing ten percent of the proceeds to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’s 5K walk as part of its commitment to benefit the community with its productions.

“Like Fish Swimming through Rock” was refined in the Edward Albee New Playwrights Workshop, held each year by the University of Houston, in 2001. During that production, Brandy Barfield Rood, co-owner of In the Wings Productions, portrayed Maya, the dying woman. After earning her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston, Rood joined fellow MFA graduate, Eleanor Colvin, in founding their own company. Reprising Maya was a personal goal that fit well with the company’s mission to use theatre to educate and support women in the Houston area about issues that affect them.

Tickets will be sold at and at the door.

# # #

My publicity photo. Thank you, Michael.

I can't upload the poster. It's in a .pdf file and maybe it's just too big. Here are two other photos for you. On the left is the basic fish that the poster is built around. Fossilized because that's an item in the play and pink because it's being done for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

On the right is the publicity photograph that is going into the programs. I like it. Michael always makes me smile a happy smile instead of a cardboard one, and he gets things just right about posing me. It makes me look damn good for my age ... I'm old enough to get the senior meals at IHOP, you know.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Blog Aversion and How I Conquered It!

For several weeks, notions of writing in this blog have danced through my consciousness frequently. Watching TV - "I should blog this." Listening to the radio - "I should blog that." Reading a book - "I should really blog this." But there has been no blogging for a month.

"Whycom?" as one of my toddlers used to ask me.

Here is the truth. The world has been too depressing to blog about.

Yes, I know that there are pundits out there blogging about all sorts of important socially aware and policitically with-it topics, but I'm not interested in them. I don't know enough about most areas to pass myself off as an expert - which doesn't stop some people, I realize - and I don't want to take the time to become an expert in most of them. Politically, I figure I'm screwed - because I'm one of those scary liberals - so why bother. In most political arenas nobody is listening to anybody else anyway, so your either talking to yourself or talking to the choir. Or preaching at the enemy.

Ditto religion.

Hurricane Katrina is a topic that stirred profound thoughts and feelings in me. I sat on my couch watching TV and crying like I haven't done since 9/11. And wondered at the palpable stupidity of our public officials in the face of absolute misery, terror and degradation. I especially liked the interview with one of the Michaels (see, that's why I'm not pundit material, I can't remember these important details) who was adamantly denying the existence of stranded, desperate people at the convention center when I had been watching live footage from the convention center with exactly those people in it for several hours.

But this one has been hammered to death already. It was unexcusably callous, and stupid politics for sure, and he deserved to get hoisted on that petard. But everyone else is hoisting and I can't see where my petard makes much difference.

All of Katrina was like that for me. What words of mine were adequate?

I do have some personal involvement in the events. My son and his fiance lived in New Orleans. In fact, they moved there exactly one month before the storm hit, on July 29th. It was an ill-fated month from the start, with everything that could go wrong, going wrong. Just when the problems seemed straightened out and Nick was about to start classes at Tulane for his Junior year, comes Katrina.

At the time, I didn't feel much like talking about that either.

I have simply had an aversion to my blog for the past month because things have been too depressing to write about. (Oh, and I was out of town and incomputicado for a week in Montana.)

But I conquered the block! And how, you might ask? By having an absolutely exciting and thrilling moment in my life approaching which has raised me from my doldrums and started my fingers flying over the keyboard again.

My play is premiering on September 30. All the kinks have been worked out. All the little disappointments smoothed over. The cast seems terrific from the two rehearsals I've attended. The director is very competent and cares about the play. The posters are printed and absolutely beautiful. I would like to kiss their graphic designer whoever she or he may be. I'll see if I can post it here. My friends say they are going to attend. I probably don't have enough friend to sell out six shows, but I'm working every angle I can think off.

Tonight I sent about fifty e-mails and another 25 faxes to media contacts. And I did a good job, too, personalizing everyone that needed a special touch. It took all weekend and more if I count collecting and screening the names. I had guidance on the press release from my friend Maggie Hawkins, who is a super-professional PR person. Maybe I should post the press release, too. I'll think about that.

I have been eating sleeping and drinking the play for the last two weeks and it has finally lifted me far enough out ot the social-political morass to want to write in my blog again. How nice!

Actually, I can't go to bed so I may as well work on this post. I have a long list of faxes queued up and running through my computer. I can't go to bed until they're done.

But I think I'll go see if I can upload the poster and maybe some other stuff. My husband took a really nice publicity photo of me for the playbill. Michael takes better pictures of me than anyone else in the world. Do you think it's cuz' he loves me? I do.

"Smile and the whole world smiles with you," the old song says. Well there must be a lot of cheerful people out there lately, because I'm grinning most of the time. Hope it lasts a while.