Sunday, July 24, 2011

Roosters, martinis and nibbling fish

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Mosque and Hindu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali

Each morning the crowing roosters and the delicate chiming of temple bells meant only one thing; we weren't in San Francisco, but 10,000 miles away on the tiny island of Bali. The smells of incense and frangipani merge with the fragrance of stale garbage; mangy dogs lap up the rice from tiny offerings laid at almost every doorway. Hindu deities share the diminutive volcano dotted landscape with mosques where the call to prayer is broadcast daily and hordes of Australian tourists visit spas where for a small fee tiny fish nibble the dead skin from their feet.

It was all a delicious distraction and the perfect place to put together what we are optimistically calling the close-to-final draft of Rights of Passage. Sharp words, at times, floated in the perfumed air but by the end of the day, martini in hand, things would always look up. I recently read a quote by the late playwright Romulus Linney: "Human beings have three basic drives, my dear: eating, sex and rewriting other people's plays. Stick to your guns." Good advice, but sometimes, I've learned, my guns aren't worth sticking to and something better can be made.

We also had the great luck to spend time with our dear friend Susan who lives in Phnom Penh. She joined us in Bali for a few days of spa treatments, hiking and shopping. We took a day off from writing for a day trip to Lake Bratan to see the iconic temple built out into the lake. It was a big religious holiday and the place was filled with happy families enjoying the beautiful weather and the lake breezes.

So now we're back to reality, such as it is, and planning for another staged reading of the play in October.

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