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Nance Crawford

Books - Plays - Words & Music


Who I am on the day I post. Always subject to change.

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Hello, Out There!

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (1)

For whatever reason still unresolved, I have been unable to update my Home page since before Christmas.

Had to check in on Facebook and here's why:


"Scratchy throat. Ugghh. Basically, mostly been away from the computer for two + weeks and just actually opened the account that includes Facebook notifications and discovered 560 unread emails! It may take a while to get back to y'all because I'm still wrapping up Christmas (had to keep everything up to share with the Brits - Lara & Jane). Since David's been flu-ie and nobody's available at the times of day when I can work on it, it's taking more time than usual.(Photos attached to prove the point - and that's not snow, it's frost; we managed to find the coldest, hottest, windiest corner in the West Valley tonest in.) I'd include a photo of the stack of boxes in the living room that are waiting to be put away but I don't want to be responsible for anybody else's flashbacks. Love Christmas. Not so much the putting away part. AND HERE'S WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT: Does anyone know how to consolidate Facebook email notifications so I only get ONE, SINGLE email a day? (yeah, I yelled. sorry. gotta go nap.)"

And here are the photos:

No, the photos aren't here because they stuck in process. I'll put them here as soon as I can correct the problem.




I know some of you don't do FB and, even if you do, this may have slipped by, by the time you see this.  I also wanted to let you know that I will get to housekeeping on this web site sometime in the next week or so.


The rest of it is: I've been trying to spend a couple of hours, first thing,cleaning up the verse in my Richard III play, KING'S GAMES, before getting to anything else. The idea is to reconcile the verse (iambic pentameter) in both versions of the play. Yes, there are two complete and different versions of the play  - a long story for coffee hour (or, better, a two-day cocktail hour) which you will be privy to at some date in the fairly near future (meaning sooner than the 46 years the challenge has existed,so far).


This is mind-bending stuff for little ole limited me. I have been experiencing moments of utter humiliation during the current process - moments that have had audiences spellbound during workshop readings are revealing themselves to be .. . (kind word, here) . . . inept. I have no idea how the Elizabethans just whipped this stuff out, although I do believe I've discovered the reason why Shakespeare contributed so many new words to the English language: if he couldn't find a word that fit the rhyme, he made one up.


I, unfortunately, do not have that privilege. Alas, I do not have access to: "Alas; Whilst, Nay, Yea," etc., etc. - and I do not have the chutzpah to make any up. All I can say is that, if I did not have 10 healthy fingers that now automatically know the necessary rhythm required,  I would be reduced to my natural poetic medium: limerick.


At any rate, I am now coming down with something that I hope is nowhere near what floored my darlin' , who is opening in a play, tonight. I'm going to have to beg off; my conscience will not allow closely-packed crowds until I know, for sure, I'm not giving away something I didn't want to be given, in the first place.

HAPPY 2013!

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (2)

A brief entry to assure you I'm still here. I had to take a break for the holiday season when I realized my stamina isn't what it once was, which I hope is sufficient explanation for not being able to keep up with online obligations.


As you may know, DRAGON SOLSTICE, The Serial, fell by the wayside on these pages when this site began balking at accepting the importing of original manuscript and I learned that I needed to input only pure text files or type directly onto each page. I simply didn't have time or the stamina to deal with it, then.


When I realized it was too late to effectively update the balance of the story to the Facebook DRAGON SOLSTICE page because the Indiegogo campaign for THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON CD Album was taking up too much of my attention and energy, I simply let the book freeze in place.


At any rate, I'm about to try to deal with reworking this web site - and as quickly as possible, because on Sunday evening the Muse of Music slammed in with a vengeance (finally, after several years of mulling the prospect of attemptingto write a Mass). Finding myself dragged to the piano before the first few notes in my head vanished into the ether, I managed to sketch an Agnus Dei, Kyrie, Sanctus, Alleluia and Gloria. Yesterday, I realized I wasn't happy with the Gloria, so I went at it again, last night, finishing just as firecrackers went off around the neighborhood and David came in from his office to remind me that we've finally seen the back of 2012 - which merited a very serious,"Thank You, Lord!"


I'll return sooner, after I've dealt with the Home page here, Facebook, Twitter and re-learning the basics of the Sibelius program I've ignored for the past six years so that I can enter the new melodies and hear them played at a more reasonable tempo than my stumbling finger(s) can accomplish. (I know just enough about notating music to get myself into serious and laughable trouble and I do not want to embarrass me more than necessary when I present this new effort to Boude Moore, the Music Director at Prince of Peace, who will, hopefully, consent to arrange it.)


Here's wishing you the very best in the new year. May your Muse strike often and generously!


Les Miserables - Don't Miss It!

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (1)

Saw Les Miserables last night at late SAG-AFTRA Film Society screening. About turns the stage version into an overreaching, confusing and scattered behemoth.


If Hugh Jackman can do any wrong, only his wife knows. Russell Crowe is as powerful, with a raw, honest delivery that almost transforms Javert into a person to pity. Every performance is truthful, which can be painful to watch, even those of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, whose comic relief may ultimately only be effective because, in context of the overwhelming reality of the material, they are obviously having such a great time.


Except for some makeup choices which worked well in barn-like legitimate theaters but are unnecessarily distracting in the intimacy of film, the overall look is grimly sumptuous. The editing is not intrusive and wisely supportive of director Tom Hopper’s loving attention to the needs of both actors and material.


Anne Hathaway has made herself immortal.


Elisabeth Moss, Ashley-Noel and Me

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (1)

Twenty years ago, I helped break 10-year-old Elisabeth Moss' heart.

I found a composer and wrote a show, THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON, as a fundraiser for the theater where I was a member, and of the dozen or more children who auditioned, Lissa was the standout. She became Sarah, the little girl who goes to a Christmas show, smarts off at the Storybook Lady, and gets pulled through the Fourth Wall to become Sarai, the heroine, who becomes friends with a young and impressionable Dragon.

We did a total of four workshop performances for the public and were enthusiastically received.

It wasn't that particular theater's cup of tea.

Lissa was heartbroken.

I was so put out that, haunted by the characters, inspired by the wonderfully wacky performance of my friend, David Stifel, as the Dragon (yes, that David Stifel), I did the only logical thing left to do. I wrote a book. As the Dragon was a year and four days old when the play began, the book's title became Dragon Solstice.

Dragon Solstice will be serialized here, on the Preview page, through December 23rd. I figure you need Christmas Eve for other things. For reasons of space (you don't want to be scrolling down to China) each episode will be pulled after 48 hours (i.e., the Prologue through Chapter Two will disappear on Sunday, December 9, when Chapters Six & Seven go up, Chapters Three through Five will go away when Chapters Eight and Nine appear, etc.).

In case you haven't checked my i.d. at the bottom the Indiegogo page, here's a taste of what happened at that first workshop - which was performed on the mainstage set - a patio in Palm Springs.

Well, we do Christmas in California - even in Palm Springs.

And the most important part of the Program . . .

I lucked into a really remarkable bunch of people. I still love them all.

Taxes, Rick Nelson and Us

Posted on November 29, 2012 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (6)

To the White House Via Blog Page Petition


America was solvent in the 1950's, when my Hollywood High schoolmate, Rick Nelson, paid $.95 of every $1.00 he earned - with not a murmur of resentment - to support our Uncle Sam.


$2,000 is 1/3 of the new roof we've needed for 3 years; or, one month's house & partial utility payment; or, a month and 1/3 of unemployment since my over-60 husband lost his job as a computer engineer 2 1/2 years ago and is now considered obsolete. He is struggling to re-invent himself as an audio bookreader.


I'm completely dependent on Medicare, for which my husband does not yet qualify. Nine years older than he, I look healthy, but am increasingly physically disabled and should be retired from housework. I'm desperately trying to help ease the frightening financial pressure the only way I can: trying to monetize long-ago creative dreams by making an idiot of myself at Indiegogo via YouTube. It is my hope to be successful while I am still able to help others who may not be able to create their own opportunities at points of  crisis in their lives.


There is no excuse for any wealthy citizen to consider himself above the financial responsibility of upholding the principles of the Constitution by contributing as generously as he is able to the Common Good; it is our moral duty to honor and respect the needs of our fellow citizens as we do our own.


It’s good to feel there are people who listen and will act on our concerns.


Thank you.

Nance Crawford Stifel


Unprecedented! Indiegogo Extends Campaign

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (5)

It was yesterday morning - and it's late, now, and I haven't got time for details - but want you to know that yesterday morning I opened email to find that Indiegogo has stretched their own "Can't Change the Deadline" rule and THE CHRISTMAS DRAGON Album Fundraiser has been granted a new end date: December 27th!

This is such a gift. It's a step toward a real miracle, if everyone helps by opening the chain of contacts, by letting people know, by giving Perks as gifts to their friends who "have everything" or don't want more "things" in their already crowded apartments. It's a gift of the future - being on the ground floor of something with a future beyond ourselves - smiles and laughter for generations to come.

Gotta get some sleep. I'll be more coherent next time.

6 Days to Go! A Video Shoot Report

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (2)

Couldn't figure out a place to shoot the new Indiegogo video - our little spinet piano is in a corner in front of a bookcase - very photogenic, if there were room for a photographer - and Paul Taylor's studio is apparently about the same - since it was Friday and we could only do it on Saturday, there would also be his young kids running around, so I called the other first person I could think of who has a lovely piano in a lovely lobby in his lovely theater: Jon Berry at the West Valley Playhouse (see the Links page).

Jon is generous and said okay - but they're building sets for the next show.  Okay, indeed!

It was an adventure - Patti on the ladder with the hand-held video camera trained on the corner with the grand piano in front of the carved American eagle (and the fire extinguisher on the wall to its immediate right) - Paul noodling around deciding what he was going to do for accompaniment, since there are no written arrangements, yet - me with the roll of blue painters tape, pinning my "Idiot Wallpaper" (four horizonal typed pages Scotch-tapped together with my five lines of "pitch" text printed in 48 pt. type so there was a hope of seeing it without my glasses) to the top of the ladder - and Chuck Hall cleaning up the rest of the vast room with his helper, taking a break from drilling and pounding at the Chinese restaurant they had been constructing on the stage.

So we did it once, for practice, and Patti showed me the results. There, on the tiny, fold-up video camera screen, was I, in far more plumb glory than I, at that very moment, expected to see. Even in black I looked like the piano's taller twin.

The next thing that caught my eye was - yep, that fire extinguisher - with a huge red-bordered arrow pointing down, vividly proclaiming, "Fire Extinguisher." The walls were off-white,  Paul was in black, the four foot wingspan of the wooden carved eagle on its pedestal behind him a deep golden oak; the piano was black; I was in black - and there, at the right edge of the screen behind Paul was the RED fire extinguisher and the RED words in the RED-bordered arrow pointing down. And the piano could not be moved.

No matter what else was in the shot, it would all become background to the RED slash at the right side of the screen.

My life is filled with blessings. Charles Hall is a set designer, a set builder, a set decorator. I maintained my cool, said, "Is there some way we can cover up the fire extinguisher?" and, in the blink of an eye, Chuck Hall produced a small box, and then a generously foliaged potted plastic plant. He set the plant on the box and - Voila! The eagle was suddenly flying out of a bush.

What fire extinguisher?

Well, we got it done - never mind how many times because it's humiliating not to remember all of the lyrics one wrote and hasn't sung in 20 years.

Patti's working on it and it should be up on YouTube and Indiegogo by Tuesday.

All I can say is, even in black, in front of a hidden fire extinguisher, on some days the voice is still there. Thank you, God.

See you Tuesday on the net!

Mess Up!

Posted on November 8, 2012 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (4)

I can't believe I managed to screw up the business cards I created to take with me to the Ventura Writers Conference, last weekend! They were an announcement of the Indiegogo campaign and the link on the card (which worked when I tried it out) was incorrect and leads nowhere! This is probably the reason nobody has responded because a couple of people offered me donations, right there - and I asked them to go straight to Indiegogo when they got home, instead. Hasn't happened and there are only 10 days to go, so right now I'm kicking myself around the block for not checking, last night. (No politics, here, but wasn't everybody watching with baited breath?)

I was severely distracted and Ashley-Noel and Sarai may pay the price because nobody is accepting the challenge to help.

Every once in a while my heart gets heavy and I go hide. This is one of those onces.

Just a Quick One re Johnny & Sandy

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (5)

He faced her down. Obviously did not twirl his rope on the roof. He got out of NJ yesterday. When I spoke to him, earlier today, he was in Tucson, having dinner with friends. Didn't want to interrupt the meal (they served the food as we were talking) because I remember vividly that you do not keep the cowboy from his feed.

I'm so grateful and relieved. Little brothers never seem to cease being a pain (and that may apply to big sisters, too, but Moi?) but it's the only kind of pain worth having (other than one's own kids but that's a different neurosis).

Spent the day at the Ventura Writers Workshop and going back tomorrow. Only a half-hour from my door - and at least one speaker flew in from San Diego! - and met a bunch of really nice folks.

Three hours sleep is catching up with me. David went to the SAG-AFTRA Film Society's screening of Flight! and I don't know if I can wait up, much longer.

Please check out the Indiegogo campaign. Two weeks will be enough time if everyone helps, even if only to forward the message to those they love and trust. There have got to be 4,000 people willing to part with $10 in order to start the ball rolling that will bring smiles to children for generations to come.

Thanks for anything you can do.

Placeholding with Hurricane Sandy

Posted on October 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (5)

I don't have time to do a complete report, right now, but want to keep my promise to post an update on Johnny, who was in New Jersey for an appearance, last weekend, and has been stuck there, 36 miles south of NYC, ever since. When I called him the first time, he said everything was okay, he was surrounded by friends (I do believe the phrase, "in the same boat," would pretty much apply here - except they were in a big, classy hotel) and he planned to go up to the roof during the storm to get pictures taken of him doing rope tricks in the storm. There was only one response to this colorful proposal: I told him to wait until they were in the center of the eye.

Called again this morning - a much briefer call because I had heard about the power outages, and, sure enough, they had been evacuated from the hotel and, apparently, shuffled around for a while - but they'd just found out they were being taken to the Meadowlands.

I actually know about the Meadowlands. They race horses there, don't they? (Of course, right about then, they might have had to get there in the same boat.)

So I told him he would be in his element - lots of horses around! (I did not suggest he grab one and, guitar strapped to his back, take off for anywhere else. That's a different movie.) He'd spoken to Bobby on Sunday, he was afraid his battery was running low, so I told him I'd call Bob and report in and we hung up.

At this moment, I haven't had a chance to see any recent reports. I know Johnny and my nephew Matt (Bob's middle kid, who is an attorney in Manhattan) are okay, which is such a blessing it has to be counted among the greater ones of this lifetime. So many others are in such awful distress. If there is such a thing as a lighter moment here, it may be the lady and her daughter who are stuck in their apartment on the 32nd Floor because they have to stay and mop up where the windows leak in water (or be liable for the damage) and the building is so buffeted by the winds that they have to take Dramamine so they won't get seasick.

I've got to fix the home page - put in the Indiegogo link - and I'm still exhausted from the marathon of putting it all together, so gotta go.

We all know someone who's back there in the middle of it. Prayers for us all.