Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #98 “Horse Brothers”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.


by Larry Brody

When I first settled into Paradise I thought about how good a place it would be for our horses, Huck the Spotless Appaloosa and Elaine the Not So Wild Mustang.

After all, they’d been living for years in Southern California,
where the only way to make grass grow is to spend more money watering it each month than people in most other places spend on their mortgages.

Cloud Creek Ranch has a fair-sized pasture complete with a spring fed pond that my neighbors swear hasn’t gone dry once in the last fifty years. I envisioned the two horses grazing contentedly—with me looking on instead of schlepping hay as I’d been doing back in L.A.

That dream, however, got blown out of the water early on.

Because Huck’s been my equine brother since he was a foal, and as far as he’s concerned he should be living in the house, not outside. And certainly not as far outside as the pasture.

“I can’t see you from down here,” he told me. “Can’t hear your voice or Gwen’s. No way I’m staying that far away.” And he backed up his talk with the kind of horse screaming that made it sound like he was going through torture that would put me smack dab behind bars.

So instead of chomping their way through the pasture, Huck and Elaine inhabit a corral about ten feet from the main house. Sure, grass was growing quite well there when we put up the fence, but it’s a lot smaller than a pasture and a week later the grass was gone.

Eaten. Crushed. Burned out by horsepucky. Anyone who knows horses knows how that goes.

And anyone who knows horses also knows what corral life means.

Schlepping lots of hay.

And, in the late winter and early spring, trying to find enough of it to schlep. Especially if the horses are totally devoted to alfalfa.

In California, Huck and Elaine dined on alfalfa that was moist and sweet and ribboned with little purple flowers. And why not? Alfalfa thrives there. But in

Paradise the ground is too hard and rocky for long alfalfa roots. The hay’s got to be imported, and as time slips further and further behind the last summer cut, alfalfa becomes more and more scarce.

Last year’s drought conditions have added to the problem, and to cut to the chase, last week I started feeding the horses bales of Bermuda, orchard, and Timothy grass, and the result has been One Mighty Battle of Wills.

Huck hates the stuff. And let me know it from the beginning.

“Pfaugh! Yuck! You call this food?” His voice rose shrilly. “It’s not even soft enough to be bedding for a pig!”

He shook his head. Pawed the ground. Squealed and reared. Kicked the water trough.

And when Elaine came over he wouldn’t let her touch it either. He pushed her away, and when she returned hungrily he nipped her. One of those horse authority bites that takes a smaller chunk out of whoever it’s directed at than an anger bite but still hurts a lot more than a bite filled with horse love.

“Don’t do that,” he said. “Don’t let Larry B see you eat this junk. We’ve got to stand firm. Hold out for what we deserve.”

Huck’s been standing firm since that first day. Making a bigger show of his disdain for what every other horse accepts without a problem with every meal. He’s even taken to running at the flakes and scattering them or pushing them outside the fence.

Except that it’s all for show.

Late at night, when he thinks Gwen the Beautiful and I are asleep…when he’s sure no one is watching—yes!—that’s when Huck saunters over to the strewn Bermuda and orchard and Timothy grass, like a street dude whistling and looking at the sky, and starts scarfing it down. Lets Elaine join him in the repast.

And in the morning, when most of the hay has “magically” vanished, he swivels his big eyes at me and screeches, “Alfalfa! Alfalfa now! You @#%$!” and turns up his nose at the Bermuda et al I give him instead.

At first Huck’s attitude angered me. Now, though, I find myself watching and laughing at his refrain:

“Fight for what’s yours! Don’t let The Man see you bend!”

I couldn’t ask for a better horse brother.

Or one more like me.

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – June 1, 2020

Good morning! Welcome to another week of TV (and other) writing and production tips at TVWriter™. Here’s a look at the most popular blog posts and resource pages during the  last 7 days.

They are, in order:

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

Writing the Dreaded Outline

8 Tips for Writing for Children’s TV Shows

How to Write a Script for an Animated Show

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED SECOND SEASON ARC

The Outline/Story

LB: Where Did THE FALL GUY Live?

MAKING THE CUT: 10 TIPS FROM WRITING FELLOWSHIP WINNERS

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Big thanks to everybody for helping us have another terrific week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

WGAW President David A. Goodman in Response to the Murder of George Floyd and Protests

Statement from WGAW President David A. Goodman

Los Angeles – Writers Guild of America West President David A. Goodman [yesterday] issued the following statement in response to the murder of George Floyd and protests that have erupted across the nation:

“Yesterday, police fired rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators near the location of WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles while the U.S. President tweeted anger and outrage at his political opponents and the free press. As demonstrations continue today across America, our union stands with those who peacefully protest the racist, extrajudicial murders of George Floyd and other Black people. We must see an end to institutional white supremacy and the militarization of our police departments. Staying silent during this crisis is not an option. National outrage about bigotry, discrimination, and injustice is the only way we will ever see real change.”

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.

10 Editing Tips That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Grammarcheck.Net continues to delight us with its helpful tips for writers of all media. Here’s the latest example.


BIG THANKS TO GRAMMARCHECK

The COVID-19 Info Writers (and everyone else) NEED to Know

Every writer needs a personal writer-therapist-mentor friend to help them navigate through the highs and lows of showbiz and, yeah, everyday life. Dennis Palumbo is an overqualified expert in all the above.

This interview of course isn’t the same as speaking to him personally, but it’s valuable nevertheless. Check it out.


When Your Only Weapon Is Inaction
Dennis Palumbo via Writers Guild of America West

With the COVID-19 pandemic in its third month in the US, Connect spoke to psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo about recurring themes in his therapy practice with writers who are under extended stay-at-home orders and grappling with an entertainment industry on indefinite pause.

For three decades, Palumbo has been a licensed psychotherapist for working writers and others in creative fields. To the therapy setting Palumbo brings his own experience as a sitcom writer, screenwriter, and, more recently, crime novelist (2018’s Head Wounds is the fifth installment in his Daniel Rinaldi series). Palumbo’s non-fiction book Writing from the Inside Out (2000) was an adaptation and expansion of his regular columns for Written By.

You’re both a therapist for other writers and a writer yourself. So how is your writing going?

Dennis Palumbo: I’m a little more desultory because, like anyone else, I feel some of the stress of the uncertainty of this. Plus, you know, dealing with deliveries and putting on my mask and gloves when I go to get the mail. It’s certainly having an effect on my patients. My own writing is going ok. I have patients who are writing up a storm and I have patients who can’t focus for more than ten minutes. Because they’re thinking about the pandemic, and especially if they have young children they’re doing home schooling or trying to keep them entertained. Plus, there’s the omnipresent media. I have patients who just cannot stop watching CNN. As this thing has gone on and on, one of the first things I’m recommending to people is to very much curtail their watching of the news.

It’s a slippery slope between staying informed and getting lost in it all.

Palumbo: Check it in the morning and then check it in the evening to make sure there hasn’t been an alien invasion or something. Other than that, I think one of the problems that is endemic to this situation is, we have an enemy, this virus, and the weapon we use against the enemy is inaction, just sitting in your house. I think that’s very hard on the psyche. We have a fight-or-flight mechanism. When someone throws a rock at you, you pick up a rock and throw it back, or else you run away. And we can’t run away, we have to stay in the house, and we can’t fight it. So I think our cortisol levels are always being elevated because we’re in a state where there’s no tool we can use against the virus, other than staying put. I think the body doesn’t like that. The psyche certainly doesn’t like it. So no matter how busy you are, either with your children or with your writing, this sense of impotence contributes to depression and anxiety. And then you add to that, there’s no end date. Most people don’t like uncertainty. One of the real problems with the quarantine is the uncertainty….

Read it all at wga.org