Stephen Evans

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Stephen is a playwright and author of The Marriage of True Minds and A Transcendental Journey.

Dedication

I may have told this story before. But today would be her 95th birthday, so:

My novel The Marriage of True Minds is dedicated to my aunt Margaret. The dedication reads:

Finally, this story would not have been written without the inspiration and encouragement of my aunt Margaret Norris. This book is dedicated to her memory.

The first sentence was an understatement. Let me explain.

My mother’s older sister, Marg had an extraordinary influence on my life. When I was growing up, I spent many summer weeks with her at her place near the Chesapeake in southern Maryland. We shared many things, but mostly a blazing curiosity about pretty much everything. At night, camping on the beach with a driftwood fire, we talked Einstein and aliens, forests and fossils.

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Later in life, we didn’t spent much time together. I became busy with work, marriage, divorce, life. I would see her on birthdays and holidays. Somehow our connection never waned.

In December 1999, just before Christmas, she went in the hospital. On Christmas Eve, we learned that she had pneumonia. On New Year’s Eve, just a few days before her eightieth birthday, we found out that she also had lung cancer. Family members took turns staying with her at her house in southern Maryland and caring for her, two weeks at a time, getting her back and forth to doctors and chemotherapy. I took the first turn.

I was happy to have this time with her. And she was happy I was there. But she was also very worried that I was taking care of her instead of working (something which didn’t concern me at all). That she could worry about me given her condition tells you much about her.

So to keep her from worrying, I told her I was writing something. I wasn’t really. But I had written a few things before, a play, some stories, so it wasn’t completely unbelievable. I didn’t like to tell her something that wasn’t true. But I didn’t want her to worry.

On my next turn to care for her, she mentioned again that she was worried about me and work. So I told her again: I was writing something. I even broke out my laptop once in a while and tried to look busy.

Still she worried. And she was not ever one to let things go. So, I decided that by the next visit I had to have something to show her.

I can never remember her without a dog in her life, even if she had to borrow the neighbor’s. And the squirrels and birds of the area worshiped her generosity, I’m sure. She often donated to animal welfare groups. I came across a magazine at her house from an organization named Best Friends, an animal sanctuary in Utah. The magazine had printed a letter from actress Rene Russo documenting the millions of animals each year who are euthanized in animal shelters. I had no idea this horrific situation existed, and couldn’t get it out of my mind.

So when my caregiving shift was over and I went home, I began writing a screenplay about a divorced couple, where one of them becomes quixotically dedicated to animal rescue. I wrote the first draft in three weeks.

By my next visit, she was beyond a nephew’s care. But I was able to give her  a copy of the screenplay. I don’t know if she read it (given her condition, I suspect not). But I think she was happy to see it. About a month or so after, she passed away. At the funeral, I began her eulogy with this:

 

Some people are so authentic in our lives that they change us completely just by being who they are. Marg was like that. Many of us probably can’t conceive what our life would have been like without her. I certainly can’t. 

That screenplay became the basis for The Marriage of True Minds, my first novel. I would not have written it without this experience, I believe, and possibly, would not be writing at all without her influence. For a long while, I considered the story her gift to me, the last of so many. But now I think: a gift, yes, a great gift. But not the last. 

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
'That she could worry about me given her condition tells you much about her.' This is indeed a wonderful reflection of Marg's ch... Read More
Friday, 09 January 2015 13:42
Stephen Evans
Thank you. I do think she had achieved a peace at that point. I think you have seen to the heart of her - she was many things but... Read More
Friday, 09 January 2015 15:32
Virginia M Macasaet
Wonderful to see a side of you that's full of words!! So beautifully written, I feel the emotion and the depth of affection and ... Read More
Sunday, 11 January 2015 12:13
1560 Hits
4 Comments

Deer Gazing

Out the door as I was gazing,

  on the near grass deer were grazing,

The near deer gazed upon the door

  While I was gazing at the grazing,

so dear to me the near deer door

  And grass graze gazing even more.

Recent comment in this post
Rosy Cole
Amazing graze!
Saturday, 03 January 2015 13:25
1370 Hits
1 Comment

The Mutability of Literature

Language gradually varies, and with it fade away the writings of authors who have flourished their allotted time; otherwise the creative powers of genius would overstock the world, and the mind would be completely bewildered in the endless mazes of literature. Formerly there were some restraints on this excessive multiplication. Works had to be transcribed by hand, which was a slow and laborious operation; they were written either on parchment, which was expensive, so that one work was often erased to make way for another; or on papyrus, which was fragile and extremely perishable. Authorship was a limited and unprofitable craft, pursued chiefly by monks in the leisure and solitude of their cloisters. The accumulation of manuscripts was slow and costly, and confined almost entirely to monasteries. To these circumstances it may, in some measure, be owing that we have not been inundated by the intellect of antiquity—that the fountains of thought have not been broken up, and modern genius drowned in the deluge. But the inventions of paper and the press have put an end to all these restraints. They have made every one a writer, and enabled every mind to pour itself into print, and diffuse itself over the whole intellectual world. The consequences are alarming. The stream of literature has swollen into a torrent—augmented into a river-expanded into a sea. A few centuries since five or six hundred manuscripts constituted a great library; but what would you say to libraries, such as actually exist, containing three or four hundred thousand volumes; legions of authors at the same time busy; and the press going on with fearfully increasing activity, to double and quadruple the number? Unless some unforeseen mortality should break out among the progeny of the Muse, now that she has become so prolific, I tremble for posterity.

 

Washington Irving

The Sketchbook

1819

Recent Comments
Anonymous
1819! If we couldn't have perceived where publishing was going 20 years ago I wonder if Washington Irving could have begun to imag... Read More
Monday, 29 December 2014 11:12
Stephen Evans
Samuel Johnson said: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." It is hard to keep motivated wondering if anyone will ... Read More
Monday, 29 December 2014 13:21
Anonymous
What would Washington Irving have made of Amazon?
Monday, 29 December 2014 13:30
1755 Hits
4 Comments

Gently with Intent

A thought softly intrudes 

on the fearful entropy

which consciousness exudes,

then slips into a dream,

Santa slapping your youthful face,

gently with intent:

Something finally

makes you stop and think.

 

In the fog you can’t remember

In the haze you can’t regret

In the days that pass for future

In the past that isn’t yet,

there’s a clarity that’s searching

for the fisherman’s net. 

Tags:
Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Nets are terrifying. St Peter's net is an embrace.
Saturday, 27 December 2014 12:27
Stephen Evans
I call this my Moody Blue period.
Saturday, 27 December 2014 13:55
Rosy Cole
Picasso had one of those. But some of his had guitars. So did the Moody Blues. I was all for putting a dollar each way on opposit... Read More
Saturday, 27 December 2014 16:13
1427 Hits
10 Comments

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Latest Comments

Monika Schott Losing The Compass
13 January 2020
Beautifully said, Rosy. Cheers to you. X
Rosy Cole Christmas At Thomas Hardy's Sherton Abbas
04 January 2020
Thank you! It was! Glad you enjoyed! :-)
Monika Schott Farm Reflections: Gratitude
01 January 2020
Thanks, Stephen. And a fabulous 2020 to you.
Stephen Evans Christmas At Thomas Hardy's Sherton Abbas
31 December 2019
Stunning - what a wonderful p;lace to celebrate Christmas.
Stephen Evans Farm Reflections: Gratitude
30 December 2019
Congratulations on completing your research and best wishes for your next adventure!