Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today At The Tatami Room and El Grec!

Tatami Room

The Tatami Room

You see that little hole-in-the-wall? It doesn’t look like much, does it? But life has its serendipity and I spotted The Tatami Room last Sunday on my walk home from Montjuich, coming down the mountain, from the top of Barcelona where this whole theatre thing started in the first place!

El Grec

El Grec!

Downstairs in the Tatami Room, thanks to someone named Georgina, Maggie Scratch had her Barcelona theatrical debut. In other words, the author,  yours truly, chose a few juicy passages and along with some other fellow readers, got up there in that room and jumped inside Maggie’s skin and created the voice of my character. I must say, I did have the jitters. There’s nothing like the first time.  Gearing up for it was hell. “Why am I doing this? I’ll never do this again! Why do I get myself in these situations! I hate this! It’s not me! It’s someone else!”

Ha!

I loved it. The altered state. Of being Maggie Scratch. It was fun! It was magic! It was what I was meant to do. I never thought of myself as a performer although I do perform from time to time, but I love to read what I write, and I’ve done it dozens of times since that night! So thank you to The Tatami Room, to Georgina and all my friends. It’s true I’m a writer with a place to sleep, with a life I’d live all over again!

Trilengua 23 Mar 2014 ePoster-1

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Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With Annie Oakley and The Baby Boomers

 

There are several passages in Maggie Scratch that would be fun to read at a book signing. This is one. In light of the upcoming elections in the United States and all the hullabaloo around Hillary Clinton and her past, present and future, I thought it might be fun to blog one of my first women heros, or, should I say heroines?

 

ANNIE OAKLEYAnnie Oakley.jpg

The Good Humor Baby Boomer

The spirit of a Baby Boomer is easy to explain.

My first true love was Annie Oakley. Between 1954 and 1956 I watched 81 episodes of The Annie Oakley Show and I never knew that the real Annie’s name was Phoebe Ann Moses. I wore an Annie Oakley cowgirl vest and an Annie Oakley hip riding holster and I had no idea I was watching Gail Davis, the actress who played Annie, whose real name was Betty Jeanne Grayson. I watched cute little blond Betty Jeanne-Gail-Phoebe Ann-Annie ride around on her horse and I was completely ignorant of the fact that the real Annie Oakley had brown hair and was anything but cute. She was big-boned and had a mustache. With no father and five brothers and sisters, Phoebe Ann went to work when she was twelve years old and paid the mortgage on her mother’s house by shooting the heads off quail. I would have been interested in the real story of Annie Oakley. When I was in first grade at Elkins Park Elementary School, if a teacher had told me that a little girl with the last name of Moses had sold quail to the Katzenberger brothers, these names would have rung a bell. I would have known that Phoebe Ann-Annie got married when she was sixteen, changed her name to Mrs. Frank Butler and was so in love with her husband and he with her, that after fifty years of marriage when Phoebe Ann died of natural causes, Frank died too. This kind of history was not being taught at my school. In 1955, when the United States government declared Annie Oakley “the very spirit of personal independence” on their U.S. Savings Bonds posters, I was parading around in my hip riding holster with a pair of Hopalong Cassidy rain boots and I thought everything I saw on TV was real. I went from Annie Oakley to The Howdy Doody Show and screamed, “It’s Howdy Doody Time!” with the Peanut Gallery and Clarabell. “String bean,” my mother called me in the Howdy Doody days. I was bony and raggedy, tomboyish and pixie-like, scrawny as a twig that scratches a hopscotch in the dirt. It was Pop Pop Scratch, “Tell your story walkin!” who named me after his ragamuffin friend, the hobo, Boxcar Maggie, who rode trains at Reading Terminal in his shoe-shining days. Maybe such a namesake explains why I knew Spanky and Alfalfa and Darla and Buckwheat better than I knew my own brothers. I watched The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Mr. Ed, Topper the Ghost, Susie the Secretary, Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, Davy Crockett, Dale Evans and Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Zorro, The Honeymooners and Beat the Clock and when I wasn’t watching TV, I was playing with dolls and toys that my Uncle Herman’s law firm owned the patents to. I read Archie comics upstairs in my pink and white bedroom. I listened to 45 RPM records and I knew all the lyrics to My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Carousel, Gigi and West Side Story. Later, when I got my period, I was singing “Love Me Tender,” “In the Still of the Night,” “Runaway,” “Blue Moon,” “It’s All in the Game,” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Sealed With a Kiss” and many, many more, but it was the alto sax my cousin Danny practiced next door that I grew to love most. Every summer I opened all my windows and let his bee-bop notes fly into my room. I looked down at my mother’s rock gardens, the swimming pool, the flowering dogwoods and the damp tangle of woods where the crab apples grew, and I listened to Danny play. His music kept time to the puck-puck-whish of a tennis ball on his father’s court. Danny grew up to become my favorite musician, but in those days his room smelled like hard boiled eggs and dirty socks and he called me stupid when my pool cue scratched the table. Those were the days when I heard the commuter trains whistling in the distance and imagined they were coming from far away places. On snowy mornings, I listened to the radio with my brothers, we held our breath and prayed to hear the announcer say, “Montgomery County! Closed!” Spring buzzed through the neighborhood with chain saws pruning the trees. The rains came. The grass on all the lawns in Elkins Park was as green as the golf courses at Philmont Country Club. If the lights went out in a hurricane, our mother lit the candles in the recreation room. Summer brought the neighborhood gang over to swim. We ran up the street barefoot in our bathing suits as soon as we heard the Good Humor Man’s bell. I loved to watch him in his starched white uniform and his handsome white hat. To me he was Dick Van Dyke. It was a treat to stand at the back of his truck. He fished out fudgicles and creamsicles and the minute the freezer door opened, dry ice blasted my hot muggy face. I tried to get as close as I could to that smoking box. It was a treasure chest. All the good, sweet and delightful treats were hidden away in there like all the good, sweet and delightful treats that were hidden away in me. I knew one day I would go on an adventure, even if I was punished. In the days of the Good Humor Man there were treats and my little brother survived polio and everybody I loved was still alive.

The question I asked myself when I re-read this homey article about Elkins Park was, if it was so homey, why did I leave?

I gave this some thought.

I wanted a good answer.

I got it.

It was homey, it just wasn’t home.

Maggie Scratch

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With Her Dentist

Your dentist may seem like a very strange thing to blog, or even to write about, but bear with me.

jordi.jpg

Dr. J. Perez de Alarcón Bartran

Yesterday outside in the sun at the Sandor, I kept thinking I should take his picture, but we were so involved in all our various parallel and meandering conversations, ranging from lawyers and contracts to teeth and actors and movies and plots, that, it just didn’t seem like the thing to do. Besides, Jordi, my dentist, a phenomenal professional and not even 30 yet — is a very humble guy. I have two pictures of him reading my book, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to pose. You see what a handsome dude he is, but he often cuts his hair way too short and self-effaces his Hollywood looks. Meeting him was a mitzvah.  I mean, besides the fact that he hired me to help him with his English, he fixes my teeth. He fixes everything! What a crac! Crac is the word they use here to mean genius. He’ll kill me for saying that, but it’s true. He knows his craft. He knows it down to the…nitty gritty bone. I’m lucky to know him and have him on my team. His team is a winning team. I taught him a new expression at the Sandor in the sun.

Win-win!

We were so happy to be there drinking beer and having fun!

Sandor

The Author of Maggie Scratch Reads in Ibiza at Libro Azul

I landed on Ibiza in the dark.

The whole island smelled like firewood!

Chimney smoke! Damp earth! Trees! Sky! Balmy air! Home!  The moon!

The sky ablaze with stars just being born!

I slip a mini-flashlight out of my bag and take notes in the back seat with bright little Alba while Paloma drives us along the dark, smooth, paved roads I don’t remember. My heart and eyes  overflow with the old familiar faces, all the faces come to me, stay with me, smile at me. New faces too! People in Ibiza.

What an honor, what a privilege to be invited to read my book.

The perfect place

for

Maggie Scratch

Santa Gertrudis

a magical place

Libro Azul

Now back in Barcelona, I have a few things more to say. Henry Miller once wrote, “Writing is a luxury.” For me, “Luxury is writing.” It’s luxurious! I don’t need much! It’s free! “All you need is a bare light bulb!” A friend  in Ibiza told me once. In those days I was living without electricity. Writing was a luxury because there was nothing to need. To this day all I need is a pen or a pencil or  an eyeliner stub. “I’m a writer with a place to sleep.” Charles Bukowski took the words right out of my mouth.

Maggie Scratch in Barcelona Today With The Birthday Girl !

She brings her smile to my house.

I open the door and make her stand back.

“Let me see what you look like!” is what my mother said to me.

She shines like a star in my garden.

Jade eyes dancing in the light.

Mind prancing!

What a laugh!

Joy and meaning flow!

She showers me with gold!

You want to give her everything, but in fact, you don’t have to try.

She already has the best gifts you can give,

all the things that money can’t buy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Gabriela Zea Nadal

FOTO-GABRIELA

See! Just look! Energy!reamke gab

You do so much, we love you so, happy day, happy life,

BARCELONA THANKS THEE!

Barcelonogy

The Author of Maggie Scratch in Yesteryear with Her Agents

It all started with

Antonia

at the

Antonia Kerrigan Literary Agency

Antonia

In the clunky computer days! Vintage! Unplugged! Slow! Guess what?

We talked!

Antonia said, “What about Lola? I want you to work with her!”

Lola and I got carried away.

Stories! Verses! A Novel! A screenplay!

lola.jpg

Lola Gulias

Those were the days!

If it’s true that as an author of a book all you need is one person

to believe in you,

I was very lucky —

I had two!

Thank you Antonia and Lola for all that you do.

Painted-Heart

Maggie Scratch Reviewed…and Returning Soon to the Scene of the Crime…

http://www.ibiza-spotlight.com/news/2013/maggie_scratch_kindle_ebook_i.htm


By Cat Milton in Spotlight, January 9th, 2013

If you search Kindle for an entertaining fictitious read about Ibiza, overall you run the risk of being sorely disappointed. More likely you will be inundated with endless lists of Club and Island guides rather than a rousing good read to make you feel less homesick for this gorgeous isle. However, just of late one or two authoresses have decided to take this void and fill it – and do so from a perspective of personal experience.

So it was that Maggie Scratch came to our attention. Going back in the day, authoress Susana Gross used to write for Ibiza Spotlight! The years have passed but her life on the island seems to have stayed firmly with her, inspiring much of the insights and tone of Maggie Scratch. (Her grandfather, Harry Gross, actually nicknamed Susana “Maggie Scratch”, a pseudonym she used as a rebel reporter and much in part an inspiration for the book)

Again, regrettably, we’ve not had time to stop and read the eBook ourselves but if Amazon Kindle verified reviews are anything to go by, the book is a stunning success with its audience to date, garnering no less than twenty-two 5 star reviews.

Briefly, the storyline seems to take on many subjects that still remain taboo in open conversation (at least outside Ibiza) but allow quiet smiles of knowing as ones eyes absorb the words.

Maggie Scratch, the central character, explores relationships and all their foibles, across the years and across continents, before finally settling in Ibiza, where Maggie Scratch realises what is fuelling her restlessness… Of course, the answer is not an easy one – as a single woman, she wants a child – and one can imagine what follows, in light of the fact this part of the book is based in Ibiza, island of ‘anything goes’…

(Can’t wait to meet everyone at Libro Azul!)