Maggie Scratch Pays Homage to Friend and Rebel Writer, John Howlett

JohnJohn, I’m glad I knew you. Writer to writer, you knew me too. You said it took guts. You said to keep working, you said, that’s all we can do. I’m still here doing it and I wish you were too. I had seen your screenplay come alive with If… when I was twenty. That film tweaked my rebellious spirit, and I never forgot it, then I met the likes of you and understood, so this is what a writer can do.

I thank The Guardian, and your brother, Peter, for your write-up on April 8, 2019.

“His admiration of the rebel and actor James Dean and his research for the 1975 TV documentary James Dean: The First American Teenager led him to write a biography of the actor the same year and subsequently a West End musical, Dean, which had notable success in Japan – though less so in London.

Screenplays followed for his own Murder of a Moderate Man (1985), then a serial adaptation of Len Deighton’s Game, Set and Match (1988) for Granada TV, as well as several original radio plays for the BBC. He also co-wrote an outline story for a film, Crusaders, which became the basis of Lindsay Anderson’s award-winning 1968 hit, If…

From the mid-1970s John published a series of novels – mainly thrillers focusing on contemporary issues such as nuclear power, air safety, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the origins of the Aids crisis. His leftwing sympathies and distrust of the establishment characterised these novels as well as much of his other work in the 80s and 90s.

John’s interest in the first world war, sparked by his teenage conversations with veterans of that conflict, allied to the meticulous research that characterised all of his work, provided the basis for Love of an Unknown Soldier (2010), which became the first of a six-volume saga set against the background of the political turmoil of the first half of the 20th century, covering the rise of fascism, the Spanish civil war and the second world war.

John was born in Leeds to Rex Howlett, a senior civil servant, and his wife, Leila (nee Cagna), who was born and raised in Milan. His early writing work was rooted in his experience as a rebellious student at Tonbridge school in Kent and then Jesus College, Oxford, where he studied history. It was with fellow Tonbridgean David Sherwin that he wrote Crusaders, which satirised public school life.

Later in his career, never having been comfortable with the commercial world of publishing, John found new creative stimulus and freedom through self-publishing and re-issuing his work online.

Living in Stone-in-Oxney, Kent, and then in Rye, East Sussex, with his Italian wife, Ada (nee Finocchiaro), whom he married in 1967, he was an active member of his local communities, renowned for his warm hospitality and strong opinions.”

He is survived by Ada, Isabel and Suzanne, five grandchildren, and his brother, Peter.

 

I Stand Up For Everything Standing Rock Stands For by Maggie Scratch

I’m so low tec, it’s very inconvenient, but I couldn’t help myself, I started a “Community” page in Facebook called Global Support For Standing Rock. Right this minute, I’m sure the fate of Standing Rock, North Dakota is connected to the fate of my granddaughter in Norway where drinking water is still good. I’m digging up all the information I can from my apartment in Barcelona. I’m updating daily, sometimes on a totally OCD track. I need to keep track of water. I love water. I have lived without water. I know what it means to save every drop of water. If I could, I would buy a thousand bottles of Figi. Hey, there’s a good deal on at Amazon! Don’t miss it! Twenty-four 16.9 ounce bottles of Figi for only $34.50!

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Is Caspar Still the Star-Crossed Mystery Man? by Maggie Scratch

It’s not every day I’m in the presence of Caspar. When I am, I don’t skip a beat. I can’t!

His wit! His information!  His jokes! Our ping-pong-cinema-trivia game!

It’s all too fast for me. I don’t even try to write it down. What? Take notes during a conversation with Caspar? Impossible! I don’t want to miss a word! I’m all ears and eyes, what will he say next? What will he write? Horror, comedy, religion, death? Will it be scary  and bloody too?

Caspar The Aristocrat!

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The Butler!

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The Minister of Defence!

 

 

 

 

Back in Barcelona Unwinding With The Screamin Demon by Maggie Scratch

 

 

steven-tyler-says-aerosmith-will-go-on-a-farewell-tour-next-year-09.JPGI don’t usually listen to rock. In fact, I love silence, but you never know when lightning will strike. It struck me last night lying on my couch. So I put the headphones in, far in, and went down a hard rocker’s road. It wasn’t hard at all. It was like I always knew this voice, this guy from Boston, my alma mater, my alma, this unbedded fellow beast, this soul mate of words, this Joe Cocker creature, his gray streaks and chiseled face, this reinvented rebel with cause for fame, this father, this son, this singer, this man, this twin at heart. I guess you could sum it all up and say I love  his voice. But it’s more than that. Steven Tyler is my coach. My mentor. My guide. He’s a total inspiration for an old fart grandmother. Here I am, about to look at 32 years of my life, starting with my daughter’s bedroom. I will start with her closet. She is never coming back to use this closet. She has her own closet in Oslo but she still has all these clothes on hangers, shoes stuffed into bags, bags of stuff on the closet floor, all kinds of gauzy skirts that she made or collected,  stuff hanging out of duffle bags, paper bags, bags and bags and bags of her life. I really don’t want to go in there, so I don’t. I look out at the plum tree. Look! The blackbird is back! Can that bird hear the water I splashed into the dish this morning? Can the bird smell that I’ve returned from the north? Something is up! What’s up is that I am now living in the pre-new-now. The new now is what I’m trying to get my mind around. That’s why I’m fascinated by Steven Tyler. That’s why I’m starting with my daughter’s bedroom. The combination of Steven Tyler’s voice screaming at me to get my mind around the fact that something is up  and the act of cleaning out my daughter’s closet is no coincidence.It’s lightning striking twice. It’s reality. I was lying on my couch trying to unwind and Steven Tyler  wound me up.He’s still winding me up. I need this guy to scream at me louder and louder and louder, dream on, dream on, dream on… and finally, as if he were an axe — he makes a dent. Right, I don’t want to miss a thing either.  Two outstanding tee-shirts have walked by me recently. First, Now Or Never. Then,  Get Over It. How does anyone  know what will happen? Freud says: “You know everything.” But, I, for one, need a dent to realize what I already know. I’m about to stare 32 years of my life in the face. At least today I get it. The past is done. Get over it. The new-now is promising. It’s true what Freud said. I know everything. Deep deep down, if I really think about it, I always knew this would happen.  I always dreamed it. It’s all good. I’ll start with the closet.

Going to Norway by Maggie Scratch

Thanks to the acupuncture expertise of Dr. Guix

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I have a good, strong ankle, ready to trod upon Norwegian soil.

Ready to occupy Mormor detail and help my daughter at beck and call.

To hold the precious bundle of joy that is Milla, my granddaughter!

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Third generation, full of mother’s milk, a mix of many miracles

and Stardust genes.

We are Stardust daughters!

Borrowed cells of Time and Space —

beginnings!

Here’s my prayer to the Vueling Gods:

Let me fly!

Let me land!

Let me greet my family!

Working With the Energy Field by Maggie Scratch

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Since I’m on Experiment 3, The Alby Einstein Principle, in the E-Squared book, and it’s all about how my thoughts create my energy and attract like energy to me and whatever I create, I had this thought: I’ll project my shepherd out into the world and direct his energy to the bigger field of energy, namely The Page International Screenwriter’s Awards Competition. By doing this, according to the laws of physics, I can affect the big energy field and draw the energy back to me, or, more importantly, to my story, the screenplay, The Blue Shepherd. The judges will be announcing the quarter-finalists this Friday July 15, and even though the odds in my category, Family Film, are over 500 to 1, well…somebody has to win, so why not my shepherd!

 

 

 

 

A Birdie Over My Shoulder in Barcelona by Maggie Scratch

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Can you find my blackbird? I think it’s a she but her mate comes too. They love water! And I clean their birdbath often, so they thank me by singing and letting me watch them shake their tailfeathers and go into ecstasy. It’s 100° in the shade today! Now that ceramic dish they splash in would be called ‘The Ceramic Dish Miracle’ by Pam Grout, the author of Esquared, a book my friend Caspar sent me about plugging into something called The Field of Potential which happens to be something I already believe in, so I’m doing Experiment One and the deadline for this first principle to present itself is in exactly six minutes. I had 2 signs so far and I’m waiting for the third. The Ceramic Dish Miracle happened one day when I  realized that what I wanted was to find a beautiful ceramic dish that would fit into that plant stand so I could have a birdbath and see if any birds would come. When I went down to the street that day, There It Was. In the street. Sitting on the curb next to the trash container. I swear this is true. I took it upstairs. It fit perfectly on the stand. Do I have a birdie over my shoulder?

 

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Birdbath for the Blackbirds

Free At Last by Maggie Scratch

The New Healing List

or

I-Think-I’m-Healing-My- Ankle-But-I’m-Really-Healing-Me

Goal: To Walk Without Pain

List

Eat Blue Fish

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Clean Plate Clean Slate

Eat Fresh Green Coriander, Turmeric, Carrots, Red Fruit, Papaya

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No Stress

No Streets

Enjoy The Day At Home

Write The Sequel to Maggie Scratch

Smell the Flowers

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Go Slow

Unplug

Take the Pressure Off

Take the Pressure off Your Foot

Enjoy the Simple Things

Cook a Rice Pulaou

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Take Meds

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Do Rehab Exercises

Talk To Your Foot

Be Wise

Take It Easy

Have Fun

Eat Ice-Cream

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Have Faith

Never Take Walking or Talking or Hearing or Seeing or Smelling or Tasting or Feeling

for granted

again.

Ankle Rehab for Beach Lovers by Maggie Scratch

20160627_124455.jpgThese came in the mail (recommended by Eva the Osteopath) and were waiting for me when I got home from the beach. My computer was dying when I was trying to buy them online.

 

wet sandThis is where I was from 9 am to 11 am before the maddening crowd got settled in and obstructed my ankle rehab path. That’s another thing I really trust about Eva, she’s totally homeopathic. “Walk in wet sand,” she told me, “That’s the best therapy.” Could rehab possibly be any sweeter? It took me a while to find the perfect wet sand, but when I found it, I traipsed in it until the tide came up and washed it away.

MFThis was my goal, the MF rock. I made it! There was a pervert guarding his towel, but he stood politely aside so I could document my morning’s work.

My computer’s still alive, amazing, a miracle, bye bye… adios!