I am at a local coffee shop with a friend working on a project. We wrap up and head out. I’m unlocking my car door when I hear a woman across the street yell the word “Watermelon!” I turn to look at her. The woman looks directly at me again and yells “Watermelon.” Then clickety-clack, proceeds up the street with her shopping cart full of things. I’m stunned, and my friend looks at me in disbelief. Watermelon has a personal significance to me and my friend knows it too. The woman’s outburst, a message I needed to hear at that point in my life, changes the course of things. I see her again a year later and run down the street to catch up with her.
‘Miss? Miss!” I shout.
“My name is Jay. Jay,” she says, correcting me.
Then she shuffles away. With her important message in my heart, Jay becomes the seed for All the Angels Come.
Just don’t ever call her “Miss.”
I hit the keyboard for a couple months but didn’t like the results. Oh, dear reader, I was trying too hard to write something great when all the while I was just feeling grateful. I thought about how much value Jay brought to my life. That we all have value, no matter what our experience. I restarted Angels with that in mind. I serendipitously met other people, some who’s homes are different that mine or yours. Those whose walls are not drywall, but the side of a bridge, the curve of a dune, or the ledge of a building. A variety of colors, shapes, and flavors that make the community I live in vibrant, diverse, full of life and emotion. I built the characters around their personas. They came like a gift, and as I wrote, I fell in love with them. Willis, Masuyo, Jay and Ricardo.
Anxious to get the work out with so much to say, I thought it would fun to write it as a serial novel. Serial novels are making a comeback these days. Not to be confused with an episodic series, they are more like a continuous story with a primary arc. Like Stephen King’s Green Mile or Alexandre Dumas’, The Count of Monte Christo, which was published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts from 1844 to 1846. The work was not written in its entirety then spoon fed to the readers. For example, when King published the Green Mile and released book one of six, the remaining books were not written yet. Trusting that the words will come.
All the Angels Come speaks to the curse of stereotyping, the value of the individual and the blessings of diversity. The cast of characters are all but typical yet carry values that are universal. Much like the concept of psychic unity pioneered by Adolf Bastian, that we are all the same kind. The angels are better when they are together, a metaphor for all of us.
In that spirit, All the Angels Come later becomes a community collaboration of visual and performing artists and organizations that support the mission. Who knew? As if there wasn’t enough magic in the air, theatrical version became a symphony of collaboration. A harmony of visual arts, performing arts, music and more.
After completing Part III, my friend and producer Joe Schwarz thought it would make a great play. The theatrical version was directed by Barbara Colaciello. With her coaching, I turned it into a script. I learned a lot turning narrative into dialogue and building an arc suitable for a play. I heard the characters speak more. That is what led to the second edition. I incorporated many of the ideas into this version. The play sold out and reinforced my desire to move forward.
The response from readers around the planet is moving, inspirational and encouraging. The feedback makes the readers part of the process. It's what makes writing a serial novel a collaborative undertaking. When I started writing the acknowledgements it was easy to see how many people touched this project, from the book, to the play, the feedback, encouragement, research, art, music, the list goes on. Thank you!
The story begins with Willis, Masuyo, Jay and Ricardo. You may have met them before. Get to know them, as a certain river city discovers its inherent magic when all the angels come.
I hope you enjoy the second edition.
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