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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Making a movie

All of us pay to see a movie at the theatre or at home, but how many of us pay to have a movie made?

This is your opportunity. LONE CHIMNEY FILMS will be producing their next documentary, HOME ON THE RANGE

That is where I come in, Sharon Black

Donating to Lone Chimney Films in Wichita, Kansas to help fund the movie doesn't take thousands of dollars from one person, unless that is your heart's desire. A donation of any amount is appreciated.

Home on the Range, the song, is known world wide, and is sung by school children in China. It is the most recognizable song other than Happy Birthday.  HOME ON THE RANGE is located in Smith County, Kansas in north central Kansas. Now on the HOME ON THE RANGE HIGHWAY formerly hwy 8. Margaret Nelson wrote the book Home on the Range. She was a country school teacher when my mother was young. They called her Maggie. She taught one year, and in that year she typed a school paper with stories of Doc Higley, and what the students were doing. I have those papers that my mother kept. I'm so glad she did. How much time do you suppose it took to type those? On a manual typewriter and maybe there was carbon paper available. I don't know. I treasure these papers.

How am I involved you ask? Other than the book Margaret Nelson wrote,  titled Home on the Range about Higley and Smith County, which I have read three times, been to the cabin many times, yes, it still exists, the one that Doc Higley lived in. $100,000 dollar historic restoration, DAR  flag dedication, and walking routes and a dedication to a Rotary member. Two fundraisers on site with Higley descendants who sang Home on the Range inside the cabin. I've been to most of the events. 

I took it upon myself about 12 years ago to see the story was put on the big screen. Always had the idea of something for it, maybe just tidbits of people in my imagination who lived there. Nothing concrete. I wrote a screenplay. It wasn't based on too much research. I shopped it. Nothing came about. Then when the owners of the cabin passed away, the nephews went in control of the cabin. Good control, and they had the good mind to update the cabin because it was falling apart. Fundraisers. I was at most of them, but let me back up. ElDean Holthus, Mitch Holthus' dad, is one of the nephews. I approached him and said I had written a screenplay. He wanted to read it. I copied it. Back up again. At a concert in Smith Center, a group who had played music for a film by Lone Chimney Films, is when I first heard about them. Not really sure of all this, I looked them up, sent the screenplay to them. Didn't hear anything.
ElDean met Ken Spurgeon of Lone Chimney Films at a fundraiser for Home on the Range in eastern Kansas. So, we found them and they found us.

After a meeting a couple years ago, I was asked to write the documentary. I was beyond ecstatic. That's when the real research came in. Patient and hard work put to good use.
I have researched and searched and made phone calls and sent emails until I tracked down people whose relatives were in the story in the 1930s. Some came easy, others were difficult. I'm still trying to find a picture of Samuel Moanfeldt, the New York attorney who came out West to give authorship to the song Home on the Range to Doc Higley and Dan Kelley.

I found out more than I thought I could, and figured some things out just by studying the census.

You will be in for a treat.

 Thank you for considering a donation to Home on the Range, the documentary.

Think about this. This will be the FIRST time the characters in the story are ever on the big screen.
You will be part of this historic film.

 Sharon Black


Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Lady in the Ladybug by Sharona Black

sold on and Kindle

My newest book, which is like a newborn. I created it and named it. Will people like it? The cover is great and received many compliments.

A huge chicken riding in a red Mustang convertible going up a hill with huge watermelons and pumpkins on sides of the road. An enormous ladybug is on top the hill below the lavender sky.

Sugar Martin is driving. She works her organic farm in the state of Coronado in the Southwest. I named it after the Spanish explorer. Why shouldn't a state be named after him anyway?

She is wearing a black and red driving cap, and the artist put on the tag, Sugar. That was a nice touch.

In the introduction I wrote about the influences that created the book.  Working in the grocery business for 20 years brought a lot of ideas. A woman who drove an old pickup, wore rubber boots and was quite the character frequented the store. She bought powdered milk in boxes and she said they sure do insulate a chicken coop good and do we in the store want her to save us boxes to insulate our chicken coops? She was so serious.

I had the first few chapters completed when I met my boyfriend for 8 months. Two months into the relationship, he was told he had liver cancer. We went to New Mexico. He was hell bent on working. So there, I took in the Southwest, trying to cope with this awful disease, and wondering if there was a magical cure somewhere in some mystical shop.  So that gave me the idea of food curing diseases. Was it the soil that gave food that healing miracle? Or from elsewhere. Asteroids were always in the news. I remember my parents telling of a boom and the sky brightened for a few seconds one night.  So what was that? An asteroid? Space junk?  I did see space junk one night.

A few years earlier in my town of Smith Center, transcendental meditation believers came in, and the store put in organic food, since we thought the movement would gain and grow. But it didn't.

So many ideas formed in my head, and then what was Sugar Martin, or Roxy Roxalena really like? Then I found her background. I really don't remember what influenced that.

The book is $10.00 and I premiered the paperback at The Chicken Festival in Smith Center on April 4. Despite a cool morning, and a persistent wind, I sold 6 copies.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Home on the Range

As I set out to put Doctor Higley on the big screen, one must understand my interest in this project. I grew up in Smith County, Kansas. My mother's country school teacher was the author of the book, Home on the Range. Margaret A. Nelson listened to stories she heard growing up in Smith County about Higley and the founding of the county. My mother, Beulah Black, told me that in the first chapter, Asma Walters was our relation. I read the book when I was in high school. How many people my age have read the book? I guess not many. Maybe it was that fact of mom, dad, and I going past the cabin to visit my aunt and uncle almost up to the Nebraska state line. We would come home about dusk, and never did we see a deer then, and this was in the 60s and 70s. Sometimes to me, the land was so sad, and other times it was happy. Winter in Kansas can look pretty dismal, and I guess winter made it worse. Somehow I felt the land was crying out to me for something. After high school, I attend junior college and college and dabble in drama and theater, and other subjects. I read a lot of plays, saw a lot of plays, and then comes along disco and the movie Star Wars. I just had a feeling after seeing one of those movies that in me was a movie or book. I had often wished I had majored in English, creative writing and the whole package in college, but I always thought my grammar wasn't good enough, so I rejected it. Big mistake. Moving back to Smith Center was a big mistake and also a good move. I began writing... something I had always wanted to do. I entered contests for the historical society in Topeka about true events. So I interviewed my parents and they had nothing, just bits of things that happened. Now I think that I could have written about Margaret Nelson's teaching. Never entered my mind. I begin to delve into old things, and go to historical museums. I started on my first novel. I researched diligently for it. I won a local poetry contest, and have my first short story published. I had lots of inspiration from writers in the area like a minister that wrote two books, and he asked me about punctuation. Me! I was only in sixth grade. Willa Cather had lived up north in Nebraska in the 1800s and on into the 1900s. All this was swimming around in my mind, and I still took visits to the cabin where Doc Higley lived. I was in a western style dress and had my picture taken in the cabin's door. I guess I was a little intriqued with it, and I couldn't understand why he went off and left all his belongings there. But now I know they were placed there by an organization in the 1950-60 years. Jump forward a few years, after reading through Home on the Range, it occurred to me, this would make a good movie. I concentrated on the song, and its creation. I wrote a short screenplay, then rewrote and rewrote. I just wrote frommy imagination, then got more information about the minor characters of the story. I found sites on the internet that let you submit a screenplay and producers would read the logline and synopsis. I found out more true information, talked to relatives of these characters, and began on more of the true story, or facts. The fact that Home on the Range is the state song of Kansas and that I was hearing it in movies, etc., was one motive that I decided it needed to be put on the big screen. I had just tipped the iceberg on the story. The owner of the cabin had passed away, and then relatives took over the cabin site. More publicity came out of it. It was time to save the cabin, and it was in need of repair. A campaign for money came, and more news was in the papers and media. This was my chance to get my foot in the door. Fundraisers were planned and I was there. I offered to help and finally told El Dean Holthus, I had written a screenplay of Home on the Range. Here I was this housekeeper in a hospital in Smith Center, and I have this screenplay that I was shopping to movie companies. Musicians get involved. The Praire Rose Rangers in Benton, Kansas; Michael Martin Murphey holds a concert to raise funds for it; and the project snowballs. There was a concert in Smith Center by the Freestaters from Wichta. They had played music for a film company, Lone Chimney. I looked them up. I don't remember if I emailed them or not. El Dean is introduced to this company somehow, and asks me if I had ever heard of them. No, and I sent them the screenplay anyway. Time goes on, and I forget about that. It seems that I would work on the screenplay every year for a little while, send it out, and nothing. El Dean tells me that they are interested in the story, and we meet. Ken Spurgeon likes my screenplay, but the direction El Dean suggests for the documentary is different. So, a new outline comes... the hours I have spent in the library in the genealogy section, and time spent on the microfiche machine reading the old newspapers, and time on produces a factual account of the story. I found out things that no one knows. So maybe my life was designed to be the one to do this project.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What shape is your popcorn?: Dumping dogs and cats

What shape is your popcorn?: Dumping dogs and cats: " It happens all the time. People will have an unwanted litter of pups or kittens and just dump them in the country or a secluded place in ..."

Dumping dogs and cats

 It happens all the time. People will have an unwanted litter of pups or kittens and just dump them in the country or a secluded place in town. The solution to that is evident: spay and neuter your pets. The people who do not spay and neuter, are the ones who dump the animals. How would they like it if someone didn't want  you around and took you two hundred miles any direction and just said, "okay, get out," and they left you there. No money, no cellphone, not knowing anyone, not able to talk, no food or water. No bathroom.
 These people don't want to be bothered with finding homes for the animals. So why have a pet in the first place?
These people reason that if they don't feel the animals pain, then everything is okay with what I do with it.
These people are usually using alcohol or drugs and don't want to spare any cash on anything but that.
These people can be from any walk of life. Yes, wealthy responsible people can neglect and abuse animals.
These people can't afford a pet, let alone feed themselves.
These people talk of animals as if they are a trinket
In rural areas, and in small towns where there are no animal cops, the police and sheriff have to deliver the orders on how to take care of pets. They don't want to, but with the more laws on the books and pressure from the public, they have to.
My solution for rural areas is to combine forces between the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States. They should send out an officer to towns and farms. Look at the pet's living quarters, pen, etc, and rate it. If they feel it can use improvement, they tell them how, and if it is not corrected, then they will get a fine, and someone will go in and fix the problems immediately.
My expertise is from working for a charity for animals. We copay spays and neuters in our county.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What shape is your popcorn?: Amazing things about Frankincense!

What shape is your popcorn?: Amazing things about Frankincense!: "Working on a part of my novel, I stopped to research tree sap. I began on reading about Frankincense. I found some amazing facts about fra..."