The Life and Art of Robinson Jeffers is the story of the rise and fall of California’s dark poet. In a burst of creativity, Jeffers went from obscurity to being one of the most widely-read poets in America. As he worked on his dark tragedies, Una, his wife and muse, carefully plotted his rise in fame and jealously guarded him from detractors -- as well as admirers -- at a personal cost to both of them.
A quest to recreate the cherished black bread
of his childhood gives hope to a Father and Son
who have lost the loves of their lives.
Do you remember a favorite childhood food? A food that is so entwined with memories of your youth that it represents an enduring symbol of the best of times? A memory that sustains you even in dark days?
The tale of "Bread for My Father" shows how striving to recreate a childhood memory -- and real food -- can be the salvation of broken lives.
This story is about a man who loses his wife of 50 years and believes he has no reason to go on without her. During a suicide attempt, aborted by his son, he vividly remembers the unique and marvelous Polish black bread of his childhood and the “goddess of bread” who would always save him the last loaf -- even during the desperate years of the depression. Clinging to that cherished memory as a reason for living, he embarks on a quest to find the recipe for the exquisite black bread of his youth and make it again in his old home town.
His recently divorced and embittered son reluctantly shoulders the task of looking after the old man on his crazy quest. The duo first travel to the old home town in search of the original bakery. But the Polish bakery is long gone and almost forgotten, replaced by fast food chains. Not to be thwarted, the father and son travel to Poland in search of a bakery still making the genuine black bread.
Guided by a blind and oddly prescient ex-chef, they tour the bakeries of Krakow in search of the bread. After several disappointing adventures, they find an elderly and ailing baker who makes the truly marvelous black bread for them. Successful at last in their quest for the bread, the old baker presents a twist: he can only provide the recipe if they agree to take his daughter back to America with them. Because, in fact, there is no "recipe" -- real bread can only come from the heart and soul of the baker. And the daughter, last of a long line of family bakers, is the only one who can still make it.
The young Polish baker, determined to make a new life for herself, as well as for the old man, tangles with the son who, while wanting to help his father, has no interest in making bread, much less running a small bakery in a small New England town, far removed from his career. Yet as they rebuild the bakery together, the intimate process of making real bread from scratch slowly weaves its spell around the three, binding them together as they struggle to recreate the black bread.
2010 Expo Screenplay Competition Judge’s Score: 91/100
Judge’s comments: “This is an endearing story that makes good use of a simple object in order to tap into a broader realm of emotion. The father-son relationship between Victor and Ramon is strong, and the dialogue seems authentic and effective throughout the story.”
Copyright Alan Stacy, 2009, as “Black Bread Memories” registered with WGA West 1348385
To end the 2000 war against Nature, a Shaman invokes the Second Coming -- but not for Mankind.
After 2000 years, man’s war against Nature has taken a drastic toll on both sides. Climate change is no longer at issue, it’s climatic survival. Large portions of the earth are stricken with multi-year droughts, turning focal points of once vibrant civilizations into deserts, dying forests, abandoned cities, and war-ravaged villages. Water is the most valuable resource. Oil is barely a memory, hoarded by the few roving armies in search of plunder.
What is left is a dream of restoration for the earth and her disrupted web of communities. To end the war against Nature, a few Shamans roam the desolate lands, seeking the next generation of children who might bring about a rebirth. But also searching are the “Petras” -- the Hungry Ghosts of humanity who only see salvation beyond the earthly realm and seek to destroy all that remains.
Four young orphans of the ongoing wars find themselves in an isolated refugee center, dependent on the local militia and the good will of a few surviving relief workers. How they got their, who they were, what the future holds is irrelevant to those who live day to day. Their names are now simply numbers: ONE the oldest and most cynical, is eager to become a soldier and avenge his murdered parents. TWO, a voiceless teenager, with half-remember sorrows of her lost family. THREE, a boy slightly younger than TWO, trying to find his place in this dark end-time, and perhaps companionship with the silent TWO. FOUR, the youngest, newly arrived and still grieving from the loss of her Father a few days before.
Walking into the ravaged town, alone, seemingly unprotected, GABRIELA, a shaman of American Indian decent, meets with the four ORPHANS, bringing gifts of healing. The Shaman gives the psychically traumatized children four animal dolls that, she says, will help them to heal themselves if they in turn take care of the dolls. The bedraggled dolls contain the animus spirits of BEAR, WOLF, RAVEN, and COUGAR.
The incarnation of destruction is embodied by the GENERAL, a commanding yet smooth-tongued military leader who is to take the soldiers on a new mission. The OFFICER of the local troop surmises that the GENERAL is Ronin, a free agent among the loosely organized military, but with a rogue mission that intrigues the soldiers -- a journey to the last Eden where rain still falls, rivers flow, animals and plants are in the flush of Spring, and they can live as conquerors. Or so the General promises.
Inducted into the General’s small but vicious army, ONE leaves his orphan companions on the quest for Eden, or “Last Home”. During a conflict with the General, ONE becomes intertwined with the animus spirit of the Great Bear. Bear, representing the wild yet nurturing spirit of Nature, has fought with the General throughout the ages. Bear inhabits the body of ONE to protect him from the General’s wrath. In doing so, ONE is set on the path of becoming a Shaman himself, aided by Bear and a host of animus spirits. In order to pass through the first Shaman’s Gate, ONE must die and be reborn, as have all shamans throughout history.
As ONE awakes from crossing the first threshold, he wields new confidence and knowledge bequeathed by BEAR. He knows deep inside that in order to save Last Home he must stop or transform the power that is the General.
Gabriela and the three young companions set off to find ONE and to help him protect the Last Home from the General’s destructive intentions. During their journey through the first and second gates of shamans, the three companions find new sources of strength, insights and capabilities within them to help each other as they make their journey towards a reunion with ONE.
Rejoining ONE in an assembly of animal and shamans-to-be, ONE and the Bear Spirit prepare for the inevitable assault from the obsessed General. Unless they can turn him back into what he once was, the Hungry Ghost will ultimately end hope for the restoration of the Earth. The final confrontation plays out within the third Shaman’s Gate.
"Because the Earth needs a dream of restoration" - Robert Hass
"The temple of the animals has fallen into disrepair, the pad of feet has faded." - Roshi Halifax
The heartbreaking beauty will remain, when there is no heart to break for it. - Robinson Jeffers
Although we have developed a moral teaching concerned with suicide, homicide, and genocide, we have developed no effective teachings concerned with biocide, the killing of life systems, or geocide, the killing of the Earth itself. -- Thomas Berry
Domination, it turns out, has not given humans dominion. Immense power has not given humans control. -- Dianne Dumanoski
Separating ourselves from that which appears outside us is like trying to separate color and light, waves and water, our breath and the atmosphere. - Roshi Halifax
Tens of thousands of years of history, yet alive, yet predictably to die -- and this century is the threshold of its passing. And so we turned our heads to regard our living heritage, perhaps for the last time, to explore the life-ways transmitted to us from healer-priests of the Paleolithic, to know their traditions and to be introduced to the lineage of primordial visionaries that is perhaps coming to an end -- or perhaps is to be renewed in a form not yet fully known. Roshi Halifax
Site Content Copyright 2016-2018 Alan Stacy
Site Content Copyright 2016-2017 Alan Stacy