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TRUE STORIES, MOSTLY

This is my site for sharing new blog posts, paying tribute to writers I admire, sharing slideshows you can watch at your own pace, extolling the virtues of classic movies I love and whose screenwriters I’ve met, sharing my work in progress and efforts to get my historical novel published, and to illustrate the genealogy of the Lybarger family. Other stuff too, probably.

JENNIFER WILKE

The first trauma I experienced in life was realizing I could never read all the books in the library. My first published writing was a column in my hometown Alaska newspaper, when I was young and had an opinion about everything. 

After owning a coffee house before there were coffee houses, spending a season commercial fishing, and running for city council (I came in 2nd), I was hired to write a federal report that turned into the amazing opportunity to help develop a satellite-based educational TV network, and get acquainted with rural Alaska.

The writer Arthur C. Clarke, I was thrilled to discover, in 1945 first proposed that a satellite in geo-synchronous orbit at 22,300 miles above the equator would travel at the same speed as the earth. This revolutionary idea meant that the satellite would seem to stay in the same place in the sky, and earth stations receiving its signals could be smaller and fixed. Eventually, the scientists agreed. This concept, first proposed by a science fiction writer, is a cornerstone of all satellite-based communication on Earth now. Spy satellites excepted.

The inspiration for my first stage play was when my dear Aunt Nancy met me at the Columbus, Ohio airport on a sunny day, carrying her umbrella with her from the parked car into the terminal. “There isn’t a cloud in the sky,” I pointed out. “You never know,” she said in her own defense. This play, lifelines, was produced on stage in my hometown. Sweet.

Since my ambitions have rarely been dampened by practicalities, I left Alaska (population 400,000) to move to Los Angeles (population 3 million, then) to study screenwriting at USC. Culture shock ensued. Turning left in traffic in LA required courage on a par with Capt. James Kirk on the original Starship Enterprise, who saved everyone from imminent death with seconds to spare–and did it every week–because of Gene Roddenberry and the writers.

To an only child like me, with no imaginary playmates, TV shows and movies were guiding lights. With stories someone writes. What characters say and what they do and what the story means is first in the hands of the writer!

it means came to realize that every show starts with a script that someone writes. The writer decides the characters, the plot, the ending, the moral of the story.

The WRITERS to follow in the footsteps of the writers of the n honor of the WRITERS who think up all these plot twists and thrills! As an only child with no imaginary playmates, I watched lots of TV and loved movies from a young age — watching and learning everything I could about all the things no one else had taught me.

When I finally left LA, I felt older and wiser, even with screenplays that had been optioned but remained unproduced. I settled near family in the Pacific Northwest, then I began inheriting family papers that no one else wanted. The Lybargers never throw anything away. So I devoted myself to writing my first historical novel, The Color of Prayer, set during the US Civil War. I studied narrative writing assiduously, revised, rinse, repeat.

Now I live on the shores of Lake Michigan. Having always lived on the West Coast until recently, I’m still startled to see the sun rise (not set) across a vast expanse of fresh (not salt) water. I’m working on a memoir, After a Little Rain on Thursday, about searching for my “tribe,” my perfect fit in the world, my life-long quest for peace and understanding. And other stuff, too.