Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jeanne’s Dance — Inconceivable Mutual Benefit

We've had quite a few requests to post this clip. Here's video of Jeanne's dance at the "We Dream for Jeanne" benefit.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It’ll Be No Tribble Atall, Now…

We have BIG news to report, and a bigger favor to ask.

Short back story (if you’ve been on Mars) – Jeanne has been sick, and Jim is doing his best to continue writing “Stardance,” and so far Jeanne approves, but the going has been a bit slow as hospital stays, surgery, doctor visits and most recently chemotherapy have gotten in the way of Jeanne’s direct participation in the process.

End back story – here’s what’s new.

Jeanne says to Jim “What if we get a pro screenwriter to help?” Jim says, “Sounds good, as long as the screenwriter is good and we can afford her/him – it should speed us up and give us some new perspective.”

Jeanne, feeling “Time Pressure” asks some writer friends what it might cost to hire such a gun, and one of them says “Hey Jeanne, I’ll join your little team. I can carve out three months for you starting as soon as next month.” Jeanne and Jim say “You’re ON!”

Hopefully the title gave it away, that generous writer is David Gerrold. This is the man whose first pro sale was Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles,” way back when. More recently he penned the Nebula and Hugo winning “Martian Child,” and scripts for Babylon 5 and Twilight Zone, among others. In between these impressive bookends David has done a slew of television writing and script doctoring plus he has written loads of fantastic SF prose. Not only is he an old friend of Jeanne’s but Jim has been a fan of his novels for a long time.

So, here’s the pitch. Counting what we have in the donation kitty, a chunk directly from Jim’s savings, and the generous donations of a few special Starseeders, we have rustled up the first third of David’s fee. That buys us a month and gets us started. I know we’re asking a lot, but we’re holding out our Buddha Bowl one more time, to ask for your help.

There’s a Paypal link on the Supporters page
We promise to add your name to the list of Honorary Stardancers you’ll find there, if you can find it in your pants to help us. (Presuming your name isn’t listed there already. If it is, we’ll put it in boldface, with asterisks.)

David’s talent, experience, discipline, and ferocious energy will be a godsend to us both, particularly while one of us is dealing with chemotherapy. From here, things should go back into high gear again.

Oh, and if you’re listening to the theme music on this website’s home page, we recommend you not use your computer’s built-in speakers…or there’ll be no treble atall, Captain.

Love, Jeanne and Jim.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inconceivable Mutual Benefit

Before I danced at my benefit concert, I told the audience that my Zen teacher Reb Anderson Roshi describes the fourth and highest state of samadhi as the collective realization of "inconceivable mutual benefit"....exactly what we were all experiencing together at that moment. What an extraordinary event. I felt bathed in love and warmth and kindness and support. Matt Maxwell and Michelle Meyrink had everything running smoothly on tracks, and the musical talent was absolutely top notch, even for Bowen Island. My sister Laurie startled the dickens out of me by appearing as a Surprise Guest at the beginning of the evening, all the way from Dartmouth MA....bearing with her a video of my youngest sister Dori Legge singing a song she had just written for me, "Three Wishes," accompanied by her guitarist husband Donn.

After intermission I got up onstage and danced a dance of shared love and bliss. Spider was the last act, singing two love songs to me (one by him, and one written by my elder sister Kathy Rubbicco); then I joined him for his finale: James Raymond's beautiful song for Crosby & Nash, "Lay Me Down."
The concert took in a substantial amount of money which will be a huge help to us in the weeks to come. But more would still be most welcome: you can send donations via PayPal and Jan Schroeder continues to run her science fictional Dream For Jeanne Auctions on my behalf. I literally can never thank enough all of you who have contributed already, for your kindness and accompanying words of support and love. It means a lot to know that I've touched so many lives so intimately.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Third Act

For over 2500 years, Buddhists have studied the question of how one can best live in the presence of death. In a sense, a life-threatening disease makes Buddhists of us all, waking us from the illusion of immortality, suddenly and from that time forth.

As some of you know, I’ve been dealing with a rare biliary cancer for many months. It has already taken my gall bladder, bile duct and most of my liver…and it’s not done yet. It looks like in a matter of weeks I’ll be facing chemotherapy, in an attempt to at least slow its progress.

I originally came to Buddhism as a result of a Near Death Experience, or what I now call the Bodhicitta Awakening of arousing the mind of enlightenment. So for decades now, I’ve been studying the matter of living and dying. I’m not afraid of death. But I do fear pain, nausea, and diminished capacities.

Despite this I have been surrounded by loving friends and family. Above all else, I’ve been blessed with my beautiful granddaughter Marisa Alegria.

I feel I have so much to be thankful for….and whenever my time comes, I will not have a lengthy list of regrets, of opportunities missed or things left undone. As a matter of fact, my partner Jim and I are steaming away on the Stardance screenplay. With luck I’ll be there for its premiere.

There are many things I need as I prepare for my third act—supplements, prescription drugs, counseling, expensive alternative therapies, etc—and they all cost money…money I don’t have. So, after all these months of being silent and private about my illness, I recently said yes to my close friend Michelle Meyrink when she asked if she could organize a benefit concert for me.
Others have since jumped in, including my Vancouver Buddhist sangha, Mountain Rain Zen Community, and a dear friend in Florida, Jan Schroeder, who has been auctioning donated items (such as rare Babylon 5 scripts and other SF memorabilia) on eBay for me. Goods or services can be donated for the auction by contacting Jan at Several other methods of helping out, including a straightforward PayPal donation account, can be found at

Another way to help would be to buy our books from Amazon by clicking-through from Spider's site, so we can get the affiliate commission. We’ve spent decades holding up visions of humankind’s highest evolutionary potential while entertaining you enough to keep you turning pages.

Any help you can offer is gratefully appreciated by Spider and me.

In the meantime, I continue to work on, as Roshi Joan Halifax titled her latest book, BEING WITH DYING: Cultivating Compassion And Fearlessness In The Presence of Death. Which aptly describes the human condition, don’t you think?

Friday, July 24, 2009

A 40 year old vision of the future?

I watched "Moon" today. This film is fantastic - true to form, hard science fiction, literary...yeah, this is one of the very rare ones. Kudos to director/co-writer Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son, no less, who should know a thing or two about existential astronauts.)

While watching this film, I noticed something; from a production design standpoint, the "future" hasn't changed much in the past 40 years. There are exceptions to point to, no doubt, but take a look at these images from various space based films of the last 40 years and you tell me, is this progress?

2001 (1968)
Solaris (1972)

Alien (1979)

Mission to Mars (2000)

Solaris (2002)

Moon (2009)

The most striking vision of the future seems to be "padded walls" - perhaps we will need them due to the high cost of health insurance, or due to a propensity for beating our heads against them.

Speaking of which; I've been doing a lot of thinking about how the "future" we are envisioning in Stardance should be described, especially the space habitat and space factory and the like. I'm thinking perhaps we should be a little more vague...leave those thoughts up to a very talented art department during pre-production.

Oh well, back to the asteroid mines.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Zietgeist - Guy Laliberté - Space - Art

It seems Mr. Cirque Du Soleil is on his way to the ISS on a "Poetic Social Mission" - we wish him well. Through Space Adventures (our friend Peter Diamandis' company, who helped us in our Weightless Research) he will embark on high to bring attention to his "One Drop" foundation. No word on weather he plans to dance, but he seems to be taking a page out of our fictional playbook, to unite humanity around an extraterrestrial artistic event.

We're so glad to witness again that, as with so much of SF, life not only imitates, but embraces art. I know that Spider and Jeanne are proud to see the concepts they brought forth in their Stardance series of novels begin to come to fruition in real life, and both Jeanne and I agree that this bodes well for our film.

Exciting times we live in, folks.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Birth Announcement!

Our granddaughter, Marisa Alegria da Silva, arrived on planet Earth in New York City on Thursday, May 28th at 1:56 PM Eastern Standard Time, weighing 8 pounds 5, long and lean and hairy and impeccably beautiful in all respects. Mother and child are both in good health, save for a minor fever that showed up at the last possible second, controlled easily by antibiotics.

Terri Luanna was in labor for 36 hours, beating my record by 8 hours. She's exhausted but exceedingly is everyone here, especially her husband Heron.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Waiting Is…

….as Valentine Michael Smith was always telling Jubal Harshaw in Robert Heinlein’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND.

Spider and I have been in New York City for a couple of weeks now, awaiting the birth of Marisa Alegria, our first grandchild. By now, we’re almost as eager for it to happen as our daughter Terri Luanna is.

While we’re here, though, we’ve been making good use of our time. For instance, on May 9 we both attended the NYC Aerial Dance Festival 2009, presented by Fly-By-Night Dance Theater.

It was inspirational. As I sat and watched I realized there will definitely have to be at least some aerial dance in the Stardance film. I’ve been following it closely for years to study how to adapt some of their rigging skills and harness work for the zero gee sequences. Now I realize the third and final earthbound dance I have in mind will definitely have to feature some aerial dance on its own terms, too.

And of course Spider and I both found ourselves a bit teary-eyed as we watched Sara Joel’s piece “Surface,” which opened with her inside a transparent Plexiglass sphere that unmistakably represented a womb, doing movement clearly designed to evoke fetal life. Then halfway through she hung upside down from the sphere’s opening…..and it became apparent that she was in fact pregnant, at least five or six months along. It was a transcendent moment, and everyone gasped, even those non-grandparents-to-be in the audience.

The entire evening inspired and informed my next script-meeting with Jim. We’re moving right along—somewhat interrupted by this and that of course—finding ways to adapt the storyline of the original novella to the differing demands and constraints of the screen. It’s an exciting process…..even compared to waiting for a grandchild.

Back to waiting. As soon as we have Marisa on film, we’ll post a snapshot or two for you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Miracles of Each Moment

Underneath the blazing orange-red Zen circle hanging above my altar, calligrapher Kazuaki Tanahashi wrote, “Miracles of each moment.” I’ve been studying those words daily since I became ill.

My latest miracle came last week on West 10th Avenue where Dr. Sharlene Gill and the board of specialists unanimously agreed that I’m healed enough to travel cross country to NY for our granddaughter’s birth. A true miracle!

For the moment, I’m off the hook, and in joyous disbelief. After weeks of lamenting the lost opportunity to be there for the birthing of my first grandchild, I find once again that as Mark Twain said, “The worst moments of my life…never happened.”

Spider and I found a fabulous cat-sitter for Symba, and now we’re busy packing for our early morning departure. So we’re happily heading east in time to meet baby Marisa Alegria da Silva, Buddha’s newest incarnation.

--Jeanne (aka: Nana Canada)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Drain And I Are No Longer Circling Each Other

...because I had it taken out last week by my brilliant surgeon, Dr. Buczkowski. I am once again a standalone, totally autonomous human person, without a five-pound weight and a bunch of circled tubing hanging from my side. I’m 5 weeks into a 6 to 8 week healing/recovery process following major abdominal surgery.

The public health nurses still come by to visit two days a week, to clean the wound and change the dressing. But it looks like I’m healing pretty well. I’ve even been encouraged to eat my favorite foods, to gain some weight back—so I’m having fun....but in small portions.

Things are looking good. I would like to thank my family, my husband, my sisters, for their amazing support and love throughout this ordeal. And now that I’m home, all the wonderful meals, home-made breads and other gifts that have turned up from my dear friends are deeply appreciated as well.

All this has served to remind me of the words of Suzuki Roshi, my first Zen teacher: “Don’t waste time.” I treasure each day as a gift, in a whole new way I’ve never experienced before. I’m so grateful for my 35 years of practicing Zen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New news from Jeanne and Spider

Hi Folks, Jim here - we didn't want to broadcast this at the time, but just before I went out to work with Jeanne she came down with...well...something (at the time the doctors were guessing at a few causes of her illness - ranging from somewhat minor to extremely scary.) We almost postponed, but the docs did something to tide Jeanne over and she felt good enough to work - and we did work, quite a bit. But during my trip out there Jeanne started to feel not-so-good again, and when I say "not-so-good" I mean to say TOP OF THE PAIN SCALE bad. She soldiered on, when she could, but shortly after my visit the docs finally figured out what was wrong - and they did something about it, pronto.

The pronto has lasted a few days now and Spider has asked me to post the following to the blog and get everyone up to speed. Take it away Spider...


Jeanne’s recent surgery at Vancouver General Hospital was a great success, from which she is expected to make a full complete recovery. YAY!!!

But it was far more complicated than expected, taking over 9 hours; that recovery will be slower and more difficult than anticipated. We’re now hoping she’ll be sent home Monday the 9th, by which time I’ll be over the flu I caught by hanging around hospitals all day and night. Her sister Laurie O’Neil has arrived from the east coast to help, with 2 others on standby.

PLEASE DON’T send flowers or cards; we appreciate the thought, a lot, but neither of us has the energy to deal. Emails that don’t call for response are OK, but please send them ONLY to my website, —I want to keep her personal In Box as empty as I possibly can. Prayers, healing thoughts of any sort, are more than welcome; thank you.

And God bless Tommy Douglas, who created Canada’s socialized medicine.

-- Spider

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two and a Half Weeks Later

It's been two and a half weeks since I left the Island - and while there we got a good start on the screenplay adaptation - over 20 pages, and we've added about 6 pages since then. I had a blast with Spider and Jeanne as they hosted me in their lovely home. (That's the three of us waiting for a water taxi to take us into Vancouver to see a marvelous play called "SkyDive" - that happens to use some technology that might prove useful for our film - yes, research can be fun.)

As far as those 6 pages go we're a little behind schedule (having the stated goal of 3 to 5 pages per week) but I blame some of the slow progress to catching up on personal stuff left by the wayside while I was living on a island in Canada, though I can't rule out writer's block coupled with procrastination. I will tell you that BREAKTHROUGHS are happening in these few pages.

Other cool things happened during my "writing vacation": I got to play some tunes with Spider (he did most of the playing, but I sung along and tried to keep up on any of you have seen Spider live can attest, he's the consummate showman, even when playing for an audience of one.) Also, we hiked out to Jeanne's Zen spot on the rocky north point of the island. But collaborating with Jeanne and getting a good deal of writing done eclipsed everything else.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Here at Tottering-on-the Brink, my home, Jim’s radiant light continues to remain visible even though he’s currently in midflight, on his way home to his loving family.

We shared a remarkable week -- with Stardance at its centre. Not only did the screenplay progress, but Jim and I became a solid writing team. Collaboration is an intimate act of trust, respect, generosity, and faith. By the end of our first marathon session, we knew we were a solid karass, and will be able to complete the script long distance.

We’ve mapped out a schedule to keep us on track. Feel free to ask us questions about the work or our process, and we’ll do our best to respond as time allows.

Spider spent part of the week looking over our shoulders as we worked at the kitchen table. (He took the photo that accompanies this.) A few days ago we invited him to sit down at Jim’s largescreen monitor and read the work, and he says we’re nailing it.

(Spider here: it’s way better than I could have done. I’m dead chuffed, as they say on Coronation Street. Jim isn’t just a very good screenwriter, he’s compatible with Jeanne’s mindset: they make a good team.)

Continued thanks to all of you who have helped make this wonderful process possible. It’s gonna be great….

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Writing Marathon

Jim’s here! He arrived safely on the doorstep of our island cottage, Tottering-on-the-Brink, for a weeklong script conference/writing marathon. We’ve just come back from dinner at Doc Morgan’s, a local pub, and the coffee’s brewing in the background as I type this. Jim looks great, and we’re both excited about the opportunity to advance this project.

Spider will be looking over our shoulder and cheerleading, since Tor has not yet seen fit to grind out the contract for his new Orphan Stars Trilogy (check his website for details). Fortunately, the weather has finally decided to have mercy on us: it doesn’t look as though any snow or hail have been scheduled for this week. I have several “Muse-spots” on this island that I use for inspiration…and we can bring our laptops with us as long as the weather permits.

Wish us luck. I’m excited….

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

High Tech Collaboration

Things just keep getting better and better.

I purchased a copy of Final Draft, an amazingly powerful screenwriting program, specifically for Stardance, and it makes formatting a breeze - anticipates every keystroke....I wouldn't be surprised if it warns us of tired plot devices and filters worn-out phrases.

It get's better - I get two installations with my license - so Jeanne and I both have FinalDraft installed on our respective mac-books, and today I discovered the feature to end all features. These puppies talk to each other over the Webbernet - allowing us to open ONE document together and take turns writing on the thing IN REAL TIME. (And here I thought we would only be able to do true "lets sit down and write together" stuff with the help of an airplane.)

Add SKYPE or YIM with sound and video into the mix and we'll be practically in the same room.

We're just steps away from stepping discs, Larry. WooHoo!

Happy New Year, thanks all for your support.