Wednesday, February 22, 2023


The phone call came late at night. I answered, concerned. A friend of mine was reaching out about a stray cat who was in "pretty bad shape and really needs a home." I quizzed my friend for more details only to discover that the injured cat was female, Siamese, declawed, and scared. She’d been found almost unconscious, in someone’s backyard. Without hesitation I said, "Bring her to me." It wasn't until a week later that I met my new cat. She'd spent the last seven days being nursed back to stable health by a kind vet.  

Upon the moment we made eye contact, the connection was instant. Within a few minutes of being in her new home, she found her way into my arms and fell asleep for hours. The next morning, my friend called to check on her and asked, "What did you name her?"  

I looked down into her beautiful blue eyes and said impulsively, "Her name is Flower."  

"Flower?" my friend repeated. "That's a strange name for a cat."  

"No," I said. "It's perfect for her. She's a little damaged, but she's adorable. All she needs is a little love." 

Flower became very attached very quickly. She didn't want to leave my side. She wanted to be next to me constantly. I became worried that she was suffering separation anxiety when we were apart. I took Flower to my vet for a checkup and to get some advice. There, the vet shared with me just how bad Flower had been treated. She had burn scars on all four paws, her tail had been broken twice, and some of her teeth had been knocked out. I was overwhelmed with emotion, angered by the cruelty my sweet cat had endured but sad that, most likely, Flower had not yet known the love of a human.  

"This is why she's so attached to you," the vet explained. "Many Siamese bond with one human in their lifetime and for them, the bond is quite intense. Given that you rescued her and are taking care of her, she might be afraid of losing you." The vet gave me some techniques to try and lessen Flower's anxiety, most of which worked over time. 

Before Flower and I found each other, I had allowed my life to become pretty hectic, putting work above everything else and never really taking the time to stop long enough to enjoy the world around me. It seemed impossible for me to be present in the moment. Yet, I soon found myself anxious to get home and sit with Flower on the sofa. No longer was busyness appealing. I wanted to spend time with my cat who wanted to spend time with me.  

Thinking about the horrible experiences Flower went through before she was mine and her renewed willingness to trust and love, I couldn’t help but be impressed and inspired by her resilience for life. A survivor in the truest sense of the word, I wondered if Flower had somehow forgiven those who caused her so much pain.  

I soon realized how affectionate Flower was. She loved to cuddle, rub noses, and insisted on being kissed on the top of her head, whenever the need struck her. I discovered what food and treats she preferred, what toys she loved, and the quirky traits that made her unique. In other words, Flower and I became best friends.  

Now, a year later, Flower has taught me the importance of slowing down and taking the time to enjoy every moment. No longer am I rushing from place to place, completing endless tasks, or speed walking through life. Instead, I’m enjoying quiet moments with my beautiful Siamese Flower, who has taught me the importance of stillness and love. 

David-Matthew Barnes

Update: Sadly, Flower passed away on January 28, 2022. She is greatly missed.

This essay originally appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Cat: 101 Tales of Family, Friendship and Fun (Simon & Schuster, May 14, 2019; edited by Amy Newmark)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

New Weekly Update: February 15, 2023

This might sound like a strange topic (especially since I’m writing and posting this on Valentine’s Day), but let’s talk about rejection. As a writer, my work is rejected constantly. In fact, this week I received four rejections in forty-five minutes. I’ve become so accustomed to my work being rejected that I no longer call it rejection. Instead, I call it selection. Sometimes my work is selected and other times it’s not. It’s all very subjective. It’s all about the person who is reading and selecting my work. What I know to be true is this: my work is not for everyone. And that’s okay. I’m sharing this because the focus is often on the successes. While I love celebrating those with you, it’s fair to say there were and are many rejections - I mean, selections - in between. And I learn from both. About myself and who I am (and want to be) as a writer. They’re both good for the soul. 

Today, my young adult supernatural romance novel Wonder Land is being set free into the world, where I hope it finds many readers who love this story as much as I loved writing it. I hope you get a chance to read it or share the book with a young reader in your life. Many years of hard work went into writing it. 

I’ve been fighting off a cold, so I’ve had more downtime than usual. Because of this I got to watch many wonderful films this week including the mind-blowing Everything Everywhere All at Once, the creepy horror film Ma starring the always-brilliant Octavia Spencer, the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty, the classic comedy The Palm Beach Story starring Claudette Colbert (one of my favorite actresses), the quirky and funny Cate Blanchett film Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, and I re-watched one of my childhood favorites, Superman, starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder. 

My music artist of the week is Jane Jensen. I first discovered Jane’s music when I was the host of a college radio show in Chicago. Her debut album Comic Book Whore had just been released and I fell in love with it (and her) on my first listen. Her second album, Burner, features one of my all-time favorite tunes called Fast Girl U.S.A.  It’s an awesome track. I’ve always dreamed of directing a music video for it. It’s a very cinematic song. I hope you get a chance to check out Jane’s fantastic music. 

Until next week…

Onward and upward. 

“I spin worlds where we could be together. I dream you. For me, imagination and desire are very close.”
- Jeanette Winterson

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

My Weekly Update: February 8, 2023

I don’t know if anyone else goes through this, but lately all I want to do is read. It doesn’t help that I’m currently reading three novels and they’re all fantastic. When I was a child, reading was my favorite thing to do. Now, it’s a challenge to find enough reading time. 

This week I was reminded of the brilliance of Bette Davis. I re-watched the film Now, Voyager and she’s fantastic in it. Years ago I took a college class about women in film and my professor introduced to me this film and I’ve been obsessed with Bette Davis ever since. 

This week I also watched the 90th Anniversary edition of the film Rain, starring Joan Crawford. It’s an early performance in her career but terrific all the same. I can’t imagine making a film and 90 years later people are still watching it. That’s power. 

Speaking of, there’s a wonderful scene in the 80’s classic film Reckless starring Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah that makes my soul smile every time I see it. It’s a scene at a high school dance in which Aidan Quinn’s character takes over the awful music being played and replaces it with Romeo Void’s ‘Never Say Never.’ I remember seeing this film when I was in the eighth grade and that moment and that song have stayed with me ever since. 

I also watched the underrated and often overlooked Disney classic The Black Cauldron, the Sally Field ghost comedy Kiss Me Goodbye, and The Ring - a now iconic horror film that should’ve won every award possible, but because it’s a horror film, it didn’t. 

On the horror film note, I’m happy to tell you I’m one of the producers of the upcoming film Wolf Hollow. I hope you get a chance to check out the official trailer for the movie. It’s good stuff. 

I’ve also just finished a new feature length version of my horror script Baby Cindy. This project was originally a short film but I’m happy to say I went back to the project and built upon the original concept and the finished result is a terrifying story I’m very proud of.  

My music artist of the week is American jazz singer Blossom Dearie who died on February 7 in 2009. Her distinctive voice is unforgettable. Her version of Manhattan is one of my favorite songs. 

There were many wonderful moments this week including German class, podcast interviews, and lunch at a restaurant on the Sacramento River with wonderful friends. 

Until next week…

Onward and upward. 

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

My Weekly Update: February 1, 2023

I’ve been sharing these weekly updates for a month now and the response to them has been very positive and encouraging. I’m glad you’re enjoying them! 

I’m very blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law. Her name is Connie. This week we got to spoil her with a two-day birthday celebration. Happy birthday, Miss Connie!

What an incredible week I had as a writer. I sold the film rights to my script Don’t Say Bad Things About Me to a wonderful producer at Golden Horizon Pictures who found me through InkTip. The film goes into production this year. This will be my seventh produced screenplay. More details soon!

This week I also became an executive producer of the upcoming horror film New Fears Eve starring horror icon Felissa Rose. The film is being produced by Blood Moon Pictures. I’ll definitely keep you updated on this project. 

As of this morning, I’ve also signed on to serve as a producer on five other horror film projects. More about those movies in the next couple of weeks. 

Speaking of movies! Every week I share with you the films I watch. I do so in case you’re looking for new and classic films to add to your watchlist. This week I re-watched a beautiful film called Tumbleweeds. It’s an indie film from 1999. If you missed it,  I highly recommend it. I also watched the sci-fi classic The Angry Red Planet, the Judy Garland and Gene Kelly war-themed musical For Me and My Gal, the Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable classic It Happened One Night, the film noir Murder, My Sweet, and the Disney classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks - a film I’ve loved since I was a child.

Speaking of Disney! I finished the second season of Secrets of Sulphur Springs. This is a fun time traveling show on Disney Plus. 

I’m constantly studying my craft as a writer. This week, I started a new television writing workshop with the team at Save the Cat. It’s a three week course. I’m already learning a lot!

My music artist of the week is Danielle Ponder. Her debut album is called Some of Us Are Brave and its a masterpiece. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Until next week…

Onward and upward. 

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”
Ann Patchett

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

My Weekly Update: January 25, 2023

Despite being sick for a couple of days, I had a great week. I watched some fantastic films, got a lot of writing done, had brunch with my best friends, celebrated Lunar New Year, and I got a new pair of glasses. 

I’m so honored to have my poem Walking to Kmart to Buy a Dolly Parton Album included in the wonderful new collection Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology. Many thanks to the editors for giving this poem such a great literary home. You can purchase a copy of the book from Madville Publishing.

I’m working on a lot of new projects - new screenplays, new stage plays, and new television scripts. I’ll have a lot more to share with you very soon. For now I’m in a lot of meetings and I’m pitching my projects almost every day to producers and networks. I’m more determined than ever to see my stories through. 

Some of the great films I watched this week include the sci-fi B movie classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Joan Crawford thriller Female on the Beach, the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the bad girl Barbara Stanwyck film Ladies They Talk About, and the brilliant biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It (I still say Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne were robbed of Oscars for their performances). This week, I was in awe (once again as I am every year I watch them) by Gloria Grahame in the film In a Lonely Place and Audrey Totter in The Set-Up. They are two of the best actresses in film noir. 

You can read my review of the sci-fi action comedy The Adam Project at the official Filtinsel website.

I’m very fortunate to have a sister-in-law who is very generous in sharing her Chinese and Thai traditions and cultures with me. I learn a lot from her. This week we got to celebrate the Lunar New Year together and it was a beautiful family experience for us. 

My musical artist of the week is Donna Summer. Growing up, I was obsessed with Donna’s music, especially her version of MacArthur Park, one of my all-time favorite tunes. One of my few regrets in life was never getting to see her perform live.

I feel very lucky to be living in a new golden era of television. This week we finished the second season of Bridgerton, a very fun show to watch. We also finished the second season of Hacks, which is one of the best TV shows ever made.  

In closing, I’m thrilled to tell you the new edition of my young adult supernatural romance novel Wonder Land will be available in paperback and eBook on Valentine’s Day.

Until next week…

Onward and upward.

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
- Pablo Picasso 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

My Weekly Update: January 18, 2023

It’s was an intense week. Yes, we had more rain. But I also watched some great films, became a student again, had some extraordinary experiences as a writer, and lost a wonderful friend. 

I’m a lifelong learner. I love being a student. Last week I attended my first German class. It’s a language I have always loved so I decided it was finally time to study it formally. And I get to take the class in a beautiful old building. 

I was also very fortunate to take a three day intensive and learn more about writing horror for film and television from accomplished filmmakers in a Sundance Collab workshop (including the brilliant Mariama Diallo who wrote and directed a fantastic film called Master; if you’ve ever worked in higher education, you should see it; it’s on Amazon Prime and Regina Hall and Zoe Renee are fantastic in it). I also got to attend a fantastic advisor series - also through Sundance - with Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams. And I participated in a wonderful workshop called Seven Steps to Mindfulness for Creatives with Maria Baltazzi who’s an Emmy Award winning Executive Producer. I feel very honored to be learning from industry experts. 

I was deeply saddened by the news that Lisa Marie Presley passed away. I was a fan of her music, which I’m thankful I have to remember her by. 

Sadly, I lost a wonderful friend this week: a remarkable woman named Ann. We met as co-workers years ago in Pennsylvania and had remained friends ever since. She was kind and compassionate and she really loved animals. She will be greatly missed. 

Movies are always a highlight of my week. I’ve watched some terrific films including the awesome sci-fi B movie classic Monster on the Campus, the British thriller Eyewitness, one of my favorite Disney films: The Aristocats, the Barbara Stanwyck and Errol Flynn mystery Cry Wolf, the slasher classic The Prowler, and The Silence of the Lambs for the umpteenth time. 

You can read my review of the teen angst drama The Young Stranger (1957) at the official Filtinsel website here.

My musical artist of the week is Berlin, a band I have loved for many years since I first heard their iconic album Pleasure Victim when I was 12. Their song The Metro is one of my all-time favorite tunes. 

In closing, I am thrilled to tell you that my young adult novel Mesmerized was named a Quarterfinalist in the 2023 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Writing Competition. Semi finalists will be announced soon. I’m very grateful for this incredible honor. 

Until next week…

Onward and upward. 

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

My Weekly Update: January 11, 2023

The word of the week is WEATHER. Since NYE, we’ve made it through three additional storms including more power outages, a ton of debris, and some leaks in our ceiling. We can’t wait for some sunshine. Please send some this way.☀️

Despite the weather I’ve watched many great films this week including Tarantula, Alice in Wonderland, and three of my personal favorites: Detour, Caged!, and The Blue Gardenia. Each of these three fantastic films feature brilliant performances by women. Watching Ann Savage devour every scene in Detour is a must. And mysteries don’t get better than The Blue Gardenia. I also watched Airport 1975 with the the wonderful Karen Black as a fearless flight attendant who has to land a damaged passenger jet. Good stuff!

You can read my review of Caged at the official Filtinsel website. It’s a film noir women-in-prison movie from 1950 and it’s terrific.

To bring some laughter into our lives, we’re re-watching the classic British sitcom  Absolutely Fabulous - and we’re loving every minute of it. We just finished the first season. We also finished the first season of Shadow and Bone (a great show on Netflix). I’m in love with the series Home Before Dark. It’s on Apple TV and I can’t recommend it enough. Along with the entire excellent cast, Abby Miller (one of my favorite actresses who I secretly dream will stare in many projects I write) gives a terrific performance. 

I’m currently reading The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner and I’m really enjoying it. 

The musical artist of the week is 10,000 Maniacs (during the era when Natalie Merchant was the lead singer). Their album In My Tribe is one of my favorites. It includes the fantastic track Like the Weather, my theme song of the week.

Despite thunder storms and 60 mph winds, I managed to pitch my TV series Cups and Saucers to a major network. It went well. I should hear something back soon. After the script reached an almost point (in terms of going into production) twice, I’ve spent the last three months reworking the pilot script by applying all of the great notes I’ve received from industry experts. I’m in love with the end result. But who doesn’t love a sci-fi adventure about four young people who discover an underground world inhabited by alien life? The universe will decide what happens next with this project. I’m just the satellite who wrote it. 

I’m putting the finishing touches on a new stage play titled Bitter and Sweet and a new screenplay called Whirl. I’m also prepping for some upcoming pitch meetings related to the TV adaptation of my all-female stage play Sky Lines

I get asked a lot about my creative process. This year I’m writing two hours a day (one hour session in the morning, one at night) and editing two hours on Saturdays. I’m no longer writing or editing on Sundays: it’s become a true day off. This will be the first time I’ve not written seven days a week in about twenty years. 

This week, I’m including some fun photos: our dog Kody and his new favorite toy (it was a Christmas gift from Grandma), Kody and his feline sister Phronsie (I’m sure they’re plotting against us; this photo is proof), and me at Studio Blue Salon where my wonderful friend Jodi worked her usual hair magic. 

Until next week… 

Onward and upward.

“Your imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” 

– Albert Einstein

P.S. You can watch the video versions of my weekly updates on my TikTok account. You can find me there at davidmatthewbarnes.