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Showing posts from September, 2010

Sometimes it's hard to be a . . . well, you know. . .

Admit it.  We don't get no respect. I used to think we were overlooked because we couldn't write about sex the way the boys do. We don't seem free enough with violent images.  Our prose is, a little (how shall I put this?) wimpy. We write like girls.  That's what I used to think. Then came Dominique Adair , Denise Agnew and of course, Anne Rice . Overnight, all bets were off. Back in the 1980's, when I was studying the craft, writing my fanny off and getting published one-in-three times, the rule of the jungle was this; successful women writers wrote about small animals, little children and the agony of living without a man. There were no vampire slayers in those days.  Mary Tyler Moore was about as liberated as the media and the publishing industry wanted their chicks.  Those of us who had anything to say were careful how we said it. When my marriage fell apart and I wrote an essay about the consequences of male depression on the American family,

Weeping in the playtime of others

It all started in the cheap seats. Once upon a time admission to the movies (we called them "movies") was a dime.  Disney movies?  Twenty five cents. And for that little piece of silver, a girl got a few decent cartoons (featuring anyone from Mickey to Buggs), a newsreel (the equivalent of a contemporary "public service announcement") and a few hours in the dark with a box of Dotts and a bag of popcorn. Movie stars were more beautiful than anyone else; the men were stronger, the women blonder than anyone we knew.  Even so - we came for the stories. The struggle of virtue over seduction, valor over greed - we loved to watch the good guys win. When one of our heroes was slapped back by despair or discouragement, we held fast to our arm rests, knowing that, if all were as it is supposed to be, everything would be all right in the end. Somewhere, lost in the magic, I began to write my own stories. The hero was always a woman - - no, let me state that ag

Hanging with my homies. . .

Writers don't affiliate like other people. Normally, I don't consider myself a "family" person.  Writers don't affiliate like other people.  Many of us try - - we marry, have children.  But in the end, the merging is difficult.  Writers have a difficult time following through with commitments when something creative is brewing.  We have a hard time staying loyal and true when inconsistencies interfere with our relationships.   With the possible exception of love for off-spring, writers are conditional friends.  Mess with a writer and you might never see her/him again.  Treat a writer badly and he/she will go away.  Every writer I know goes to the fair. The one exception is the great Minnesota get-together; the state fair. No matter how you treat us, every writer I know goes to the fair.  Wouldn't miss it. Maybe that's because we know we won't be noticed at the fair.  Our conspicuous "people watching" is a common past time at the fa

Suffering - but still faithful

What happens when the play is finished,  the theatre has signed the contract, but the play won't premiere for another year?  What does the playwright do with all the voices in the head - the imagined interactions - the premeditated emotions? Life can get sticky if a writer isn't writing.  I'm walking through the valley of that shadow these days.  The script is in the hands of the theatre; I know we'll be in the revision process soon.  A "dramaturge" has been notified that my work is ready to move forward.  And I'm crawling along,  losing my mind.  I've tried starting a new play.  It is not impossible to do so; the writing is sound.  But somewhere, out there, beyond the clear blue sky - - -someone is reading my work and thinking of me.  Until I know what that means, life is a little stuck.  Last week, fooling myself, I returned to my favorite cafe to write. The wait staff were thrilled to see me.  They gave me my favorite table in the corner.