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Showing posts from May, 2012

When the "rewrite" takes all night. . .

People ask me how I do it - how I get the sentences tight, the cadence in rhythm and the plot to flow. I tell them the truth. I write the dang thing over and over again. Between versions, I invite actors to my home, fill them with champagne, strawberry short-cake and divine little brie cracker thingies, covered in raspberry jam. They read.  I listen.  And even if they're too blissed to give me hard feed-back, I hear the bad along with the good. And I write the whole thing all over again. My youngest daughter criticizes my obsessive commitment to rethink the entire script - each time. I tell her I cannot change the motivations in Act I without altering the actions in Act III.  Makes total sense to me.  When I wrote the first version of SWEET TRUTH, I had no idea the protagonist was obsessed with online dating.  All that became clear after six months of rewrites.  Gospel. Now that I've see PAPER DADDY in production, I'm rewriting the entire play - changi

Gratitude unbidden

This essay first appeared in the Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1997 Last night this old house heard a noise it hasn't heard in a long time; the soft wailing of an open soul. I first heard it as I worked at the kitchen counter, grinding cranberries and oranges into my famous Thanksgiving relish. It stunned me with its sober sadness. Distant and vague, at first I thought the noise came from my blender. But the frail humming persisted even when the blender was silent. And so I put my apron aside and followed the sound toward the stairs. It was then I realized the odd noise was not a mechanical rumble at all. It was the cry of a heart, breaking open with emotion. I rushed up the stairs and found my daughter in her bed. Her face was pressed into her pillow in a vain attempt to muffle the sound of her sincere tears. I knelt by her bed. What ever was wrong, I asked. Did something happen? Did someone hurt you? Was she OK?  I stroked her hair, damp against her warm hea