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Showing posts from October, 2012

The hard sell on marriage

 Off I went last night - excited to phone "undecided" voters and persuade them to vote NO on the marriage amendment. Unless you've been under a rock for the past six months, you know what I'm talking about. This past year, the Minnesota State Legislature passed the following amendment to the state Constitution.  The voters, however, are the ones who must pull the trigger to give it power. "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"   I say "no." Not because I think gays and lesbians should marry if they choose - although I do. Not because I believe in polygamy or bestiality or whatever other weirdness the Religious Right promises will ensue - although I don't. I say "no" because I don't want my constitution messing with this part of the social contract between men and women.  I like things the way th

Imaginary worlds are the best

A new play is a new planet - populated by the strange and the ordinary. Pulling a story to stage draws down the abstract and concrete parts of the creative process. A tale cannot be told without a decent setting. A character cannot initiate or respond without good, strong motivation.  And a plot cannot develop without an underlying lesson. I love writing plays. More than critical, social commentary, writing for the theatre offers an opportunity to review, revise and revisit reality. For over ten years,  I paid serious, important attention to media - listening for inspiration, seeking a hook upon which to hang a critical view of my world. Writing a play is the direct opposite. Now, instead of paying attention, I ignore the news.  Instead of seeking to criticize, I yearn to inspire. It's a loftier calling. Granted - it makes a woman a little crazy.  Imagine, if you can, what my day is like. I rise early, walk my adorable dog, do what must be done around my

The one who got away

All the leaves are brown - and the sky is grey. You know the drill - and I've got the funky chicken woman blues.  My old boy friend Jim Anderson, was the first to call them out for what they are. Jim was a University of Minnesota summa cum laude graduate and a fabulous pick-up hockey player. I loved him for almost a decade.  He was a classic Minnesota boy - blond and blue eyed.  Everyone thought we were brother and sister.  And honey, the man knew how to call-out a funky mood when he met one. I remember one particular October afternoon as the blues began to overwhelm me - Jim took my face in his powerful hands,  looked me in the eye and said - "You are as funky as an old chicken woman." He, of course, was right.  He was always right. I was too young to understand how rare it was to meet a man so right. He was so right I had to walk away from him  - and marry someone wrong. Funky chicken woman blues I have the funky chicken woman blues. 

Those who can, can't help themselves.

Maybe it's the changing of the light - the coming of winter.  Maybe it's Obama - maybe it's my hunger for his extinguished fire. Maybe it's because Sheila Shanley has been dead for ten years - and my mother has been dead for almost twenty. Whatever the reason, during this past week, I've been miserable.  No.  Not miserable.   The word miserable is too strong. During this past week, I've been creatively challenged. What we don't know CAN hurt us.  Of course - like most funky times - I suffered in ignorance.  I had no idea what was troubling me -  perhaps something material, mechanical or maniacal.   I thought I could fix it by raking leaves.  Mopping the kitchen floor.  Throwing on four loads of laundry.  Reading a good book. I began to think the root of the funk was financial.  I thought I should get a part time job - pull down some cash. I did all that.  The funk hung fast.  Until today.  Today, I went back to work.  I'm working on m

An Election Day of "NO" When We Mean "YES" - Same Sex Marriage and Voter Freedom

Unless you're intellectually challenged, educationally stunted, emotionally vague or dispositionally stupid, you understand the positive message behind the negative word. Peppered around Minnesota, orange and blue signs encourage you to vote "no" on two constitutional initiatives. Counter intuitive - yes?  (Or - do I mean, "Counter intuitive - no?") One might think "YES" is a positive thing.  Think again.  Sometimes (in this case!) your YES shuts down your freedoms - and mine. Two initiatives - one to limit the freedom to "marry" to one man and one woman. The other - to insist that everyone who casts a ballot in Minnesota carry photo identification.  I'm not a lesbian (although, if you GOOGLE my name, you'll see how many times I am labeled such!) and I'm carry a photo I.D.  So - technically, I have no dog in this fight. I am, however, free.  And I hope to stay free as long as possible. (Granted - one day my adorab


Audiences are not stupid.  They buy a ticket, go to the theater with one purpose in mind; entertainment. As the playwright, your first (and only) job is to entertain.  If you write well, your work might also inspire and educate. But do not be confused; if your audience is not first entertained, your play is dead. Playwrights are clever little murders. We, unknowing, kill our characters, our plot-lines, our scripts as casually as you slop together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your five-year-old. FIRST RULE - LET YOUR PLAY LIVE! Below are three writing devices that feel like script writing. They're not.  Instead, they're cheap, easy ways to murder your script.  Any time you find yourself “writing” any of the following devices into your work, stop.  Replace them with actual writing, and your script will live.   We don't need no stinkin' narrator.   1.  A SCHLOCKY NARRATOR  –  Hey, we don’t need no stinkin' narrator. True - a