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Showing posts from November, 2012

AFTER THE WOMBATS

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Things were pretty rough after Daddy Jay headed north to Alaska pursued by Wombats. Money was tight. Mom had been an elementary school teacher before she had us, and hadn't worked in years. Now, she had three kids, a mortgage, and an ex-husband who wasn't paying alimony or child support. At this time, there was a glut of teachers in Strawberry Park, meaning no work in that field other than some substitute teaching- which doesn't exactly pay the bills for a family of four. We didn't know any of this. My brother, sister and I were busy being kids, and things seemed pretty much like before. Maybe we all got hand-me-downs more often when it came to clothes, and maybe we didn't go out to eat pretty much ever, but life didn't seem too weird. Yet.

Then, things started to disappear. That was a little strange. First, it was all the old stuff in the garage. Mom had all this old furniture in the garage- things she had inherited after her mother died, a beautiful set of  m…

A WOMBAT ATE MY FATHER

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It's funny the things I remember. Crickets, tomato soup, Lincoln Logs. Good things. Red wine with ice cubes,  long silences, knives. Bad things.  I grew up in San Jose, California, at the time a quickly growing city nestled in the heart of the Santa Clara Valley, which used to be called the Valley of the Hearts Delight but was morphing into the urban sprawl of Silicon Valley, land of strip malls, tract housing, and freeways. I can still smell the cherry trees that grew near my house, see the weathered barnyards covered in moss , hear the sound of thousands upon thousands of crickets at night- so loud they'd wake me up in the middle of the night from time to time. My mother used to tell me that when she first came to San Jose, in 1953, a person could tell where they were by the scents of blossoms. Peaches were one area, oranges another. In my first memories, the area we lived in was surrounded by orchards of all kinds- but each year, more and more of them disappeared,  replace…

I HAVE MANY GODS, AND THEY'RE ALL A LITTLE CRAZY

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I'm a quasi-pagan, magical thinking believer in Bigfoot, UFOs, and the Loch Ness Monster. Whenever I do a show, on opening night I go backstage, find a quiet corner, and say a prayer to Thespis. I've seen ghosts. At times, like Ghandi, I am a Muslim, and Christian, and a Jew. And a Hindu, and an atheist, and an agnostic. My pantheon includes Superman, Batman, and the Avengers- along with Loki, Raven, and Cassiopeia, Queen of Elsewhere. And I don't see this as in any way illogical.

I am pondering my own gods because I came upon a book the other day that I hadn't read since I was in fourth grade and took part in M.G.M. at Strawberry Park Elementary. M.G.M. stood for Mentally Gifted Minors, although most of the kids at school said it stood for Mentally Goofed-up Morons. There were students from several different schools in M.G.M., broken into several groups of about 20 each. Each group would have class once a week for a whole day. My group met on Wednesdays. In M.G.M., we…

MAKE YOUR BOTTOM MORE APPEALING

That's not advice from the latest exercise guru, it's a line from my play LOVERS, LUNATICS, AND POETS, which just got published by PLAYSCRIPTS, INC.  The play is the direct result of a writing contest; and also of my long-standing love affair with the theatre. The contest put on by Playscripts, inc. and called  Pitch-n-Play, and was in two parts. In part one, people were asked to tweet a pitch, or idea, for a new play that was somehow connected to the line "the course of true love never did run smooth" from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. My winning pitch was "real life Puck messes with teens in high school prod of Misdummer Night's Dream". That pitch, along with two others, won the first part of the contest.  In the second part, people wrote short plays based on any of the three winning pitches. I decided to write a play on my own pitch. And while it didn't win the grand prize, the very wise folks at Playscripts decided it was so g…