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1. First scene of A WEDDING

Sharing the first scene of my first play, "A WEDDING" a.k.a. "MAKE ME A WEDDING." A comedy, the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young couple who want a small, intimate wedding, versus the bride and groom's mothers, who want an all-out, no holds barred (expensive) affair.

In this opening scene, the bride announces her engagement to her parents.


A WEDDING
 
ACT 1

Scene I

 
SETTING: Greenberg family living room. Plastic slip-covers cover,
         kitschy French-provincial furniture, circa 1970’s. On
         either side of the couch are two end tables with drop
         “crystal” lamps on each table

 

AT RISE:  A tense MORTY GREENBERG paces, stopping                 
          periodically to glance out of a window.SADIE     
          his wife, sits in an armchair, absorbed in her knitting.  
          She glances up from time-to-time to watch MORTY

 

TIME:     Late evening

                                  SFX: television blaring

 MORTY

What time is it now?

 

SADIE


Five minutes later than the last time you asked me. Stop
pacing already or you'll wear a hole in the carpet. It's thin enough as it is

 

MORTY


(staring out of window)

What could they be doing in the middle of the night?

SADIE


Counting toothpicks in a restaurant. What's it your business? She needs your permission to stay out late?

MORTY


What'll the neighbors think?

SADIE


Oh pul-l-eeze! Get a life. They'll talk no matter what she does or doesn't do and what they don't know, they make up. Sit down and watch TV 

MORTY


I can't focus knowing that my daughter is out there – somewhere - doing who-knows-what. Maybe we should go search for her or better yet, call the police

SADIE


Not! If we brought her up right, she's okay. You stay up and wait for her if you want but I'm going to bed

MORTY


Don't you wanna be here when she comes in?
                                                                                                        

SADIE

(standing)

Why? She doesn't know the way to her room? Come to bed, Morty!

MORTY

Some mother you are. What happens if… if they were in an accident or something? Maybe they're injured and can't call us

SADIE

Rachel has a cell phone

MORTY

Maybe the cell phone got crushed along with the car…

SADIE

…and maybe you should get a life?

MORTY

I'm staying up and waiting for her like a good father, unlike other people who are more interested in their beauty rest. Like it'll help anyway… I can’t take it anymore! I’m calling the police

SADIE

Enough already! Really Morty, she’s 22 years old. Sit here if you want to but I gotta get some sleep

MORTY

Sure, go to bed and leave me all alone to wait for your daughter

SADIE


How come she’s “your daughter” when she does things that you don't like? Besides, I'm sure David is taking good care of her

MORTY


That's what worries me!

SADIE


Move away from that window or the neighbors will think you're a voyeur! Did I mention Becky's daughter got engaged last night? Don't think she didn't rub it in about the big diamond that her Joanie got. Two carats she tells me! Like the size of a diamond would interest me!

MORTY

(flipping TV clicker)

Of course not! Things like that aren't important to a person with your class. You materialistic? Never!
 
SADIE

It's what's inside a person’s heart that counts, not the size of a bank account. That's what I told Becky. Honestly, that woman is so money-oriented! I don't know how we stayed best friends all these years

MORTY

Are you telling me that you’d hold it against a potential husband for your daughter, if he was cash-friendly?

SADIE

Let me put it this way: if and I say if, the boy happens to come from a wealthy family, I wouldn’t hold it against him. I'm not prejudiced that way. Listen, I get dark circles under my eyes if I don’t get enough sleep

           SADIE exits

MORTY
(calling after her)

“And you need all the help you can get!” Dark circles aren't her only problem. The woman needs a complete head transplant. Where's that daughter of mine? 

                                           SFX: key in lock

           MORTY rushes to chair and feigns sleep

RACHEL
(V/O)

'Don't forget to call me the minute you get home! Mom will be thrilled when I tell her our news. Wave to Mrs. Belinsky across the road, the nosy busybody. I love you, David!'

           RACHEL enters

Hi popsy. Wha'cha doin' up so late? Are you waiting up for me again?

MORTY

Wha…hmmm..? Must'a fallen asleep in front of the TV. What time is it?

RACHEL

What am I going to do with you, pops?  Where's mom?

MORTY

Your mother was tired so she went upstairs. She was knitting me another one of her scarves to join the other sixteen stored away in the closet. When will she realize that I only have one neck? Where were you so late?

RACHEL

I was under the impression I can come home whenever I feel like it – at least that’s what you tell me

MORTY

What'll the neighbors think, a nice girl like you coming in at the crack of dawn?

RACHEL

Would you prefer that I move out altogether and you won’t have to worry about what everyone will say? Let them mind their own business for a change

MORTY

It's a lot to ask to call home and say you're alive?

RACHEL

Can we move on? I have something important to tell you both. Better still, go wake up mom. She'll wanna hear this

MORTY

Something is wrong! I knew it! I told your mother that she should wait up but did she listen? Noooo! Her beauty rest is more important

RACHEL

Why do you always think the worst? It just so happens that this is fantastic news and mom will be thrilled when she hears what I have to say

           Dances around room, waving her left hand

D'ya notice anything new – like - on my left hand?

MORTY

You changed the color of your nail polish?

RACHEL

Look close…realLY close

MORTY

Whoa! That’s new since breakfast?

RACHEL

You do know what this means…

MORTY

A miracle! At last there's gonna be another male in the family and I'll have a chance at winning an argument, for a change!

RACHEL

I didn't expect that kind of reaction but I'll take it as a sign you approve?

MORTY

What's not to approve? The groom to be is David?

RACHEL

Who else? You know we've been seeing each other seriously and there's never been anyone else in my life, nor will there ever be. He's the most wonderful, sensitive, romantic…

MORTY

And those are just his so-so qualities. Only joking, honey. He's a good guy and normal, unlike some of those other weirdos you brought home to us. I still break out in a sweat thinking about - what was his name now - Clifford? What kind’a person tattoos the name of his girlfriend on his forehead and God knows where else?

RACHEL

That was just a high school crush, pop and besides, I
kind’a thought it was romantic at the time

MORTY

Sure you would 'cause you're not a parent - yet. Let’s see now - who came next? What did he call himself - Pukey? Porky? And then there was…
RACHEL

I get your point, popsy

MORTY

Remember your first rock concert? I couldn't hear for three days and never told your mother. Let me tell you - it was bliss!

RACHEL

So? I'm still waiting for congratulations and a kiss

MORTY

(hugging RACHEL)

My little girl -  a bride! That means I’m old. I’ve never been old before

RACHEL

How 'bout go get mom so I can share the good news with her, too?

MORTY

You want me to go wake up sleeping beauty? If I disturb her beauty rest, she'll open up a mouth to me but if I don't… Be right back

MORTY EXIT
 
SADIE
(V/O)

‘Whad'ya doing? Lemme alone Morty. I'm tired! It's not Saturday night…go watch another program or something. What about Rachel? Are you talking about our daughter,…. Get me my duster in the cupboard! The other one! That's for the rummage sale. Do you ever look at what I wear?’

           SADIE rushes on stage followed by MORTY

Rachel, is this another of your father's senior moments?

RACHEL
(extends hand)

So? Look for yourself!

SADIE

It's about time! Looks like a decent sized diamond. Must be -  what - a carat at least? Bigger maybe?

RACHEL

David surprised me with it tonight. We don't want a long engagement so you won't have to plan a big party

MORTY

You're both so young. What's the big rush?

SADIE

They've been going out for five years! D'ya want she should be an old maid like your sister Miranda? I'm so excited! Becky's Joanie got engaged yesterday so she only beat you by one day!

RACHEL

This isn't a contest as far as I'm concerned. We want to get married in three months

SADIE
(ignoring RACHEL)

A summer wedding would be perfect, don'cha think? Maybe we could have it under a tent, in the back garden, just like those fancy society weddings. Mind you, indoors might be better in case of rain, but we have plenty of time to talk about the details

RACHEL

Did you hear what I said? We wanna get married in –like -three months
SADIE

Come again? I gotta get my ears checked 'cause I thought I heard you say three months

RACHEL

Your ears are fine, ma, and even if - and I say if - we wanted a garden wedding, pops has his old cars stored on the lawn, along with a thousand spare parts covering every square inch

MORTY

Listen, you want a reception in the back yard, I'll move everything into the garage…

RACHEL

It has to be at that time because David's been invited to be a keynote speaker at a big lawyer's convention in Europe, so we'll make it a working honeymoon. It's the only time we're both free

MORTY

…maybe call a few scrap dealers today to see what they'll give me. At least we'll have a couple of extra dollars towards the wedding expenses…

SADIE

Typical! Your father is worrying about the gelt, already! You expect we should get everything together in such a short time? It takes a year at least to reserve a place and even then, we have to talk to a caterer, get a band…

MORTY

…then again maybe I should keep them all. 'Ya never know when my car is gonna die on me. It's going on nine years already

RACHEL

There’s something else I haven't told you. We want a small wedding with just close friends and family, so there shouldn't be any problems with the arrangements

SADIE

           Grabs chest, feigns shock and grabs MORTY for
          support

 Do I hear right? You would deprive your parents of making you a big tra-la-la-wedding? I think I'm gonna faint. Catch me Morty!

RACHEL

We'd rather put everything towards important things like buying a house. You should be happy with all the money you’re gonna save

SADIE

Happy? You're gonna kill me! What'll I tell my friends? They'll think we're too cheap or can't afford to marry off our only daughter right! You can't do this to me Rachel!

RACHEL

Sorry? It's our wedding and we want to keep it small. The idea of inviting a lot of people we don't know is not for us! I'm really tired and not prepared to hash this out with you now. We'll continue tomorrow when I'm fresh and can think clearly. At least I'll have a fighting chance

RACHEL starts to leave

SADIE

Stay right where you are! I wanna hear all about how David proposed. This is what a mother waits for!

RACHEL

I promise to tell you everything only let me get a couple of hours of sleep. Please?

MORTY

Let her go to bed, Sadie. The kind of wedding you want will put us back a few dollars. I like the idea that the kids are thinking small. Small is good

 SADIE

You would, Mr. Cheap-skate! I'm sure David's family would want a decent-sized affair, too. Open up your pockets father-of-the-bride and let the moths fly out! Small wedding - over my dead body

MORTY

That can be arranged

SADIE
(taunting)

"Cheap-cheap-cheap…"

RACHEL

I've heard enough for one night. Enjoy yourselves, you two!

RACHEL exits

SADIE

You don't get it, do you? A big wedding means nice gifts. Have a small wedding and you end up with a bunch of fruit bowls and vases

MORTY

As far as I know, the only green growing on our trees are leaves. I have to worry about the cost if you don't

SADIE

What's money when you're marrying off your only child? Dear, dear, husband of mine, you should keep your nose out of things that aren't your business. Planning a wedding is a woman's affair. The husband only writes the checks

MORTY

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2. Playwright's ruminations - the fix is in

Sitting down in front of the computer, chin in hand and thinking about playwriting. Again. Note the word, "thinking" but not the actual act of taking fingers to keyboard and producing some worthwhile dialogue. Still further delayed the process by going over finished plays and assessing whether they need fixing or editing, something I'm prone to do in both my writing and painting. Frequently, the end result is ruining any progress on whatever project I'm "fixing."

I'm an inordinate "fixer" of all my artistic undertakings, which really don't require further adjusting. Recently, I applied what I swore were the absolute final strokes to a black and white painting first started three years ago, which has been "fixed" over the years. Perhaps this will be the reality and then again, who knows.

In as far as my plays are concerned, some have been altered to the point where all objectivity has been  lost as to the strongest version. Most often, the changes are relegated to small dialogue adjustments or altering what appears to me to be a weak a scene. In the end, a decision has to be made which version is the best version to submit, followed by a period of self-doubt and whether my plays are actually produce-able. Perhaps this is a common pattern with writers in general in that the selection of the right words is paramount to the whole story line. In as far as dialogue is concerned, the character has to utter words and phrases that suit her/his mannerisms, personality and mien and therein lies the challenge.

Although the actual act of submitting plays is a positive move, there is also the self-doubt that creeps in  waiting for updates on their fate. Negative thoughts like:

- perhaps the wrong version was sent - whatever that is
- maybe I don't have what it takes to be a "real" playwright
- given the volume of experienced and produced playwrights, many of whom are familiar names to   
  the public and within the theatre community, do my literary gems stand a chance?

And so the uncertainty continues but something drives me to persevere. The possibility, whatever the odds that  there  is a theatre "out there" somewhere that will see something special in my plays is enough to keep me going and press on. Meanwhile, some fine tuning of the dialogue and changes to the story arc is required to Dead Writes. Really.

P.S.: just read that Larry David's new play, "Fish In the Dark" is a big hit on Broadway. It should only happen to me!  Mazel-tov, Larry...or Mr. David. Good to note that good comedy will always draw a crowd.

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3. Notes: in submission

Thought I'd share some thoughts about submission - of the literary type. As is the case with most playwrights, I'm continually searching the web for possible good fits for my literary babies. They really are like babies given the attention, work and copious amounts of love that go into their creation. As is the case with offspring who reach maturity, there is a point where one has to part with them for their own good - and mine.

Progress has been achieved in the submission process including a rejection letter accompanied by a wonderful critique and evaluation of the submitted play. Theatres that are open to unsolicited submissions must be the recipients of thousands of plays and understandably, responding to playwrights individually isn't practical. It's commendable, therefore, when a theatre takes the time to not only respond to a play submission but actually take the time in writing to point out the plays strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions as to changes that would strengthen the overall story line. Let's say that it was one of the nicest rejections received to date.

Some of my other plays were sent packing to try their luck and as yet there has been no response. As if the playwriting process isn't difficult enough, the waiting period to hear back one way or the other is equally if not more stressful. Frequently, there is no response, which in itself is an indication of their fate.

I'm now taking precautions to e-mail my plays to myself before sending them out to ensure that it is in a readable format for the recipients. This move came about after encountering a problem submitting a play electronically when converting one of the older files to the latest version. Checking to ensure the play was successfully sent, somehow the text ended up in the wrong visual format. After a period of ranting and raving and some hair pulling, literally and figuratively, I decided to re-send in spite of a nagging, internal voice telling me to hold off for a bit. Re-sent it, anyway, accompanied by a two-sentence explanation only to discover the next day upon re-examination that the text somehow had adjusted itself and was visually perfect. Also re-confirmed my belief to always heed that inner voice.

While waiting for news, I'm continuing working on "Dead Writes", a fantasy with some comedic tones combined with interesting moral messages and dilemmas for the characters. Definitely a challenge but one worth meeting. Then again, the act of writing plays is always a challenge, no matter what.

When asked the question of the time it takes to complete a play, I quote the line expressed by Edward Albee: "People often ask me how long it takes me to write a play, and I tell them 'all my life." And then some.


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4. Snippet from Dead Writes - revised

Started writing this play a while back and have been slowly - accent on the slowly - adding-to and tweaking the play over time. Recently gave it yet another read and after deep thought and concentration, have finally come to what I believe and hope to be, a good ending. Still not finished, yet, but I've been making progress, which in itself is a good omen. Sometimes omens are all we have to propel us along.

I've shared bits and pieces of it here before but here is the latest incarnation. The cast list will most likely grow slightly. I've adapted it for this blog but the cutting and pasting isn't ideal. Comments welcome.

The story: Sometimes lessons in life come at a cost especially when the cost involves sacrifice on behalf of another.




DEAD WRITES
By Eleanor Tylbor

 
CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK:     50-something; former reporter, deceased

JOSIAH:                 Heavenly "Spiritual Adviser - Disembodied Souls Division:

MIA STEVENSON:          Ambitious young reporter

 
THE TIME  
                        
PRESENT DAY, MORNING

 
THE PLACE

Anywhere

 

SETTING:   A funeral parlor

 
AT RISE:   A group of people are seated in a funeral chapel, socializing for the most part, while waiting for the service to begin. A coffin is situated on an elevated stand in the middle of the room.

 
CHARLOTTE PEMBROOK, wearing a diaphanous flowing dress lays next to the coffin. Slowly she sits up, looks around in a confused, slightly stunned state. Touching her arms and body parts, she moves to an upright position and pulls at the material of her dress
         

                                  FX: SOMBER MUSIC

 
CHARLOTTE

Really must'a tied one on last night. Weird, though. No hang-over like usual.
 
Stands upright, moves closer to coffin, straining to see inside. A funeral organizer passes by without acknowledging her presence. She pokes him in the back, to no avail.

 
'Scuse me…hello'? Could you tell me…? Wait a minute. Don't ignore me. You are so rude!’

He ignores her, focusing on the coffin

 
Lemme be blunt like the real me: who's the corpse?

 
         Man continues to ignore her

 
What is your problem? A name - that's all I want! It's not a lot to ask.  Fine. Suit yourself. I'll find out on my own…creep!
          

A man, JOSIAH, enters and stands directly behind CHARLOTTE. Dressed entirely in white, he glitters from head to toe


JOSIAH


There's really no need to yell. I can provide you with that information
 
          Startled, she whirls around to face him

 
CHARLOTTE

You could give a person a heart attack sneaking up like that. And I thought I looked bad in this outfit? If you don’t mind me saying, sir, you look like a bad case of indigestion after eating too many Halloween candies. I've been trying to find out what's going on but the guy over there is ignoring me. Some people just don’t have any manners


 

JOSIAH


He can't hear you

 

CHARLOTTE


It’s not like me not to remember some details of the night before but my mind is a complete blank. Not even a few flashes. Nothing

 

JOSIAH


Not surprising. You’ll get used to it

 

CHARLOTTE


I get it now! This place is one of those new theme clubs and you're the bartender, right? Explains a lot especially the look. So – like - you doing Liberace? That would explain my dress, too. Go figure a funeral parlor would double as a club. So where’s the booze?


 

JOSIAH


The one thing I can assure you is that this is not a nightclub. You know…if you really want, Icould tell you who's in that coffin

 

CHARLOTTE


How would you know that unless… What’s wrong with me? Here's me going on about nothing and you're burying someone who means a lot to you. That’s it, isn’t it? Sometimes I'm so dense. My sympathies.


JOSIAH


You could say I’m related to that dead person. In fact - I'm close with most people that pass through

 

CHARLOTTE


You work here, then?
 

JOSIAH


In a way. Death is the human equalizer, don't you think? Everyone is on an equal plane no matter how important your life was or how much money you had or how much power you wielded

 

CHARLOTTE


I suppose so - can't say I've given it much thought, lately. You wouldn’t happen to know how I ended up here, though, would you?

 

JOSIAH


Do these mourners strike a familiar chord?


CHARLOTTE glances at the mourners

 

Vaguely... Hang on a minute!  These people work with me!

 
(Aside to mourners): ‘This is a surprise party, right? It's all a big joke. I should have known. Whose birthday is it? 'Ya don't hafta worry 'bout me giving it away!  Hello? I’m talking to you all!’

 
Weird. They're all ignoring me like I wasn’t here or something. Dumb…dumb…dumb. Ignorance, thy name is Charlotte! This is a "for real " funeral. That has'ta be it and this here is a real body in a real coffin! Okay –so – then - why am I here? Must be somebody I knew…

She strains to see in the coffin again without results

CHARLOTTE


You seem to know a lot about this. Was it Don McGrath or Pete Winston? Don't know how many times I warned them both to slow down, but did they listen? ‘Course not! What does an old broad like me know, right? Burn the candle at both ends and you’re gonna burn your light out, I told them time and time again. Everyone thinks they’re gonna live forever

 

JOSIAH


It wasn't either one of them

 

CHARLOTTE


That's a relief 'cause we're the last three old farts left at The Sentinal. Started out together at the same time and we've seen 'em come and we seen 'em leave. Some on to bigger and better and some like this here person, in a wooden box. Things are sure different now. Back when we were in our prime, the only thing we had'da know was a keyboard. Nowadays everything is electronic - cyber this, cyber that. They'll soon find a way to replace us all with computer systems and you know what? Nobody will give a damn

 

JOSIAH


They'll always be a need for the human touch

 

CHARLOTTE


Look at 'em all…young kids just out of J-school. What do they know about getting’ a story? How can you write about life if you never experienced it?  This really is a real funeral, isn’t it?

 

JOSIAH


Unfortunately, you are correct

 

CHARLOTTE


Guess you were a friend of the corpse, then, or related?

 

JOSIAH


I'm friends with a lot of people. You can say that I help them through a difficult period

 

CHARLOTTE


So you're one of those - what do they call them - grief councillors? Bet you go to a lotta funerals

 

JOSIAH


I can honestly say that I've never missed one

 

CHARLOTTE


Never?

 

JOSIAH


Never in all the years I've been assigned here

 

CHARLOTTE


Have we met somewhere before, maybe a long while back? The more I look at you, the more familiar your face seems to me. Wait a minute! It’s so obvious as the nose on my face. You're a new bartender at Pat's watering hole. I'll pay my tab next week, I swear, it's just that I've been running a little short lately…

 

JOSIAH


We've had a few close encounters in the past, Charlotte, but this is the first time we've met one-on-one. My drinking days are history in the true sense of the word but you seem very caught up with alcoholic beverages

 

CHARLOTTE


Got it now. You own the new funeral parlor down the block and you're here to scope out the competition

 

JOSIAH


Not…exactly but you could say I'm in the funeral business since I make a point never to miss any. In fact, funeral parlors are where I first connect with…

 

CHARLOTTE

(backing away)

Hey! You're not one of those slimy creeps who pick up rich, lonely women at funerals. Listen buddy, I'm not rich and certainly not in the market to add a new man in my life.  Been there, done that, too many times. Know what I mean?

 

JOSIAH


(laughing)

You're quite priceless, my dear. Trust me when I say my interest in you is anything but corporeal in nature. You do like games, don't you, with all your questions that I would be glad to answer. There really is no secret

 

CHARLOTTE


It's my nature to snoop and dig for answers

 

JOSIAH


You don't have to. I'd be most happy to supply you with the necessary information but if you insist. Have it your way

 

CHARLOTTE


Strikes me that this corpse wasn't too popular in life judging by the amount of people who showed up here

 

JOSIAH


It's all quite sad, actually. She believed she never needed people and in the end, seems that people weren't there when she needed them most

Mourner moves to front of room and stands in front of coffin

So the departed is a female. Looky who's here! It’s my friend and co-worker, Janice. Hey girl, we were supposed to meet for lunch yesterday! I showed up but what happened to you?

 

JANICE


Miserable, lying witch! At last you made a useful contribution to the world and left it! Good riddance to bad rubbish

 

CHARLOTTE


Is that the way to talk about the dearly departed? Even dead people deserve respect from the living. Your mama never taught you any manners?

JANICE touches the coffin and returns to her seat

(aside to JANICE): ‘Janice? You-hoo! It's me.’

(aside to JOSIAH) I'm not surprised! She was always a grudge holder. We better take a seat…the minister is here

Gives Janice "the finger" while passing her by and sits with others, accompanied by JOSIAH

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE - aside to male, PETE): ‘Heeeey Pete-eee! So, how things goin' with you? Sorry 'bout that story, but I just couldn't help myself. In fact, I did just that. I'll return the favor in the future. You know how it is in our biz’

 

(PETE) ignores CHARLOTTE and talks to female on other side

(Cont’d. CHARLOTTE) Still mad at me, huh? See if I care! That’s the last time I share a lead with him, let me tell you

 

JOSIAH


He can't hear you

 


CHARLOTTE


What are you talking about? Of course he can but he's busy chatting up the new receptionist. Probably still pissed 'cause I stole a lead on the story he was after! Far

be it for me to beg forgiveness. He knows that's the way things work. First come - first served!


JOSIAH


And you certainly helped yourself, a lot, didn't you?

 

CHARLOTTE


Listen, if something falls into my hands, who am I not to take advantage? I needed a lead and Pete was nice enough to do the legwork for me. We're old friends anyway. He'll come around, won't you sweetie?

 

JOSIAH


You find a way to justify everything. Has it dawned on you, yet, why you're here and that people are ignoring your presence?

 

CHARLOTTE


What other reason than to pay my respects to someone in the paper 'biz. Really bugging me, though, how I got here and landed up lying next to a coffin. I've covered practically every kind of story but I can't ever remember spending the night in a funeral parlor. Maybe I was after a story but why is my mind blank?

 

JOSIAH


Merely a temporary fog that will clear after you -

 
CHARLOTTE

- sssh! Talk softer. We're gonna get kicked out and I'll never find out who's in the coffin



MINISTER steps behind podium

 

MINISTER


Friends…
 

           Voice calls out:

'She didn't have any, so move on!'


 

MINISTER


..we are here to bid goodbye to one…


Another voice:

'Good riddance to bad rubbish!'


 

MINISTER


…a…good reporter, a good friend and colleague.

 
CHARLOTTE

This dead person must'a really screwed them over but good, but she – you did say it was a woman? Like I was saying, the dead deserve some respect too.

 
CHARLOTTE stands up and addresses everyone
 

'That's no way to speak about the dead, you bunch of parasites. Have some respect!'

 

MINISTER


Is there anyone here who has something positive to say, about the departed? Surely there must be one person in this entire room that could say a few nice words about the late Charlotte Pembrook?

 

CHARLOTTE


Excuse me? I can speak for myself, thank you very much… What's with this "late" junk?


MINISTER


No one? Then we'll proceed with the service
 

CHARLOTTE


What in the hell is he talking about? 'I'm still among you, in the flesh! Look! I’m here’

 

JOSIAH


Please try to control using the "H" word? I've been trying to tell you that no one can hear you – or see you, either


CHARLOTTE


They're doing it on purpose to teach me a lesson. ‘Well, it won't work people! I'm on to you all!’

 
CHARLOTTE stands up on chair, waves and screams on top of her lungs


CHARLOTTE


‘Charlotte is here! The old witch is alive and kicking. You can't ignore me forever’


JOSIAH walks to the front of the room and stands behind the coffin

JOSIAH


I'm the only person who can see you, at least for now


CHARLOTTE


Calm down, Charlotte. There’s a very simple explanation for all of this. I’ve had too much too drink and this is just a nightmare. Soon I'm gonna wake up and everything will be like it should. That’s it. A nightmare.

JOSIAH

What’s the last thing you can remember?


CHARLOTTE

Food! I was at The Rib Rack gnawing on a rib. Must’a been a bad rack or something to give me a nightmare like this. Alright – gotta calm down. I’m okay…gotta will myself to wake up…time to wake up now… C’mon body – wake up!


JOSIAH


Come over here and take a peak inside

 
CHARLOTTE moves slowly to the front of the coffin and peers down. She jumps back


CHARLOTTE


If this is a bad joke, I don't have a good sense of humor, today. Enough is enough, already. I don't know how you did this, Joey or whatever your name is to make a person look just like me. A dummy - it's a dummy, right? Hey - it's been a blast meeting you, but I got things to do, places to go…

           Aside to mourners

 
‘Okay you guys. You pulled off the ultimate practical joke. Got me fair and square. I give in. C'mon – don't be such grudge holders! You know I was only doing what you would'a done in my place’

 

JOSIAH


It's you in there for real



0 Comments on Snippet from Dead Writes - revised as of 1/23/2015 5:39:00 PM
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5. Playwright ponders her plays

Right now, people reading this are probably saying to themselves, "Eleanor hasn't given us any updates on her plays. I'd love to know how things are going with her." Okay - maybe the last sentence is a bit presumptuous on my part but maybe there are persons 'out there' who are curious.

Actually, I've been focusing a lot of my effort searching for a new literary address for my "babies." This includes cyber queries as to whether they would be welcome, to be followed by the actual execution (sounds so macabre) of hitting the 'send' key taking the plays on their cyber journeys. Waiting to receive news and/or updates on their suitability is stressful especially since theatres frequently restrict their responses to playwrights with plays in which they have an interest. It somehow doesn't seem logical to send a follow up if, say, there has been no response for a lengthy period of time. Then again, perhaps a reminder could be helpful:


"Dear blah-blah,

You might not remember me but five years ago (maybe more), I submitted my play to you/your theater/your literary manager. Having never heard back, I'm wondering if perhaps you never received it or somehow, it got deleted in your files (these things happen). Let me know if you'd like me to re-send the play and I'd be happy to oblige.

Yours in waiting,

Eleanor
(P.S. I'd very much appreciate it if you could advise me as to which play I sent you, since my cat did a dance on my keyboard and lost many of my files).


In as far as the plays themselves, I'm reviewing the content of "Retribution" with the intent of submitting it to an interesting competition. At the half-way point, I've made some minor changes but still very pleased with the overall content. The subject matter definitely isn't for everybody but the play itself  is a riveting drama.

Haven't read "Old Soldiers" since receiving the rejection advisement notice a few months ago. I had a gut feeling that it was on its way but it didn't make its reception any easier. A bit of ranting and raving occurred for a day or two followed by avowing to re-write. Thing is with rejection notices, rarely is there an accompanying explanation as to the reasons for the refusal, consequently there is always the nagging question as to why and what went wrong. In any case, time for a re-evaluation and the dastardly re-write(s) that will follow. It will require a complete overhaul having been written for radio and we'll have to see whether it's even feasible to turn it into a play. Some characters will have to be dropped in addition to scene changes and adaptations.

The newest playwriting project, "Storm Warning" is on the front burner. I've completed four scenes and I'm thinking some character sketches are required to define the purpose of everyone and where they fit into the story line.

One of my oldie but definitely good play, "Dead Writes" parts of which I've shared here in this blog, requires finishing. Actually, it needs a middle before it can be ended. A comedy, the play has been started and abandoned a number of times. Maybe not "abandoned" since this implies finality. Let's say - put to rest in cyber space for periods.  No particular reason other than I became distracted with other projects.

Finally, I'm toying with idea of writing a play based on a young teenage girl and her experiences growing up in the 1960's, while attending high school. Let's just say it's something I know about intimately. First though it back to work on Old Soldiers...maybe Dead Writes should be a priority since it's an older play...then again, Storm Warning is a fun challenge... Procrastination thy name is Eleanor.



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6. Weekends with Family Can be Side-Splitters

 

Crinkled brows, eyes shifting from side to side, estimating, evaluating; finally a bark of laughter erupts and a lead card is thrown onto the table.

“We have you now,” shrieks a female voice.

“Maybe,” replies a male opponent as a second card meets the first.

A third card, higher ranked, joins the small pile, and a fourth. The trick is taken by the opponent.

“Always expect a holdout,” the man’s voice advises.

Roars of laughter fill the kitchen with raucous sound. Another Saturday night has convened at the kitchen table for the weekly Euchre game between Mom and Dad and Mom’s sister and brother-in-law.

The aroma of strong coffee and one of Mom’s baked wonders tantalizes nostrils and stomachs of those present. It’s always the same group; couple vs. couple or men vs. women. The game might change from Euchre to rummy or to Pitch, but the night would leave everyone relaxed and satisfied.

Mom’s sister had a great deal to do with that feeling of hilarity. She loved playing the fool during card nights and did it very well. Some nights she was more boisterous than on others, but she seldom turned serious when games were in play.

My younger brother and his counterpart cousin generally watched TV during card night and then settled down to sleep. My older cousin and I watched the game in the kitchen as interested by-standers. We didn’t play. If Euchre was being played, we definitely were not allowed to play. In our part of the country, that game was a gambling game, even when not played for stakes. No children need apply.

None would ever consider the two women as not being family. My mom resembled my aunt in coloring and hair style. Their builds were nearly identical. Both were natural artists and could turn almost anything into a piece of art.

My mother worked in paint and clay or metal and findings from the forest. Her sister worked in paint and fabric, for the most part. Both loved antiques, but my aunt could have been a dealer. The knowledge she had was gleaned from years of scouring antique shops, auctions, and estate sales.

Most of all, both women loved the outdoors and nature. They’d grown up in the country. Their mother had taught them a deep love and respect for what grew wild or by design. They each enjoyed growing food for their tables as much as gathering from the wild.

With all of these commonalities, they managed to remain individuals who stood apart from each other.

Auntie was more playful than Mom. Mom had better rapport with children and animals. Auntie desired a house full of antiques and a spotless home. Mom liked things tidy, but she preferred a sense of home and comfort to fill rooms meant for living.

Aunt and Uncle often took Grandma and my cousins on trips away for a weekend to see other relatives. Mom didn’t bother. Her sister took great pleasure in that part of mother-daughter time; leaving Mom to do the Sunday home visits for family time.

Sisters, friends, companions, champions, confidantes; each filled those roles for the other. They talked in person or on the phone every day, without fail. Close didn’t begin to d

2 Comments on Weekends with Family Can be Side-Splitters, last added: 2/27/2012
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7.

Whereas the playwright has a conversation with the main character of  "Old Soldiers", JOE MCKENNA


PLAYWRIGHT
Joe! You old son-of-a-...gun. How are things going with you?

JOE MCKENNA
Cut the crap, Eleanor. You know very well I'm looking for direction

PLAYWRIGHT
You mean, you're lost? How so?

JOE MCKENNA
You keep changing my focus so often, I'm getting dizzy. When are you gonna make up your mind once and for all?

PLAYWRIGHT
It's not for lack of trying. I start out in one direction and then suddenly realize that I'm sending you on a wild goose chase

JOE MCKENNA
How well I know that! Now what are you gonna do with my army buddies? They're obviously important since you put them in the first scene

PLAYWRIGHT
That's the dilemma right now. I love their characters and I love the dialogue that flows out of their mouths, but they have to have something to offer in the way of justification

JOE MCKENNA
They're my friends. That's all they need

PLAYWRIGHT
True...but I want their input to be meaningful. To have an impact on the story. Do you like where they're at now?

JOE MCKENNA
Can't really say for sure - yet. It could work and then again the whole damn thing could fall apart

PLAYWRIGHT
What about the new characters?

JOE MCKENNA
Potential...they could be interesting.

PLAYWRIGHT
Well, if all goes according to plan, they will all have impact on each other

JOE MCKENNA
Sorry - I don't get it

PLAYWRIGHT
Hopefully, as time goes on, you will

JOE MCKENNA
Promises...promises...

PLAYWRIGHT
Trust me

JOE MCKENNA
Do I have a choice? Gotta leave. I have a feeling the guys are meeting up at the pub. 'I'm comin' fellas...I'm comin'! We are, right?


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8. When Emotion Is Free

EmotionsEmotion is what we strive for in writing. Get your reader to feel something! This isn’t a new idea. There’s been plenty of blog posts and craft books on the topic. It’s why Twilight is so successful, because the audience falls in love with Edward. Not stellar writing, sure, but it definitely got thousands of readers to feel something. Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer. We go to a comedy film to laugh. We read a drama to cry. The point is to create a catharsis.

But why is emotion so important? Possibly more important than plot or even good writing?

There’s a quote from Janet Burroway’s book Writing Fiction that has been on my mind for weeks, and I think it gets it the heart of this question.

Burroway says:

“Literature offers us feelings for which we do not have to pay. It allows us to love, condemn, condone, hope, dread, and hate without any of the risks those feelings ordinarily involve, for even good feelings – intimacy, power, speed, drunkenness, passion – have consequences, and powerful feeling may risk powerful consequences.”

This quote stuck with me because it has so many implications for writing and what an audience wants from a literary experience.

I’ve always hated the concepts of writing as entertainment or even escapism. But the idea of experiencing emotion – emotion that is not our own, that we pay no consequences for – is in a way entertainment. But it’s not “entertainment” as a word associated with money or the market, but entertainment as experience. It’s a real human need to feel, to connect, to have the opportunity to experience something – gain understanding – but in a safe environment without consequence.

And that is pretty powerful.

TexasChainsaw1The idea of free emotion puts a new slant on many of own personal struggles with writing honestly. I’m often annoyed with “rules” that there must be conflict, or catharsis, or change in a character. I’m not convinced these things happen in “real life” – and yet perhaps that’s the point. Emotion without consequence allows us to step out of reality, and live vicariously through the fictional characters that are willing to put up the fight, deal with the consequences, and lose everything. We watch a horror film – not because we want someone to chase after us with a chainsaw in real life, but because we want to feel the thrill of fear and not almost die. We want to know the whole gamut of human emotion. And to do that there must be some fabrication, coercion, perhaps even a heightening of the truth, if you like.

Granted, this is a slippery slope. If we read too many romance novels we might forget that great passionate love comes with consequences. You can’t have the glorious love affair without the tears, and the work, and the heartbreak. We might start expecting our partners to be something they aren’t – something easier. We might want a relationship with emotion that’s free.

But then…that’s what books are for. In real life we have to pay the consequences and make the hard decisions.

Breaking the RulesI realize this post is rambling a bit. I’m still wrapping my head around how this affects my work. But it does give me insight and respect for some of the mainstream “popular entertainment” books and films out there. They create an emotional response in their audience – and that’s not easy to pull off.

It also makes me consider the emotional response I want in my reader. Are there enough risks and consequences in my book to create a truly exciting “free” emotional experience? Are my characters really put to the test? Or is my book about creating a pleasurable intellectual experience for my reader? Maybe it isn’t about making a reader cry, but activating their curiosity, or letting them feel the wonder of a new phrase of language.

The concept of “free emotion” opens you to so many possibilities.


1 Comments on When Emotion Is Free, last added: 12/28/2012
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9. When Emotion Is Free

EmotionsEmotion is what we strive for in writing. Get your reader to feel something! This isn’t a new idea. There’s been plenty of blog posts and craft books on the topic. It’s why Twilight is so successful, because the audience falls in love with Edward. Not stellar writing, sure, but it definitely got thousands of readers to feel something. Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer. We go to a comedy film to laugh. We read a drama to cry. The point is to create a catharsis.

But why is emotion so important? Possibly more important than plot or even good writing?

There’s a quote from Janet Burroway’s book Writing Fiction that has been on my mind for weeks, and I think it gets it the heart of this question.

Burroway says:

“Literature offers us feelings for which we do not have to pay. It allows us to love, condemn, condone, hope, dread, and hate without any of the risks those feelings ordinarily involve, for even good feelings – intimacy, power, speed, drunkenness, passion – have consequences, and powerful feeling may risk powerful consequences.”

This quote stuck with me because it has so many implications for writing and what an audience wants from a literary experience.

I’ve always hated the concepts of writing as entertainment or even escapism. But the idea of experiencing emotion – emotion that is not our own, that we pay no consequences for – is in a way entertainment. But it’s not “entertainment” as a word associated with money or the market, but entertainment as experience. It’s a real human need to feel, to connect, to have the opportunity to experience something – gain understanding – but in a safe environment without consequence.

And that is pretty powerful.

TexasChainsaw1The idea of free emotion puts a new slant on many of own personal struggles with writing honestly. I’m often annoyed with “rules” that there must be conflict, or catharsis, or change in a character. I’m not convinced these things happen in “real life” – and yet perhaps that’s the point. Emotion without consequence allows us to step out of reality, and live vicariously through the fictional characters that are willing to put up the fight, deal with the consequences, and lose everything. We watch a horror film – not because we want someone to chase after us with a chainsaw in real life, but because we want to feel the thrill of fear and not almost die. We want to know the whole gamut of human emotion. And to do that there must be some fabrication, coercion, perhaps even a heightening of the truth, if you like.

Granted, this is a slippery slope. If we read too many romance novels we might forget that great passionate love comes with consequences. You can’t have the glorious love affair without the tears, and the work, and the heartbreak. We might start expecting our partners to be something they aren’t – something easier. We might want a relationship with emotion that’s free.

But then…that’s what books are for. In real life we have to pay the consequences and make the hard decisions.

Breaking the RulesI realize this post is rambling a bit. I’m still wrapping my head around how this affects my work. But it does give me insight and respect for some of the mainstream “popular entertainment” books and films out there. They create an emotional response in their audience – and that’s not easy to pull off.

It also makes me consider the emotional response I want in my reader. Are there enough risks and consequences in my book to create a truly exciting “free” emotional experience? Are my characters really put to the test? Or is my book about creating a pleasurable intellectual experience for my reader? Maybe it isn’t about making a reader cry, but activating their curiosity, or letting them feel the wonder of a new phrase of language.

The concept of “free emotion” opens you to so many possibilities.


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10. Victricia Malicia, Book-Loving Buccaneer by Carrie Clickard

…………………… Victricia Malicia: Book-Loving Buccaneer Carrie Clickard, author Mark Meyers, illustrator 4 Stars ………….. Inside Front Jacket:  Victricia Malicia Barrett may have been born on a pirate ship and raised in all the best pirate ways, but she sure is a wreck on deck. Her knots slip, she falls from the rigging, and rats abandon [...]

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11. Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette. Miley and the Walmart Ladies:

MILEY AND THE WALMART LADIES


Sometimes, a playwright is privy to a conversation that just begs to be written. Okay. Perhaps begs is too strong but this was over-heard while standing in line in Walmart (no less) waiting to pay for some items. It went something like this.

SCENE: WALMART. Long line up of people waiting to pay.

THE CAST:

SALLY (60-ish female)
FLO (80-ish female) and mother of SALLY

SALLY
Lot of people today, mom. We're gonna have to wait a bit

FLO
People always seem to shop at Walmart when it rains. I wonder  why

SALLY
Nothing better to do, I guess

FLO
Uh-huh...maybe...

(SALLY's attention is on the magazines located in the check-out aisle. She shakes her head)

SALLY
Sad...really sad

FLO
What?

SALLY
Miley Cyrus

FLO
Who?

SALLY
Miley Cyrus

(SALLY points to photo of Miley Cyrus on magazine cover)

SALLY
You know Miley Cyrus...

FLO
Who?

SALLY
The singer?

FLO
Name sounds familiar...

SALLY
Remember she used to be in Disney movies? Such a sweet thing she was. Sad...

FLO
Is she dead?

SALLY
No - but if she doesn't change her life style, she could be

FLO
Oh...

SALLY
She was in the hospital, y'know

FLO
She sick I suppose?

SALLY
Yeah...could say that. The girl exposes herself

FLO
She's not wearing a lot of clothes. Perhaps she susceptible to colds

SALLY
I read somewhere that she has a heart murmur

FLO
Didn't know that. My friend, Phyllis has heart problems - so does Arthur... They take a lot of pills, especially the pink one's with a heart on it? Everyone I know takes them.

SALLY
Says here she was hospitalized for an allergic reaction to antibiotics. She probably over-dosed on drugs and they're just saying that to cover up

FLO
Arthur over-dosed on water pills. Couldn't stop peeing. Hadda go to the doctor. I told him, 'Arthur! Just put in a plug.' He didn't like my suggestion. Good. We're next in line

SALLY
Such a good girl, she was. Wonder what makes a girl like her suddenly do all that sexy stuff?

FLO
M-o-n-e-y!

SALLY
Her dad was Billy Ray Cyrus. Remember him? Achy-breaky heart guy?

FLO
They play that when we do line dancing at the Seniors Center. Lots of steps to remember but nobody cares when someone forgets, unless of course they trip somebody. Last week Sam forgot what direction he was supposed to go and Phyllis ended up with a sprained ankle.

SALLY
Oh well...hope Miley sees the light and gets normal again...

(replaces magazine back on stand)

FLO
Aren't you gonna buy the magazine?

SALLY
Neh. I finished it waiting to pay for our stuff. Poor Miley...

FLO
Whatever...

0 Comments on Scenes from Life: a Short Play-ette. Miley and the Walmart Ladies: as of 4/26/2014 5:09:00 PM
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12. Arks to Go: the flood sequel II Scene 2

SCENE: LIVING ROOM OF AN APARTMENT. LATE EVENING

ANGIE and her male friend(JOE) are sitting on a couch, caught up in an embrace. Her cell phone rings repeatedly.

ANGIE
Ignore it. Now where were we...

(cell phone stops ringing and is replaced by the ringing of her regular phone)

JOE
Shouldn't you answer? Sounds like it's important

ANGIE
Some people might think so but not me. So...now...where were we?

JOE
You know who it is?

ANGIE
I have a pretty good idea

JOE
Strikes me that whoever's calling you, is trying to get your attention

ANGIE
Ignore him. As I recall, you had your arm here...

JOE
'Him'?

ANGIE
That is to say, it's probably one those scam companies making me an offer I'll refuse

(both phones ring simultaneously)

JOE
I dunno, Angie. Sounds like someone really wants to speak with you. You better pick up one of them. Why don't I go get us a drink while you choose?

ANGIE
Honestly! I get crank calls all the time. Why should this be any different?

JOE
(getting up)
Answer the phone, Angie

(JOE leaves the room. ANGIE stares at the phones while they continue to ring)

JOE
(from the other room)
'Answer the phone already!'

ANGIE
Why...why did I get involved in this again? Hello?

NOAH
Guess who? Is this your cell phone I'm communicating on? I've been thinking of getting one msyelf...

ANGIE
 I'm going to end this conversation, now

NOAH
...I mean, it would definitely give us more manoeuvering room. We could travel around and still keep in touch with everyone.

ANGIE
We? I don't think so

NOAH
Okay. I get it. We'll only use your cell phone. Don't wanna squander resources

ANGIE
We are not partners, got that? Now if you excuse me, I'm otherwise occupied

NOAH
Seems like a nice enough guy

ANGIE
Say what?

NOAH
Dear, Angie, my special connections allow me a private view into people's lives not accessible to humans

ANGIE
What happened to my right to privacy? It's beyond chutzpah! This conversation is over

NOAH
Would it make a difference if I apologize? It's not like I ask to have this insight. Comes with the territory. It's all water under the bridge, anyway. Always wanted to say that. Oh my - I am witty today.

ANGIE
You mean, wit-less

NOAH
Just trying to inject humor in what would otherwise be a dismal and gloomy topic. We have important things to discuss like how are we going ensure that we have two representations of all living things on this planet

ANGIE
There is no "we"! I'm not working along side a peeping Tom or Noah as the case may be. Good bye!

(ANGIE turns off her cell phone. It rings again)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
'I'm not home, Noah!'

(JOE re-enters and looks around)

JOE
I thought I heard voices

ANGIE
Watching this stupid program on TV about this weirdo who thinks he's been appointed to save the world and tries to convince a woman to join him

JOE
Sounds interesting

ANGIE
Forget about it. Let's get back to what we were doing before, better

(CELL PHONE rings again)

JOE
Boy! You sure get a lot of calls!

ANGIE
It's always the wrong number. Gotta do something about that

(Knock on the door. ANGIE answers)

ANGIE (cont'd.)
You!

NOAH
Hope you don't mind me dropping by. I happened to be in the neighborhood

(pushes by ANGIE)

NOAH (cont'd.)
Hello! I've heard so much about you and at last we meet. I'm Angie's friend, Noah. Tell me...have you given much thought to all this rain we've been having?


TO BE CONTINUED...

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13. The Laugh Track

When did they make the last truly funny show? Has there been anything funny created in two decades or are they simply repeating the same thirty minute plotlines with different characters? The real question is, are they still using the same crazy laugh track from I Love Lucy and The Andy Griffith show? We are […]

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14. Elvis - the Real Story...maybe

A year-long celebration to commemorate Elvis Presley's first professional recording on July 5, 1954, is set to take place on Independence Day weekend in Memphis and Graceland. There are people who believe that "the King" is still alive and that he planned his disappearance. So let's say that this was the case and that a very old Elvis is living in anonymity, somewhere, but makes rare appearances at nondescript venues like gas station diners to relive the good, old days.


Elvis – The Real Story
                                                      By Eleanor Tylbor
 
 CAST OF CHARACTERS

 
TAMMY        40-something avid Elvis fan and wife of Len
LEN                40-something husband of Tammy
"THE" ELVIS, former big star/singer/performer

 
THE TIME
The present

 THE PLACE
Jackson’s 7-11 GAS BAR AND DINER

 
Photos of Elvis cover a large portion of one wall; Elvis songs play none-stop. There are a few tables with chairs on one side of the room, while the other side of the room has the usual gas station products and displays of motor oil, etc.

 AT RISE:

 TAMMY and LEN, two customers, are seated at a table looking around the room
LEN
(Scrutinizing the surroundings)
Um…who recommended this place?
 
 TAMMY
(reading book)
The restaurant guide write-up says it’s fine dining with a difference
 
LEN
Fine dining if you’re a rat! Did you happen to notice that a cockroach just crawled out of our bread basket? Must be one that escaped the Chef’s special catch-of-the-day
 
TAMMY
Stop being so negative and take in the atmosphere
 
LEN
You mean the aromatic scent of “eau du trash” coming from the back? Phee-ew!
 
TAMMY
You’re so…so…provincial in your thinking, sweetheart. It's about this authentic ‘60’s décor that gives the place its special caché!
 
LEN
More like early condemned. Every square inch of wall space is covered with faded Elvis photos and the man’s been dead for how many years?
 
TAMMY
That's the beauty of this place! It’s like a shrine devoted to “The King.” It's all too…wonderful
 
LEN
Are you saying that this…this gas station and three table diner was the King of Rock and Roll’s eatery of choice? Not!
 
TAMMY
For your information they say he used to eat fried chicken here and sometimes he even entertained diners
 
LEN
If I had known we were coming here to eat, I’d have checked to make sure my insurance policy was paid up
 
TAMMY
You know how long I hadda wait to get reservations for this restaurant…
 
LEN
…obviously not long enough…
 
 
TAMMY
…seven months! If you think I’m going to give up the chance to dine here…
 
LEN
…and a fine dining establishment it is – if you’re into salmonella poisoning
 
TAMMY
Get a grip! The waiter is coming so try to act normal, if that’s possible
               the waiter dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit struts over, swinging his hips in a
              typical Elvis-like walk. He smoothes the sides of his hair with his hands,
             frequently
 
WAITER
(swinging his hips between every word)
Evening folks’. Need a menu? Uh-huh – oh yeah…
 
LEN
No. We prefer to use ESP to order. Of course we need a menu!
 
TAMMY
Don’t mind my husband – I don’t. Leave the menu here and we’ll choose
 
LEN
So tacky. All the dishes are Elvis songs. 'Be-bop-a-lu-la' chicken wings…' The 'Love Me Tender' t-bone looks questionable and it comes with fries that are probably a couple months old and a 'I Did It My Way' salad. Look at this: says here on the menu that all their steaks are aged to perfection. Yesterday's road-kill most likely
 
TAMMY
Have you considered that your cranial spark plugs have stopped kicking in? I can’t make up my mind – so many choices…
 
               the waiter comes over to take the order
 
LEN
Are all those dishes served a la carte?
 
WAITER
(swinging hips)
No – on a plate. Uh-huh…
 
TAMMY
Just choose something already
 
WAITER
Want me to come back, folks? Uh-huh…
 
                                                                                                            LIGHTS DIM
 
TAMMY
Ssshhh! Quiet! The shows is gonna begin
 
                                                                                            SOUND: GUITAR TWANG
 
LEN
I don’t see why we hav’ta be quiet. Cheez – I can hear the sound of someone pumping gas outside, not to mention the smell. Mind you, it's hard to tell the difference between the food and the gas
 
              (The song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is heard and the waiter now dressed
              in a mechanic’s uniform on the other side of the room walks in front of the
             counter holding a hand mic.)
 
VOICE OVER
“For your entertainment and pllllea-sure, the King has entered the building!”
 A very over-weight man dressed in a white jump suit enters, stopping to pose while leaning on a cane. A wide belt hangs well below a sagging stomach; black aviator glasses cover his eyes and a badly-fitting black wig sits lob-sided towards the front of his head
(VOICE-OVER)
“Direct from his engagement at the luxurious Pink Flamingo Laundromat and Bank Drive Thru in Tijuana, Mex-i-co, the management of Jackson’s 7/11 and Diner is proud to present, “the” King of Rock’n’Roll himself, the one – the only – El-vis!”
 
A bent over Elvis slowly makes his way to the other side of the room. He stoops  over to kiss Len, who pushes him way
 
ELVIS
“Whoops – sorry. Gotta get my eyes checked
 
he whips out a dirty handkerchief, spits on it and cleans his eyes and replaces it in a back pocket
 
ELVIS
(in weak squeaky voice)
Thank y’all very much! It’s the first time I been back this way goin’ on twenty years…or maybe it’s thirty…could be forty… Anyway… Good t'see y’all ain’t fergetten the King
              whips out his handkerchief again and blows his nose
 
ELVIS
Guess I ain’t the same Elvis you remember a ways back, huh? But then who is?
 
              starts coughing and choking. Scantily dresses nurses rush over to pat him on
             the back
 
ELVIS
See? I still got it but now I don’t know what to do with it! Thank y’all very much… Listen ladies – go see if you can find my extra set of dentures that I left in a steak yesterday.
 
              starts to choke again and a well-endowed female doctor wearing tight fitting
             clothing enters, with a stethoscope draped around her neck
 
DOCTOR
Now Mr. Elvis – honey – you know y'all gotta take it easy. Your ticker ain’t what it used to be
 
 
ELVIS
(laughing and staring at her breasts)
Yeah but ask me if I care. Thank you all very much. And now I’m gonna sing you a personal favourite of mine…at least I think it's a favorite...what's the name of the song now...nobody help me - it'll come back ...
 
              Elvis sings the first few lines of “My Way” completely off-key
 
LEN
(starting to get up)
Oh fer… We’re not gonna stay and listen to this…
 
              Sound of tires squeaking to a stop and the slam of car doors
 
ELVIS
Uh-oh…they’re coming back…I knew they’d find me… Damn aliens!
 
              Two males wearing white outfits move on either side of Elvis and take
              his arms
 
                                                                                                
MALE 1
C’mon pops. You got another gig at the Sunnyvale Nursing Home
 
ELVIS
But…but…I ain’t finished my set, yet!
 
MALE 1
(shaking his head and winking at Len and Tammy)
You don’t wanna be late for your big entrance.
 
ELVIS
Where’s my peanut butter and banana sandwich. I caint sing without it!
 
MALE 1
Here you are…
 
               the two men start to lead Elvis off the stage but Elvis stops and addresses the
              couple
ELVIS
Thank you all very much!
 
Elvis walks over, signs a piece of paper and hands it to Len and then exits with the men
 
LEN
(addressing waiter)
That was not “the” Elvis Presley now, was it? You got us here under false pretences. And that’s against the law, y’know!
 
WAITER
The guy is over 80 years old. Whad’ya expect? He’s got two hip replacements, a bad knee and now all that shaking he does is the real thing, poor guy. By the way, know that piece of paper he handed you?
 
LEN
I really couldn’t care less about the man’s autograph… In fact this is what I think of you AND your Elvis
               LEN rips up the piece of paper into small pieces
 
WAITER
You shouldn’t have done that. Uh-uh…
 
LEN
Elvis my a-s-s!
 
WAITER
That piece of paper would’a given you a free tank of gas with your meal. Oh well…uh-huh…
 
Len throws himself down on the floor picking up the pieces of paper trying to put them together
 
LEN
A tank of gas is a tank of gas is…
 
VOICE OVER
“The King has left the building”
 
LEN
(on his knees scooping up pieces of paper frantically)
Hang on a minute. I can stick these pieces together… Help me Tammy – at the price of gas these days…
 
 ©Eleanor Tylbor, 2009

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15. Creativity, Inc.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace

Part Pixar-history, part management how-to, Catmull lays out his management philosophy with examples of how he’s implemented it.

One of the things that Catmull really values is candor and building a culture where everyone feels free and safe to give honest feedback, and where speaking truth to power is welcome and encouraged. He shows this well in his book, because he illustrates his ideas with real-life examples, and he is very honest about his missteps and what happened when things didn’t work.

And I think that’s what I appreciated most about this book--Pixar isn’t a perfect company. Many beloved movies failed multiple times before hitting the theaters. I don’t want to say this is a “warts and all” because it’s not a tell-all airing out the dirty laundry, but, at the same time, it is very honest. Catmull shows where things have gone wrong and then parses it to try to examine why and what they changed to make things better.

One the other big underlying themes is letting go of ego. When people point out ways your project isn’t working, it’s not personal. (Of course as he readily admits, not taking it personally is really hard and much easier said than done, but it’s something to strive for). You should hire people smarter than you are, and then trust them to grow and you should listen to them. I think another very good point he makes is that when managers first learn about problems in meetings, or when told about something not-in-private, it’s not a sign of disrespect and that they need to GET OVER IT.

Personally, this is something I strive for in my own management. I told everyone who works at the library in my first few weeks here that if something isn’t working, I need to know. If I’m doing something that’s not helpful, they need to tell me. I have bigger things to worry about and deal with than being personally offended when you rightfully call me out on my bullshit. (Easier said than done, but I’ve been working on separating stuff out. Dealing with the issue, and then going home and acknowledging my sad feelings and wallowing a bit, and then getting on with it.)

He’s also a big proponent of creating a culture where it’s safe to take a risk and it’s safe to fail. (As Robert Reich said in his commencement speech when I graduated from college, if you’re not occasionally failing, you’re not reaching far enough or trying hard enough.)

I like that he gets into the specifics of culture clash issues when Disney bought Pixar and he became the head of Disney Animation. He then talks about what he did to change the Disney culture and that, like most things worth doing, it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always smooth.

But, one of his big things, and I think this is a good take-away for libraries is that everyone’s responsible for quality. And this ties back with his points on candor--everyone should feel empowered to look for quality issues and to go ahead and fix them or bring them to the attention of someone who can help fix them. Problems are not solutions. Often the person who notices the issue won’t have the solution, because often solutions aren’t that easy, but everyone is responsible for quality. One of the ways they foster this is to bring people from different areas and departments together. When movies are in progress, works-in-progress are routinely shown to, and commented on, by people who aren’t involved in the movie. When Pixar had grown so big some of the candor was being lost, they had a notes day where people from all across the company (including kitchen staff) got together to talk about issues and possible solutions.

I spent a number of years in a large library where departments were very separate--the children’s staff had a different work room than the adult services staff, which was different than circ, etc. Since switching systems, I’ve been at branches, which are smaller. At my last branch, only 1 person could physically be on the desk at a time, so they did reference and circ, and helped people of all ages. There’s much more fluidity between departments because that’s how we need to function. I love it. We all have the areas we specialize in, but we all have our fingers in other things, which makes us understand each other a lot better, and we have a bigger pool of people to bounce ideas off, because even if it’s not their department, they know the basics of your resources and constrictions. It doesn’t always work and it’s not always good, BUT one of things I really want to do as a manager is foster this type of cross team collaboration and minimize some of the us vs. them dynamic that I often see in libraries that can get really poisonous really quickly. And this is where Creativity, Inc. really spoke to me, both with ideas on how to nurture this, but in just reaffirming its great importance. (And, here I’m going to plug my friend Rachel’s new blog, Constructive Summer: Building the Unified Library Scene which is about this very thing)

So, overall, obviously, I loved this book. I found a lot of inspiration, but it was also just a fun read (let’s face it, when your examples are about making Toy Story, I will find it more engaging than an example about making a car.) Also, the Afterword: The Steve We Knew made me cry, which was embarrassing, because I was on the bus. Steve Jobs (owner of Pixar) came up frequently in the bulk of the book, but the afterword really looked at his role, but more importantly was Catmull talking about a friend who died. Catmull really looks at the biographical books and articles about Steve and talks about how they jived and did not jive with the person he knew. As someone who’s read Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different a countless number of times, it was really interesting to see some of the big points directly rebutted.


Book Provided by... my local library

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16. A shining light for Chanukah

NOTE TO MYSELF: SMALL ACTS CAN LEAVE BIG IMPRESSIONS


As a youngster, Christmas was somewhat of a demoralizing time of the year. Since our family was of the Jewish faith, we celebrated the holiday of Chanukah, which didn't seem to me to be half as exciting as the furor that went along with trimming a tree.

On occasion Chanukah fell during the same period as Christmas and somehow I couldn't work up as much enthusiasm for lighting a candle even if it was colored, as my friends seemed to experience placing ornaments on the branches of their trees.

It was difficult for me to accept that a tree even a miniature one was out of the question, in spite of reminders that people of the Jewish faith don’t celebrate Christmas. Even the protestations that we could call it a Chanukah bush, it was obvious that there was no way a fir tree would be part of our celebrations.

Traditionally at Chanukah, children receive gifts of gelt or money and light small colored candles in a hanukiah (candelabra) one per night for the eight days of the holiday. While this was nice, in my mind it didn't measure up to all the excitement related to the "other" holiday.

At Hebrew school we always celebrated the various holidays, big and small and Chanukah was a particular favorite especially since our class, being the eldest students, entertained the residents of a senior’s home. Each year the teacher would select eight students to sing and perform to play the role of Chanukah candles with fierce competition for the part of the shamash or lead candle.

Not being blessed with a good singing voice and barely able to carry a tune, I knew that my chances were slim at best to play any candle, never mind the lead candle. My biggest rival was Zelig, who had the voice and promise of a future opera singer. Not only did he have the best singing voice, he was also the top student scholastically. He was also the teacher's pet. Whenever games were played for prizes during the holidays, Zelig won everything, which didn't exactly ingratiate him with the other students. Actually, we were all jealous and would have liked nothing better than for his voice to change in the middle of a concert.

Class auditions for candle parts were held a few weeks before the onset of the holiday and at best, the most I could hope for was a minor part and even then, only if the rest of the students had an off day or laryngitis. Each student auditioned for the teacher and as expected, Zelig got the lead role, which irritated me no end.

My resentment was eased somewhat by being assigned the role of a minor candle, probably out of pity more than anything else. Those students not chosen became part of the chorus singing "tra-la-las" at the appropriate time.

Excitement was at a fever pitch when we arrived at the seniors' home, ready to perform for a live audience who were, for the most part, in wheelchairs. They were brought into the auditorium where we were lined up on stage, anxious to perform.

Glancing around the room, many of the seniors appeared half asleep.

"You will be entertained today!" their nurses might have insisted as they wheeled them into the room before our arrival.

The first students opened the concert and sang well and those who followed performed admirably. Finally, it was my turn. My voice didn't fail me and I felt very proud of my accomplishment.

When Zelig opened his mouth it was like a chorus of angels had entered the room. His voice was strong and melodic and suddenly the seniors perked up, smiles on their faces in obvious appreciation of what they heard. When the last notes of his solo faded away, they all clapped appreciatively.

The musical recital was over and we performed a variety of Israeli dances, moving off the stage to mingle among our audience. Although Israeli dancing was a passion, I was consumed with the memory of th

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17.

OLD SOLDIERS -THE BBC INTERNATIONAL RADIO PLAY COMP. : RE-WRITE PROGRESS UPDATE

Slowly revising the story and adding/modifying dialogue. Also added a character (or more) and changed some of the locations. The fiction story opens in Joe McKenna's apartment and I've changed it to Joe and friends getting together to toast an old soldier's demise, at a bar. It seemed that this would be something that a group of old vets would do.

I'm working on flushing out the various characters but I have to be careful that they're not "throw-away" people that will be dropped along the way. They have to be part of the story line. I like the 'feel' of the dialogue - so far. My problem has never been with writing dialogue - I'm strong in this area but to keep the story on track. To this end I'm going back to something I used to do, which is to write an outline.

The challenge, at least for me, is sound effects. In the bar, there is background music and the sound of people talking. The next scene will be in Joe's apartment, which is problematic sound-wise. Mind you he will be talking to his dog... The dog's responses are limited in speech-lolol. Then again, perhaps I'll have somebody drop by, which still won't give me more sound effects...

Definitely need an outline.

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18.

SECOND THOUGHTS...

As mentioned in previous writings, been attempting to re-write my short story, "Old Soldiers" as a radio play and enter it in the BBC International Radio Play competition. As a stand-alone story, it's probably if not one of my best, however, in order for it to be suitable for radio, it requires a complete re-think on my part.

Writing a play even when its completed, requires a lot of tweaking some of which can't be achieved without letting it "sit" for a while. We're talking (or writing) here about putting it away for a while and then returning for a re-read in order to gain some perspective. My first play, "Gin..." took - without exaggeration - at least2-3 years to complete and umpteen revisions. In fact, I still tweak it.

I'm beginning to think that perhaps my attempt at a re-write given the time left to enter (March), just isn't realistic. I've even toyed with the idea of submitting one of my full plays, "Make Me a Wedding" and cutting out some of the scenes. Problem is, cutting back on the scenes may result in watering down the content and the impact of the story line. It's a comedy and very funny but in the end, it should be in its present form. A radio play is 70 minutes while my play is 120 minutes. That's a lot of dialogue to cut.

So where am I? Really don't know at the present. I entered the competition a few years ago and didn't win but the play I entered was 60 minutes long. At least it was viable. Perhaps I have to go back to the drawing board and re-think the direction my writing has to take. Again.

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19.

OLD SOLDIERS - THE PLAY
As mentioned in a previous blog, working on converting my short story, Old Soldiers, into a play for submission to the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition. To this end, I've completed approx. a dozen pages. Sound effects are minimal, at least at this point but the story line calls for more later on. Meanwhile, here is a sample of the play so far.
Comments welcome. The act of converting the play is definitely a challenge. We'll see how things progress.
Note the play is not formatted for stage.



OLD SOLDIERS
By Eleanor Tylbor


SCENE: A pub/bar.
SFX: Soft rock background music plays in the background, sound of people talking; sound of clinking glasses

JOE MCKENNA
Yup…yup…yup…one less of us. The way things are going, won’t be long before we’re all gone. ‘Over here, Mac!’ The man can hardly walk, even with a walker

MIKE
The man is 87. We all ain’t peppy anymore in case you haven’t noticed. My glass is empty

JOE MCKENNA
Yeah and? I bought the last round

MIKE
Not! Well?

JOE MCKENNA
Well… What?

MIKE
It’s your damn turn to buy! Open up your pockets and free the moths

MAC
(gasping, breathing heavily)
Really windy out there – and really cold. Hope it’s not like this tomorrow

SFX: blowing nose
MIKE
We don’t get to choose the kind of weather t’get buried. Anyway, it’s November.

JOE
Whad’ya having, Mac?

MIKE
You’re buying him a drink? What about me?

JOE
He just got here. You been sponging off me for an hour

MIKE
Say what? You got that backwards!

MAC
I don’t need no handout. I can afford t’buy my own drink, thank you very much.

JOE
Whatever…

MIKE
You should’a taken him up on that. The man’s a cheap bastard

MAC
(aside to bartender)
‘The usual!’ My body feels like one gigantic pain

JOE
Just three of us old farts left, now.

SFX: GLASSES BEING PLACED ON BAR

BARTENDER
So who’s paying?

(five seconds of silence)

MIKE
He is!

MAC
I’ll pay for all of us if it means avoiding another fight. Drink up guys!

JOE
‘To all the fallen heroes – especially Percy – wherever you are!’ I cut his obit out’ta the paper t’keep as a souvenir

MIKE
Another obit for your wallet? Must be full by now

JOE
It’s easy to fill these days what with medical bills and all, but not with money.

MIKE
Don’t I know it

MAC
I wanted to keep the obit, too, but I don’t get the paper every day, anymore

JOE
I’ll save mine for you when I finish. A person should keep up with what’s going on in the world

MAC
What the hell for? I don’t need’a read about murders and people dying in the street. Ignorance is bliss

MIKE
Did it say whether Percy had any kids? Don’t recall him mentioning anything

JOE
(reading out loud)
‘….Percy Albertson, son of….blah-blah-blah… Daughter Fiona…’ He had a daughter? Don’t remember him mentioning any

MAC
Maybe he wasn’t speaking to her. Families are too busy these days to visit the old folk

JOE
Says the funeral’s tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock. Good – that gives me enough time

MIKE
To do what? Watch your TV programs?

JOE
Got plans t’make

MAC
Like?

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20.

One of my started-but-not-finished full plays. I've always liked this one but for whatever reason, forgotten about it. Have done many updates. Perhaps that's my problem as a playwright: starting plays without carrying them through to the end. Over the years have come up with a number of possible endings, which is a good start. An ending means all I have to do is fill in the blanks and create a middle. The cast characters listed are part of the rest of the play.

The story focuses on shrubs that separate the back gardens of two neighbors and their continuing fued as to their ownership.



NEIGHBORS
(April 2011)



CAST OF CHARACTERS:


TAYLOR, JEFFREY, 45,
PORTMAN, ROBBIE, 47,
JENKINS, 50, next door neighbor on other side
PATTY, 40-ish, bartender
MARTINI, 60, land surveyor and friend of PORTMAN


THE TIME

The present, mid-summer


SETTING: Back garden(s) of two neighbors. A picket fence separates their properties

AT RISE: Morning. Hot summer's day.

SOUND: Lawnmowers


ROBBIE (ROB) PORTMAN lazes in a hammock reading a book, holding a glass of liquid in his other hand. Dressed in cut-off jeans and a grungy tee shirt, his hair is long, unkempt and he sports a heavy beard

JEFFREY TAYLOR, his next-door neighbor is the antithesis of Portman and a perfectionist. He hoes his garden wearing a short-sleeved dress shirt and pants. He stops to res,t makes his way over to the fence and studies PORTMAN


TAYLOR
(wiping forehead)
Phee-ew! Must be a hundred degrees in the shade today. I’d be indoors right now if my tomatoes didn’t need pampering. That’s the real secret of growing big veggies, y’know? Give ‘em extra ‘TLC'. Hello? Am I disturbing you?

PORTMAN
(Takes gulp of liquid from glass)
Must be them damn chipmunks making a racket again

TAYLOR
How long you been laying there?

PORTMAN
Let's see now...what time did the sun come up?

TAYLOR
Had another liquid breakfast, did we?

PORTMAN
FYI - this is healthy, pure Florida vitamin C orange juice

TAYLOR
You expect me to believe that's straight orange juice without any - how shall we say - additives? Pllleeze! Don't insult my intelligence

PORTMAN
Go suck on a lemon

TAYLOR
My-oh-my! Touchy-touchy aren’t we?

PORTMAN
Anything you say goes in one ear and out the other

TAYLOR
You know damn well what I'm getting at

PORTMAN
Just say it. You’re dying to. Then go away - forever!

TAYLOR
It’s not like I haven’t expressed my feelings a thousand times before

PORTMAN
How does what I do affect your life?

TAYLOR
Christ Portman, it's only gone ten in the morning! You’re well on your way to turning into an alcoholic. Doesn't that bother you? Why am I asking such a dumb question

PORTMAN
Been there…heard it all before so don’t waste your breath. Go tend to your carrots or something. They need the Taylor touch

TAYLOR
Don’t ask me why but I care ‘bout you. Maybe something to do with the fact we've been neighbors going on twenty years and I don't wanna see you end up with cirrhosis of the liver - or worse

PORTMAN
Since when do you give a crap about whether I live or die? My passing would make your life easier. Maybe somebody who loves zucchinis would move in and the two of you could get all touchy/feely running your hands all over them

TAYLOR
Don’t feel like breaking in a new neighbor at this stage Do you see the incongruity in your chosen profession?

PORTMAN
Maybe I would if I could understand the question. Can’t you speak plain English like us regular people?

TAYLOR

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21.

Haven't decided yet whether or not to continue this into a longer piece or perhaps even a one-act play. There are two characters, one of which can be seen and the other off-stage as a voice-over.





ARKS TO GO - the Flood Sequel
BY ELEANOR TYLBOR


SCENE: A WOMAN STARES OUT OF WINDOW. TURNS AROUND AND GRABS PHONE DIRECTORY FROM A TABLE. CHECKS LISTINGS WITH FOREFINGER.

WOMAN
This is just ridiculous...all this rain... It’s gotta mean something... Aha! Found it!

(punches in phone number)

WOMAN (cont’d.)
Hello... Hello? Is anybody there? Anyone?

VOICE
I’m here – and where are you?

WOMAN
Is this Noah’s Ark?

VOICE
It could be. Who wants to know?

WOMAN
I saw your ad on TV yesterday. You build arks?

VOICE
Whom am I speaking to or with or at?

WOMAN
You don’t know me...

VOICE
...but you know me? How strange

WOMAN
I mean to say that I know you through your TV ads, not on a one-to-one basis

VOICE
That would explain it, then. Noah’s my name and arks are my game (laughs)

WOMAN
Good then I’ve got the right person. Listen...

VOICE
You know my name so it’s only fair I know yours

WOMAN
I’m not sure...I mean, I’m just calling you for information, actually

VOICE
Do I sense uncertainty on your part? Perhaps you really don’t want to build an ark?

WOMAN
I think I do...I’m just not sure... You see – it’s all this rain that we’ve been having. Never ending, day-after-day and then there’s all that flooding all over the world. I think somebody is trying to tell us something if you get my drift

VOICE
‘Get my drift’ and you want to build an ark. You made a witty statement. I like a sense of humor!

WOMAN
So you’ll sell me one?

VOICE
Sell? My dear – I don’t sell arks. I custom build them to certain specifications

WOMAN
That sounds expensive. How much do you charge?

VOICE
Not everything has a monetary value. Now...say I do agree to make you an ark, how many species are we talking about here?

WOMAN
I’m...not sure what you mean

VOICE
How many species will be joining you on the ark? Fifty...one-hundred...more perhaps?

WOMAN
To be honest, I hadn’t thought about – well – taking... species along. Just me, my cat Diamond and Clover, my dog

VOICE
You’re not...taking...any animals? Oh no! That won’t do at all. We couldn’t have that. Absolutely not! Good bye!

WOMAN
Hello? Hello? Noah? Are you there?

(she punches in buttons frantically)

WOMAN (CONT’D.)
Just what I need, to piss off the ark builder... It’s ringing... ‘Answer – please!’

VOICE
Yes?

WOMAN
It’s me again! I’m sorry! You never mentioned anything in the ad about taking animals along! I mean, I’m allergic....

VOICE
I see...

WOMAN
...but I could take antihistamines. Please – could you take my order to build my ark?

VOICE
Perhaps. How many species will be joining you?

WOMAN
I dunno. How about two dozen? Would that be acceptable? I mean, twenty-four is a good round number

VOICE
A hundred is better

WOMAN
A hundred? Animals? What’s the matter with me? We’re only talking about cats and dogs and chipmunks and maybe birds...some deer...

VOICE
Actually, I thinking more of elephants, tigers, zebras – specie

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22. New Photos Are Up!



"New" photos are up, just follow the link... 




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23. Youth Research Roundup: Millennial Culture, Affluent Families, New Ypulse Report & More

Today we bring you another installment of the latest youth research available for sale or download. Remember if your company has comprehensive research for sale that focuses on youth between the ages of 8 and 24, email us to be included in the next... Read the rest of this post

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24. The Rochester Children's Book Festival--Saturday!

The 15th Rochester Children's Book Festival will be at Monroe Community College from 10-4 on this Saturday, November 5th.


There will be 44 authors and illustrators to sign books and do performances. I will be one of them.


For more information, go here:
http://www.rochesterchildrensbookfestival.org/rcbf/Welcome.html

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25. Welcoming Ashton

Thanks for the post, Arthur Lawrence

Until this fall, I’ve never really watched Two and a Half Men. Charlie Sheen was such a train wreck in real life I couldn’t bring myself to tune in while watching my direct tv San Marcos. But after all the hype about his being fired and Ashton Kutcher being hired, I couldn’t help tuning in. I wanted to see what all the drama was about. Boy was I not disappointed! I know many long time fans aren’t very excited about the change but I really like the way they made the transition. The funeral was hilarious and a fitting tribute to a character gone rogue. Ashton’s introduction was a blast. He isn’t the best actor but the character he plays doesn’t seem to have much personality so it works! Jon Cryer is always great and continues to play the perfect straight man against Kutcher’s slightly spacy and clueless billionaire. And Angus Jones never disappoints. This show is one of very few examples where the cute kid in the punchlines has been able to grow up and remain relevant. Have you noticed they haven’t had to introduce another younger “cousin” like on so many other sitcoms?

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