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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Entertainment, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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.


0 Comments on When Emotion Is Free as of 12/19/2012 12:14:00 AM
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4.

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?


0 Comments on as of 9/5/2012 3:35:00 PM
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5. 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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6. 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

0 Comments on A shining light for Chanukah as of 11/30/2010 8:22:00 AM
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7.

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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8.

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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9.

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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10.

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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11.

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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12. New Photos Are Up!



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




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13. 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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14. 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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15. 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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16. Gone Too Soon: Michael Jackson Dies of Cardiac Arrest at 50

As originally reported by TMZ and followed by the LA Times , we are saddened to report the death of celebrity entertainer Michael Jackson. Jackson collapsed from a cardiac arrest this afternoon in Los Angeles, California. As his family rushed to the hospital, the news quickly swelled on social media sites such as Twitter and [...]

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17. Are We Not Entertained Yet?

In the beginning, there was no television. I know this because I saw it on the History channel. Back then, hunting was not only man’s primary means of obtaining meat, but also a major source of artistic inspiration. At night early man slept, club in hand, dreaming of hunts to come—but not until he’d carved vivid accounts of that day’s exploits into the walls of his cave. This hobby effectively got him out of having to wash the dishes (Damn it, Rhonda, I’m busy! When’s the last time you drew me slaying a mammoth around here anyway?”), and would someday provide him with countless hours of diversion when he found himself trapped in the cave due to a meteor shower or the ice age.

Man eventually moved from the cave to a loft in the artsy district, but although he and his descendants were evolving, plot lines seldom ventured beyond the realm of familiar everyday themes. Greek tragedies, for instance were simply reenactments of tragic events in Greek history. The Roman’s idea of relaxation after a long day at the massacre was watching gladiators hack it up in the arena. It was not until Shakespeare started writing plays in which Italians spoke perfect English that the audience was required to suspend disbelief for a minute, but even then, he still threw in enough fairies and Jewish stereotypes to make his tales relatable to all.

Opera contributed by introducing characters who lived in a perpetual state of extreme song, their subsequent tragic deaths being the plot’s only link to the rational. Ballet pitched in, too, nudging the door of man’s imagination open yet wider each time a ballerina sprung across the stage in impossibly tight pants.

By the early 20th century, however, most people couldn’t afford to go to live shows thanks to economic constraints, flu epidemics and world war. Understandably, this period is known as the Great Depression. Fortunately, radio momentarily saved the day, allowing listeners to enjoy thrilling crime stories from the safety of their own homes, without even having to read.

But the grand prize, of course, went to television. Thanks to TV, our minds were finally free to prance through the worlds of heroes and villains, penetrate deep space or chuckle at talking animals at the click of a button. We had finally achieved complete detachment from reality, no conscious thought or cruelty to mammoths required. No longer was art merely imitating life; it was instead dictating it. Naturally, it was just a matter of time before someone fingered TV for the decline of our civilization.

Realizing we had created a monster that had to be controlled, a strategy was devised by which real people dealing with real moral, real personal and real serious issues were sent behind hostile lenses to infiltrate the world of television, just as it had infiltrated ours.

Unfortunately, the codename of the operation—Reality TV—blew its own cover, and television promptly resolved to exact its revenge. It didn’t take a lot. All TV had to do was turn our own weapon against us, sit back and watch what happened. More unfortunately, we still haven’t caught on that TV has caught on, although the fact that many of its most rightfully defunct former stars are once again being regurgitated onto our TV screens via the reality show ticket should be a clue. 

And so here we are, trapped in a Dog Eat Dog, Surreal Life with Jon and Kate, unaware of The Mole in The Real World, engaged in a less than Amazing Race with The Bachelor, The Apprentice, and their Big Brother, Real TV, to see who will be The Biggest Loser or at least America’s Next Top Model. There can be only one Survivor.

As for me, I’m gonna wash the dishes, or maybe draw a mammoth.   

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18.

G.I. JOE , THE 'REAL' ONE DISCUSSES THE MOVIE WITH HIS NAME IN IT
BY Eleanor Tylbor


After a stressful period of being relegated to a toy factory along with his love, BARBIE and her ex, KEN, the real G.I. JOE is quite upset that a movie has been made using his name as a draw. In a hastily called press conference, G.I. JOE with BARBIE by his side in his words, "wanted to clear the air."

"This is really bisrusting," G.I. Joe blustered waving his trusty machine gun in the air to emphasize his emotional angst. "They've gone and used my name and they didn't even ask me if they could!"

"Disgusting, Joe" the designer-dressed Barbie commented, smoothing her body-fitting dress and smiling for the photographers.

"Wha...?"

"You said, 'bisrusting'. There's no such word as bisrusting," Barbie emphasized, fixing her blond, vinyl hair and cleaning her teeth with her finger. "It's disGUSTING."

"Yeah! You're right on, babe! It is disbust...disrust...whatever she said! This G.I. Joe movie thingie isn't even a real person, like me. It's a military unit! Nobody bothered to ask me, a gen-u-ine soldier if I wanted to be in it. I would'a liked to, 'ya know!"

"Um...GI - remember you lost a foot when we busted out of the warehouse," Barbie interrupted the rant. "

"So? I could have sat at a table or something and held down the fort! Nobody would'a noticed." G.I. explained. "On top of it all, some dudes who call themselves Duke and Ripcord got jobs! But not me, G.I. Joe, the original soldier. It ain't fair!"

"I'll tell you what's not fair," Barbie intervened, "to have to walk on tippy-toes all your life, like me."

"Yeah - you're right as usual, babe. That's much worse than having your leg shot off. Hey - wanna go see the movie with my name in it? I got free tickets."

Placing a crutch under one arm and leaning on Barbie with the other, the pair left the room.

"Do you have to lean on me so much?" Barbie commented. "You're crushing my hair."

http://www.gijoemovie.com/

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19. Talking about In Memoriam: Patrick Swayze

 

Quote

In Memoriam: Patrick Swayze
In Memoriam: Patrick Swayze

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20.

A REJECTION WITH CLASS

As an aspiring playwright, rejection is an all too familiar part of the submission process. There are periods when it all gets overwhelming and rather than face yet another run of "thanks-but-no-thanks" notifications, I stop sending out my literary jewels for a while. Then along comes a theatre company and more specifically, a literary manager that makes it all worth while.

Recently, I submitted my play, "Gin: An Allegory For Playing the Game of Life" to the 1111 Theatre in the hope that it would find a home at last. Unfortunately, it has returned home to its birth place, unproduced, but the rejection made me smile and mutter, "oh well - onward and upward" instead of "oh crap- again!" What's particularly refreshing is that the Literary Manager, Louise Hamill, comments indicate she read the entire play instead of sending out another "dear playwright" form letters. That in itself makes her a cut above the rest in my eyes and worth sharing with other aspiring playwrights:

"Thank you for submitting your play, GIN: AN ALLEGORY FOR PLAYING THE GAME OF LIFE, for consideration to our theater. I enjoyed reading the work- each character's traits were clear and constant, and I never had a problem keeping the characters straight in my head (not always the case, unfortunately). I was also pleased Becky opened her eyes a bit at the end- I really wasn't sure if you were going to resolve that situation!

We need to pass on the script at this time, unfortunately, as it is not quite right for our company. I do wish you the best of luck in placing it with another theater. Thank you again for your interest!"

Thank YOU for YOUR interest Louise Hamill. You made my day.

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21.

Still submitting and waiting for that first acceptance. I mean, I ain't gettin' any younger! Be that as it may...I'm back working on a play I started perhaps ten years ago with many edits and tinkering along the way. The more I read it - the more I realize that I really like it so I'm sharing the first ten or so pages with the world - or whoever happens to drop by. I should be so lucky!

Will provide updates as to its progress along the way. Meanwhile, enjoy. Feedback welcome.


DEAD WRITES
by Eleanor Tylbor



AT RISE: Funeral chapel. A group of people chat between themselves while waiting for the service to begin. A coffin is situated on an elevated stand in the middle of the room


FELICIA PEMBROOK, wearing a diaphanous dress, sits on the floor next to a coffin examining her surroundings. Slowly, she examines her body, touching her arms and legs

LIGHTING: Dim lighting, except for a coffin in the middle of the room, which is spot-lit with a white light.

SOUND: somber organ music.


FELICIA
What the hell… Really must'a tied one on last night. Weird though. No hangover like usual… No feelings, period


Staggering to a standing position she walks around the coffin, touching the surface while trying to peer inside. A somberly dressed male passes by, seemingly without noticing or acknowledging her presence

(cont’d) 'Scuse me…hello'?'


Man continues to ignore her, focusing and fixing the inside of the coffin


Is this a… for real funeral parlor? Shoot! What’s the matter with me? Uh duh! This is another of Phil’s jokes. Wait 'til I get him…


Man continues to ignore her


Don’t bother answering me or anything… Fine – your funeral. Hey - cracked a funeral joke! Anyway, I'll find out on my own!


A man (JOSIAH) enters and stands directly behind FELICIA.
He has white hair, is dressed in a white shirt and matching
white pants that glitter



JOSIAH
Perhaps I could be of assistance in some way?


FELICIA
Ho-ly shit. What do we have here? A human Christmas tree ornament

SOUND: thunderclap


JOSIAH
I beg your pardon? Were you talking to me?


FELICIA
Do you come with your own sound effects, too?


JOSIAH
We're quite witty, aren’t we? Just a suggestion here and take it for what’s it’s worth but your colorful use of language could prove to be problematic


FELICIA
Do tell! You an agent for the grammar police?


JOSIAH
Excuse me? Police?

FELICIA
Aha! A little nervous are we, when I mention “po-lice”? Perhaps you’ve dealt with them on occasion?

JOSIAH
In my business we deal with all types and police officers are very common where I work


FELICIA
Not surprised. You earn your living dressed like… that?


JOSIAH
Sorry?

FELICIA
I bet you are – and then some

Holds up her arm and exaggerates a very feminine walk


You know…Cher? Wigs? Makeup?

Looking around and speaking softly


Padded bra… panty hose. Does it ring a bell?


JOSIAH
(puzzled)

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22.

DEAR OPRAH - I REALLY WANT TO HAVE MY PLAYS PRODUCED
Got a great idea yesterday as a possible, perhaps unrealistic but desperate means, in which to get one of my plays produced.

Recently, Oprah Winfrey - "the" Oprah - announced her retirement from her television show. Instead, she has created the OWN - Oprah Winfrey Network that will feature programs focusing on a variety of subjects. One particular aspect of the network caught my eye, which is an opportunity for your ordinary people to fulfill a dream via "Your Own Show" - 'Oprahs Search for the Next TV Star' . This presented a perfect opportunity for me to pitch my search for my plays or at least one of my plays to be produced. So I signed up for the newsletter and then filled out the form, my stomach doing flip-flops all the time. I'm really neurotic about these plays and in the past have found it difficult to even send them out. This insecurity is akin to mothers having a baby and then having to allow them to leave once mature or in my case, ready for Broadway...or anywhere, actually.

Everything was fine until I reached the end where a photo was required to accompany the form. Searching through my photos I selected one, downloaded it as an attachment after which is was refused as too large. Returned to my photos and once again attempted to download another photo with the same result. No matter which photo I attempted to attach, they were all refused.

Hence, the reason for taking to my playwriting blog in the hope that Ms Winfrey and company will somehow come accross this and consider my pitch. I'm placing this issue in the hands of destiny and fate. In this case a photo "less than 500K or a maximum resolution of 500x500 pixels" just won't work for me but then words are my strong point.

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23.


So I'm thinking here...given the success or lack thereof, of any of my plays produced so far, some new strategy is required. To date and as I've shared in this blog, I've written two full i.e. two-act, plays, one-1 act play and approximately a dozen short-short plays and skits over the years. Given the reality of today's economy, the future of having them making their debut on stage looks somewhat doubtful, hence the change of direction.


I've decided to write short pieces of dialogue on a daily or at least a regular basis that may or may not end up as a play down the line. They may be snippets of conversations overhead in a mall, or perhaps conversations with friends or personal experiences that would normally fall into the rant'n'rave category in one of my other blogs. Or maybe the embryonic beginning of a play. Just...stuff.


As always comments are welcome be they good or bad and I will respond accordingly but spammers will be deleted. Playwriting is angsting enough without having to deal with spammers. so stay away and you have been warned!


Meanwhile - on with the show!

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24.

OLD SOLDIERS - THE RADIO PLAY - a progress report #1

Decided to try and convert my short story, "Old Soldiers" into a radio play and enter it into the BBC International Playwriting Competition. My first realization how difficult a task this is going to be is underestimating the amount of dialogue required. Dialogue as it stands now is limited in its present form and this means a complete re-think as to how I'm going to move this story along. I'm also not sure how to write a radio play. Will spend some time searching the Internet in the hope of discovering the form. Some questions requiring answers that keep me up nights wondering:

- is it written in the same manner as a play?
- do radio plays have scenes?
- where are the sound effects written?

Why am I doing it? Because it's a personal challenge, especially since I've entered the competition before having submitted, "Retribution", which should have won...IMHO. This short story is one of my favorites and I think that it has the potential to be a winner.

There are four characters in the short story but more are required. I'm toying with the idea of adding an old dog given that Joe, my main character, is an old soldier. The dog is Joe's confidant, best friend and reason for living.

Dilemma at present is whether to open the story in Joe's apartment as it is in the story, or open it in a pub. If I open it in the pub it could be a few hours before the ceremonies, whereas the kitchen scene would go before he meets up with his friends in the pub to toast the demise of an army buddy friend.

Also considering the addition of an old (as in age) nosey landlady, who enjoys dropping by Joe's apt. He dislikes her, period, and dislikes her never-ending questions.

We'll see what develops as more dialogue is added. To be continued...

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25.

DOWNER - MONA DOESN'T GO




It takes me a while until getting to the point where I actually make the decision to submit one of my plays. There is the usual self-doubt and is it play-worthy and entertaining most of all. When and if I do submit, hope springs eternal in my breast that it could make the grade. Visions of it actually being performed before an audience who clap in appreciation accompany the "submit" button or the actual act of mailing the envelope.



Just came back from checking the Snowdance Festival site in the hope that my name was among the lucky ten playwrights whose plays were accepted. It wasn't.



Inject deep sigh here.



Having not received a notification one way or the other, the only means in which playwrights would know is to continually check their site. That I did - and then some.



The play submitted, "Dusting Mona" was one of my recent creations and IMHO it's well written and entertaining. Obviously not entertaining enough to make the grade.



Inject another deep sigh here.



It was mailed this time since that was their preference and now I'm wondering whether it was ever received. Actually, I would prefer to believe that they never received it rather than believe it wasn't good enough. I'm going to opt for the first. Rejection is part of playwriting or any type of writing but it never gets easier as anyone who is in this milieu will attest. I like to believe that the audience doesn't know what they're missing. Let's just say that Mona and other literary friends are taking a rest.

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