Friday, August 30, 2013


So it's been a big summer, a bigger month and an explosive week... all leading up to tonight. And tomorrow night. And next weekend too!

Before I head off to the Arts Center, though, I had to share a few behind-the-scenes sneak peeks. Be sure to make your way to 940 New Hampshire tonight to see this baby on stage. It will rock your freaking world!

Yes, in reality I probably am a 13-year-old boy who could not resist taking this photo:

Our choreographer, Christina Burton, worked miracles in just three little sessions:

From our first dress rehearsal finale:

Our updated logo (no f*ing symbols this time):

And, in spite of having left the paper 9 months earlier and finding every editor I worked with had left as well, the LJW did a great spread for us. It worked, too.... well over 1000 people will see this show!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Old Irish Poem

(Or Poem by Old Irish Woman)

The angels sang; the clouds all parted
The bells all rang, for school has started

Monday, August 5, 2013

Luke's 2 cents

I was working on a deadline for a local family magazine when my 12-year-old son entered the office.

I looked at him and smiled, but my "I'm almost done, I just need another 45 minutes in a row to finish this story. My deadline is today." did not register with him.

"You're stressed because your deadline is today. That's because you put it off until the last minute. You probably knew about this for a week," he replied.

Actually, I knew about it for three months. But I wasn't ready to write it up until the day of the deadline. Because I didn't know what to write about. And because I was far too consumed with thoughts about this season of "The Bachelorette."

(I hadn't watched it since Trista and Ryan's wedding 10 years ago, but I knew a bachelor this season. He went out the first round, but by then I was too invested in Dez's happiness and had to see this train wreck through. Not proud... just sayin'...)

"How many words does it need to be?" he asked

"750," I replied, still lingering at word 135.

"Use words like 'at' or 'on' or 'up,'" he recommended. "Those are short words that don't take as long to type."

I nodded as I tried to concentrate long enough to get back into the flow. But he continued.

"And whenever you have a word like 'wasn't' or 'don't'... what are those called?" The child will be in 7th grade. He was recently bumped up a grade in math. English? Not looking good.

"Contractions?" I offered.

"Yeah," he replied. "Whenever you have a contraction, spread the word out. Like 'was not' or 'do not.' That will help you take up more room. At least, that's what I do."

A typical man of few words (just like Dez's last boyfriend... hmmm... I just got flash-forwards of Luke's future ex-girlfriend lamenting on TV about what a poor communicator her last boyfriend was. And how his advanced math skills really did not make up for it), Luke had a strategy.

"That's what I do for papers," he confessed. Though he thinks he was helping.

But he wasn't - sorry, was not - finished.

"And if you have to have a certain number of pages for your paper and you're using 12-point font, you can do your periods in 14-point font. The period will be the same size, but it will make the line bigger so it takes up more room."

Fourteen more days until school starts. And is his teacher ever in for a treat.

Back to my grind...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Between the posts

I attended a book signing for my friend, Jen, author of the wildly popular blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, and author/publisher of Amazon's newest #1 humor book "I Just Want to Pee Alone."

Jen read a hilarious piece about moms' night out at the gun range, one I'd had the privilege and pleasure of hearing while performing with her in Kansas City's "Listen to Your Mother" this past May. She and one of her "Pee Alone" writing partners, Stacey Hatton, then took questions from the audience.

One question in particular has stuck with me: "How come so many bloggers kind of... burn out... or maybe... go off the deep end after they develop a following?"

The audience member was sincere, though I was surprised she asked it. I just thought everyone knew the answer.

Writers, by nature, are a different breed. We are people with more internal monologues than a Cathy cartoon. We are people who are far too hyper-observant and, if we are not careful, can be bothered by every sensation around us to a debilitating degree. We are not all necessarily introverts any more than we are necessarily extroverts, but we do all share a sense of mental cleansing - and stimulation - by allowing our endless thoughts to land on a page... or a computer screen.

Painters paint.

Singers sing.

Runners run.

And writers write.

Bloggers, though, are a unique breed of writer. Kind of like graffiti artists or subway performers or marathoners (usually without the tight asses... sigh) put themselves out there unsolicited (seriously, who ever tells someone to run 26 miles?).

Pull out the bloggers who fall into the money-generating marketer or reporter category, and you are left with writers who are looking for attention.

Those of us who have accepted it proudly wear our "Attention Whore" label on both sleeves. Others - those who might believe they aren't in it for attention, as they prefer to remain anonymous, or those who do it solely "as a venue to express personal thoughts" - may not be ready to admit that opting for a public website over an old-fashioned Hello Kitty journal with a built-in lock for privacy is, indeed, looking for some sort of spotlight.

On some level, every blogger believes she has something soooooo important to say, she must publicize it. Otherwise she would simply jot it down in that dusty Hello Kitty journal.

Ask any mom blogger if she is looking for a newspaper column or a book deal or a job at O Magazine, and 99% of the time the answer is yes, whether she says it out loud or not.

And there's nothing at all wrong with that.

Now ask any newspaper columnist or published author or contributor to O Magazine if there are any drawbacks to her dream job she had not seen coming and she will scream from the top of the NYT Bestseller list, "HOLY SHIT, THAT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT!"

Trying to gain an audience of 100 is nothing compared to trying to please an audience of 1,000,000. And an editor. And a publisher. And a family that, at times, liked it a lot better when writing only took up a couple hours of "me time" each week.

And then there is the creeping fear of the idea well running dry or an editor telling you to compromise your message for ratings or - worst and most prevalent of all fears (besides spellcheck being taken away) - what if everyone finds out the truth: You don't really know what you're doing.

True story... every successful writer with whom I have ever talked has confessed to harboring at some level - from short-lived to chronic - a fear of being discovered as a fraud. Every writer. From the community newsletter to network television script writers, all have expressed this same fear at every level of notoriety.

So back to the question...

The reason so many bloggers flake out, freak out or check out after hitting a mark of notoriety is usually either because the art of writing becomes unwanted work (Deadlines? Who wants to worry about a deadline? All my friends are by a pool drinking margaritas!) or because success itself arrives with all sorts of confidence-rattling fears that serve - in the end - to strengthen the most determined and weaken the less resolved.

Either way, it does not matter.

Slipping off the internet is as easy as it is to slip on. And if a person decides the blogging life is not for her (or him), then hitting "Delete" is the best thing she (or he) can do. After all, a big, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime sort of world is waiting just beyond the computer screen to be experienced without necessarily being chronicled.

(Um, notice I didn't write anything all summer on this blog until now. But I got a lot of shit done, loaded up my iPhone camera roll and have an awesome tan.)

And if a person has the support and confidence and drive to ride the waves of success, then that is exactly what she (or he) should do.

(Mother%$!#Hood runs again at Lawrence Arts Center August 30/31 and September 6/7... buy your tickets today!)

So sometimes bloggers quit. Sometimes they land awesome book deals (congratulations, Jen!!). It's all good ---- no, it's all great. We're all born to do different things, and we cannot know what they are until we try. But most of all, we all need to do those things that make us feel alive. Life's too short to do it any other way.