Thursday, February 23, 2012

phat girls

phat girls is the most personal piece I've ever written.  I never in a million years would have guessed that all these years later, it is still having major resonance for not only the women who perform the play, but the audiences who view it.

One of my former students, Chris Giordano, a senior at Pace University, was bound and determined to direct this play.  And his tenacity paid off!  Because now, in conjunction with the National Eating Disorders Association Awareness Week (February 26th-March 3rd), phat girls is going to be presented at Pace University to help commemorate NEDA's 25 years of raising awareness for these insidious disorders.

I had the pleasure of meeting the cast via Skype about a week ago, and I was so pleased and proud of these brave women who are willing to go onstage and be vulnerable and talk about things most people would rather keep hidden in the shadows.  Awareness has been raised, but the problem still very much exists in our society today among girls and women, boys and men. 

Thank you Chris for being so passionate about this project and seeing it through.  I feel so very honored and humbled!  For information regarding performances of phat girls on February 29th and March 1st, check out the listing in the New York Times. If you are in the area, I hope you are able to attend.

Stay healthy.  Stay happy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Oldie but a Goodie!

I've been writing a lot lately about creativity, so I thought I would repost an entry from nearly two years ago.  It's a writing exercise that will help challenge your brain as well as being a lot of fun. 

So here is a post worth repeating; originally posted on March 29, 2010.  Enjoy!

Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words. His response?

"For sale: baby shoes, never used."

Wow, right? Six words was all he needed to paint a very powerful picture! So, I thought I would try this exercise and man, oh man, is it ever difficult. Sheesh! Tell a story in six words? Oy vey!

I finally wrote something that I was satisfied with. I wonder what Papa Hemingway would say? But for what it's worth, here's what I came up with:

Bankrupted woman seeks gun factory employment.

What do you think of my 6-word story?

Try it! It's very challenging...but it will give your brain a great workout. I truly believe that less is more. And I would love to hear what you come up with.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


After the success of my Fertile Ground piece, I was all revved up to follow-through on another play I've been working on.  But then I got stuck.  I know why I got stuck...there are a variety of reasons.  The foremost being fear.  That's right.  I'm afraid of writing something shitty, so I wind up not writing anything at all.  That's a load of crap.  It's counter-productive.  And yet I seem to fall victim to it time and time again.  I need to get out of my head and just be and not think quite so much. Easy to say, hard to do for someone like me.

But last night my good friend Daniel, who is a musician, came over with all his equipment...keyboards, amp, microphone...the works.  And he said, "OK, let's write a song."  And I said, "I've never really done that before."  And he said, "So what?  Do it anyway."  And that's exactly what we did.  He asked me some questions about the type of song I wanted to hear, and then he laid down a melody line, and then we talked some more about the content of the song, and he started writing lyrics, and then I started writing lyrics, and lo and behold before the end of the evening, we had a pretty cool sounding song called "Lost." 

Nothing got in our way.  We wanted to create and we did.  No preconceived caring whether or not it would be good, or whether or not it would be perfect.  We just did it.  Is it a masterpiece?  Of course not.  But the lesson here is that it was all about the journey.  The journey of starting down the road of creation, and inevitably completing the journey.

I write a lot about this topic because it is what I do.  It is how I live every day.  I need to create every day.  And sometimes I think the inspiration isn't there. But you know what?  It's always there.  In the most unlikely of places.  In a friend's laugh.  Or an untuned guitar string. Or in a falafel sandwich.  Creativity is all around us.  If you can't see it, you're not looking...