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I’m just back from the dog park where I spent 30 minutes chucking a tennis ball for my dog who refuses, for the most part, to return it to me. I also watched six men walk along the fence in single file, each with a weed whacker, each whacking the same weeds. Granted, I don’t know what instructions they were given before setting out. Perhaps the weeds along that fence are particularly hardy and required a great effort before they cry “Uncle!” Perhaps the men were whackers-in-training. Perhaps they were challenged in other ways: mentally, legally, etc. Who am I to judge? After all, they spent 30 minutes watching a woman throw a ball, walk to where it landed, only to throw it back to where she had stood originally. But that line of men has left my mind uneasy. I’m thinking about human potential and social progress. Had those […]

ON, MARCHING MEN, ON. TO THE GATES OF DEATH WITH SONG. As writers we work words the way a silversmith works molten light.   We imagine, we hone, then rethink and rework in an effort to raise the temperature and capture more light with which to illuminate our story and sharpen our point.  But what terrible influence we wield. In commemoration of World War I, a stamp has been issued in Great Britain with the heady opening line from Scotsman Charles Hamilton Sorley’s poem, All the Hills and Vales Along, emblazoned.  Nearly 9,000,000 British, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish men marched off to words like Sorley’s flowing through their arteries, solidifying into clanging confidence and tarnished hopes of heroism.  Over 3,000,000 were killed or wounded.  Sorley died at the Battle of Loos in 1915.  He was 20 years old. So, should any of us wordsmiths feel as if we are nothing, count […]

I’ve just begun reading the new biography of Penelope Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald published her first book at the age of 58 but didn’t become famous until she was 80. I’ve just begun my 6th full length play even though the first 5 have never, yet, met an actor, director or stage. I’ve just begun training my new puppy and coming to terms with my older dog’s cloudy eyes. I’ve just sent another play to the Yale Playwriting Competition. I don’t know, but I’m guessing I’m competing with the young, the edgy, the up-and-coming and probably haven’t a dust bunnies chance with a Dyson. A stranger asked me the other day (don’t ask me why), “How long ago did you retire?” Retire!? Me? Never! What the hell? I’ve just begun! Oh, imagine what possibilities might arise when we refuse to withdraw into the night.