What are your favorite plays?

Jaq at National
Standing in front of the National

Let’s talk about theatre.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I got involved in theatre at a young age. My initial exposure to the performing arts was at the age of 6 when I got the neighborhood kids together and we made a revisionist version of Bambi using my dad’s super8 camera. This was back in the early 70s and it kinda makes me wonder what Monki could do if she were so inclined. I mean she’s 5 now, so a year away and she already knows YouTube and loves doing things with the slow-motion effect on my iPhone so the joys of putting together a piece of film will be a completely foreign thing. Hell, she’s not even interested in going to the cinema because she can’t pause or rewind or anything else. Sure, that may change as she gets older, but it just points out how different her world is from where mine was at her age. Continue reading “What are your favorite plays?”

Did you consider any other careers? How did you choose?

Threading the projectorThe wonderful conceit of this question is in thinking that I have a career to begin with. I mean I guess I do? The question though is what is it? I’m certainly a writer and a professor, but am I something else as well?

Let’s go with the obvious and take both, call it a dual career. So, in that case I’m a writer and teacher…right now. Have I considered others? Of course I have, who hasn’t? But here’s the thing: Before I got here, being a writer and a teacher, I did several other things. Now sure, I’ve talked about some of these particular occupational detours before, but that’s really all they were, detours.  They weren’t really careers.

But they could have been. Continue reading “Did you consider any other careers? How did you choose?”

What were your friends like in high school?

EdClarkHighI almost skipped this question. What were your friends like in high school? I’m not even sure how to approach this one, considering high school was some 35 or so years ago. Twice as much time has passed since I’ve been there than I was when I was living the experience and thought I would never get out. Weird the places life takes you, huh? Continue reading “What were your friends like in high school?”

What qualities do you most value in your friends?

signs-of-a-strong-friendship-1Friendship is such an interesting topic. It seems like there should be a checklist someplace you can go through to decide if someone is a friend or not. I mean when you’re asking yourself what qualities you value in your friends, wouldn’t it make sense to have a list of qualities in general? I did an article once, about online dating services, and in several of them, the participants had to answer extensive questionnaires which were then matched up according to a mystic algorithm and involving the sacrifice of a rubber chicken. Continue reading “What qualities do you most value in your friends?”

Tell me about an adventure you’ve been on

This seems like an odd question to me. “Tell me about an adventure you’ve been on.” Sure, but really, isn’t that the same as a number of the questions I’ve answered already? I suppose it depends on what we consider an “adventure” right? But also, due to my having blogged about trips and travels regularly since the summer of 2013 (and a bit more haphazardly before that) haven’t I already covered most of my adventures?

Do I take the easy way out and just say “well, life is an adventure” and leave it at that? I don’t think that’s in the spirit of the game. So no, I need to think of an adventure I’ve not talked about before or delve deeper into one I have. But this also means I need to explore the idea of what, exactly, an adventure is. Continue reading “Tell me about an adventure you’ve been on”

Who was one of your favorite high school teachers? What made them great?

08m-sxHigh school was such a long time ago, I’m not sure how this answer is going to come out. I graduated in 1985, which basically means that most of the folks I graduated with have kids who have also already graduated from their own high schools (and have probably already celebrated their own 10-year reunions and started to forget about their own experiences, so what chance do I have of having actual coherent memories, all of which is just crazy to think about.) Anyway…this is about my own favorite teacher(s) so let’s see what we’ve got. Continue reading “Who was one of your favorite high school teachers? What made them great?”

How did your parents pick your name?

names-have-power-960x960-1What’s in a name?

As Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But is that really the case with all things? I’m not so sure. I mean would he have had the same career if Archibald Leach not changed his name to Cary Grant? Sure, the looks and talent would have been the same, but then, the arts are rife with stories of name changes for a variety of reasons. Continue reading “How did your parents pick your name?”

What Is Your Favorite Joke?

comedy-greshams-940x601-1To be perfectly up front here, as I start writing the response to this week’s question, I can tell you the answer is “I don’t know.” In general, when someone says, “Tell me a joke,” I instantly freeze up and can’t think of a single thing. Which isn’t to say I don’t know any jokes, certainly, or have jokes I fall back on (which I’ll get to) but a favorite joke? I just don’t know. Continue reading “What Is Your Favorite Joke?”

Where Did You Go on Vacations As a Child?

Compass 01This week’s question is another one involving travel/vacations. That’s okay, I like traveling and vacations. This one, though, is about vacations as a child which, by default, implies they were family vacations. At least in my case since the folks are still married, to each other, so there’s no inter-family drama involving who gets to claim Disneyland. Continue reading “Where Did You Go on Vacations As a Child?”

What was your first big trip?

aj-1Here it is, my first question from StoryWorth and already off to a rocky start. I read the question and immediately started pondering what was meant by “big trip?” How far back did I go? Was it in reference to an important trip or one of a huge duration? Naturally, it was Rasa who solved the dilemma. Continue reading “What was your first big trip?”

StoryWorth

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I just got a fascinating holiday gift from my great friend and (sometimes) writing partner Troy and his wife Katie. It’s from a company called StoryWorth and the basic premise is pretty simple – at regular intervals (anywhere from once a day to once a month) they email you a question. You then answer it in as much or as little detail as you wish and email it back to them.

Continue reading “StoryWorth”

Do Something

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“Do something.”

Strangest words I ever heard from a professor regarding an assignment, but that was exactly what Dr. Felicia Campbell, who passed away July 27 from Covid-19 complications, announced as the details of a class project. “Just do … something,” she’d reiterate when questioned by a student who didn’t quite understand the freedom of the directive. “It doesn’t matter what you do, you just have to do something.” Continue reading “Do Something”

Clowning around…

I have a number of good friends who are now or have been at one time professional clowns. I’ve spent a good deal of time the last several years traveling and hanging out with some amazingly funny people. In the past I’ve lived with clowns, worked with clowns, consulted with clowns, written about… you get the idea. In fact, had the world gone a little differently, I might have ended up one myself. I’ve certainly been offered the opportunity.

Needless to say, I have a deep love, admiration and respect for the artform. Thankfully, I’m not the only one and a few years ago, David Carlyon wrote a great piece for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival called American Clowns: Performance, History, and Cliché, which looks at all those different factors in the world of clowning.

On Literary and Genre Canon

pile-of-assorted-novel-books-694740.jpgWhile on lockdown and teaching from home this week, my Media Issues class discussed the idea of “canon” in literature and they asked me if I would give them a list of things I think should/could be canon. Immediately I said the only list I could really give them were my own thoughts and they said that was fine, so here we go. Continue reading “On Literary and Genre Canon”