One Minute Play Festival v5.0

The fifth year of this festival is around the corner (August 20, 21 and 22 at Ground Floor Theatre).

Always wacky, always stressful, always fulfilling. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it right now, but I did feel like posting my draft play here, especially with the Supreme Court news out today.

So here it is, in all its too-brief, political glory…

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Haiku Challenge

My friend Rita and I were talking about different combinations of words the other day. I said that I’d love to use behest and bereft in a poem somehow. And then she threw in the word behemoth.

Then I wrote this:

At Big Bird’s behest
A behemoth acts bereft

And she shot back with:

It leaves me bereft
All behemoths are the same
At God’s behest, eh?

After writing an earlier draft of this, my friend Marla picked up the mantle and came up with this:

Are you bereft
Of Ma’s Behemoth vermouth
At Dad’s behest

Those key words take up 7 of the 17 syllables. So this is a fun challenge to me. Got anything?

Playing Racquetball with a Cartoon

I’ve been playing racquetball with my son the last few weeks, and there’s something about the experience I find so entertaining.

First off, I just don’t think you see anyone that small playing the game very often, if ever. I mean… you don’t usually see anyone under 60 playing it, honestly. Something about those safety goggles and the confined spaces and the bright fluorescent lights make it seem kind of convalescent somehow.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be an intense and exhausting sport, and I love the quickness of it.

But seeing my son–who looks extra small in those big glasses–just flying around the room, screaming at the top of his lungs in that echo chamber, with hair flying in all directions, reminds me of playing against someone like Animal from the Muppet Show.

(sorry, kiddo, if you’re reading this, I love it and you, and the experience is wonderful; don’t get me wrong; let’s talk)

Anyway, I’ve been searching for illustrations that would somehow convey what it’s like to watch him play. I haven’t found any, so started making my own (and he made one too, which he said he’s okay with me sharing; see if you can guess which one is his).

This still doesn’t quite do it justice. I might keep drawing these, but I’m happy it’s recorded somewhere.

No, I Will Not Go on Your Booze Cruise

I’ve got this friend who keeps going on these cruises. He always calls them booze cruises. And now he’s telling me I should go on them too, that they’re really great.

  • You should go on the booze cruise with us
  • Man, these booze cruises are great
  • You’d really like the booze cruise

No. I wouldn’t.

I feel like nothing could represent wanton privilege more. Hey, you should spend a bunch of money to get on a massive block of steal and plastic that’s spewing oil into the ocean so that underpaid folks in uniforms can hand you alcoholic drink after alcoholic drink as you just sit there getting ferried from coast to coast.


But two things to the expression’s credit:

1) It turns out that the original meaning of booze cruise was about getting cheap alcohol across country lines (which isn’t quite so wanton, but it’s also not the currently understood meaning of the phrase)

2) At least they’re calling a spade a spade. Better “booze cruise” than “cross-cultural heritage liquid voyage” or some crap

That is all.

#petpeeve #rarerant

Gift Baskets, Testify, and New Play Feedback

It’s a hodgepodge of stuff!

So when my son and I went to see Nicole O’s fine new play about young womanhood last week, they had a raffle for a few different gift baskets. We entered and…. I won this!

As someone who’s organized and put together prizes for events, it feels really good to win. Super rewarding.


Hey! I’m doing this show on Thursday. I haven’t practiced as much as I’d like, and have my last review with the producers tomorrow. But I somehow think it’ll go fine. Which is an odd feeling for me. I guess I’ve been doing it once or twice a year for the past five years, so…. It’s almost comfortable?

As a follow-up from my recent post about writing a new play super-fast, here’s what Caridad had to say about my 38-pages:

I think you have bones of a good draft here.
there’s a clear trajectory.
a memory/ghosted play.
and a desire to find reconciliation and peace.

given that you now know what the bones of the piece are,
I think you can easily go back into the piece and decide where to open up and expand the material. esp. if you wish for it to be a longer play.

whose play do you think it is?

I would say it is Carol’s. but the clearer you are about this, the stronger the overall arc of the piece will be.

love the dry, sad humor in the piece.
how these people need to find order in their lives
and connection.
despite all.


Aww, she knows what to say; great blend of encouragement, suggestions and recommendations (she recommended I read The Lost Formicans too, a relevant play that I’d never heard of before; have it on my list).

I’m going to keep working on this one, possibly doing another class on rewrites with her in the fall. How convenient!

More on this play as it comes together (I hope).

See you Thursday? Maybe?

The Last Lap

I guess I’m continuing with the running theme…

So I’m at the tail end of this 4-week writing sprint, the same class I took last year around this time which resulted in this play I was pretty happy with.

I’ve got four days left to wrap the whole thing up. I’m supposed to get to page 40-50 by the end, ideally. Right now I’m at page 29, and last night I may have sliced and diced enough to pull me back to page 27.

So that’s like 5-6 pages a day for the next few days. Probably not gonna happen.

Also, as my son and I discussed, I’d rather have 5 quality pages of something than 50 pages of crap. So I’m struggling with that a bit, whether to just write for writing’s sake.

But maybe I’ll track here just to keep my honest and motivated.

Monday: Page 28 (being generous)
Tuesday: Page 30 (ugh, I know…)
Wednesday: 36
Thursday (by midnight): 38

All right, I sent in my 38 pages. I kept cutting stuff that wasn’t working and then had to just throw an ending on there. I wasn’t crazy about it, but there is some good stuff inside. Here’s what I wrote to Caridad:

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Big Decision: Hills or Flats

So I’m signed up to run this race in just under two months.

My friend Tom and I have to decide which of us is going to take which series of three legs that are left on the team (there are 12 of us running 216 miles in three days; I know, it’s totally nuts).

The choices are basically:

  • Run 3 long legs on level ground
  • Run 3 medium legs on hills

Here’s an example of one of the flat legs (the first):






And here’s the last of the hilly legs (rated WTH because the climb is about 1000 feet the last 2-3 miles):






Anyway, mulling all this. Part of me thinks hills would be more “fun” because it gives you some variety and a change of pace; and part of me thinks longer and flatter would just be… more pleasant… and less death-defying.

Stay tuned! (or don’t; I probably won’t write about the decision)

BUT there is a little part of me that thinks if I’m going to run 22 miles in three days (the flat version) I might as well run another marathon at some point. Maybe in 2020? Hmm….

p.s. Yeah, those giant mosquitoes on the maps?? Frightening! (not sure what to make of them either)

BREAKING: Kids are Cute


I was at a dinner party last week in south Austin, and the host has a five-year-old son who ended up going to bed about an hour into the event.

When he was all ready for bed, he came into the living room, grabbed my hand, looked up at me with his big eyes and asked me to come read a book to him.


So I went in his room and he spent a couple of minutes finding two books that he particularly wanted read: one about a kid who didn’t like being sad, and another about a circus train traveling the country.

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And Now it can be Told

For the past couple of months I’ve been raising money for a custom award for Christi Moore for the 20th Anniversary of ScriptWorks. She puts in a lot of time and energy for our organization without a lot of reward.

Through contact with our 150 members, I was able to get a bunch of donations and work with a woman named Ruth in Ireland (at an organization called Created) who commissions artists for custom-built sculptures.

This is the piece I was able to get, which was finished just a couple of weeks ago.

We gave it to our executive director last night, along with a generous gift certificate to a local spa.

Was another one of these labor of love things that took a fair amount of admin time, but went off well, and she was visibly moved.


And speaking of our 20th Anniversary, I’ve got a short play in this book (It’s Time from our 2014 showcase, about a couple of school teachers who have a long, shared, secret past).

I got a few autographs from other writers last night, but kinda forgot about doing it—then stumbled a little signing copies for others too. Obviously not very well-practiced for pseudo-stardom.

Anyway, it was a good time, an emotional and celebratory occasion.

To another twenty years!

I Guess Things Turned Out Okay

Another note to self:

The show on May 19th went really well, my fears of low attendance were unwarranted (we ended up with about the same number as the last two shows and had to pull chairs from offstage to seat everyone), everybody had a good time, and we raised more money than we expected.

The only thing I didn’t feel great about was that we ended up going over time, and there was some stress after 10pm about how to wrap it up as quickly as possible. Thanks to Jomo and the guys for understanding and cutting their set just a bit. That said, part of the reason we ran long (aside from my imperfect project management) is that people kept showing up late, it was festive, and people wanted to linger and drink and chat at intermission and no one really wanted it to end.

We ended up pulling in nearly $1400 between ticket sales and donations, and that’s enough to buy the damn washing machine, so… well done, everyone.

This (top) is one of my favorite photos from the show. That crazy dinosaur guy. I also like the behind-the-scenes shots we got (below) which remind me how we all pulled it together before curtain.

Also: getting a photographer was a great idea!*

All right, somewhere there are dozens of orphans who might have a slightly better (and cleaner) life soon.

Till next time (if there is a next time)….


* all photos by Rene Renteria Photography

UPDATE on May 26: per Robert’s blog, he got a couple of good donations on the heels of the benefit too, to bring the total to over $1700, which we’ll take credit for. Smiley face. So happy to hear it…