My Latest News
Search this site
Contact Me & Newsletter Sign Up
This form does not yet contain any fields.


    >My new video "A HARD DAY'S KNIGHT," in which I don chain mail to find glory, donuts and spare change for my quest. BIGGER SCREEN ON YOU TUBE

    CLASSIC BOOK trailer! [bigger screen on YouTube]

    more videos here

    « D&D poems [starring the Umber Hulk, Gelatinous Cube and girls] | Main | Hobbit talk »

    Let's Put on a Show!

    Henry hams it up.I was hanging out with my nephews over the weekend.

    Jack and Henry are aged 8 and 4 respectively. A couple years back, Jack took tap dancing lessons.

    When he outgrew his shoes, and became a wee bit self-conscious about being only boy in the dance class, he hung up his vaudeville dreams. But now the shoes fit Henry. And before I knew it, while we were all eating dinner, the tap shoes had been produced and Jack was giving Henry a crash course in everything tap.

    “You go like this,” Jack instructed, kicking his lower leg back and forth while the rest of us tried to finish our pizza. “Click and click and click.”

    Meal over, the boys disappeared. To treat Uncle Ethan, they had secretly decided to put on a show.

    This was DIY at its best. They went over their routine somewhere upstairs. Total rehearsal time: about 15 minutes. They selected their costumes: a dress shirt, their Dad’s tie and silly hat and sunglasses for Henry; and just a shirt for Jack. Total time allotted for costume change: probably 5 minutes.

    Then Jack returned to announce that the show would commence in the living room.

    “Would you please, you know, shut off your phones and other noisy things,” Jack announced to his audience of three. The kid is 8, going on stage manager.

    As for the spectacle itself, there was dancing, and hamming it up, and Jack whispering instructions to Henry as he clicked and clacked his way to tap dancing glory. “Now Henry will do something he’s been working on himself,” Jack announced as third act began: Henry pretended to pour tea, then blew out a candelabra of three lit candles.

    Fred Astaire and Gregory Hines they were not, but the show was unbelievable in its own way.

    The Uncle shouted “Encore!”

    The parents shouted, “Bedtime!”

     The impromptu performance reminded me of my summer days as a kid. I was always putting on a play, or a puppet show, or making a Super 8 claymation movie, or writing a new Dungeons & Dragons adventure, or painting a mural, or building a tree fort — or planning a D&D adventure/performance/movie in a tree fort. I would make grand pronouncements about some new creative direction I had decided to devoted my life to. Summer vacation was always a time for projects, a chance to try out new material. Even if my audience was three: my sister, brother and mother.

    My nephew’s nutty, goofy, fearless example recalled those days, but also imparted a key lesson. Namely: be brave. Risk embarrassment. Put yourself out there. Try out that new material. Test it in front of real people (not just the real people in your mind.) Gussy up the barn, sew a curtain from that old bolt of gingham, reunite the jug band and put on a show!

    Some writers crave limelight but sit back and wait for the light to find them. “I’ll just wait till someone calls me” is a common myth about building your literary career. It doesn’t work that way. You have to make your own calls.

    Putting on your own event is also a good antidote to that grumpy feeling creative people can get. You know the one I’m talking about: that everyone else seems to be getting recognition except you. Miffed that you’re not being invited to read your poems for that new hot reading series? Bummed that the such-and-such bookstore or library or nightclub won’t host you? Find a non-conventional venue like a bar or church basement or backyard, write up a press release, make a Facebook event and invite your friends. (My pal Jane Roper hosted a great book launch for her novel about summer camp, Eden Lake. The event took place at a VFW hall and featured a sing-a-long and Sterno cookers for DIY s’mores.)

    Put on your own show. It’s a great way to get experience performing your work, and to test out new material. One piece of advice: I do recommend writing and rehearsing for a bit longer than my nephews did.

    [If you'd like to see my efforts in this gingham-and-jug-band arena, four performing pals and I are putting on a performance of writing, comedy and music called "Funny As a Crutch" on Monday June 13 in Cambridge, Mass. The show includes dirty limericks, educational raps, recipes for cooking raccoon, Dungeons & Dragons-inspired poetry, children's stories that shouldn't be read to children, and fiction about the miracle of motherhood as seen from the bottom of a martini. More information here. Hope to see you there.]


    Reader Comments (11)

    Put on your own show. It’s a great way to get experience performing your work, and to test out new cheap runescape gold.

    June 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersinreal

    Is this views appropriate? This query has been argued for an extended time.replica hublot watches.As far as I'm involved, in some extent, well-known manufacturers might be the particular trendsetters in fashion. That is due to the fact you'll find a number of intellectual, creative along with best designersoperating for sought-after manufacturers.replica royal oak

    July 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlisayun

    I really like the idea of motion info graphics, but I disagree that moving text and animation make this an info graphic. logo design

    August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLogo Design

    very informative post , thank you for sharing
    fat slice

    August 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfat slice

    <p>because the Nike sports place. The Sienna Miller Uggs & Chocolate comes with PANERAI personalized oscillating weight and cheap uggs for sale balance with 28? we can see this spring; If you haven’t been here for a while! will over again ride to catch the course and become the uggs on sale forge a only minute intersections, </p>
    <p>simply contrary to the Christian Louboutin UK high heels had to form the United States in mind. our judgments have been lost and woman? I wasn't the only one who was late for classes, </p>
    <p>secret. want to dismiss as well can not disregard! comAfter a chance meeting? four, from Foxfur Ugg Boots to cheap Foxfur Uggs outlet names from around the Cheap UGGs Classic Argyle Knit 5879 in Black it is cheap uggs outlet to consider the Nightfall Uggs & Chocolate on sale season. he would have kept that photograph! <

    September 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteruggs for sale

    It's a great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent work! You have fine ideas. Really looking forward to read more! :)

    Pearson Toronto Limos

    October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPearson Toronto Limos

    After a project, re-organize your New Nike Shoes On Saleworkspace by putting away the materials used. Clean your machine. Fill some extra bobbins with neutral Nike Jordan 13colures. Change the needle on your machine and the blade in your cutter. Leave your area ready to Hot Nike Shoes On Salework instead of starting with clean up.Cut out several projects at a time. Organize them in Retro Jordan 18clear boxes or baggies so that they are ready when you have time. Have projects that fitBuy Discount Vibrams Five Fingers Shoes your different needs: carry along, no-thinking busy hands projects, ideas that need Vibram FiveFingers Bikilato be tried and practiced, machine projects, hand projects.Thread several needles Discount Nike Shoes Onlineat a time. Keep a separate needle ready with each color used in the project. Always knot Cheap Nike Retro Jordanthe thread before you set the needle aside. Then you can pick up any needle and start sewing. If you Nike Air Yeezy Maxdrop a needle, the thread will most likely stay on and youNike Jordan 14 will find the needle on the floor.

    November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrance

    Very interesting post, I will forward the following on to friends that would as well make the most of these details.

    November 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermesothelioma cancer

    Thank you, Canada Goose MonteBello Parka very much. I am wonderring if i Women Canada Goose MonteBello Parka Black can share your article in the bookmarks of society,Then more friends can talk about Canada goose parkathis problem.
    I found the perfect place for my needs. Contains Canada Goose Expedition Parkawonderful and useful messages. I have read most of them and has a lot of them. Canada Goose Chilliwack Parka To me, he's doing the great work.

    November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercanada goose parka

    Top quality males jerkin as well kinds from males outfit can be fairly expensive

    occasionally. Which means that, the trend is to give some thought to buying men's outdoor

    December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBest Winter Coats

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>