I'm taking an acting class and that got me into writing plays. This one-minute play will be part of a festival for charity in Sarasota Springs, Florida, in the fall. Here's my play which will be over in a blink:
THE LONG HAUL SYLVIA MILLER: 50’s-60’s, attractive, but plump, stubborn with a sarcastic sense of humor. She should be wearing a long-sleeved loose-fitting dress. . IRVING MILLER : 50’s-60. He’s wearing clothes appropriate for sitting in the sun. SETTING: Boardwalk. SYLVIA and IRVING sit on chairs right next to each other to simulate a bench. They look out over the beach, arguing with each other. ACT I
SYLVIA: No, Irving, I’m not going to put on a bathing suit until I lose weight. Since I stopped smoking, I put on so much that if I went swimming whale watchers would have their binoculars trained on me.
IRVING: You’re not fat, Syl. Look at that woman over there with her belly hanging over the bottom of her polka-dot two-piece. She’s got arms like hammocks and she’s out there, enjoying with her husband. I’ve got a surprise. I stuck our bathing suits in the trunk. The car’s in the lot right in back of us. We can put our suits on in a bathroom
SYLVIA: You want to go swimming, go. You see that blonde in the black bikini with the thong bottom? And how about that slinky one with the backless suit that looks frontless, too. I’m not going out there with them on the beach to humiliate myself.
IRVING: I can’t enjoy swimming while you’re here miserable. Look, there’s a woman over there way heavier than you. (He motions with his head.) Looks like she brought seat cushions with her. And that one, by the garbage can. with a Michelin tire of flab around her waist.
SYLVIA: (Looking at him.) Irving, you must really love me. You’re the only guy here who is looking at women fatter than his wife.
IRVING: Of course I love you, Syl. That’s why I kept after you to stop smoking. I want you with me for the long haul. I want us to grow old together while staying young. Let’s get our suits
SYLVIA: I love you, too, Irving. (She takes out a tissue and dabs at her eyes.)
IRVING: Come Syl, we can swim out up to our necks and hold each other like we used to. (He wriggles his eyebrows suggestively. There are tears in Sylvia’s eyes. He reaches out his hand and she takes it. They get up and turn their backs, heading toward the car. THE END
My essay, To All Grandparents in Waiting, is in the anthology,The Art of Grandparenting (Nightengale Press) which will be out in September, just in time for Grandparents Day. Here is the link to the first press release about it. http://rochellejewelshapiro.blogspot.com/
Here's a sneak preview of the beginning of my essay:
Of all the things I wasn't expecting when I had a granddaughter it was that she wouldn't like me. I knew just how it began. I was proud that my daughter, Heather, was nursing Rebecca as I had her. I enjoyed my granddaughter’s snorty sounds as she fed and I loved when her tiny dimpled hand rose to pat my daughter’s breast. But there wasn’t much time to bond with her. I was onlyhanded the baby when Heather and her husband, Jesse, went out. Putting the baby to bed was stressful to them. They had devised an elaborate and rigid bedtime ritual and didn’t want any deviation from it. The two of them were so sleep-deprived and frazzled that it was hard to say anything to them without getting into a big fight. They were in terror over whether or not she would sleep.
I remembered how it felt to be a new mother and want to do everything perfectly. When Heather was an infant I was so worried when she cried that I carried her on me in a snugglee even when I vacuumed the apartment.
“Put her down,” my mother-in-law used to say on every visit. “You have to learn to let her cry sometimes or you’ll wear yourself out.”
Maybe my mother-in-law was right, but I not only didn’t listen to her, with my hormones surging, I hotly resented her for saying it. Worse, when she babysat and I left breast milk in bottles for a feeding, my mother-in-law bought Heather formula instead.
“I wasn’t sure your milk was fresh,” she’d told me.
How exhilarating to write a book review! It makes you a sharper reader and enhances your prestige as part of the writing community. You can write your own sample reviews of books on a website such as Amazon or your own blog, and then contact places such as Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, literary magazines, etc. with your samples. They will send you a pre-publication galley copy that you are free to dog-ear. Your opinion counts and is needed. Here's my latest review for California Literary Review:
In my class, Emotions Through Art: Infusing your words with feeling, the second week lecture and assignment is a "before" and "after," that is, choosing one of the major dramas of your life and writing how it effected you. What was life like before and then after. I remembered an essay I published in Rio Grande Review that showed how moving only 55 Blocks made me just as much a refugee as my father who had fled Russia. Here's the link for the essay. http://www.utep.edu/rgr/archive/Fall07Spring08/f07s08/shapiro.html
Like Miriam Kaminsky, the heroine in my novel, MIRIAM THE MEDIUM, (Simon & Schuster, May, 2004, I'm a professional phone psychic who lives in Great Neck. I've also been published in NEWSWEEK, My Turn, "Out of the Candlelight into the Spotlight," February 12, 2004, NEW YORK TIMES (LIVES) "The Medium Has A Message," 3/28/99 and in many anthologies such as FATHER, Pocket Books, 2000, "The Wild Russian," (short story) and essays in It's A Boy, Seal Press, 2005. and literary magazines. Articles have been written about me REDBOOK MAGAZINE, "My Best Friend is a Psychic," by Caroline Leavitt and in the Long Island section of NEW YORK TIMES by Marcelle Fischler, 2/13/2005. I will be teaching personal essay at UCLA online this summer. My novel, MIRIAM THE MEDIUM, was nominated for the Harold Ribelow award and was sold in Holland. I'm hard at work on my second novel, a sequel to Miriam the Medium