“Moby Dick” Scribbler Herman Melville Spotted Working as a Deputy Customs Inspector in New York

Posted on Sep 4, 2018 in Literature, Ostensibly Funny, Shoe Substitutes, Writing

Novelist Herman Melville, who wrote “Moby Dick” and “Omoo,” was spotted by a merchant working as a district inspector in the Custom House Service, standing behind a desk and wearing a rumpled uniform with a name tag that read, “Herman.” The merchant who spotted the fabulist told the Fox Evening Dispatch that he was visiting the ...

This is My Brain On Books #1: Where the Wild Things Are

Posted on Oct 10, 2014 in Literature, Shoe Substitutes, Writing

Recently on Facebook, Nicole — a friend who’s tremendously talented and apparently very persuasive — tagged/urged/bullied me into sharing a list of books that influenced me in some way.  The easy thing in such circumstances is just to reel off a list of books you enjoyed, a list that’s likely to be heavy on uncontroversial ...

16 Things

Back in the olden days of Facebook, when there were fewer ads but more weird poking, you might have found yourself besieged by people demanding that you write and publish 16 Random Things About Yourself.  (The number soon went up to 25.  Inflation was bad in those days.)  Because I often do what I’m told, ...

“I Gave Myself the Best Part”

Recently my new play Some Other Kind of Person closed at the InterAct Theater Company in Philadelphia, which had also commissioned and developed the script.  It was a terrific production and a great experience, and along the way the theater published on its blog an interview between me and the multitalented future superhero Kittson O’Neill, ...

Sympathy for the Actor

Posted on May 16, 2013 in Playwriting, Shoe Substitutes, Writing

I recently found myself in the uncommon position of acting (which, given my rudimentary thespian skills, I rarely do, out of respect for the craft and for humanity); even more unusual was the fact that I was acting in a project that I’d written.  I was playing a character I’d created on the page, uttering ...

Traumaturgy

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 in Playwriting, Shoe Substitutes, Writing

Let me note for the record that I love dramaturgs.  I think they’re little-understood and underappreciated, not unlike leeks.  My first exposure to the frank and open practice of dramaturgy occurred when I was an intern in a literary office, where the hectic stress of daily life — arguably endemic not so much to literary ...

Playwriting Tips and Handy Hints

* Writing stage directions that can’t be staged is sooo five minutes ago.  What are all the cool kids doing now?  Stage directions that can’t even be written.  Go! * Parenthetical adverbs attached to your dialogue is a bad idea because it tells actors there’s only one acceptable way to say the line.  Leave them ...

Why I’m a Playwright

When ACCIDENTAL RAPTURE was produced by the 16th Street Theater they asked me to write something. I tried to explain to them: I’d already written something! What was I, a machine? But anyway, this is what I wrote: People often ask me why I’m a playwright. That’s not true. People often ask me to move ...