Tuesday, September 23, 2014

upcoming shows...


because when I'm at Myrtle Beach, I gotta dance.

The Sugar
Sally Dawson is on a sugar fast.  She picked the wrong month to give up a vice as her freeloading younger brother re-appears on her doorstep wanting to challenge her work as a Wellness Coach and mocking her newly acquired podcast.  As a national headline-making trial unfolds in the town around her, Sally focuses on herself and her clients.  Written by one of our favorite local playwrights, The Sugar is sure to leave you with a high from which you won’t want to come down.

a new comedy by Denise Stewart
directed by Ray Nedzel
Oct. 31 -- Nov. 22, 2014
Live Arts
Charlottesville, VA
www.livearts.org

Swamp-Hatched Butterfly
"A Night of Comedy with Deedee Stewart & Friends"
Saturday, January 31, 7:30p.m.
Tickets at LouisaArts.org
LOUISA ARTS CENTER
212 Fredericksburg Avenue
Louisa, Virginia

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Badge (or what happened when I took a meditation class)



When anger showed up
like the postman with my package;
when anger came up like a Buick that sank in the lake in ‘78

I saw what it used to be plus the sludge and the moment it stopped humming along.

When anger showed up
like the reject I didn’t invite to my party;

when anger rose up
like a heavy gold badge come up through my chest, breaking my bones like a pit bull through a rickety fence,

I wanted to wear the bloody badge outside my t-shirt (on the left-hand side) and ask:  Have I got authority now, motherfucker? 

Or did I simply take my foot off the toy in the tub?

What am I supposed to do with this Buick?  Park it beside the house? 

I want to know who remembered to look for the Buick.  
Someone who never forgot.  Someone who daydreamed when they drove. 
The one, I bet, I think…the one who took her coffee sweet and light.  

Too bad I took what I could as the opposite of a promise,
shoving what I could in my purse like swiping yeast rolls at a steakhouse.
I thought I'd need them later.

Too bad I can’t treat the badge like an ice cube in my mouth, 
that between my teeth, with my own heat and time, I might melt it.  

Hello, my name is…oh, that’s just my gold badge.   

I’ve been wearing my badge to very important functions.
I’ve been wearing my badge to bed. 

I changed my mind and invited all the rejects to my party.  
The badge is a conversation starter or else I stuff a pizza puff in my moth, my mouth, I mean.  

When anger surfaces, I don’t want to say I'm too busy to be angry, too distracted to wonder why the Buick went down.  I don’t want to say I'm too happy to be mad or too good to work the crane.  

When anger surfaces, I don’t want to say I can't use it, because if there's some shit, and you offer me a shovel, I won’t turn you down.  If anger's my badge, I'm bound to wear it and get to the bottom of this.  



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Friday, May 23, 2014

At the Edge of the Field



On summer nights there was honeysuckle on the edge of the field on the way to the park.   In this field my oldest brother burned down a van.  You kept to the edges because of ticks.  The field belonged to a man who wouldn't sell.  There was the front yard then the house then the porch then the pool then the fence with slats then the field then the park.  Boom, boom, boom.  In the middle of the field was the old van.  First, it was old and abandoned.  Then it was old, abandoned and burned because of my brother, who didn't act alone.

By August, I was sick of swimming.  I had earaches by then, too.  Using babysitting money, I got a perm, and you're not supposed to swim when you first get a perm.  In August, I walked to the park most mornings to play tennis against a green practice wall.  Bam, bam, bam.  Not in June.  When the honeysuckle bloomed, I was no where near sick of swimming.  When it was June, I only went to the park at night.  

There were blackberries at the edge of the field, too.  I don't remember the blackberries being ready in June.

Every Sunday night in the summer my mother made potato salad from the potatoes my brother brought home on Saturday night from the steak house.  He wheeled his stereo which looked like a wooden lower case h out to the porch and played his eight tracks.  Highway to Hell.  Whipping it good.  Everyone having a hungry heart.  We raced rafts and dove for pennies while the burgers cooked, arguing over the one good snorkel.  We shared the flippers then ate at the picnic table.  

Every Monday morning we went back to being an unhappy family.

In June it felt good to be out of school and eating potato chips with ketchup.  In August, every day felt full of trouble.  Sometimes the pool turned green with algae.  It's expensive to keep pool water clear.  It's work to keep the frogs out of the filter.  By August, two of the sunflowers were as tall as the top of the shed.  Their faces turned and watched us like neighbor kids who'd been left out.

My oldest sister and brother liked to swim at night, but that's when the bats swooped down.  At night, nobody wanted to judge the best silly dive.  They brushed you off.  Their friends came over.  My sister's friend, Suzanne, who wore a white bikini, caught me washing the dishes in cold water.  "Baby doll, don't wash the dishes in cold water!"  Sometimes the stereo came back out to the porch.

In August, the hornets got me.  We were playing behind the school.  Our bike seats were getting very, very hot on the sidewalk while we played where you couldn't play during the school year -- at the edge by the creek.  We were flipping logs to make a fort.  I flipped the wrong log, and the hornets came out.  I screamed and ran and they chased me, stinging me all over my stomach.  I don't know how many zaps.  Maybe zap, zap, zap, zap, zap.  I rode home and raced into my sister's room, my stomach so tight and red and burning.  Her wisdom teeth had just been pulled, something that had to get done before September.   Her cheeks were swollen and she couldn't get out of bed.  Her wallpaper had little tiny pink roses.  She cried because she couldn't help me.

My neighbors' niece came to stay with them for a week.  Her feet were scalloped with scars.  She said one time she'd stepped in the bathtub and it was too hot.  The hot water burned her that bad.  I understood burning one foot but not both.  She wasn't good at hopscotch.  I picked at the places where their patio furniture was starting to rust.  

In June, on the way to the park, we picked all the honeysuckle blooms we could, pulling them apart then sucking the stems.  I had three halter tops in different colors.  We kicked the gravel then raced to see who could get to the gate first.  Even in the dark it was pretty easy climbing over the park gate.

In August, I had to put zinc oxide on my nose because I'd burned it so many times -- another reason to go ahead and get a perm.  I begged to get my ears pierced.  No, no, no, no.

We played a lot of Monopoly in August.

When the police came about the van, my mother told us to go to our rooms.  She'd do all the talking.  So curious, pulling my shade back a little, I saw smoke over the top of the fence.  I heard her voice and saw her leg.  I saw the gap between her sandal and the arch of her thin, tanned foot.  


       

Saturday, February 15, 2014

the mad shoveler: notes from the week

view from the backyard

1.  Kathryn accused me of ignoring her.  I sweet-texted her, saying, "I ponder you…not ignore."  It was the truth, but most importantly, it worked.  She has locked down on a new quote and is taking it deeply to heart…wanted to discuss it…and I wanted to think about it.  

2.  Auditions were Monday and Tuesday…The Sugar has been cast.  I still want one more pass at the script before they begin rehearsing on the 24th, but I better hurry up.  Talked to Epp this afternoon.  Foolishly, I called right at the end of UNC beating Pittsburgh.  I really do know better.  He called me back.  I will rewrite last Louise and Sally scene by tomorrow night.    

3.  Theresa Davis moved me and thrilled me when she came in to teach a guest lecture on Joe Turner's Come and Gone for Drama 1010.  Much more indelible to me than the snowstorm, dancing with her…watching her work.

right before the dancing started or why no one pays me to take pictures

4.  It was a beautiful storm.  Reason #39 why I have to write a movie that includes M in it is because when I went to shovel her sidewalk on Thursday night, she came to the door in her red robe and yelled out:
"What are you doing?"
"Are you going to charge me?"
"Where do you live?"
Crotchety and funny trump sweet any day.  She's never trying to be funny, and after 11 years of living 3 doors down, she still doesn't know who I am.  If someone nicknamed me the "Mad Shoveler", I wouldn't mind a bit.

5.  Since Tuesday, I have total faith in the face of the future.  Taught an improv workshop with 12 sixth graders this week as a part of the Live Arts Teen Theatre Festival.  


Twisted and talkative, they had me at "Let's go watch some babies eating babies."  From a pool of acid with sharks with machine guns to a short brand new play on "Expert Belly Dancing" that included these instructions:  1) rub pimento cheese all over your body and then 2) gyrate your core in a provocative manner, I feel confident pressing onward to a bright, demented new day.

6.  Recorded interviews for Dirty Barbie.  The hallway at the radio station smelled like coffee.  Load-in at Four County Players is tomorrow.  Friday is opening night.   
Sherry Taylor from 95.1
Brad Savage from 106.1

7.  Oh, if only the world were like the Hair Cuttery where high lights and low lights are both good things.  

8.  It's been a Matthew McConaughey week:  True Detective (brilliant!!), Dallas Buyers Club, and Dazed and Confused.  Controlling myself not to watch Lincoln Lawyer again.  Need to space it out.  

9.  The only eavesdropped conversation that sticks with me this week:  two sweaty ladies who were questioning the gentleman behind the counter at the gym.  I didn't hear him answer.
"He went to Ohio."
"You went to Cold Ohio?"
"Where did you go in Ohio?"
"Cold Ohio!"

10.  More than Matthew McConaughey, I'm into Kitchen King.

11.  Kris called me at 6:15am (her time) to talk about my snow.  We're both morning people.  I miss my sister.  Even after talking to her for an hour.  I picture her in the morning with wet hair and her coffee…just as she stood there in 1981.  A senior in high school.  Leaning against the cabinets, her hair long and wet, drinking black coffee.  I always miss my sister.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday Work Call


or, to say it clearly,
no one typed that morning.
it wasn't a -- it wasn't an instruction
but it was a trend


all morning we used red, black, and a buzzer
to mark the road and the space between when you could chat
our good time limited to when you had to go.
one has to leave by 10, one by 11.


it's Monday now, but I remember Saturday morning, almost 50 hours gone
when she perched on the blue pillow and she passed out pecans. 


I had a little coffee and she had a little tea.


 all morning she laid down cards to pull this story that way, 
and I pulled the curtain away from the heater.
very helpful, to sprawl on the floor with the kettle on


and, if it's possible, let me know when you can work again
in the yellow house with the blue/gray tile
 in the middle of your good thought, I might still have my earphones on.  
tap me.


Captions for the pictures:
1. notes for the rewrite for my new play, The Sugar
2. me and my glasses
3. Jen's black boards for expert plotting
4.  Jen working on her 2nd novel in The Ninja Librarians series
5. Patty working on her novel