Dick Extension

Remember The Dick Monologues of last month? (See August 26 post.) Well, the fabulously handsome Dick Singer/Songwriter SouthPaw Jones just completed his sixth or seventh CD Cruelty. Paw has a beautiful voice and, more importantly, likes to craft songs with some heft and meaning and a fair amount of words. Because of that love of words and story, Paw decided to have a CD release at BookPeople and invite friends and Dick Monologuers to read his words aloud as works unto themselves.

Probably because I was on the email list of Dick Monologuers last month, Paw extended the invitation to me to be one of the readers. I accepted. The song I asked to read was Main Street. It is near the end of the CD. A quiet song. An irreverent lullaby about disillusionmant with all things we hold sacred. It’s beautiful.

Afterwards, I sort of apologized to Paw because I read the song as a straight piece, a serious poem. Many of his songs are very, very humorous takes on life. He said it was okay.

Actually, he said it was more than okay. In email response to my thanking him for letting me participate, he said: And thanks to you, Lindsey, for participating and reading “Main Street” beautifully and sincerely!  It may be the most cruel of all the songs, because it represents a grown up me walking away from all the comforting things I was led to believe as a child.

Yep he’s sweet, smart AND cute.

 

What month is this?

One of the things about writing a monthly column that gets a little weird is handing in the column a month before the publish date. So for the September column, I send it to the editor around August 1. Most of the time, this temporal gap isn’t a problem because family and parenting issues are not time sensitive. But this month—remember, it’s August—I’m pressed for time and it’s hot and I can’t think of a thing to write. So I dig into my file of press releases from other parenting sources and decide to put together a column of other people’s news and success stories.

But what about the lead?

Hmmm…In retrospect, I could have simply said: “Too hot, Can’t think, Here’s some news from other folks.”

But oh no…I decided to make an elaborate analogy between never ending New England winters and endless Texas Summers beginning with this sentence: September is the cruelest month, purposefully echoing T.S. Eliot’s opening in The Waste Land: April is the cruelest month…which was not referencing weather so much as desire and awakenings but what the heck…

Sure enough, my editor shot me an email: “If you write September, it’s as if you wrote the column on August 31.” I said I thought would be okay. He didn’t. So it opens: August was the cruelest month. 

It was still August. I was still hot. I went with it.

Click to access 09-08_family.pdf

Note to self: Avoid specific references to time in the lead.

Unsolicited Reviews

One of the things I love about being a children’s book author is reading aloud to children. Why? Because I love their unguarded reviews of the book. I love it when they say, without hesitation, “That was the best book I ever heard.” Or when I look up from a page I am reading and I can see them wrapped in the suspense of what’s going to happen next.

Adults, of course, are a bit more reserved in their audience response. But when they open up and let you know, in this case, that they liked something, it is a sweet gift.

Last night’s Dick Monologues were a howling success. From the very first song by the oh so handsome Southpaw Jones to the rivetting revelations by Rudy Ramirez (alliteration intended) , the audience warmed with each monologue, alternating between hanging on every word and rolling in the aisles. I had a blast. My monologue, Making DIck Happy, was hilarious fun to read and, with this particular audience, turned out to be a delicious give and take.

There was a moment in the middle of my monologue when I am describing my first dance with a boy and his ‘down there’ turns into boner much to my shock and amazement. Judging from the audience reaction, most of them had had a similar thing happen to them and were relating heartily. THen as I walked into the bushes with this boy who proceeded to nudge my hand to his crotch, well, the audience was on the edge of their seat. I knew as I wrote it that it would be funny but I didn’t know that when an audience is excited, so to speak, and tingling, with anticipation, so to speak, you can literally hold them in that tingly spot for a moment before you say the line: I touched it.  And I did. Just before I said those three words, I looked out and paused. Just slightly. And I could hear a collective giggle trembling through the audience. One escaped and just as they were about to let loose, I said the three words and one great big spasm later, they went over the edge. Wow. Was that ever fun!

Then I turned the wheel of the monologue into a deeper, more serious place. Because the audience was warmed to me, so speak, they went with me. At the end of the evening, one woman I didn’t know came up to me, and said, “Thank you so much for writing that piece. It meant so much to me.” Words from a stranger that you’ve touched is a lovely unexpected gift. Yes. I loved emails from friends in the audience saying they loved it. But when you touch a stranger, it is a fine thing.

So thank you, Spike Gillespie for saying yes. And thank you Southpaw Jones, Sarah Barnes, Marrit Ingman, Jaycee Wilemon, Kristine Kovach, Sarah Bird, Robin Chotzinoff and Rudy Ramirez for making room for me at the table.

Dicking Around

The Short Version:
On Wednesday, August 27, at 7 pm, at the Hyde Park Theatre (43rd & Guadalupe), I will perform a monologue I wrote, ‘Making Dick Happy’ as part of the Dick Monologues. 
The Long Version:
A little more than a year ago, Spike Gillespie and I began this correspondence about her break-up with her now ex-husband. Actually, I think it was an email argument which ended with me apologizing for making an observation which had absolutely no sensitivity about what she had gone through. In one of the emails, though, she mentioned that she had just put together a show called The Dick Monologues, a series of monologues by Austin writers and performers  telling their stories about all things dick. (You know, those things that happen as a result of interacting with a dick or even even behaving like a dick, e.g. making observations that have no sensitivity.) I was intrigued. I went to see it. It was good. Funny. Fun. Serious. I went to see it again. I got to thinking about my interactions with all things dick and wrote a monologue called “Making DIck Happy.” I emailed a copy to Spike and bugged her (sort of) to let me on stage. I was thrilled when she said yes. Of course, now I am gagging with nerves and thinking, ‘Oh shit what have I done?’ But mostly I am very happy to join Spike and company onstage on Wed August 27 @ 7pm at Hyde Park Theatre and tell the story of Making Dick Happy. The Dick Monologues have played one night a month to sold out houses over the last year. This one is, in Spike’s words, “beyond sold out.” If you would like to attend the next show, you must email Spike Gillespie at spike@spikeg.com and ask her to put you on the list and she will email you when the date, time and place is set. WIll I be performing with them the next time? Don’t know. This is a guest spot. So we’ll see how I do. We’ll see if they clamor for more…

Go Towards the Love

I first saw the phrase: “Go Towards The Love” written on a small scrap of paper on John Lee‘s mirror in his counseling office bathroom many years ago. I liked it for its simplicty. It reminded me of the genetic code written in plants to go toward the sunlight.

Of course, we aren’t plants so we need reminders like Go Towards The Love written on our bathroom mirrors because, we humans love to struggle. It makes us feel alive and purposeful until one day, we realize, “Oh wait minute, this ‘love to struggle’ ethic is painful and draining and…” That’s when the bad marriage ends. The sucky job gets quit. The move to Hawaii is made. We just realize that struggling isn’t the way to live.

So I had one of those moments with my column in Good Life this month. I had actually written the story about eating local for another magazine but when that magazine wanted me to cut the story in half and take out my personal experience, I decided not to shrivel and conform. I would have done it years, even months, ago. But this time I decided no, the voice of the piece is my personal experience and it is valid, so no, I won’t try to create a reporter’s voice to make the piece acceptable or authoritative. Nope. Not this time.

Don’t get me wrong. I think a story or column can always be made better with more quotes and statistics. Besides, they’re kind of fun to research. But I had to look at the voice of the piece and the truth is I like writing from my perspective. And I think that many people like reading stories that are about human trials and tribulations of eating locally. But this magazine wanted something different, a little but more industry driven (yes, even eating local is industry driven), a little bit more from the viewpoint of: we know more than you. That’s okay. That’s them. Not me.

And so I reworked the piece into a column, added about 300 words, found a great new ending and received high praises from my editor at Good Life. I placed the piece where I knew it was valued and it became a better story.

Go Towards The Love. Because when you do, good things happen.