Tag-Archive for » high school «

Let Others Inspire your work as a Writer (part 1)

teenagers, new ideas, family, young Entrepreneur, short plays, one act plays     One day  I stumbled across the true story of a young  entrepreneur who didn’t let his age, or nay-sayers, or haters stand in his way. I was so inspired by this young man and his courage to be different, a play script was born.  Since I was writing my series of short plays/small casts, it was a perfect fit (pun intended) to write a one act play about this subject.
Knitting socks for a school business fair, he sold out and found himself with a fist-full of sock orders.  The media caught hold of the story and the young man was offered a deal with a chain of department stores.  Here is his story.

Synopsis:     Favorite thing to wear? Orange socks. Ever since Henry was old enough to wear socks, rain or shine, he would take them off at the first opportunity…..unless they were orange. So his mother dyed all of his socks orange. Now at age fourteen, Henry has a school project in social studies. Create and market a product for the school’s business Fair. The obvious choice? Orange Socks. So he asks his mother, who is a knitter, to teach him how to knit socks.  Little does Henry and his mother know but this is just the beginning of Henry’s business career.  1f. 1m.

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Cruisin’ the Boulevard…the Fifties Nostalgia (part 4)

nostalgia, memories, 1950's, high school, rock and rollI woke up this morning thinking about the fifties.  “The Great Pretender” by The Platters weaving its magic through my brain.  My poodle skirt was one of five full circle skirts in my closet.  And the number of crinolines you wore under your poodle skirt dictated how popular you were at school.  Crazy, huh?

And that made me think of the other things that the really popular girls had that I wanted.  I had one crinoline, they had at least three.  Oh!  and Jansen sweater sets.  My parents could only afford one; the really cool girls had a set for every day of the week.  Jansen sweaters had a lot of cashmere in them and they were expensive from my side of the tracks. (Stay at home Mom and a meat cutter Dad.)  And I can still remember my first pair of white buck shoes.  Every night I had to ‘paint’ white polish on them.  They couldn’t be scuffed1950's, rock and roll, high school, nostalgia or dirty, EVER!

‘Bad’ Girls were identified by four things:  they drank beer, they dated servicemen (sailors in my town), they had their ears pierced and they would go out on dates to the drive-in movies.  We all knew what happened there!  You wouldn’t want to be caught dead talking to any of them if you valued your reputation!

Rock and Roll, Bill Hailey and the CometsAnd I was there at the birth of Rock n’ Roll.  Bill Hailey and the Comets had just released their movie “Rock Around the Clock”.  Elvis had stormed the world stage with “Heartbreak Hotel” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”.  We loved him on the radio and on our 45’s,  but parents were up in arms and would not let us ‘see‘ him.  Those hips were scandalous!  Elvis, rock and roll,

 

So the movie “Rock Around the Clock” finally comes to our little burg.  It was a Saturday matinee and the house was packed with teenagers.  Somewhere in the movie Bill Hailey sings his signature song.  We couldn’t stay in our seats!  “One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock, five, six, seven o’clock, eight o’clock ROCK! nine, ten, eleven o’clock, twelve o’clock ROCK!……..We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight!”  The aisles filled with teens dancing, doing the jitterbug.  Laughing and singing along with the Comets.  It was amazing!

The theatre manager thought he had a riot on his hands and called the police. We got a stern lecture and were told if we would stay in our seats they would turn the movie back on.

Do you remember cruising and the Drive-In??  After the football game, or dance, or a date for the movies everyone would pile into whoever had a car and cruise down the length of Lincoln St. through downtown and out First Street to Bernie’s Drive-Inn and drive slowly around and around the restaurant, checking everyone out while they checked you out.  We’d either stop for a ‘malt’ or a ‘Coke’ or we’d reverse our cruising and drive back down First Street and up Lincoln…..we’d do that until someone had to get home before curfew. drive ins, 1950's, rock and roll, My last boyfriend in high school was older and had already graduated.  He had a custom 1957 Chevy coupe.  Very little chrome; everything was ‘leaded in’.  It was the most gorgeous dusky pink.

Our ‘song’ was Party Doll by Buddy Knox.  I was his party Doll and how I kept my virginity that year, I’ll never know!!

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Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS!      A NEW SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, , Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  Mark Childress is our April author.  Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author.  July features Rhys Bowen.  Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander. Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter.
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What do you do with a great Review?

Stop!  Enjoy!  Writing is a lonely business….oh sure, family and friends read our stuff (sometimes reluctantly) and sometimes they really like what we’ve done!  LOL  But, a good (or great, if we’re so lucky) review from someone who doesn’t sleep in the bed next to us, or sit across the Thanksgiving table from us, or see us at work every day; that’s a rare validation that keeps us writers doing what we do.    Perhaps non-writers don’t know this but most of us who put pen to paper have no idea whether or not what we write is good or worthy of your attention and when we put it out there we hold our breath while it is judged.

The fine folks at BookReview.com have written a thorough (and very complimentary review of “Ten Minutes to Curtain”. Scroll down to take a gander, or click here to read it on the original site.

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Teen Fiction 
Title: Ten Minutes to Curtain! A Collection of Short Plays for the Young Actor
Author: Trisha Sugarek
Rating:  Must Read!
Publisher: CreateSpace.com
Web Page: www.amazon.com
Reviewed by: Eric Jones

Trisha Sugarek is a writer after my own heart. Her work is an ode to life meant to introduce children to the wonders and horrors that make life worth living. Ranging in length and production value, many of her plays invoke the feel of the old morality plays, and inherit their sense of distinction. They have been collected under the aptly titled, “Ten Minutes to Curtain”, and reading them back to back encourages them to be performed together as they flow exceedingly well from the first story of 1920’s poverty, to her final comedy about a loving, and unusual, modern housewife’s bizarre meeting with a multi-millionaire.

“Ten Minutes to Curtain” contains ten mini-dramas meant for middle school or high school production. They are appropriately simple in construction and complex in conflict, lending great emphasis on the characters established in each play. While Sugarek offers brief explanations on the stage sets, she sharply leaves them open to interpretation, allowing for many of the plays to be performed on a blank canvas as might be necessary in a class room or school yard.

“Love Never Leaves Bruises” is the pinnacle of Sugarek’s dramatic angle, and occurs at the peak of the book’s arc. It revolves around an abusive high school relationship between a boy and girl, and the emotional battle that the girl fights with her mother. While being representative of a classic case of high school hormonal imbalance, the play puts a major problem on its face and demonstrates to kids how harmless dating can quickly turn dangerous.

But Sugarek is not content to keep all of her plays in a setting familiar to the children who will be performing them. Her plays encourage an exploration of both time and emotion. “Pan of Potatoes”, “La Verne and Mr. Service”, and “The Waltz” all take place during the 1920s, and while dealing with situations that children can relate to; poverty, dance parties, and poetry, they also introduce them to the work of Robert Service, as well as the social constructs of other periods.

Sugarek’s master work can be cut up and performed in the segments that make up the larger work, but I believe that they would be best served in performance back to back.  The over arching theme is that of children’s natural conflict with parents as they grow older.  It’s an astonishing work that finds a way to say so much with so little, and turns the bare stage into every young man and woman’s living room. A perpetual battle ground for issues of trust and mistrust, laughter and misery, overwhelming loss and astounding triumph. ~~BookReview.com

We writers are very self-critical……but remember to stop and enjoy the successes….something that you know is well written….your book sales….or a review that tells you that you are on the right track.  You deserve it!!

 

Bullies! Déjà-vu in the most horrific way!

cyber-bullying, bullying, girls who bully, short plays for teens, high school, middle school   A few weeks ago I published four short plays addressing cyber-bullying and verbal bullying in our schools.  My hope was that if teens and their teachers read these plays (and performed them in their classroom) it would maybe open a dialogue about this deadly practice.

In “You’re Fat, You’re Ugly…”  Aanya is a beautiful, talented student, much like Amanda Todd, who is driven to attempted suicide by her peers’ relentless bullying.  In “Cyber-Hate” Cathy is the victim of bullying that leads to violence. “The Bullies” is about boys who bully.

I wrote these plays depicting different variations of bullying…..Fiction based on dry statistics.

And now in today’s headlines we read about Amanda Todd, (age 15) a beautiful young girl who just couldn’t take anymore.  She felt her only option to escape this form of terrorism (bullying) was to take her own life.  It saddened me and my love and prayers go out to her family and friends.  This pointless loss of a young woman’s life also outraged me. Amanda’s cry for help (I assume) was a previous attempt at suicide by drinking bleach.  Her stalker-bully wrote a message to her, “Try harder.”  What kind of monster does this??

‘Amanda Todd, a Vancouver-area teenager who posted a story to YouTube last month about being cyber-bullied, was found dead Wednesday night in Coquitlam, Canada. Authorities believe she committed suicide.  Amanda’s video tells a heart-wrenching story of the bullying she was subjected to — both online and off. “In 7th grade,” she begins, sharing her message on cue cards, “I would go with friends on webcam [to] meet and talk to new people.” At one point, a stranger flattered her into flashing the camera…..

One year later, a man contacted her on Facebook, threatening to send around the picture of her topless “if [she] don’t put on a show.” Terrifyingly, the stranger knew everything about her: her address, school, friends, relatives, and the names of her family members. Soon, her naked photo had been forwarded “to everyone.”Amanda developed anxiety, depression, and anxiety disorders, she says in the video, followed by a path into drugs and alcohol.’ ~~ Huffington Post

We, as the adults, MUST take control of this deadly game that teens are playing.  Maybe the bullies need to see their parents go to jail for their actions.   After all, these bullies are just children,  and the parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s behavior.  The buck stops at the parents’ door step.

STOP THE BULLYING!

                                                                                            SAVE LIVES!

More resources re: Bullying, Cyber-bullying
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This artist is inspired by ‘dance’….what inspires you to write?

I am a big fan of reality dance shows (All the Right Moves, So you think You can Dance, Dance Moms, The Chance to Dance, Breaking Pointe; the list goes on and on).  Nope! Not a big a fan of Dancing with the Stars…..(sigh, sorry).   Wait!  Don’t give up on me quite yet…..please read on.

As my readers probably already know I create many short scripts about ‘real time’ challenges for the teens of today. And the other night I was watching the season finale of the Abby Lee Dance Company (Dance Moms) and Abby choreographed a dance, inspiration, teens, texting and driving, teenagers, textingpowerful and brilliant piece called, “The Last Text”.

All told in dance, it was about a car load of teens texting while driving and the predictable results, a horrific car crash.  The dance piece was stellar!  And won national awards! I am certain you can see it in a re-run; believe me it is worth tracking down.

I was inspired to write another short play for my “ShortN’Small”  series.  About texting and driving and the possible consequences.  I  borrowed the concept from her wonderful choreography (blocking) and the premise of the piece.  But the dialogue that her wonderful work inspired in me is all mine!

 I’ve always believed that excellence breeds excellence.  I have always been attracted to the company of smarter people than myself.  They teach me so much.  I always wanted to play with better tennis players…it made me a better player.  I was never jealous of a more accomplished actor than I was;  they made me grow and stretch as an actor.  And watching young dancers makes me happy; they are such athletes and so passionate about dancing…. of course, I was inspired !

texting and driving, teen texting, short plays, high school, middle school,

Writers, do you research enough? (4of4 Fairy Tales)

fairies, fairy tales, Tinker Bell, short plays, small casts, Disneyland, writing        While writing another short play, “Daughterland“,  I wanted a whole new spin on Disney’s Tinker Bell.  So more research.  This is what I found:   James Barrie’s first draft of his famous story  (1924) of the magical boy who never grew up originally christened the world’s most famous female fairy as “Tippy-Toe.”  By the time the play was first performed, the little pixie had been renamed “Tinker Bell” and has remained so ever since.

Probably most readers know that a tinker was an itinerant tradesman who mended pots and pans. He rang his distinctively high pitched “tinker’s bell” to announce he was in the neighborhood

Barrie pictured the fairy with fiery red hair because she was so small she could only have one emotion at a time, and the red hair seemed to reflect her most common emotions. From Barrie’s unpublished screenplay, here is the description of the first appearance of Tinker Bell:

“The fairy, Tinker Bell. Swallows perched on the outside of the window. The fairy music comes up. The fairy, Tink, flies on and alights on the window sill.  She should be about five inches in height and, if the effect can be got, this should be one of the quaintest pictures of the film, the appearance of a real fairy. She is a vain little thing, and arranges her clothes to her satisfaction. She also keeps shoving the birds about so as to get the best place for herself. Finally, she shoves all the swallows off the sill.”

When the animated feature was first released, the Disney publicity department insisted that this would be the first time that Tinker Bell would be visible as more than just the little spot of light flitting around the scenery. In actuality, a silent movie version of Peter Pan released by Paramount in 1924 had a live actress appear briefly in some close-ups as Tinker Bell.   Courtesy of Wade Sampson                                                                                                                                                               My research changed the way I thought of Tinker Bell, the Disney version. In doing so, my ‘Tippy’ (yes, I went with her orginal name) is quite different.  But the play is really about a father and daughter trying to find new ground in their relationship after divorce.