Sunday, October 26, 2008

The playwriting workshop I conducted at my old high school (New Trier) went well. It was part of a day-long Literary Festival, so a bunch of writers of all sorts of disciplines speak about what they do and/or guide some sort of writing exercise. Some other writers who were in attendance included Neo-Futurists' Greg Allen, playwright Sarah Ruhl, novelist Adam Langer, Ben Joravsky from the Chicago Reader, cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, Entertainment Weekly TV critic Gillian Flynn. Junior and senior writing students essentially have the entire day off from their regular classes to attend hour and half sessions throughout the day.

This is the fifth year of the Festival and the third year I've been conducting a workshop. The first year, I attempted to talk for an hour and a half about playwriting which, if you know me, is an hour and twenty-nine minutes too long to be talking. Since then, I use a writing exercise that involves brainstorming and list-making, and then using that stuff to build a two character dialogue (it's more fun than it sounds). The approach is to just get stuff down on paper. It doesn't have to be good. Quantity not quality. It's pretty much a lesson on first drafts. And the success of any workshop like this depends on participation and sharing, and the students in my sessions did both. Well, most of them did. Some of them clearly were here by some unfair default in scheduling and life.

I had some free time between my sessions, so I wandered around the school.

The main stairwell, looking down from the 4th floor. If you were going to drop a garbage bag filled with spaghetti sauce down any stairwell in the school, this was the one.

The HomeEc kitchens are on this floor. This hallway smelled like cinnamon rolls. The other hallways smelled like sweat and hormones.

One of these lockers was mine. I forget which one. The green one?

Rainn Wilson, Ann Margaret, Adam Baldwin (from Firefly), and Charlton Heston. Charlton Heston is dead, to answer the "Where Are They Now" question. I do not make enough money to be included on this bulletin board.

Arty ceiling shot of the second floor rotunda, if by "arty" I mean "bad photography."

I've always liked this Indian carved into the Indian Hill Metra underpass. I don't know what that blue stuff is.