Friday, April 4, 2014

Blog Hop

Author Blog Hop

Elise Forier Edie
I got invited to do this author blog hop thing and since I haven't posted in (who even knows how long) and because I like the author who invited me to do it so much, I said yes.

Elise Forier Edie wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics to the ah-mazing musical Rebel Girls, inspired by the Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 in Lawrence, MA.  I was match-made with Elise and the show's composer, Tina Lear, to direct a workshop of their musical.  They were awesome.  With the help of lots of index cards and yummy snacks, we holed ourselves into the CAP 21 conference room and re-organized the entire show in a day.  They trusted me, I loved the material, and we had one helluva time.  Apparently, Elise even blogged about how great our experience was.

So when Elise invited me, I took Bob Moss's advice: say yes.  I said yes.  Here are the answers to my questions, and at the end of this post, you'll find Elise's info, along with the info of three other fab writers whom I invited to participate in this thing.

1)  What am I working on?

My first book, One Man Guy, is being published in May (Macmillan, FSG).  It’s about Alek, a fourteen-year old Armenian boy who falls for New York City, the music of Rufus Wainwright and a totally hot skater boy over the course of one epic summer.

I’ve been working on my second book, The Aether Wild, for a few years.  It’s a collaboration with two friends, Suzanne Agins and Rosemary Andress, who are both primarily theater directors like me.  How many directors does it take to write a book?  Three, apparently.  The Aether Wild is a science fiction/fantasy post-apocalyptic adventure story about a girl determined to save the world at all costs.

My day job, as day jobs go, is as a theater director.  I’m currently in rehearsals for aproduction of Spring Awakening (themusical) in Syracuse, and am in pre-production for my next production with TheUpstart Creatures, a company of theater artists I assembled last year.

Other projects include adapting Paradise Lost for the stage and a commission from the Sloan Foundation, which I’m using to write a play about Lucretius, the Ancient Roman scientist/philosopher who wrote De Rerum Natura, which translates into something like: The Way Things Are, The Nature of the Universe  or The Nature of Things.   

2)  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

To be honest, I haven’t read many coming out stories, so I’m not exactly sure what the norm is.  Going by the feedback I’ve been getting from Goodreads, it seems like most coming out novels fall on the angsty side.  I came out when I was twenty-one (and not to my parents until I was twenty-three) and I remember how incredibly anxiety-making it was.  I was not, however, especially interested in writing that because my parents, like the parents of most people I know, accepted my coming out with great love.  I’m not saying it wasn’t awkward, or that other people’s coming out isn’t more traumatic.  I just felt like we’d seen and read that story plenty, given how the times are a-changin’, I wanted to write a story in which the coming out wasn’t the big deal event.

3)  Why do I write what I do?
Wendy Wasserstein

For most of my life, writing was like going to loud bars: I knew lots of people who appeared to enjoy it, but it never occurred to me that it was something I myself would like.   Then Wendy Wasserstein died and I missed her, and writing was an activity that I associated with her, having been her typists for five years.  So I started writing as a way of remembering Wendy.

When I write a play or book, it’s because I can’t not write it.  Something about the story demands to be told.  I have one such story bubbling inside of me.  I don’t want to write it, in that I’ve very busy now and over-committed and don’t really have time, but it is insisting on being told and so soon, I imagine, I will start typing.

On a more conscious level, I try to write stories that I don’t think have been told (or told enough) yet.  Many readers of One Man Guy learned about the existence of the Armenian genocide through the book, and the idea that I can help tell that story feels incredibly important to me.

4)  How does my writing process work?

When I’m dealing with the frightful proposition of a blank screen, I need to write early, before my husband wakes up, when I’m barely conscious, when I can’t filter or even think about what I’m writing.  I usually have a sense of what I’m going to write (I outline and research heavily before I begin), but I do my best first-draft writing first thing in the morning.

Then I’ll try to do something that has nothing to do with writing – I’ll go to my yoga studio or do some cooking, take a bike ride.  I’ll revisit the pages in the afternoon, and often be totally surprised at the words I’m reading, as if someone else wrote them.  I find that’s the best way to look at my own work.

When it comes to re-writing, I’m better at that in the afternoon.  I like to work a little, take a nap, work some more.  I prefer to do that at tables, rather than desks, because tables are bigger and I like to spread out.  Or, if I just need to read, I like to do that lying down on a sofa, because then when I want to take a nap I don’t need to move.

The Writer Who Invited Me To Join The Blog Hop


TWITTER: @EliseForierEdie




The Writers Whom I Invited To Join The Blog Hop (all Vassar Grads, oddly enough)

Amy Boyce Holtcamp - was my muse in college, the lead of just about every play I directed.  She continued to go to UW to study directing, and now lives in the sexiest city in the country, New Orleans, with her rock star-dramaturg husband Victor who teaches at Tulane and often proofs my blog out of the kindness of his OCD heart.  Amy is one of my favorite collaborators, a great writer and director. 

Mary Beth Caschetta and I met at the memorial service for Ann Imbrie, who had taught us both at Vassar a decade apart.  Ann had mentioned Mary Beth regularly, and by the time I met her I felt like I had already known her.  Being able to share the loss of Ann with someone else who had known and loved her was incredibly valuable to me, and I love how Mary Beth writes about painful things directly and unsentimentally.

Isaac Butler, on the other hand, got to Vassar the year after I left, and we met at Soho Rep, where he assisted me one summer producing a festival of new plays.  Like me and Amy, he's a director and writer, and without a doubt the most well-read and well-watched guy out there.