After three years of intense focus on therapy and personal growth, I'm finally hitting the keys again and will be jumping into NaNoWriMo on November 1st, 2016. Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

15 Minute Update #4

So, my goal of 1000 words a day fell off the rails at the end of last week.  Car trouble and out-of-town visits put a hiccup in my schedule and I'm not quite at the point in my career that my routine accounts for writing while on the road.  Anyhoo, excuses...

Today, I was engrossed in the art for the first children's book that I'm illustrating myself.  Exciting!!!

The book is called: Professor Cormac's Guide to Growing: The Alphabet.  It is an instructional series of books about all the things you need to know while growing up.  The second book will deal with numbers.  This is my first attempt at drawing in probably about 20 years.  I'm pretty pumped about the way it is turning out.

Recently, I purchased a new laptop (named "Narnia") with a touchscreen.  Being a luddite, I never thought I would get much use out of the touchscreen (I have trouble using my touch phone still), but once I conceived this book, it offered the key to completing the illustrations myself.

I have finished penciling the drawings and have begun digitizing (word?) the images.  They are all scanned and ready to go.

Here is one of my favourite sketches:
Created by AJ Laflamme (Text: "Most magpies make money making movies; Neither nifty nightingales nor notorious newts notice.")

This is the first full page that is ready for press and the sketch it was based off:
Created by AJ Laflamme
Created by AJ Laflamme

I also bought an awesome stylus, so I can draw directly on the screen.

So, though I did not "write" 1000 words today, I'm counting the work I've done on this book as 1000 words worth of effort.  Also, this book needs to get done (Cormac is now 1 yr old).  I'm hoping that once I'm back at work, I will be able to get back into a writing routine.  We shall see, but for now, this is a lot of fun!

So, that's what I've been working on!

Until next time...

Monday 11 November 2013

ON WRITING - Stephen King (Redux)

Recently, I’ve been reading On Writing by Stephen King, which is WONDERFUL!!!  I am about the biggest chicken you will ever meet, so I have read a total on one (1) Stephen King book (this will be my second), so I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Stephen King fan, except, I am (especially after this book).  His writing is so honest and accessible.  Under the Dome is the only other book I’ve read by him and I devoured it.  Many more of his works are now on my unending reading list after On Writing, but that’s not relevant to this post.

Every writer of fiction should read this book.  It is refreshing and hopeful.  Many of my greatest fears have been soothed by reading about the humble beginnings of one of the century’s most well-known authours.  Not only this, he shares his process – invaluable.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

15 Minute Update #3

Hey!  So, it's November and I'm between contracts right now, which means it's writer time!!!  (Kind of like "Miller Time" but with writing.)

November is writing month.  I have a new draft of Empty Boxes and it will be performed this coming Friday & Saturday (November 8 & 9) at Theatre Starts in Aurora, ON.  For more information on that, please check out their website at:

Also, I've set a new goal for myself.  I have to write 1000 words each day.  So far it has been going fairly well.  I have been hitting between 1500-2000 words each day (except yesterday).  I find it quite the stretch to get to 500-600 words, but then suddenly, I find myself sitting at 1200 with so much more to go.  It has been really motivating.  I have also imposed rules that I'm not allowed to watch TV (or any video) or smoke until I have completed my writing.  Now, I'm just a casual smoker, but by the end of the day, I really want one, so I either get to writing or go to bed and hope for better results the next day.  Either way, it's a win-win for me - writing gets done or I don't smoke (which is a filthy habit).

I've started into my first real attempt at a novel.  I've tried other novels before, but I get about 3-4 pages in and then never touch them again.  This one I feel has better groundwork to start, so we'll see.  Also, this writing quota is really helping.  When I don't feel like updating this blog or, I pick up the novel and plug away at it.  It's great!

Also, I've been focusing on furthering my professional development.  Every morning I'm reading 2 chapters of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White - which is touted as the holy grail of writing style manuals (so I thought I better take a peek at it).  As well, my leisure reading has been On Writing by Stephen King, which has been more than extremely inspirational.  I'm filled with confidence and motivation.

So, that's what's been up in my world!  I'll post some bits from A Man and His Dog (my novel) soon.

Sunday 3 November 2013


I know this blog is dedicated to writing and inspiration for writing, but the place I find the most inspiration for my creative pursuits is through my “day job” as a stage manager.  Stage managing is a delicate and tricky business, yet many people have no clue what a stage manager actually does.  From family to close friends to people I’ve just met, I most commonly get introduced or asked about my life as a “stage director” - a very different thing.  To clarify, I usually describe the job as the person who wears the headset backstage and makes all the sound and lights go – a gross oversimplification of the job, but at least it puts me in the correct context of the production. 

Recently, I came across a letter written by Al Franklin, the Production Manager for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.  The letter was entitled In Defense of Stage Managers and went on to explain why stage managers are essential collaborators and artists in the theatrical process.  For those who are only learning what a stage manager is now, at times you come across a person who holds the perception that a stage manager is little more than the secretary of a production and has nothing to contribute creatively to the process.  This post is not about saying why that is a misconception, but how my life as a stage manager feeds and fosters me creatively.  It is something I’ve been intending on writing for a while and this happens to be my catalyst.  Franklin’s letter eloquently describes many of my own feelings toward the art of stage managing.

The letter can be viewed on the “Stage Managers Say Go” blog listed here:

Monday 28 October 2013

A Simple Love Story

They met and were attracted to each other.  They got to know each other and were in love.  They decided to take care of each other until the day they died and did. The end.

Monday 7 October 2013

RISE AND SHINE - The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman

So, this morning I saw this article posted by a friend on Facebook (God bless, Facebook for being my primary source of news information).  It is about the habits of some very successful creative minds (including my hero - Ernest Hemingway).  As you, the reader, may have noticed by my lack of posts in recent months, I have fallen out of my regular writing routine; I have even been avoiding filling out my writing calendar because it has been so depressing (even though I really do have lots to write about - let's go back and look at my post on Fear to figure out what's happening in my brain...).  Well, this article (much like Kleon's book) gave me a kick in the butt (once I actually got around to reading it this evening).  So, hopefully it will do the same for you.

Also tonight, I updated my other blog, which you can find here.

Monday 30 September 2013

15 Minute Update #2

So, exciting news!  Theatre Starts in Aurora has selected Empty Boxes as their show for the Writer's Springboard November Series.  You will be able to catch 2 staged readings on November 8 & 10!  I'll be working with a dramaturge to develop the script even further and work out some of the kinks.  Stay tuned for more information!

Art Thief :)

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Art Thief Philosophy Moment #1 - The Game of Life

The tricky thing about the Game of Life is that those that are playing to win, rarely do.  They focus on amassing the most stuff, but it is the person that amasses the most happiness that actually wins.  With our culture, we have equated things with happiness, but this is false.  It is a trick of the game.  The man who can be happy with very little will find the most happiness.  No one is keeping score at the end.  It is the joy we amass along the way.  The deeds we do for others.  The love we spread through the world.  Those are the things the amount to much in this game.  Those who keep their heads down and race forward miss the beauty of the sky.  They are constantly reaching for the road immediately ahead of them, but that road never changes and never ends.  The road to happiness is hidden among the stars and only by sitting very still and looking up will you ever find it.

Monday 22 July 2013

Loneliest Girl in the World

You've put me in a cage
Locked me away
I'm the loneliest girl in the world

Cast aside
Without a friend
I'm the loneliest girl in the world

I'm a savage
I'm an animal
I live for survival

Don't draw near
My claws are out
I will bite

No one sees
No one knows
I'm the loneliest girl in the world

Nothing I do
Can ever show
I'm the loneliest girl in the world

I scream
I shout
I claw
I bite
I tear
And rage
And explode

I'm the loneliest girl in the world

Where do I go
Whatever I do
I'm still the loneliest girl in the world

Will anyone ever see
Can you know
Stop and look
Won't you please
See the loneliest girl in the world.

Friday 19 July 2013

9 Things I Learned About Having a Play Produced

Recently, I had the privilege to work with some amazing artists on the production of Empty Boxes, a play I wrote back in 2006.  This was the first time my solo work was being produced and we were doing it completely on our own accord.  Naturally, we had some major learning moments presented to us along the way.  In the spirit of this blog, here are the things I learned working as a playwright:

This is probably the most important of these lessons.  Before you start into the process, you should sit down with your director and review the script and each of your individual visions for the piece.  You absolutely have to be on the same page as your director from the beginning; if not, you are begging for conflict later in the process.  Make sure that you are clear about important moments during these initial conversations (especially if those moments are happening in stage directions).  The director may not stage them exactly as you had in your mind, but if they know the meaning behind why you wrote it like that, they can stay true to the essence of the action.  This type of understanding can only come out of in-depth discussions without the other artists in the room.  Having these conversations early will also develop the relationship and dialogue for giving notes about the piece during the rehearsal process.

“No one knows the script better than you” was advice I received from Jason Sherman and through the process of Empty Boxes, I learned the truth of that statement.  In my day job as a stage manager, it is a cardinal sin to give your opinion about the direction of a piece (without being asked directly by the director, and even then, you walk a fine line).  Keeping my mouth shut during the rehearsal process is a trait that in heavily engrained in my soul, so flipping over to the side of the playwright, where my opinion not only expected, but necessary, was difficult (to say the least).  There were times during the process that I didn’t fight as hard as I should have for specific things that I wrote in, thinking that the director had his vision and I should respect that.  I didn’t want to over step my bounds.  But, the tricky thing with a new work is that for the first time out, the audience is expecting to see the playwright’s vision more than the director’s.  They don’t know the show, so they think this is what the playwright wrote; so as the playwright, if there is something that doesn’t sit well with you , it is your job to stand up and say so.  This doesn’t need to be a confrontation, but you can explain why something is important to the arc of the story.  Which brings me to...

Thursday 13 June 2013


I came across this picture a while back and saved it on my computer.  I look at it quite often, it has become one of my personal mantras that I repeat to myself sometimes: Everything you want is on the other side of fear, everything you want is on the other side of fear, everything you want is on the other side of fear.  The trouble with that is that there are no instructions on how to get to the other side of fear. 

Fear has been pretty all consuming in my life lately (and I have actually been writing this post for about a month – I’ve been too scared to finish... is this irony?).  Today seems to be the day that I have just simply lost patience with fear and decided that I can either keep moving forward or give up completely.  Luckily, I’ve come pretty far just to call it quits (as tempting as it may seem). 

After a few weeks of silence, I bet you are all wondering, "what happened?!" At least I used to be apologetic about not posting, but this has been radio silence. Okay, the odd post about the show, but nothing of what has been happening with my writing or inspiration. To be frank, it was because I have been overwhelmed by fear. Yup.  Fear.  My most common response when people have asked me how I'm doing is “I'm terrified”; constantly terrified. Of what? Who knows?! Life, love, failure, the future... you name it.  I have been able to ascertain that most of the fear stems from the launch of Homestead and the opening of Empty Boxes. There have been other life-things that have been sweeping through my life culminating in a perfect storm of things that send me into hibernation to the point where I refuse to leave my house each day or acknowledge the responsibilities I have (relationships, family, birthdays, unemployment, etc.).  "I don't wanna" has become my daily motto and the ostrich hiding in the sand, my mascot. Not the best way to approach life when you are standing on the cusp of many great things, but with the potential for great success comes the potential for great failure; it's just the other side of the coin. And with the potential for great failure comes a wave of soul-crushing fear. So, that's why I haven't been writing and that's what this post is about: fear.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Writer's Horror: June 12, 2013

Conversation with an actor:

Me: I had trouble listening to that monologue because the actress kept reversing the colon and period in [insert specific sentence here].
Actor: Yeah, but a colon and a period are essentially the same thing, so it shouldn't make any difference.
My head explodes: conversation ends.

Friday 31 May 2013

15 Minute Update #1

Okay, okay, okay.  I've been super bad about not posting for the past three weeks.  I actually have half a post written about dealing with fear; which I've been pretty crippled by for the past month (at least artistically).  Last night was the first public performance of Empty Boxes, which went extremely well.  I had hoped that having an audience would help relieve some of that fear, but unfortunately the theatre was super hot and I was paranoid the entire time that the audience wasn't enjoying themselves because of the heat. Wondering why they didn't laugh at this joke or that joke.  Dreading that they were super bored and annoyed that we have trapped them in this hot theatre for 90 minutes. Silly writer/producer fears.  The response was great, but for some reason I have developed the ability to completely block praise from my receptors.

Anyhoo, tonight is the official opening performance (and we've decided to let the A/C run through the show).    I'm still shaking in my boots.  So this is why I haven't been posting.  I've been pacing back and forth in my apartment waiting for tonight.  Next week, I'll be back on track with regular life.

Come check out Empty Boxes:
May 30 - June 9
Red Sandcastle Theatre
922 Queen St. E. (at Logan Ave.), Toronto, ON
For tickets:

Here are a couple of the production photos (it looks great! I'm so proud of everyone who has worked on this show):
Full Company (Lauren Toffan, Samara Stern, Nicola Elbro, Chad Thurlow, Torren Sylvain, Michael Iliadis)
Photo Credit: AJ Laflamme

Kevin (Michael Iliadis) & Sarah (Nicola Elbro)
Photo Credit: AJ Laflamme

Adrienne (Lauren Toffan) & Past Sarah (Samara Stern)
Photo Credit: AJ Laflamme

Baker (Torren Sylvain) & Past Kevin (Chad Thurlow)
Photo Credit: AJ Laflamme

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Check out my interview for "Empty Boxes"

Recently, I was interviewed for "She Does the City" about the upcoming production of Empty Boxes. It is getting close to tech time for the show, so my lack of posts on this site has been because I'm starting to freak out about the looming opening night and unveiling of the show.  It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  The show is coming along beautifully, but it is a creator's job to worry.

Anyhoo, to check out the article on "She Does the City", go to the following link:

For more information about the show, go to:

For tickets, go to:

I hope everyone gets a chance to see the show! (And I will be back to my regular posts once it is open...)

Thanks for all your support!

Wednesday 8 May 2013

A Prayer

Lord, give me the strength and the courage to face all my demons and trudge boldly into the unknown.  Lord, guide me to my destiny, and may my pace never falter and my steps go forward and not dawdle.  Lord, carry me in my times of need and shelter me in my times of hardship.  Grant me your love and peace throughout all I do.  Praise be your name.  In God's blessing keep us! Hallelujah!! Amen.

Written when times were darkest and despair filled my days with self-loathing (circa 2010).

STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST - Austin Kleon Part #2

Much like Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon resonates more with each pass.  It is an easy, fun read that lays out the artistic process in such a clear and effective format.  This is my second pass through the book and I have only covered the first two chapters, but I feel like this time through, I’m taking the time to digest the ideas in a more manageable fashion.  This post is only on the first couple chapters of the book, and in a much more specific way than the first, I will discuss how this book has shaped my perspective on writing. 

It begins with a wonderful quote by T.S. Eliot:
“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.  The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn.”

Tuesday 30 April 2013

JASON SHERMAN - A Conversation

This week I had the good fortune to sit down with one of Canada’s best playwrights, Jason Sherman, to talk about writing, the production process and anything else that happened to jump into my mind.  It was wonderful (and most of all inspiring)!  So, this week’s post will be a summary of the knowledge I was able to extract from this conversation.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

There is a hole in my heart...

There is a hole in my heart
And through it blood pours
It waters the ground
And flowers may grow
Where none had before

Monday 15 April 2013

DANCERS - Jiri Ladocha

This week, most of my writing has been focused on producing material for Homestead Theatre Project’s website (which will be up and running shortly); mandates, founding member bios, etc.  The goal we have for Homestead is to develop material that is exciting a relevant to the 20-30 somethings that would rather watch TV or go to the movies than the theatre.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about why theatre is still important: what relevance does it have to the young adults of today?  Why still make it?  Pretty scary questions when your only source of income is from this industry, but in order to gain insight into the ways to keep it alive for coming generations, these questions must be asked and answered.

For weeks I’ve been walking past the Julie M. Gallery in the Distillery District in Toronto and hanging in the windows off Mill St. were two wall sculptures that are among some of the most magical pieces of art I have ever seen.  Each time I passed, I would stop to admire the beauty of the pieces (if I had the money, I would have purchased them, but alas, they were $8000 each).  The pieces were called Dancers and were created by Jiri Ladocha.  They were sculpted from bent plywood and aluminum leaf and light danced off them like the Auroras.  They are no longer in the window, but their effect on me still lingers.
Wave by Jiri Ladocha

Monday 8 April 2013

RANTS & RAMBLES: On Working in Theatre (and the arts in general)

One of the first things they said to us in theatre school was:

“If you can do anything else, you will do anything else.”

This little phrase has haunted and discouraged me for many years.  I had always been a very good student and excelled in a number of subject areas (in fact, English was consistently the worst grade on my report card).  Math, science and business were always my strengths.  When I applied to university, I applied to the one theatre school I wanted to attend with Economics and Commerce at U of T as my second choice.  I didn’t have a third choice.  I made it into the UTM/Sheridan College acting program by the skin of my teeth (as I found out years later); I barely passed my audition and got in pretty much on academic merit alone.  There were always other things that I could do, if you viewed it based on ability.  In fact, looking at ability, drama theory was probably at the lower end of my achievement scale, but theatre and the arts still beckoned and I was determined (like most first year theatre students) to prove that I wasn’t one of those horrible statistics that would study it only to find a different career path upon graduation. 

Still, at many times during my development, this sneaky statement would creep into the back of my mind and fill me with doubt – should I do something else?  Was I only fooling myself?  For many years, I did actually pursue other career paths, but none ever stuck for very long.  I gave up the ghost on working in theatre.  I was scared; I didn’t want to fail so I didn’t try.  Oh, every once in a while I would find myself stage managing a production, but it was always secondary to whatever job I was doing at the time.  Then, one day, my life imploded.  I was left with a few boxes searching for a new apartment, new career and new life.  I decided it was time to go back to my true love: theatre.  I started pursuing a career as a stage manager and suddenly the pieces of my life started falling into place.

Sunday 24 March 2013

THIS TOO SHALL PASS - Persian Proverb

Sometimes we hear things like proverbs or other quotes and think, “yeah, that is totally true,” without fully understanding the impact of its true meaning.  Then sometimes, you hear something that you’ve heard a million times but this time you get it; like you really get it and your life is changed forever.  I’ve had this happen a couple times in the past few years (I guess with age comes understanding).  This week it happened and that’s what I’m stealing for this post.

When you are working on a play, tech week is always long and hard (even when everything is going great!).  It is just really long hours with a lot to do, so it is often difficult to find time to pee, let alone take 15 minutes to eat.  This past week, we went into tech for La Ronde at Soulpepper which means everything else in life is on hold until we open.  Due to my lack of foresight (or my belief that I am a robot that doesn’t need sleep), this was also the same week that Empty Boxes started rehearsals.  My rationale was that Empty Boxes wouldn’t affect me because I don’t need to be at rehearsals; little did I know the emotional strain you suffer as a writer knowing that somewhere people are analyzing your words, saying them repeatedly and trying to figure out why you ever put them on the page.   As well, having actors and a director actually rehearsing your work means that your work will be in front of an audience shortly, then those people will pass judgment on whether this work of art that you’ve so painstakingly created is of any value.  Standby freak-out! Freak-out GO! (As you can see, I’ve got tech brain.)

It was while stressing that I came across the proverb: This too shall pass.  A lightbulb went on.  I got it.  I mean I really got it.  I finally understood the essential beauty and power of the phrase and it quickly entered my phone as a daily reminder. 

Sunday 17 March 2013


Well, this has been a crazy week and this week’s plunder is dedicated to those people who helped me get through it!

In a previous post, I discussed how I was never really cut out to be an actor because there is so much more that goes into it than just acting (auditioning, classes, character analysis, schmoozing, etc.), well, this can be said for any profession.  There is so much more to stage management than calling a show and there is so much more to writing than just sitting down and writing.  As time goes on, I’m learning all the additional things that go into actually establishing yourself as a writer.  It takes a lot of work and the ability to juggle many aspects of your life all at once.  Well, I’m one of those people who believe that they can do anything and will take on a lot all at once.  This week has been a real “eye opener” (this will be punny in a moment; keep reading) and I have learned that I need to rely on others more.

Therefore, this week’s post is about the song that has been running in my head this entire week:  With a Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles.  Now, I am not actually using or stealing this song for any writing purpose, but it has been my motivation for seeking help from friends and colleagues.  Every time that I feel stressed and overwhelmed, the song pops in my head and I remember that I’m not in this alone; there are people who want to help.

Sunday 10 March 2013


Well, this week I’m heading back to basics with my plunder.  I just finished reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss for the second (or possibly third or fourth time).  I can still remember the first time I read it and how it changed the way I looked at punctuation forever.  In fact, it was this book that took away my fear of the written word in the first place.

As I reflect back on my elementary education, I don’t recall ever having a lesson on grammar and proper punctuation usage, so by the time I reached university and was required to write regularly, I had no idea how to use the language to the best of my ability.  I could barely spell (okay, not totally, but I do recall that I often didn’t use specific words because I didn’t know how to spell them – the internet wasn’t what it is today and we still used dictionaries and I was too lazy to look up the words).  So, my essay would be rife with errors and run on sentences that could have benefited from a thorough punctuation attack.  It wasn’t until I read Truss’ book that I even understood how to use a coma properly (sad, I know!). 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a hilariously funny look at punctuation, but also extremely informative.  It has served me a reference guide for close to a decade now and each time through I gain more confidence with another type of mark.  After the first read, my mind was blown and there was so much clear and useful information that I couldn’t possibly absorb it all at once.  I focused on the coma, which over the years has become a close and personal friend. (Note:  As I’m writing this post, I’m extremely paranoid about the punctuation that I’m using because even though I have spent much time attempting to master it; there is still so much to learn.)  Thinking about the book now, I realize this must have been at least my third time through because my second time, my focus was on the apostrophe; particularly the difference between its and it’s.  (True story:  I’ve recently been editing Empty Boxes for production and I am working from a 2006 draft; I was appalled while editing at the number of times I wrote its when I meant it’s.  It’s embarrassing!)

Sunday 3 March 2013

PLAYWRITING & COMEDY - Jason Sherman & Demetri Martin

La Ronde - Soulpepper
So the last couple weeks have been extremely busy but hugely productive.  I’m back at work, with Soulpepper on their upcoming productions of La Ronde and True West, and things are really getting underway with Empty Boxes.

This week’s plunder is coming from 2 sources: Jason Sherman, the playwright who has adapted La Ronde for Soulpepper from Arthur Schnitzler’s original and Demetri Martin, author of This is a Book by Demetri Martin.  Sherman’s work has particular stylistic elements that resonate in my own writing and Martin’s book has inspired me to look at comedy and storytelling from new perspectives.  (I know I could have probably written a separate post for each, but I feel like I’ve been cycling through ideas and inspirations from both so much this week that they have somewhat merged into one in my mind.)

Thursday 14 February 2013

QUOTES #2 - Henrik Ibsen and more...

So, here is the long awaited new post.  Sorry.  I started back at work two weeks ago and have been attempting (unsuccessfully) to find a balance between writing and working.

I also need to get into the habit of actually writing down my inspirations as they come to me because every time I sit down to write a new plunder, I am stumped about what has been inspiring me for the week even though I know there were a bunch.

This week I’m continuing my exploration of quotes.  Here is Part 2.

I’ll lead off with a quote from Alice Walker which is an undercurrent in my motivation for Eve of Destruction, which used to be called In the Name of the Children

“The most important question in the world is, ‘Why is the child crying?’” Alice Walker

Wednesday 6 February 2013

QUOTES #1 - Sir Winston Churchill and more...

My deepest apologies for the tardiness of this post (and that it followed a tardy post from last week... eek!  A bad habit seems to be forming!)

Anyway, this week’s post is actually one that I have been thinking about for a while and will be the first in a series; though the series may be non-consecutive.  Now that the first draft of My Mother’s Daughters is complete and back in hibernation for a bit (so I can look at it with fresh eyes after some time apart), I have been thinking about my next project: Eve of Destruction.  I have mentioned this show in previous posts; it will be a musical using already written songs (along the lines of Mama Mia!, Rock of Ages, and We Will Rock You) addressing the manipulation by the media of public opinion and how it can be used by governments and big business as a propaganda machine (do I hear echoes of Orwell?? Hello, is this 1984 calling? Yes!).  It also deals largely with war and what leads a country to go to war and how the media plays a role in influencing the population to support these wars (*cough, cough* Iraq?).  I’ve been finding that much of my writing is leaning towards varying perspectives on war, violence and government; many ideas are varieties of dystopian fantasy fiction, but I’m finding with all of these, a huge influence is from quotes that I read.

A while ago, I picked up a copy of the book 1001 Smartest Things Ever Said edited by Steven D. Price.  This is where my plunder comes from this week.  I’ve highlighted many of my favourites and starred ones that have particular relevance to Eve of Destruction.  Those will be the main quotes I’m focusing on in this part of my plunder. 

It starts with Sir Winston Churchill:
“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books or quotations.  Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently.  The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts.  They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.”

Wednesday 30 January 2013


Eek!  Sorry for this week’s post being late.  It has been quite the busy week here at Art Thief Headquarters.  We have been holding auditions for Homestead Theatre Project’s upcoming production of my show Empty Boxes.  And I have been chained to my computer, pounding out the first draft of My Mother’s Daughters; which had its first reading this past Saturday.

On the upside, Empty Boxes has its callbacks confirmed with some wonderful options for each role and My Mother’s Daughters is in the mail for the SummerWorks submissions, so I can focus a little more on this blog.

Now, plunder for this week... well, this has actually been the hardest week for me to come up with something because my thoughts have been so focused elsewhere.  In fact, as I sit here, I still have not titled this entry because I haven’t decided what it is about yet.   All I know is that by the time Monday rolled around, I was exhausted!

Anyhoo, this might be a short entry, but I think my plunder for this week is something I am stealing from the people who auditioned for us on the weekend.  One of the auditionees talked about another audition he did for a collective he was a part of; they were required to bring in an object for their audition and present a story that they created based on that object.  His was a mason jar.  As soon as he began talking about it, my mind started running overtime with various stories, ideas and things flashing through my head.  I loved it.

This is what I’m stealing this week.  I think I’m going to start using this idea as a writing exercise to keep those old creative juices flowing.  Step One: Pick a random object.  Step Two:  Write a story about that object.  Simple.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Memory of Lefkada

The wind now blows
where a voice once lived
the grass now grows
where feet once roamed

The rocks and sand and water flow
where arms once held
a heart now beats
where once was still

OEDIPUS REX - Αρτivities Company / Volos Regional Municipal Theatre at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

This week I have actually been putting pen to paper and getting the first draft of My Mother’s Daughters down.  Well, actually, it’s more like marker to scrap paper and then fingers to keyboard, but you get the picture.  My greatest struggle was how to present all the sides of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in an effective way.  Much of what I had written previously didn’t lend itself to traditional reality play format.  This is when I decided to steal!

What did I steal?  Well, thank you for asking!  I stole the Greek Chorus.  If you had asked me this time last year if I would ever incorporate a chorus into anything other than a musical, I likely would have said: not in this lifetime – but we all grow and learn.  I thought that because I had not seen a chorus used effectively before, nor did I truly understand the purpose of the chorus.  Both are things that would change after touring three shows to Greece in July 2012. 

While on this trip, I was lucky enough to see a production of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus from the Αρτivities Company / Volos Regional Municipal Theatre.  It was the most effective and beautiful use of a chorus that I have ever seen.  On top of the magic of sitting in a nearly 2000 year old amphitheatre with seating for 14,000, the show was simplistic (with 2 panels used as doors to the palace, a trunk of costumes, a wheelchair and a giant rug as the only “set”) yet it was incredibly well performed and captivating.  Also, did I mention, it was performed in Greek.  Since I don’t speak Greek, I found it even more amazing to be able to clearly follow the story without the ability to understand the words.  A tremendous feat achieved by the entire company.  This may also be the reason I was able to pay such close attention to the chorus and their performance.

Me at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus before the show

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Little Logan and the Snowflake Waltz

SKY PILOT - Eric Burdon & The Animals

Wow!  Where did Monday go?!  I really wanted to have this post done by this morning.   *Sigh* One of these weeks...

Anyhoo, here we go!

This week, my theft is more direct.  Previously, I think they have been all inspirational, but this week, I’m stealing: straight out.

I was driving home from St. Catharines on Sunday evening with Q107 cranked in the car and a song I haven’t heard in quite a while came on the radio.  I listened and was overjoyed because it fit perfectly into the show that is currently ruminating in my mind called Eve of Destruction.  The song: Sky Pilot by Eric Burdon & The Animals.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

MY SISTERS - Carol & Stina

This past week has left me up to my ears in books, Post-Its and piles of research notes.  Though it only dawned on me last night that my weekly post was due today, I was not concerned: I have spent the entire week delving deep into the world of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and its effect on those surrounding the sufferer and have been more than inspired (and made numerous plunders).  In fact, most of the week I had every intention of writing this post on Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Ann Lawson, but as I went to sleep last night, I came to the realization that wasn’t what is really driving me.  That’s not where my greatest theft has come from.

This week’s plunder is my sisters.  Well, my sisters from my mother (there are others, but that is a long story...).  
My Beautiful Sisters - Stina & Carol

AUDITION NOTICE - Empty Boxes (Homestead Theatre Project)

The Homestead Theatre Project will be holding auditions for their upcoming production of Empty Boxes, a new play by AJ Laflamme.

Audition Dates:     Wednesday, January 23, 2013 – 7-10pm
                             Sunday, January 27, 2013 – 12-5pm

Please submit resume and headshot to Cory Doran at  Please include your preferred audition date in your submission.

Deadline to Submit: Friday, January 18, 2013 – 5pm

Those selected for an audition should prepare 1 contemporary monologue and be prepared to read from the script.  Callbacks will be held on Sunday, February 3, 2013.  This is a non-Equity, profit-sharing contract.

Empty Boxes will be performed at the Red Sandcastle Theatre May 30, 2013 – June 9, 2013.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

RANTS & RAMBLES: Les Miserables (The Movie)

For those who may not know, Les Miserables is my favourite musical of all time!  I have been looking forward to the release of this movie since it was announced and did a happy dance for at least 10 minutes when I read the synopsis of the project.  This being my first published “Rants & Rambles” (yes, I have more partially written, but not completed), I thought it appropriate that it should be on the film version of Les Miserables which opened on Christmas Day 2012 (what more could a girl ask for on Christmas?!).

Being a purest of the show and extreme fan, my excitement for the epic film version was tempered by my fear of it being put through the Hollywood washing machine and cleaned of all meaning and significance.  Despite this, I knew that there must be some tweaks and touches to adapt the show to the new format.  As a writer, I am pretty reasonable when it comes to making changes to the story so it is clearer to the audience, so I was prepared to accept some minor alterations for the benefit of storytelling, but that is it.  With that, here we go...


THE LIBRARY - Northern District Branch (TPL)

This week’s plunder is one that is very close to my heart.  This week I’m stealing from the Toronto Public Library.  Well, not actually, but you know what I mean...

After much thought (and many hours sitting at my usual desk in the Northern District Branch), I came to realize that much of my inspiration has come from the library.  As a child, the Grantham Library branch in St. Catharines was my second home.  As I grew, I spent less and less time in the library and more time out with friends, writing in fancy coffee shops or buying the books I wanted to read instead of borrowing.  I forgot about the secret treasures that the library held.

After reading Kleon’s book (yes, it always comes back to this book), I was reminded that the library is a wonderful place to work, find inspiration or watch the world go by.  As a writer, I am required to do a lot of research for the projects I work on and now that I have been taking my writing more seriously, my knowledge requirements have grown exponentially.  For every  one thing I write, I find I need to read 15 or more books.  There is no way I could afford to continue to buy all the books I needed.  Here is where the library offers an abundance of resources.  For my project, My Mother’s Daughters, I have been required to do a lot of research into Borderline Personality Disorder and have found all the resources I could hope for through the Toronto Public Library (and had them shipped to my local branch for pick-up).  I know you must be thinking: Yes, the library is a great place to find books... no newsflash there... thanks!  But this is not where the true magic of the library lies...