Tag Archives: Blogging101

Local Paragons VI: Twin City Stage (Pride and Prejudice)

Twin City Stage, formerly known as the Little Theatre of Winston Salem, is the longest running professional theatre in the triad. It was founded in 1935 and puts on a number of quality productions per year. These productions are affordable, well produced, and worth the time you will invest to see them. Winston Salem is well known for being the center for arts and culture in the triad, and Twin City Stage lives up to that reputation.

Three of the six in attendance. Unfortunately, the kind lady who took the photo got more thumb than people. This was all I could salvage

Twin City Stage: <3 <3 <3 <3                     Pride and Prejudice: <3 <3 <3 <3

Lucy settled into the plush red seat. She crossed on leg over the other, paused, shifted, then crossed the other leg so she was leaning away from the unfamiliar eighty year old many hacking into a handkerchief on her right.

“So he took you to church on your first date?”

Lucy crossed her arms over her chest, then uncrossed them and flipped through the program. She didn’t look at him as she spoke.

“Not to church, Chris. Geeze, you make it sound like he’s some kind of monk or something,” her words were as stiff and straight as her back. “It was the St. Phillip’s learning center at Old Salem. We went inside the church there and read some of the stories of—“

“Yeah, you already told me all that. But seriously Luce the guy sound kind of kookie,” he twirled his finger around his ear like a third grader.  ucy shut the program and stared intently at the front cover, studying the white lettering “Twin City Stage Presents” as if it were written in French or Portuguese.

“I don’t think so, Chris. He was actually pretty authentic. I could tell he really believe in this kind of…”


“Forget it,” Lucy opened the booklet again and started reading. “I don’t know why I bother. So what do you think? Is it more natural to have fruit or flowers growing out of the head?” She leaned the program toward him for inspection. Chris looked over the Austen quote and laughed. He shook his head.

“I think you’re going to turn into a fruitcake if you don’t start growing some sense soon.”

Lucy shut the program again, folded it in half and smacked him across the arm. Twice.

“You two are an awfully sweet couple,” the man next to her wheezed as she settled the program back into her lap. “Why I remember when my Genevieve and I used to tease each other just like that. Come to think of it, she still has to knock me upside the skull when I need some sense thumped into me. Don’t give up on your young fellow there. We’re all just a bunch of numskulls without pretty little things to knock sense into us.”

Lucy’s eyes widened and she glanced at Chris to see if he’d heard. He was busy studying his phone.

“Oh no,” Lucy managed when the man quit coughing again. “We’re not, actually, I mean, we’re just good friends but I—“

“Friends?” The man’s white bushy eyebrows rose. “That’s some kind of friend to take you to Pride and Prejudice on Valentine’s weekend?”

Lucy didn’t miss the emphasis on the word friend.

“I know,” she could feel the heat in her cheeks. “He’s suffering though it because he knows how much I love the play and my sister had to cancel because one of her kids has the flu and it’s my birthday you see,” Lucy trailed off unsure why she felt the need to justify herself to this stranger. “Anyway we’re just—“

“Friends, yes, so you’ve said,” the man nodded his head, but the twinkle in his eye told Lucy he didn’t believe her. She opened her moth to speak again but he beat her to it. “You know this has been my wife’s favorite book since she was a teenager. She told me once that before it was published, Austen called it First Impressions. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned there for you, my dear?”

The lights blinked on and off indicating the performance was getting ready to start. The man leaned away and took his wife’s hand.

Lucy too shifted in her seat, but she was, if possible, less comfortable than before. She fidgeted with the program as the Twin City Stage prepared to perform Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as adapted by Jon Jory.

“That’s total crap!” Chris said when the lights came up an hour and a half later at intermission.

“What?” Lucy looked at him, startled. “I thought they were doing an excellent job—especially Mr. Bennet. Michael Burke’s timing has been almost perfect in delivering lines to achieve a kind of Austenian dramatic humor that really captures the essence of the time period. And Johanna Beach makes an excellent Elizabeth Bennet. Her elocution is nearly perfect and she has a lot of talent for one so—“

“Not the acting,” Chris wove his hands in and out of the air. “The story—how did she not know he was into her?”

“How did who not know?”

“Elizabeth. It’s so obvious.”

Lucy shrugged. “Only if you’re completely self-absorbed.”

“What do you mean?” he turned on her.

“If you’re completely focused on yourself like Miss Bingley—where your goal is to make yourself more attractive then you’ll see yourself as attractive to everyone even if you’re not. If that’s not your primary objective,” she shrugged again. “And you’ve even been scorned and ignored by that person or type of person, even ‘obvious’ attraction becomes easily explained as something else in your mind.”

Chris considered this a minute. “I guess I see your point. I still think she should have seen it coming though. Guys aren’t that hard to figure out.”

“More so than you think,” Lucy murmured.

The coughing beside Lucy seemed particularly loud at that moment, but Lucy ignored it.

“Other than Elizabeth’s, well prejudice against Darcy, are you finding the story at least  a little interesting? Not regretting coming are you?”

“It’s not bad.” Chris settled back against the red cushion. “I enjoy hanging out with you anyway.

“The Twin City Stage does a lot of really great productions.” Lucy felt like she was babbling, but she was trying to put the image of the twinkle in the old man’s eye out of her mind. “I saw they are doing Mary Poppins next month.”

“It’s like they know you,” Chris laughed. “Does Katie know?”

Lucy laughed. “I have to check my schedule. It would be a fun one to go see with her if we could work it out. Then they’re doing Anne of Green Gables in May.”

“They’re still auditioning for that one,” Chris said.

“Somehow I don’t think I quite have the look they’re going for,” she opened the booklet again and laughed as she pointed out the little red headed Canadian girl.

“Oh who knows? Maybe you’ll have so much talent they’ll do a write in role for a beautiful Asian woman?”

The lights blinked on and off and the din increased as people returned to their seats and then quieted, giving Lucy reprieve from having to respond as the play resumed for its final hour of performance.

When the lights came up again, Lucy’s smile filled her face.

“How many stars?” Chris asked.

“Four,” she said. “I’d give it five, but it dragged a tiny bit in a couple of places—especially when it came to the Wickham plotline. I don’t know if it was the actor or the way it was adapted, but that should have been much more exciting and it fell a little flat. The adaptation cut out Georgiana altogether. That made me sad. Overall though, it was a wonderful performance.”

“Well, you’re practically glowing, so the fifth star isn’t lost,” he said as they made their way through the crushing crowd to the lobby. “You just hijacked it, I guess.” People were streaming past them on their way to the exit, but Chris steered them to the side wall, where they waited for the lobby to clear out.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Lucy turned toward him. “It really meant a lot to me.”

Chris held her gaze, reaching down to push her hair from her face. He rested his hand on her shoulder.

“Of course,” his voice was lower than usual. “Happy Birthday, Lucy.”

She could feel the warmth in his hand, almost as if it was spreading and increasing as it slid from her shoulder to her upper arm. For a moment, she felt off balance. She thought his head was coming closer to her’s, leaning down, but before she could decide if what was about to happen was really about to happen her phone—still clutched in her hand from having turned it back on after the show—buzzed and then rang. Loudly.

Lucy jumped.

Chris’s hand fell to his side and he leaned up against the wall.

“It’s Saul,” she said, looking at the number. She glanced at Chris, who was looking up at the ceiling, then she looked back at the phone when he didn’t say anything. Lucy sighed, then hit accept. “Hey Saul,” she said, walking way, leaving Chris with his arms crossed over his chest, stoically staring at the exit.

Everything IS Awesome

Kicking things off Thursday with a murder mystery dinner at Winmock where the guest of honor is none other than Kathy Reichs. Too much fun! Especially since I got to enjoy it with my Mom!
Friday pops out a great story in the Zephyr, our school newspaper, about my book. Sometimes being a high school teacher has its perks and I’m so proud of the kids for the article they wrote.
Saturday I volunteered at the BikeMs Tour to Tanglewood. I had a great time helping out for a good cause. I also donated a copy of my book to the silent auction. The best part of the donation–It was bid on!
Mini Reunion with great friends on Sunday night at Foothills. Couldn’t ask for a better end (except if a few others had been able to join us)

The Great Divide: Responding to the Daily Prompt

I’m a fiction girl. 

Of course, though I often will choose fiction over non fiction, I’m an avid reader so I am constantly devouring whatever books come my way, and I read a lot of non fiction too, but given the choice I’m going to go for the the fiction all day long.

Because I’m a realist, I spend the vast majority of my day looking at the world through the lens of reality: this is the way it is. I often am mislabeled as “cynical” and “pessimistic”, but I’m not a Debbie Downer, I just see the world the way it is, and it is what it is. So, when I read I want something that takes me out of my head.

But, not too far out of my head, because let’s face it, the realist in me hasn’t died–I just want to give her a break every now and then, which is why I like fiction books to be well thought out, planned, structured, with believable and relatable characters. Is that asking too much? I think not.

Adjusting the Pace: Writing that Moves

Lately I’ve been working on improving the rhythm and the flow to my writing. This is not an easy task to accomplish. Faulkner liked stream of consciousness. And while I am not all about page long sentences, I do tend to like description and longer complex sentences.

In my critique group we talked about the importance of ‘white space’. For some reason, this didn’t sit well with me either. White space looks boring–it looks messy and sloppy–lazy even.

But white space can be good.

White space helps with pacing as it helps move along the action of the story with dialogue and by mixing direct, simple sentences with the complex. Unfortunately, changing your writing habits is not easy and so you practice.

As a writing trend, I’ve been reading Stephen Kings book, On Writing and his chapter on editing “And Furthermore, part I” is helpful as it cites Strunk’s style guide suggestions of “eliminating the unnecessary”. This is advice I give to my students every year and advice I continually have to remind myself to follow on a regular basis.

Yesterday I read This Blog on “boring writing”–the parts of the text that quiets down the writing so that the more interesting parts can shine (to me, that means your climax can only be climatic if there are parts that aren’t so climatic surrounding it). Sometimes readers need a break, and as writers that is a part of the process of building suspense and action–we first have to quiet our readers to then shake them up. So how do we quiet our writing? And how much is too much?

Can Opposites Attract?

It’s a saying for a reason, but sometimes I wonder. So as a Blogging 101 assignment, I played with my header and added some widgets (well, actually I did that a few days ago) so I creeped on the Writing 101 prompt for this beauty and wrote a contrast dialogue. As it happens in the piece I’m working on now–two of my characters are about night and day difference and they are currently in conflict with one another though they have been assigned as partners in their new jobs–tell me what you think of my contrast dialogue.

“Whoa there, Princess. Watch where you’re going,” Jordan ducked out of the way just in time before I bowled him over on the sidewalk in my inattentive musing. I resisted the urge to growl at him.

            “Sorry,” I murmured, stepping to the side, but refusing to defer any more. A week and a half had done little to improve our relationship. In fact, my animosity had grown as his barbs stuck further and further into my skin.

            “Latte, better enjoy it now. Not going to be drinking those for a while, princess,” he pivoted and fell into step beside me as we walked toward the office.

            “I’m aware,” I rolled my eyes.

            “Eric wants us in the conference room this morning. We’re talking emergency protocols this morning. Think you can handle it?”

            I stopped, put a hand on my hip and stared at his back. He hadn’t noticed that I stopped walking. When he did, he turned and faced me with his wide, challenging stance.

            “What is your problem with me, Jordan?”

            “I don’t have a problem.”

            I snorted and started walking past him again. “Could have fooled me.”

            “I imagine there is a lot out there that could fool you, princess.”

            “See?” I stopped and turned on him again. This time pointing my index finger right at his smug nose. “That, right there. Patronizing and smug. Condescending. What is your deal?”

            “Fine, you really want to do this?”

            “Yes, please.”

            “You don’t belong on this project,” he said it simply and then crossed his arms over his chest. The sun light reflected off his head and I squinted against it, staring at the dark and powerful force he’d become in front of me. “Look at you. Naïve, sheltered white woman with no experience in the journalist field. You think you can go to Africa to save and Christianize the poor little black savage children. But that’s not the way it works, and you’ll end up in Africa alone and scared, hysterical and exhausted and then you’ll go home and all our resources and time will have been wasted on training and sending you there in the first place. It’s abominable and selfish.”

            “You think you know me,” I said shaking my head and pulling in a breath to calm the anger threatening to take over. “Just because I’m not like you. I’m not a black man, and I don’t have the experience you have so that gives you the right to become the almighty judge and jury over this project. Let me just tell you something. First, I’m not a princess. Nothing has ever been handed to me. I have had to work hard my entire life and I have experienced pain and heartache to a degree that you can’t possibly imagine so I’m not as sheltered as you’d like to believe. I may be a white girl, and I may have never been to Africa, but I’m not self-righteous enough to believe I can save anyone let alone judge them as you have done to me. I barely even believe in God so I’m not arrogant enough to try to force those beliefs on anyone else.

“Second, we are partners. I expect you to treat me as such, not as your problem. You are not my boss, and despite how you feel about me, I have nothing to prove to you. “ I tossed my braid over my shoulder and stomped off down the sidewalk.

I could hear his footsteps following closely behind me, though I’d hoped he would just disappear into the earth. Maybe we were just too different.


I didn’t stop. I had no desire to speak to that arrogant, self-absorbed…


I turned. “What?”

He stumbled into me, unprepared for my abrupt about-face. Placing both hands on my shoulders, he steadied himself and me, barely keeping us both from tumbling onto the sidewalk.

“I should apologize,” he said. I could see my cornflower blue eyes reflected in the deep pools of his dark charcoal eyes, which had softened for the first time since we met. “I guess I maybe have been a little hard on you.”

“You don’t owe me anything, Jordan,” I pursed my lips. His apology, half-hearted and choked out, meant little to me. We could work together, but that didn’t mean we had to be friends. “Let’s just get to work.”