Month: September 2021

Succession Extra

When HBO descended upon my small resort community, putting a out a casting call far and wide for millionaire types, upscale business types, and amusement park goer types, I was ready. Sort of. It was spring 2019 in Lake Placid. I’d signed up to attend a school-based mental health summit and then I saw the flyer seeking extras for Succession. The dates overlapped. I’d toyed with responding to the call for days and then assembled my paperwork, headshot, and hit “send.” I was a dutiful audience member at the conference, visited with local colleagues I hadn’t seen in months, made the rounds at the tables with stress balls and suicide prevention literature, and then ducked out to change in the hotel bathroom into the outfit I’d been told to wear for my starring role as a “lodge staffer.” I reported for duty at a parking lot by the ski jumps, got my number, and boarded the school bus with the millionaire types and other lodge staffers. The amusement park goers were slated for another day, another bus. Once on location, I was sent to makeup to fix the eyeliner I’d expertly applied that morning. The artist twirled me around in the chair and transformed me into my role…a little blush, a comb through my hair. She’d worked on Rachel Brosnahan of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel fame. I’d worn my own white button-down and khaki pants, but I had to report to wardrobe for the boiled-wool green vest. We ate. We…

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Essays I Admire: Part Two

I told a story about meeting my husband and establishing roots in the Adirondacks for a local story slam competition. I was high from my second-place win a couple of months earlier and worked hard on the narrative about our history together. A lot of it was about how I didn’t want to live in the mountains and his sincere desire to do so…and then, how we’ve made it work, how much we’ve put into our house and property to make it an idyllic home to share with each other and those we love.  I didn’t even place. The winner, hands-down, was an English teacher from Northwood School in Lake Placid. NC’s story about having her “cancer baby” or a teratoma (look it up!!!) at 23 and talking her way into a job she wasn’t qualified for in Tanzania (she couldn’t speak a word of Swahili) wiped everyone else off the board. NC went on to win the regional story slam competition with another captivating and devastating tale of her life in Africa in December that year. Anyway… When I found this moving essay by Therese Beale, I found someone speaking the same language I’d use about the inner life of my marriage: http://talkingwriting.com/little-something-effort

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Essays I Admire: Part One

I used to write and publish frequently, mostly in regional magazines that were printed on glossy paper or in a newspaper delivered to your doorstep. I stopped around 2016 and then, trying to re-enter the freelance scene required a new set of skills. I was so rusty. Another writer in the family introduced me to Submittable. Yup, seriously rusty. Now I know about Duotrope, too. The lit-mag landscape blew up and I had no idea. It can be both overwhelming and incredibly engaging.  While grief fuels a lot of my creative nonfiction and personal essays now, there are plenty of other themes I’ve played around with over the years. When I poke around for hours online, trying to find homes for my creative work, I come across so many lyrical and deeply gratifying portraits of life and love crafted by others. Here’s a gem from the masterful Michelle Gurule in the magazine Drunk Monkeys: Gummy Bear

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