The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Month: July, 2012

Learning the Ropes…

I was driving to rehearsal for the DeTaming of the Shrew when I noticed that there is a sign for BookMobile on my way to the JCC in St. Louis Park, MN.  I made comments to Jay several times that there was something called Bool Mobile, and it really stuck in my head.

I’m glad it did.  For my upcoming Kickstarter campaign, I wanted to figure out a reasonable budget that would be enough without going overboard.  I looked up just to see what they were about, and it turns out that they do print on demand, e-book conversion, and distribution.  I have more to learn about them, but I was pleased with the quote that I got for print books.  The woman who has been answering my emails is nice, too.

Anyway, I’m seeing if I can go there and actually learn more about it from them, see their operation, maybe, and then write about it when I know more.

🙂  Thanks for reading.



Writing My First Press Release

Hi readers,

Well, I wanted you to hear it before anyone else:  I’m going to launch a Kickstarter campaign on August 1st.  The project?  To publish Someotherville.  If you follow this blog, you know that this has been in the works for a while now – I believe I started the novel about four years ago.  In fact, I started it before I knew it was going to be a novel… I just wrote down the idea thinking that it was a good idea, and then it nibbled at my brain and I wrote the whole first draft that first month….

Well, it’s been done for a while now, I’ve gotten feedback, made changes, let it sit, moved on to writing a new novel, and it seems like it’s time to launch Someotherville and get Pennywick Press started.  Of course, if you are a long time reader, you also know that I am not overly loaded with dough.  So I have been trying to save enough to start up, but it hasn’t been working out too well.

My initial plan was to start really small… print a few copies, sell them to my friends, use the money to print more copies to send out to reviewers and then send out letters to bookstores and libraries and so on as the sales grew.  But I was pretty sure that the plan sucked.  When I heard about Kickstarter, I thought it sounded cool, but I wasn’t sure.

When I finally checked out Kickstarter’s site, I started to get excited.  They have a category for Publishing, and there are other novelists who are doing the same thing.  But not, like, thousands of other novelists.  Right now there are four.  I don’t know how many novels have had campaigns that are now over, but I’m sure there have to be a decent number.  Anyway, I feel that it’s terrific that there are other novels on there, but that I won’t be one of a thousand other novelists asking for the same thing.

You will be able to check out my campaign on Kickstarter very soon, as I am planning to launch it on August 1st.

Okay, I was actually working on the campaign page and a press release about it when somehow I got distracted and wrote a blog post.  I guess I should get back to work.  I’ll keep you posted (is that a pun or not?) on new developments in the campaign, and as always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  🙂


Why Theater? From Fringe to Center Stage

I have been on the edges of a theatrical life for a long time now.  I am currently in rehearsals for a one-hour show at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and I have been reflecting on what it is about theater that attracts me so much.

I don’t necessarily want to tell you my whole story, but let me put it into one sentence:  Outgoing young child, unpopular adolescent, awkward teen, more quiet and shy as the days went by (except when I couldn’t stop talking), got pulled into an improv show by well meaning adults, life has never been the same.  I wrote my first theater piece for that improv show, went on to direct 20+ shows at the high school level, became a high school theater arts teacher, morphed into an English teacher who performs once in a while.

Ok, that was two sentences, and it’s not even close to getting to the heart of what I am going to tell you about.  I think that becoming involved in theater, majoring in theater, all of that  has been good and helped me to open up, but more important have been my experiences of theater as an audience member.

The times in my life that I have been the lowest, when I have been thoroughly thrown for a loop by, say, the death of a loved one or by other extreme stresses in life… those have been  the times that  I have found myself seeking out theater.

To go and see a live play, whether the play is “good” or not, there is something special about the energy that is generated by actors.  I have never been disappointed in live theater, because that energy is there.  If there is another source for that energy, I haven’t found it, and frankly, I don’t believe it exists.

One could argue that performing theater, taking on the role of the creator, is the same energy, but I say the experience of the energy is different.  If you’re in the audience, you can just take that energy, and if you are tapped out, you suddenly find yourself in another world.  This world is special, perhaps, because distractions are not allowed.  It’s not okay to check your phone or text anyone, the play needs your complete attention.

Now it might seem obvious to you, but there is something, too, about the alternate universe that is created right before your eyes.  I love that.  I have written before about how we see this phenomenon in movies, but I love to see it happen live.

Now I’m not saying that everyone goes to theater for this soothing elixir of energy and intelligence, but surely some are there for that.  I have talked to many people who credit theater with saving them somehow, or, more often, with unlocking their true natures.  I know for me that there is something there – a source of energy, stamina, and joy.  I will continue to participate in theater, and I take comfort in knowing that no matter how low I may feel, I know where to go to feel better.

Fringe Festival is coming up, and I look forward to being in a play and taking in as much of the other shows as I can, and  I hope you will too.

Pride or Something Like It

I had the honor of volunteering for the MN Coalition United for All Families  this weekend.  It was the weekend of Pride in Minneapolis, and I took some time to reflect on why it is that I am so interested in and adamant about support for marriage equality in Minnesota.

Unfortunately my story is grounded in the fact that when I was in high school and college I was very ignorant of the issues around equality for gay people.  I didn’t even realize that many of the people I knew growing up were gay.  I didn’t have any way to understand it, so I didn’t understand it at all.  And I’m afraid that I made negative comments that I don’t remember now – but that doesn’t make those comments go away.  I am embarrassed to remember that when I was in college and I did already know that one of my best friends was gay, I still didn’t realize that any of the young people I worked with might be gay.  I remember a young woman complaining to me that she had been called a bull dyke, and I’m pretty sure that I told her that those people didn’t know what they were talking about, or somehow I made it sound like, no, you’re not.  When yes, she is.  Well, I don’t know about “bull dyke” but she is most definitely a gay woman.  And I’m afraid that I was of no help.

These  days I don’t make those assumptions, or if I do, I often make them in the other direction, thinking that someone is gay when they are not.  I wish I had always understood, and that I had always been sensitive., but I wasn’t … so now all I can do is work to make sure that I do what I can now.

So I will vote No in November, and I hope you will, too, because whether or not you realize that this vote matters very much to some people you care about, I’d be willing to bet that it does.

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