Writers enjoy talking, too, and there was no shortage of topics discussed at a recent meeting of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild, everything from books, movies, plays and screenplays, to dogs and light bulbs.
Patrecia Gray opened the meeting with a brief prayer.
Woody Moore discussed his experiences as a writer of plays, screenplays, and novelette and how one’s chances to succeed in the business can depend on such vagaries as luck, timing and audience appeal. How, for example, an episode he had written for “Project Peacock” never saw the light of day. When it was to be presented as part of NBC’s first prime time children’s series, the show was canceled after three presentations. Had it not been, Moore’s episode, titled “Home Team” would have been presented as the 12th show of the series. For himself, Moore stated that although his writing may not always make money, he has decided “you do what you like, like what you do, and do what you can.”
One of Moore’s successes was his 10-minute play entitled “The Thinker and the Inquisitor and Love’s Afterthought” which was performed at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City not long ago. Moore also wrote a ten-minute play entitled “A Mattress, A Box Springs and Rover.” With such a strange title, he was asked to explain how it came about. The play, he said, is a personification of a mattress and a box springs named Matt and Boxy, who have been together all their days (and nights) and enjoyed the companionship of Rover, the dog of the house. So much so that his scent had become their own. One day, Matt and Boxy find themselves out by the curb when they hear the sound of a garbage truck approaching. After it arrives, Matt is unceremoniously thrown into the truck and Boxy follows seconds later, landing right on top of him. This is a new experience for them both. When they get to the dump, Matt feels like he’s died and gone to mattress/box springs heaven. While he plays the field, Boxy is heartbroken, but stays true to Matt for the rest of her life.
One of the group asked Moore, why 10-minute plays? It isn’t much time to develop characters, plot and setting, elements that usually take a bit more time, and words, to arrive at satisfactorily. Moore explained that these short plays are used to bring actors and actresses to the attention of agents and others who are looking for new talent.
Discussion among the Guild members moved to how play writers, like Shakespeare, used to include directions to the actors, but which are omitted now and left to the actual stage directors. In many cases, a novelist may be asked to write a screenplay for his book, and the resulting play or movie may bear only a slight resemblance to the novel itself.
Moore read an excerpt from his novelette entitled, “Plan One to Outer Space” about a guy who wants to be abducted in order to achieve fame. Moore’s sense of humor had everyone laughing when he explained that if his novelette becomes so popular that he is asked to write a screen play, he has it ready, because he wrote the screen play first.
About this time, one of the ceiling lights in the meeting room decided to blink back on after having gone out at the beginning of the meeting. Immediately “light bulbs” became the next topic of conversation. Nothing would do but speculate why the light had gone out when Moore came in, and had come back on when his wife, Paula Gregory, joined the group some time later. Jokes and laughter followed for a few minutes before Patrecia Gray took her turn at the table.
After hearing how popular personification is when it comes to writing, Patrecia, discussed possibly writing a story about her dog, Zack, a Bichon Frise. Ms. Gregory, found pictures on her smart phone of this breed so that everyone present could see what the dog looks like. In Gray’s story, written from the dog’s point of view, Zack will take on human traits and characteristics, much like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck do in cartoons. She related an account of when, one day, she called to Zack that it was time for his bath. Looking through the house, there was no sign of the bath-shy dog. Finally, she pulled aside the shower curtain in one of the bathrooms, and there crouched Zack between the shower’s two built-in seats. He wore the saddest expression Patrecia had ever seen on his cute little face. She said she will use the picture she took of him in her story.
Almost everyone has a dog story to share, but as the meeting was drawing to a close, Gray finished by reading two poems she had written. The first was entitled, “Silver Strands Everywhere.” It was about how the silver in her hair was winning the battle against the brown. Once she had decided it was easier to accept reality than fight it, she was surprised at how free it made her feel. The second poem, “The Armor of Words” described how writing helps Gray to “see beneath the surface and above the clouds” and “opens the door to let wisdom in…therefore, to know my God.” Everyone agreed that writing is therapeutic by acting as a catharsis. Putting something into words can release what has been locked up inside our heart, soul and mind. Such release can provide peace and self-awareness.
In addition to those already mentioned, Carol Newberry and April Pyles were also present at the meeting.
The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets the first and third Wednesdays of each month, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mason County Library. If you have an interest in sharing your stories, songs, essays, poems, or plays, please feel free to join them. Contact information includes the Guild’s blog: ppwritersguild.blogspot.com; and their email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article submitted by April Pyles.