Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different... Stories on Stage

When I was in grade school, my teachers used to read stories I’d written to the class. I got so nervous and freaked out about hearing my stories read out loud that I’d have to leave the room. The teacher would sometimes plan to have me run errands to other classes while she read so I wouldn’t sit there and be all freaked out.

Now, mumble mumble years and one fantastic Zoloft prescription later, I’ve had the amazing experience of having one of my stories read by a skilled performer on stage in front of, wow, kind of a lot of people. I didn’t have to leave the room, although I was kind of nervous. (“You were nervous, Mom,” my daughter told me. “I could FEEL you being nervous. It was making ME nervous. It was kind of annoying.”) But once Evan Weissman of Buntport Theater Company started reading my story, I was bowled over.

The saga began some time ago when I read a prompt that said, “Write a steampunk story.” So I wrote about five hundred words about a little clockwork cat and its relationship with the man who created it. I called it “Clockwork,” stuck it online where it made me maybe a dime in six months, and didn’t think much about it.

A few weeks ago, I heard that Stories on Stage was looking for submissions for local authors for their second Flash Fiction show, Very VERY Short Stories: the Sequel. I thought about “Clockwork.” I sent it in. And a few weeks after that, I received notification that it had been chosen for the performance.

Fast forward to this past Saturday afternoon. The Buntport Theater Company performed eleven fabulous stories on a bare stage, creating the world of each piece with their reading. Several of the stories were from a collection by Fast Forward Press, which specializes in flash fiction. Others were from the contest. All were beautifully written and beautifully performed.

My story was in the second half of the show, and when Evan started reading I was amazed at what he did with my words. Everything about the story came to life in a way I’d never imagined. It seemed like an entirely different story—one so much better than what I had written. I got a chance to talk to Evan after the show to tell him how much I enjoyed and appreciated his performance. It was obvious from the first words that “Clockwork” was in good hands.

I’d like to say thank you to Evan, to the Buntport Theater Company, and to Stories on Stage for making this experience possible. I’d also like to thank Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers for providing a forum where the news of the submissions call was able to make its way to me. (I know, I know, I sound like I'm accepting an Oscar. A girl can dream, right?) It was seriously one of the coolest things that has ever happened in my writing career.

And the cookies and milk after were pretty awesome, too.