Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.



October 19th, 2014

Once upon a time, I posted here every day — sometimes multiple times a day. Lately, it’s been more scattershot. But I just noticed that it’s been three weeks.

I could provide a laundry list of other duties (something I know that Joe Stafford would enjoy; he always loves the laundry lists in my plays), and indeed I wrote a “chore list” for today so I could get everything finished that I’d like to (including working on my book; going to the gym; grocery shopping, which I handle because I stick to my budget; and work on my company — so there’s your laundry list, Joe).

But instead of going into all that, I’m just going to return to posting more often. Thank you for your patience — if you’re still out there.

Scary writing experience

September 27th, 2014

Through an odd fluke of scheduling (including three different trips out of town in November), the “Words That Speak” playwriting workshop that I lead is off until November 29. This is highly unusual; in general, we meet every Saturday, and then take about a three-week break after eight sessions. There’s an occasional Saturday that gets scheduled off — but 10 weeks off? Unheard of in its 22-year history.

So what’s a guy to do when he’s got 10 weeks off from his workshop? Sign up for someone else’s!

I was thrilled — thrilled! — to see that my schedule is clear on Saturday the 25th, so I signed up for Chris DeWan’s “Monsters in the Woods” one-day writing workshop. JUST THE NAME ALONE appealed to me. But here’s more about it:

(and other scary magicks)

Why are we afraid of the dark? How do writers terrify us with nothing but their words? And how can we do it in our own stories?

Come celebrate Halloween with a one-day intensive horror-writing workshop. And do it at an eerie, isolated site in the Angeles National Forest*.

Through a series of unnerving exercises, we will plumb classic fairy tales, ghost story tropes, and our own memories to generate material for new and in-progress horror stories.

The “Monsters in the Woods” workshop isn’t just for horror writers. It’s for any writers who want to explore their own fears, dreams, and memories for new story material.

At a spooky, undisclosed location in the Angeles National Forest!

That just has “me” written all over it. Years ago, I wrote a show called “Monster Stories” — a collection of three short plays — and I’d sure like to get back into something like that. And I know Chris is a good writer, and he’s a theatre person (that’s how we met), so I’m feeling confident about this experience.

(By the way, how did I find out about this? I’ve known Chris for about 15 years — but I don’t believe I’ve actually seen him in person since 2013, as he reminded me via email this morning. I saw this workshop posted on LinkedIn, and then on Facebook, both of which were open to me because, as I said, I know Chris. So hey, everybody who complains about social media — in your face.)

Anyway — I believe there’s still a slot or two open. So if you’d like to join me for a few hours of being terrorized by snakes or a guy with an axe, here’s your link.

You’ll see this coming

September 27th, 2014

I could have saved the money

September 25th, 2014

I worked my way through college (which, I know, now qualifies me as Old Economy Steve), earning a BA in Literature and Language.

But now this makes me think I could have saved the money. It sums up so much of my studies so quickly! Luckily, I’ve still got all my Chaucer-studying (in Middle English, no less!), which is not addressed here.

Today’s music video

September 25th, 2014

In which K-Pop meets CGI, and the singer seemingly pays a debt to Yoko Ono. This is either the worst or best music video ever. As a song, it’s the nadir. Let’s see how much of this you can handle.

Thought for the day

September 19th, 2014

3 a.m. on a sleepless Friday morning. I finally finished Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. Like Newark, New Jersey, it was terrible through and through, but I finally got to the end of it. Picking up the next book now — Love Will Make You Drink & Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night by my friend Shelly Lowenkopf — as a way of rinsing off my brain after too much time in the maze of muck with Mickey Sabbath.

Oh, THAT’S where I left that!

September 15th, 2014

How often has this happened to you? You open up the trunk of your car and realize you’d left something in there too long?

Maybe something like this.

Thrill ride

September 9th, 2014

Pere Ubu’s latest CD, “Carnival of Souls,” hit stores today. I had to have it instantly, and now I do. I’m playing it over and over and over while writing. Whatever impact the video below (of “Golden Surf II,” the first track on the album) might make on you, I can tell you that it makes me incredibly happy. Almost thirty years after discovering this band, the thrill is still very much with me.

A revolutionary reading device

September 3rd, 2014

This could change the way everyone reads!

The reading report

September 2nd, 2014
  1. Now on page 321 of Sabbath’s Theater by Philip Roth. One question remains: Is it the worst novel I’ve ever read, or merely one of the worst? Given that it’s by a writer of otherwise extraordinary talent, it seems to qualify as the first.
  2. Read over the table of contents of this week’s New Yorker. Twice. Finally handed the entire issue over to offspring unread. Usually can find at least one “Talk of the Town” item, or a review, or a “Briefly Noted” worth engaging. Not this time.
  3. Still need to finish reading a script for a client. Also a stack — er, wait, four stacks — of books within reach waiting to be read. But, oh, the thrill of getting a new book to read. I keep salivating over the prospect of reading The Martian — surely a survivalist tale of the most difficult challenges.
  4. One third of the way through The Filth, a collection of the 13-issue comic-book title by Grant Morrison that I picked up at Comic-Con this year. Typical of Morrison’s latter-day comics, it’s equally invigorating and incomprehensible. Once upon a time, one could enjoy his inventiveness while also understanding what’s going on. But that seems to have been 10 (or 20) years ago.
  5. Various newspapers, mailings, magazines and other communications, including the latest issue of Inc. magazine, enumerating the “500 fastest growing privately held companies in America,” of which several at least are flat-out lying about their results. I’ve been to their websites, and if their businesses are anything like their online presence, they ceased to exist sometime during the first Bush admiseration.

More reading tomorrow, and every day hereafter.