Last Thursday I was pleased to return to the Manchester Vet Center in Hooksett for the third year in a row to present excerpts from Kate Wenner’s MAKE SURE IT’S ME read by veterans and Vet Center Staff. Once again, Vet Center counselor and coordinator of this event Mearlene Filkins made me warmly welcome and lined up a great group of readers. Colleen Moriarty, director of the Vet Center, even stepped in to read as a last-minute replacement and knocked it out of the park! We were honored to have Don, a Vietnam veteran, return for his third year in a row, as well as some new faces in the group. After the presentation and some snacks, Manchester VA TBI clinicians Sherry Thrasher and Nina Romano were on hand, along with a social worker named Erica, to kick off the post-presentation talk back. This script continues to yield great conversations, increase awareness of military-related TBI, and encourage military families to seek support from a variety of sources across the state. Thanks to all the readers, to Mearlene, Colleen, Sherry and Nina for making it happen. And thanks once again to the playwright, Kate Wenner, for giving us the words knit together from her interviews with veterans, caregivers and clinicians dealing with TBI. Without these words, the growing conversation would not be possible. Love to all!
My writing mentee, Keith Sanders, has racked up another win! He has been working for some time on a full-length play called PUSHING UP DAISY, which I love and have been rooting for through several drafts. As part of his process, he took a break from dialogue and wrote a short story encapsulating the characters and the action he hoped to put on stage. The resulting short story was so excellent that he submitted it for The Insider Prize at AMERICAN SHORT FICTION. The judge was the amazing Lydia Davis, and she chose his story to share first place. Keith’s “Pushing Up Daisy” is published in its entirety here: Insider Prize Winners.
I want to emphasize that, although I have been corresponding with Keith for years about his writing and this project in particular, his decision to use fiction as a way back into his playwriting of the piece was entirely his. Although I read one draft of the story, I gave no significant input–this is his work and his alone. I am deeply proud of him and pleased, as well, that he is back to work on the script so we can continue to shepherd Daisy and Glenn to the stage. It’s marvelous to have these interesting, peculiar, yet endearing characters live in more than one medium.
Enjoy the read!