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Valley Players Present the 2013 Ten Fest of 10-Minute Plays

Luc's writing projects

Thursday evening, Valley Players in Waitsfield, Vermont presents the 6th annual Ten Fest, a festival of 10-minute plays by Vermont authors. Included is my play “Willing,” in which an author struggles with her characters in an increasingly difficult attempt to maintain a plot.

I had the great pleasure of seeing another of my plays produced 2 years ago at the 4th annual Ten Fest, that being my caveperson micro-epic “The Discovery of Fire (and Other Bad Ideas).” The cast gave a rollicking performance, set off by costumes that are especially amazing when you take into account the fact that they were for such a short play. Maybe I have a picture here somewhere … oh, better yet, here’s a video:

Here’s a full list of the plays that will be presented:

“Helicopter Parents for Hire” by Stefan G. Lanfer
“Snowed In” by Em Frappier
“My Tea with Cocoa” by Jack Ruston
“Long Trips” by Richard Klovdahl
“Silver Lining” by Roger Strauss
“Ommm, Sweet Ommm” by John Kern
“Homeland Security” by Mimi D’Aponte
“Beach Combing” by Lauren Kelley
“Willing” by Luc Reid
“Lights Off” by Lynn Chlumecky

The cast includes Susan Bauchner, Ed Biello, David Ehrlich, Carl Emmons, Emily Flinn, Donna Imbeninato, Ron Kampner, Emma Kessler, Andra Krushenick Kisler, Cher Laston, Joe Laston, Sara Lee, Sara McDougal, Amanda Menard, Cynthia Seckler, Lisa Spencer, Gene Heinrich, Kate O’Neill, Vince Broderick, Betty McCaffrey, F. Brett Cox. Quite a number of these artists, I’m pleased to say, appear in the video above.

The shows’ directors are Jeanne Beckwith, Henry Erickson, Cher Laston, Sara McDougal, and Dvora Zipkin. Crew includes other participants already named and Charles Coburn.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for seniors and students. For reservations, call 802-583-1674. Full information on the performances is available, here, on Valley Players’ Web site. Hope to see you there!

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Luc to Be Interviewed on Vermont Public Radio Today

Society and culture

vteditionThis is nothing to do with writing or habits, but at about 12:45 Eastern today, I’ll be on VPR’s Vermont Edition talking to host Jane Lindholm about the new CSA Matchmaker on our Web site, which helps Champlain Valley residents find the perfect CSA. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) is an arrangement with a farmer to pre-pay for a season’s worth of food, often picked up weekly. The CSA member gets a good deal on great local food, and the farmer gets financial stability and regular customers. If you know anyone in the area who might benefit from joining a CSA, please send them over to the site. We’re coming up on 1,000 visits so far based on word of mouth, an article in the Free Press, and other exposure, so I think it’s working.

Anyway, I’ll be talking a little bit about the CSA Matchmaker and Localsourcers. In future we plan to expand the CSA Matchmaker to many other areas, and on May 1st we’ll be launching the Localsourcers Online Forum, a community for anyone anywhere interested in sharing information and connecting about local resources, local food, sustainability, and resilience. Come join Localsourcers (free) if you’re interested in taking part.

Later addition: here’s the link to the segment.

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Fight Climate Change With a Grocery Basket

Society and culture

I’ve launched a new community-based nonprofit called Localsource, with a Web site to help people connect around getting food and other necessities locally, and a local chapter called Champlain Valley Localsource that will hold its first meeting in Burlington, Vermont on February 6th.

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Watch online: The Discovery of Fire (and Other Bad Ideas)

Luc's writing projects

In August 2011, my short play “The Discovery of Fire (and Other Bad Ideas)” was performed for the first time in Waitsfield, Vermont’s Valley Players theater as part of the 4th Annual Vermont Playwrights’ Circle TenFest of short plays. After a bit of a delay, it’s now available to watch on YouTube.

In “The Discovery of Fire,” a tribe of cavepeople try to come to grips with a freakish new phenomenon discovered by their tribesmate, Bluk.

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Free until 12/26: Family Skulls – Curse-fighting in rural Vermont

eBooks and Publishing

My young adult novel Family Skulls, about a 16-year-old trying to break a generations-long curse on his rural Vermont family, will be free on Amazon for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Family-Skulls-ebook/dp/B00573Y36W until Monday 12/26.

One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was conjuring up elements of my Vermont childhood on the page. The story’s hero, 16-year-old Seth Quitman, is much more self-possessed and practical than I was as a teen, but the dirt and gravel roads he bikes down, the house he lives in, and much else are very familiar to me.

I also was very fortunate to get the chance for a cover by artist Dixon Leavitt, who managed to bring all of the key elements of the story (like the warmth and occasional claustrophobia of a close-knit family, menace, mystery, and the vastness and brilliance of a starry sky on a dark night) into his piece. I’ll be posting about the development of that cover in the near future.

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Vermont Ten-Fest of 10-minute plays (including my “Discovery of Fire”)

Just generally interesting

If you’re within playgoing distance of the Valley Players theater in Waitsfield, Vermont (about 45 minutes from Burlington, 30 minutes from Barre/Montpelier, or 20 minutes from Waterbury), you’ll be interested to hear about the Vermont Playwrights Circle fourth annual Ten-Fest of ten 10-minute plays by ten local authors:

Divora Zipkin’s “Blood Ties”
Lesley Becker’s “Road Map to Victory”
Lars Nielsen’s “The Night Letter”
Jeanne Beckwith’s “Be Sixteen”
Brett Cox’s “Consider the Services of the Departed”
Charles Coburn’s “A Pause to Remember”
Margot Lasher’s “Stay”
Em Frappier’s “I’m So Disapointed in You”
Terri Kneen’s “Lost and Found”

and my own “The Discovery of Fire and Other Bad Ideas,” an epic tale (well, maybe the 10-minute version of “epic”) of invention and jealousy among stereotypical cavepeople and their marketing consultant, Steve.

Thursday Aug 18 – Saturday Aug 20 at 8:00 PM
Sunday Aug 21 at 2:00 PM
$10 general admission
$8 seniors and students

Valley Players in Waitsfield
more information and directions:
www.vermontplaywrightscircle.org or www.valleyplayers.com

RESERVATIONS: 802-583-1674
For a live person, call
Charlie at: 802-479-2136

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My Young Adult Novel Family Skulls Released for Kindle

eBooks and Publishing

My young adult novel Family Skulls is now available for the Kindle, temporarily priced at 99 cents. Here’s the brief description. If you’d like a free review copy (electronic only), drop me a line!

No one will help 16-year-old Seth Quitman–ever, with anything. Seth’s family live in a small Vermont town under a curse that has hounded them for generations, one that makes anything they may need–from a bus ride to a recommendation letter to an ambulance–forever out of their reach.

Until now, Seth’s family has done the best they could under the curse, knowing that the hill sorcerer family that cursed them could do much, much worse. But now things have gone farther than Seth can stand, and he plans to face down the curse-keeper and free his family–or die trying.

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Finding Exercise You Love: The Taekwondo Example

Self-motivation examples

With fellow Blue Wave students after earning our black stripes (last rank before black belt), October 2009

After flirting with consistent exercise for two decades, in 2005 I took advantage of being in Florida to finally start running regularly. That experience, which I talked about in a

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for Jacksonville, Florida NPR affiliate WJCT, completely changed my understanding of exercise. It turned out that the very beginning of exercise, getting into the groove, was much harder than continuing–and that far from being unrelenting torture, regular exercise could actually be enjoyable.

I ought to have recognized this already: after all, soccer had been fun in grade school, ultimate frisbee entertained me during college, and I’d enjoyed fencing classes in my twenties. But neither running nor any of these other activities prepared me for what would happen when I took on a new kind of exercise in late 2006. For me, getting involved in Taekwondo was to running as April in Paris is to June in Cincinnati.

Martial arts as a family sport
A little background: I studied Uechi Ryu karate for about a year at college and had enjoyed it enough that for years I had it in the back of my head that I’d eventually want to pursue martial arts again. By 2006, my son had gotten old enough that we were looking for a program for him as well. I had assumed we’d study karate, in different classes, but when my son was invited to a friend’s birthday party at Blue Wave Taekwondo in Burlington, Vermont (the town where we lived), it was immediately obvious that this was the place for us to try. For one thing, they taught classes that parents and kids could attend together, a possibility I hadn’t even thought of. For another thing, my son’s friend’s family couldn’t say enough about how friendly, well-organized, and instructive the school was. To top this off, the school was (and still is) run by Master Gordon White, a personable sixth-dan black belt who had fought on the U.S. National Taekwondo team and won medals in international competition.

I’m not suggesting Taekwondo is every person’s ideal exercise. It’s social, very energetic, rigorous, formal, demanding, and a little rough. My older sister loves spinning and rollerblading; my younger sister loves dancing; and my father prefers canoeing, kayaking, and cross-country skiing. So I’m not so much suggesting you run out and start taking Taekwondo (although it’s not a bad idea for a lot of people), but that if you don’t yet love the kind of exercise you’re doing, there’s a good chance you just haven’t found the right kind of exercise yet.

Why Taekwondo works for me
Taekwondo offers some unusual benefits that fit my needs well. I like the people I spend time with at the dojang (Taekwondo gym), which helps. Taekwondo as practiced at Blue Wave is rigorous interval training (probably the best general kind of exercise for weight loss), and it builds muscle as well as providing a lot of aerobic exercise.

Some of the greatest benefits for me, though, are mental instead of physical: the need to always improve my fundamentals (kicks, strikes, blocks, stances, and so on) exercises parts of my brain that I suspect would otherwise be neglected. And while we’re in class I’m usually so engrossed at trying to master whatever we’re working on that the time flies by. As I talk about in my post on getting into a state of flow, some of the basic elements we need to become engrossed and driven in what we’re doing are challenge, specific goals, and constant feedback. All of these elements are available when a good instructor is teaching a complex physical skill, like martial arts, dancing, or fencing. Not everyone will connect with those activities in the ways that are needed to establish flow, but the opportunity is there.

To put the same thing more simply: Taekwondo keeps me so interested, I don’t greatly care how much work I’m doing to practice it.

Why Blue Wave works for me
Not all martial arts–or all Taekwondo schools–are created equal. Different martial arts offer different advantages, such as the directed force of Aikido; the intense focus of karate; the powerful physical grappling of judo; or the flow and speed of kung fu. Different martial arts will attract different kinds of people, although it’s important to understand that different martial arts also provide different kinds of workouts: for instance, not all martial arts are very helpful for weight loss.

Blue Wave teaches forms and fundamentals as well as Olympic Style sparring, which is a very energetic, physically demanding type of contest between fighters wearing padded safety gear. Olympic Style sparring is fairly safe and is practiced in tournaments from the local to the international level, including, of course, at the Olympics. To the best of my knowledge (understanding that my experience is limited), no other martial art offers such a well-defined and safety-conscious sport of sparring.

So Olympic Style Taekwondo sparring for me is as much a sport as a martial art, which gives more direction to my training and provides more ways to enjoy Taekwondo. But many Taekwondo schools don’t teach Olympic Style sparring, or they focus on other elements of Taekwondo, or they practice a type of Taekwondo that is not based on rigorous traditional practices. None of these kinds of schools would work nearly as well for me as Blue Wave would, although Blue Wave is far from unique: there are many excellent Taekwondo programs around the country and the world.

I could go on about what I like about Blue Wave, but if I’ve done what I intended, I’ve shown at least one example of finding a kind of exercise that really fits the person doing it, enough to provide a glimpse of what April in Paris looks like. Here’s hoping you’re already there, or if not, that April comes soon.

Photo by 2nd dan Blue Wave black belt Sandra Pavlo

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