Author Archives: Jacket Copy Creative

Dead Shakespeare Society Reading Friday

Three years ago, a small group of undergraduates banded together with me to adapt and reduce Shakespeare’s Macbeth for a performance in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death (April 23, 1616). We joined students from the Spanish Department and Professor Stephen Hesselm as it was also the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’s death. They translated a Cervantes play for their portion of the evening; my group produced a dramatic reading, complete with audience participation, to a lovely crowd at the Kennedy Public Library. The event was a success and several of my students decided this should become an annual event. We dubbed ourselves the Dead Shakespeare Society, and this week we are preparing for our third-annual dramatic reading.

The group has expanded to include undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni from various Ball State departments. Each year, a devoted crew works tirelessly to reduce our chosen Shakespeare play to an hour or less. The actors, with the exception of a few lead roles, take on multiple characters. This year, we once again join forces with the Spanish Department to present a night of Renaissance drama titled “Calderón & Shakespeare: Dreams & Nightmares.” The Spanish Department undergraduates are presenting their translation of Pedro Calderón’s La vida es sueno/Life is a dream (1635) and the Dead Shakespeare Society will be reading our reduced version of Richard III. Together we will serve up dramas that ask you to reflect on power structures, history, propaganda, fitness to rule, and fake news—the stuff of dreams and nightmares! The performances will be held from 5-7 p.m. this Friday at the Kennedy Public Library. All ages are welcome.

–Dr. Vanessa Rapatz

Kaveh Akbar shares songs of recovery and rediscovery

Akbar speaks to students during book-signing after his reading. Photo by Prof. Mark Neely.

One of the most celebrated young poets on the scene visited Ball State this week. Kaveh Akbar, a professor at Purdue University and author of the poetry collection Calling A Wolf A Wolf, read from his book and from some new work before a large, rapt crowd in a tightly-packed AJ 175 on Tuesday, April 10.

In Calling a Wolf a Wolf, published by Alice James Books in 2017, Akbar explores himself, inside and outside, the mind, and ideas of religion, recovery, and rediscovery. Akbar is open about this collection being a recovery narrative, and the poems invite readers to experience the recovery with him.

On his visit, in addition to reading from the book and from new work in progress (including a poem written Tuesday morning!), Akbar shared personal stories and lingered for more than an hour talking with students and signing books. The line for autographs and hugs stretched outside the lecture hall.

Akbar’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, The Nation, Tin House, Best American Poetry 2018, The New Republic, The Guardian, Ploughshares, Georgia Review, PBS NewsHour, Harvard Review, American Poetry Review, Narrative, The Poetry Review, AGNI, New England Review, A Public Space, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry International, Best New Poets 2016, Boston Review, and elsewhere. Akbar founded and edits Divedapper, a home for interviews with the most vital voices in contemporary poetry.

 

Skills in the city, or how I discovered my career path in the Big Apple

Natali Cavanagh is a senior creative writing major. Last semester, she ventured to New York to do two publishing internships as part of the NY Arts Program.  After graduation, she will be working as a publicity and marketing intern for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. In this guest post, she describes her work at a journal and a literary agency and talks about how the skills she learned in English classes came to life in this jobs.

My junior year, I, like many of my peers, was wondering where my English degree would take me and what I would pursue after college. I knew I liked books and I enjoyed reading, analyzing, and interacting with stories, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a writer or teach English. In Cathy Day’s Novel Writing class, though, we learned a little bit about how the book publishing industry worked and the process a manuscript goes from beginning to end; the more I learned, the more I wanted to know! So last semester, I went to New York through the NY Arts Program and was offered 2 dream positions: working as a social media intern for Guernica literary magazine (which has published pieces by some of my favorite authors like Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Zadie Smith!) and an editorial intern at Writers House literary agency (who also represent some of my favorite authors like John Green, Grace Lin, Ingrid Law, and Neil Gaiman!).

At Guernica, my primary job was to help build social media presence. On a daily level, I made Tweets and Facebook posts to promote pieces from the magazine (new and old); for long term projects, I worked toward making materials (like cultural calendars and workflow templates) that will continue to help the staff long after my time with them. Even though the internship was predominantly remote, the staff meetings were always so much fun; listening to all the fascinating and exciting new projects people were writing, helping create and plan for a new special topic issue (Deserts!), and having the opportunity to work with so many engaging and intelligent people was invigorating.

At Writers House, I worked under Senior Agent Dan Lazar and his Assistant/Junior Agent Torie Doherty-Munro. As an editorial intern, my main job was to read submitted manuscripts and provide editorial feedback: every day when I came in to work, Torie would send me a few partials (a 50-100 page section of a manuscript) and I would tell her whether or not I’d be interested in continuing to read/accepting the manuscript, what was working, and what potentially needed to be changed. Both Dan and Torie represent primarily Children’s/Young Adult books, but I read everything from short, middle-grade manuscripts to contemporary adult, realistic and historical fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. Every day I was reading something different! My favorite projects to work on, though, were always manuscripts that I got a chance to see evolve; seeing a manuscript improve after helping give editorial feedback was so gratifying and worthwhile.

I was lucky to be at two places that really encouraged growth and hands-on participation. At Guernica, I was writing and composing social media content every day, interacting and engaging with their online community. At Writers House, I felt that my editorial feedback was valued and that the work I was doing to help bring manuscripts to life was really helping the authors and agents I was aiding. And ultimately, I used every skill that I learned through my English classes: understanding craft and story structure, analyzing character and audience, writing in various styles (for a social media audience, for an individual author, for an agent…), being able to communicate my ideas clearly and concisely. Overall, I’m so grateful for my time in New York, not only for giving me an insider look into the industry I want to be a part of, but also for the opportunity to collaborate, play, and experiment with skills I’ll use for the rest of my professional life.

 

 

Originally written by Natali Cavanagh

Immersive Opportunities: Gain Hands-On Experience!

Are you wondering how you can get more involved in the department? Do you want to spice up your class schedule next year? Consider one of our many immersive learning classes! Immersive learning courses provide students with hands-on, real-world experience in their field of interest.

Previous courses have included Storytelling and Social Justice, where students published a book of true stories from community members to make poverty in Delaware County more visible, and Creative Writing in the Community, where students taught writing techniques to young writers in Muncie and published a collaborative anthology.

Fall 2018 English Immersive Learning Courses:

ENG 400: Book Arts Collaborative

This community letterpress and book bindery is located in the MadJax Building in downtown Muncie. Students learn to set type and hand-bind books, and each has the opportunity to become a student manager, where they’ll learn the ins and outs of business through collaboration with community partners. To learn more, contact Prof. Rai Peterson at rai@bsu.edu.

ENG 299X: Jacket Copy Creative

Students staff this in-house marketing agency for the English Department. They manage the department’s social media accounts, blog, and annual newsletter. Students learn storytelling strategies through practices in public relations, graphic design, editing, content marketing, and more. To learn more, contact Prof. Cathy Day at cday@bsu.edu.

ENG 489: The Broken Plate

In this class, students learn firsthand the editing and publishing world, as they produce this nationally distributed literary magazine. Students field submissions in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, art, and photography, and the journal is released at the annual In Print Festival of First Books. To learn more, contact Prof. Silas Hansen at schansen@bsu.edu.

ENG 400: Digital Literature Review

Students read deeply in literature, theory, and criticism on a vital topic, then produce a volume of this scholarly journal on that topic. Next year’s topic is Brave New Worlds: Utopias and Dystopias in Literature and Film. To learn more, contact Prof. Vanessa Rapatz at vlrapatz@bsu.edu.

ENG 299X: Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Students will focus on rethinking characters in children’s and young adult literature to help shift the stigma associated with being disabled. The course culminates in the production of a comprehensive magazine/website containing resources on literature featuring disabled characters and fiction and non-fiction pieces co-created by students at BSU and the Burris Laboratory School. To learn more, contact Prof. Lyn Jones at ljones2@bsu.edu.

 

Short Film Corner with Rani: Gowanus 83

I really love this 2011 short film, Gowanus 83. At eleven minutes, it is a great example of using genre in short film. It uses the tropes and genre conventions of a gangster film while making them fresh through comedy and specificity of character, plot, and world.

I admire the dialogue in this film. Reminiscent of Tarantino’s writing, it plays with genre expectations and comically subverts character stereotypes. Through comedic dialogue, the film creates the tension of the plot and reveals necessary backstory.

Lastly, Gowanus 83 utilizes the specificity of its world. By setting it in this neighborhood in Brooklyn, it allows the possibility of the interactions of all of these characters and invites the kind of chance and coincidence that can only happen in a city like New York.

Enjoy Gowanus 83!

 

 

Originally written by Rani Crowe

Sigma Tau Delta: Your Next Chapter

What is Sigma Tau Delta?

Sigma Tau Delta is an international English honor society with over 900 active chapters in the US and abroad. The organization is open to all English majors and minors, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Ball State started its chapter in the fall of 2017 with 15 members. Our chapter focuses on community outreach, both on campus and in Muncie. Some possible events we’re planning for next year include a Bad Poetry Night, a book drive, and community reading sessions. Our year culminates at the international convention (next year’s is in St. Louis!) where students can present creative and critical works, meet other members from around the world, and immerse themselves in all things English for days on end.

Who can join?

Both undergraduate and graduate students can join!

If you are an undergraduate student who has taken at least two English or literature classes at the college level, are majoring or minoring in an English concentration, and have a GPA of at least 3.5, you qualify!

If you are a graduate student, you must be studying English (any concentration), have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a GPA of at least 3.5.

If you qualify, you should have received an email inviting you to join. If you did not receive an email but think you qualify, contact Mary Lou Vercellotti at mlvercellott@bsu.edu.

How can you join?

Turn in your application (printed) and a one-time fee of $40 to the English Department main office in RB 297 by 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3.

Why should you join?

Scholarships

Members are eligible to apply for Sigma Tau Delta scholarships. Each year, the organization gives out scholarships valued at up to $5,000 each, including one to aid members who have an unpaid internship.

Internships

Sigma Tau Delta offers three awesome internships in publishing: the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, the Sigma Tau Delta Review, and a co-sponsored internship with Penguin Random House. (One of our chapter members is a top-five finalist for this one!) Members can also apply for scholarships to attend the Washington Center internship program.

Convention

We just got back from this year’s convention in Cincinnati, Ohio! Four of our members submitted work and presented at the conference, and two of them won money! Aside from possibly winning money for your writing, the convention gives you the chance to listen to peers’ work, take part in roundtable and panel discussions, attend professional development and informational sessions, network, and talk with authors (this year, featured guests included Christina Henriquez and Mary Norris). It’s not all just academic, though—the convention also hosts social events like an open mic night, a bad poetry competition, and a semi-formal awards gala.

Fellowship & Networking

Sigma Tau Delta allows you to connect with like-minded people on campus and off. You’ll befriend students you might not have otherwise met, build a stronger professional relationship with faculty members, and network with professionals in your desired field. You’ll geek out over punny English-themed t-shirts, eat lots of pizza, and laugh A LOT.

Follow our BSU Sigma Tau Delta chapter at @bsusigmatd on Instagram and Twitter, and like Ball State Sigma Tau Delta: Alpha Chi Upsilon chapter on Facebook! Contact bsusigmatd@bsu.edu with any questions.

In Print Editor: Kristen Elias Rowley

This week, the Ball State creative writing program will host its annual In Print Festival of First Books, a two-day event featuring a reading and panel discussion by writers who have just published their first books, as well as an editor from a small press or literary journal.

In anticipation of this event, we have prepared a series of blog posts highlighting each of our featured guests at the festival. Today we introduce you to editor Kristen Elias Rowley.

Kristen’s Official Bio:

Kristen Elias Rowley completed her graduate work in literary studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is Editor-in-Chief at The Ohio State University Press, where she acquires academic monographs, in addition to nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels/memoir, and poetry for the new literary trade imprint Mad Creek Books. Her acquisitions include Phillip Lopate’s A Mother’s Tale, Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas’s Don’t Come Back, and Nicholas Delbanco’s Curiouser and Curiouser. She previously worked for the University of Nebraska Press, where she acquired such books as Barry Jean Borich’s Body Geographic (a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist), Ellen Cassedy’s We Are Here (a recipient of the Grub Street Prize), Joy Castro’s Island of Bones (which received an International Latino Book Award), and Nancy Miller’s What They Saved (winner of the Jewish Journal Book Prize). Other authors she has published include Lee Martin, Sue Williams Silverman, Patrick Madden, Mary Clearman Blew, Dan O’Brien, Ilan Stavans, David Lazar, Jared Carter, Catherine Taylor, and Joy Passanante.

Interviews

Titles Acquired at Mad Creek Books

Title Acquired at University of Nebraska Press

Event Details:

Kristen will be joined at the 2018 In Print Festival of First Books by poet Carolina Ebeid, nonfiction writer Jan Shoemaker, and fiction writer Nick White.

Kristen Elias Rowley will also be visiting Professor Mark Neely’s ENG 489 class:

  • Thursday, 03/29, 5:00-6:15 in Robert Bell, Room 361

All In Print events are free and open to the public. Contact Professor Neely at maneely@bsu.edu if you would like to sit in on his class.

In Print Author: Nick White

At the end of this month, the Ball State creative writing program will host its annual In Print Festival of First Books, a two-day event featuring a reading and panel discussion by writers who have just published their first books, as well as an editor from a small press or literary journal.

In anticipation of this event, we have prepared a series of blog posts highlighting each of the writers whose work will be presented at the festival. This week’s subject: fiction writer Nick White.

Nick’s Official Bio

Nick White is the author of the novel How to Survive a Summer. A native of Mississippi, he teaches creative writing at Ohio State University. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Hopkins Review, LitHub, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. His short story collection, Sweet and Low, will be published in the summer of 2018.

Selected Interviews

Fiction

Essays

Event Details

Nick will be joined at the 2018 In Print Festival of First Books by poet Carolina Ebeid, nonfiction writer Jan Shoemaker, and editor Kristen Elias Rowley.

Nick White will also be visiting Professor Sean Lovelace’s ENG 407 class:

  • Thursday, 03/29, 3:30-4:45 in Robert Bell, Room 361

All In Print events are free and open to the public, but contact Prof. Lovelace in advance if you want to sit in on  his class.

Black Panther: Professors’ Cut

Prof. Emily Rutter teaches African American literature and Prof. Pat Collier teaches film studies in the English Department. We brought them together for a conversation about Black Panther, which, just over a month after its debut, is the seventh highest-grossing film in U.S. history.

 

PC: Hi, Emily! Before we talk about the film itself, I’d like to hear your thoughts about the film as a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther is inspiring a lot of optimism from critics and journalists, who are reading its popularity as a sign (or an engine) of racial attitudes changing for the better. Do you share this optimism at all?

ER: Yes, Black Panther has generated an incredible amount of buzz, particularly in terms of the film’s “for us, by us” ethos. You could say that this film and its popularity are part of a black arts renaissance that has ushered in a stunning wave of black-directed films: Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Denzel Washington’s Fences (an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play), Ava DuVernay’s 13th, and Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight (which won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture), and Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler’s own Fruitvale Station and Creed (and this is not an exhaustive list).

Historically, Hollywood is an industry that has not only been dominated by people of European descent, but has also been a key propagator of white-supremacist (and patriarchal, heteronormative, classist, ableist, what have you) ideologies. All of this to say that it’s positive both when white-dominated spaces like Hollywood are made less so, and when people of African descent are able to use the medium of film both to resist whitewashed narratives and to celebrate black pride. Thus, I hope that films like Black Panther, a high-grossing blockbuster which consistently conveys positive images of blackness, will become more common.

Pat, I’m curious as to your thoughts about the choice to represent Wakanda as a monarchy, rather than a democracy. While it was not specified, I also wondered if the implication was that this monarchy was patrilineal. In other words, if this is an Afrocentric film with anti-colonialist commitments, what are your thoughts on representing a king as the hero?

PC: Great question. Overall, I think the movie’s politics are progressive, at times even radical. I love it that racial oppression in the U.S. turns out to be, obliquely, to blame for the challenge to the Wakandan throne that drives the story. The villain Killmonger (played by the awesome Michael B. Jordan) raises the genuinely explosive question of whether it would be right for black people around the world to rise up violently. True, he’s the bad guy, but if his claim had no validity there would be nothing at stake. And the great thing about Black Panther is that, for all the glitzy CGI effects, its engagement in politics is serious. The movie ends (spoiler!) on a much more conciliatory note–Wakanda is now going to become an engine for social change through diplomacy and social programs. (Arch irony in Oakland, California being the beneficiary of foreign aid!)

But I digress. You asked about the creators’ choice to make Wakanda a monarchy, probably a patrilineal one, at that. (Not to take anything away from the female characters played by Lupita N’yongo, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright, who kick much ass.) Maybe this is one place where Black Panther can’t transcend its Superhero source material. Its otherwise sophisticated sense of political conflict and global history resolves through old Superhero tropes, including lineal politics within royal families (Hello: Star Wars!) and hand-to-hand combat between larger-than-life individuals. Individual heroism and redemptive violence still carry the day.

What’s your take on the politics of the story, Emily? Much has been written, for instance, about the image of a powerful, functional African state at the center of the story.

ER: Right, and that symbolism is significant in terms of pressuring supposedly common sense ideas about the world, both past and present. Via Wakanda, Black Panther offers another way to see and know Africa that is not polluted by Western imperialist notions of civilized vs. primitive. Wakanda has preserved its rich resources–namely, vibranium–by operating under the guise of a “third-world” nation, outsmarting the colonizers by using their own prejudices against them. Taken as a whole, the film encourages viewers to question the ways in which nations (and indeed continents) are categorized and understood.

The film also poses several related questions: What is the most appropriate way to heal the African Diasporic wounds of the past by using the technologies of the present? How does a people threatened by exploitation preserve precious resources without denying them to people in need? We could also view these questions through the lens of art. For example, in beginning and ending the film in the director’s hometown of Oakland, Ryan Coogler might have been self-reflexively considering his own role as a now famous filmmaker. In other words, how will he resist becoming a stooge for, in this case, Disney, while also using his talents and platform to empower those caught in the crosshairs of various forms of structural oppression and violence?

Pat, what kinds of questions does the film raise for you regarding the role that these blockbuster films funded by corporate giants like Disney might play in resisting neo-colonial ways of knowing? Or, if that is too leading (ha ha), what are the other aspects of this film that intrigue you?

PC: Well, your question brings me back to the limits of the genre. I already mentioned that the superhero genre more or less stipulates that the conflict will be resolved by a strong individual through an act of redemptive violence. This is a very capitalist, western, individualist trope: it’s Shane taking down the cattle barons and Gary Cooper cleaning up Hadleyville. It’s also impossible for a film like Black Panther not to be a bit semi-colonial in its own right–serving up exoticized images of distant lands which the viewer gets to enjoy from the safe, commanding view of a (reclining!) theater seat. The power of Hollywood and of Disney to bring you these images is a powerful undercurrent that goes more or less unchallenged, don’t you think?

ER: Yes, that’s true. And, let me also say that for all my of my skepticism about Hollywood and Disney I recognize the importance of fantasies, especially in the form of utopic visions of Africa. In my African American literature class, we are gearing up for a unit about literary representations of Africa, so I’m excited to see the ways in which Black Panther informs our discussions. What about you, Pat? Do you plan to teach this film, or reference it in your film studies courses?

PC: You’re so right about fantasies. Film class for me is about recognizing what kinds of fantasies we’re being offered and how they work. And, sometimes, simply recognizing that they are fantasies. (I’m thinking about rom-coms and how they re-enforce middle-class and heteronormative values, and re-iterate the cultural narrative that pairing off solves all your problems). But, yes, I do think Black Panther would be a great film to teach, precisely because I want students to discern when film fantasies are potentially transformative, or liberating, or productively critical, and when they are re-enforcing harmful beliefs or simply promoting disengagement.

Any final thoughts, Emily?

ER: #wakandaforever

New musical by BSU profs revisits King assassination, Kennedy speech

“Dear Bobby: A Musical,” written by BSU English professors Angela Jackson-Brown and Peter Davis, will debut on Thursday, March 22 at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre in Indianapolis. Prof. Jackson-Brown is the author of the novel Drinking from a Bitter Cup, the upcoming poetry collection House Repairs, and the plays Black Lives Matter (Too), Anna’s Wings, and It is Well, among other works. You can find more info about her work at www.angelajacksonbrown.com. Peter Davis is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Band Names and Other Poems. You can find more info about his work at artisnecessary.com.

Department Assistant Chairperson Pat Collier spoke with Jackson Brown and Davis about the new musical.

PC: Your play tells the story of Bobby Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis on the day of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Kennedy was discouraged from going on with the speech but insisted; it’s been suggested that his intervention may have prevented rioting in Indy.

Angela, how did you get selected to write this musical?

AJB: Most times when I write, the vision is 100% mine. In this instance, I was commissioned by the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative to write a play about Bobby Kennedy’s speech on April 4, 1968. That night, Kennedy had just finished giving a speech to over 10,000 Ball State University students (another wonderful connection to this story), so the historical component to this event was not lost on me. I strongly believe in serendipity and this felt like one of those moments.

James Still, the phenomenal playwright at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, produced a play about this event called April 4, 1968. I knew I wanted to do something totally different and out of the box, so I immediately thought, this story needs to be a musical. And because Pete and I had just completed writing a musical called Underneath the Chinaberry Tree, I knew we could do this project together. Our work ethic is so similar. We don’t procrastinate, and we are never so married to our work that we can’t listen. I don’t know if he and I will be the next Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I do know I would love to work on future projects with Pete. He gets me, and I believe, I get him too.

PC: Peter, you’re primarily a poet (though you’ve written a lot of songs). How is writing for a musical different from your previous work?

PD: I haven’t written music for a musical before working with Angela, but working on it wasn’t much different than working on other projects. No matter what I’m doing, I’m always working within a certain set of constraints, like the genre, or my abilities, or time, money, and access. Being an artist always feels like the same thing because the “art” part takes place regardless of (or inside of) the specific constraints.

PC: Creative writers spend a lot of time working alone, in complete control of their creations. What was it like working collaboratively?

PD: Working with Angela was great. It was super easy. She basically did everything. Angela secured funding for the both of us, wrote the play, wrote the lyrics, coordinated with the IndyFringe Theater, and even sang some of the melody for one of the songs.  Once she’d explained the project to me she gave me a file with lyrics for seven songs. All I had to do was to come up with the melodies. I’m constantly writing songs and so this felt like a vacation for me; half the songs were already done; I just had to fill in the music.

Of course, on some songs I had to tinker with the lyrics to fit a particular pattern or something, but Angela had already written the lyrics in a structure and so that job was mostly done. She gave them to me all at once and I just worked on whichever song I wanted to until I’d finally completed them. It was during the summer and so I sat at the piano in my living room and just messed around. It was pretty relaxing. It reminded me of the expression “many hands make light work.” Except in this case, it should be “Angela’s hands make light work.”

It was so easy working together that in the weeks prior to working on “Dear Bobby” we used roughly the same process to complete another musical, this one full of blues music. This play has yet to be produced, but my point is simply that working with Angela was easy and fun. I’d work with her on anything, anytime.

AJB: I love the art of collaboration and when I wear my playwriting hat, collaboration is imperative. Up until this project, my favorite collaboration was with BSU alum Ashya Thomas, who studied in our department. Ashya and I wrote Black Lives Matter (Too). This play received glowing reviews and was invited to two different festivals. Even though she was a student at the time, I respected her craft and her understanding of our subject matter.

The only way collaboration can work is if there is 100% trust between the collaborators. It is never one person’s vision. It might start out that way, but then, it becomes the vision of the director, the costumer, the sound and lighting designer, the scenic designer, and the actors (just to name a few). So, a playwright cannot afford to go into a theatrical writing project without considering the fact that there are many voices that must be heard if the project is going to go off without a hitch.

When it came to working on Dear Bobby, I was prepared to share the vision with Pete because more than anything, I trust him. This musical depended heavily on his musical vision and understanding of the historical time we were writing about. Pete asked all of the right questions, and then, we were off to the races, so to speak. Working with Pete was a dream. We never had to scrap a song because we just clicked so well artistically that we instinctively knew what was going to work. At times, it felt like he was inside my head (I hope he didn’t get scared up there.)

My goal as a teacher is to encourage other young writers to consider collaboration. Learning how to collaborate prepares young writers for that day when they hopefully sign with a literary agent. People may not realize it, but the agent and writer are collaborators. My agent, Alice Speilburg, is phenomenal when it comes to suggesting things I need to change or work on, and I know I have to be open to her suggestions. I have to trust that the people I put in my camp are there to make my work the best it can be.

Tickets for Dear Bobby: A Musical are available at http://www.indyfringe.org/theatre-show/dear-bobby-musical.