Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Tens

For new year's we took the kids to a small party at the parents of an old schoolmate of the girl's. The place was here in town, just four couples, a lot of chat with a small army of kids making a constant cacophony upstairs. We found out later they were playing ZOMBIE for most of the night.

The plan was to leave early, but everything was going so well, neither of us wanted to leave before midnight, the kids got to stay up to watch the ball drop, a concept which was a little ominous to the boy; Why the countdown? Doesn't that happen before things get destroyed?

Early in the evening, the subject turned to local celebrity books and one man I had just been introduced to made a side comment to the other and I realized I was must be sitting between a local publisher and the son of a local TV personality.

Cleveland truly is a small city. And all the interesting people live in the Heights.

I spoke with the local book publisher about the play. He wasn't impressed with the subject - Cleveland in 1936. It won't sell. In order to attract an audience I would need to appeal to the nostalgia factor - how about a play about Cleveland in the 50s or 60s?

Of course, I am not obligated to sell this play, I merely need to write it.

He did make one very good point - the best way to reflect the times is to interview people who lived then ... and that is a problem. My parents were born the year before, in 1935. And they are turning 75 this year. How many sentient 90 year-olds can I find?

Do you have any suggestions?

LATER: Evening spent adapting previous work for submission.


  1. Check newspaper archives from the period-- pay attention to the letters to the editor and the advertisements and the op-ed pieces.

    Put an ad on Craigslist asking if anyone has a relative's letters or journals from the period they could share.

    Check out the yearbooks from that era at local colleges or high schools (if they are available-- used bookstores can be a good resource for this).

    Even if people aren't still alive from then, the period was certainly documented.