The 24 Hour Theatre Project – A Fundraiser for Mysterious Entity Theatre

Serendipity is at it again, folks! Here I was minding my own business yesterday when Tracey, a friend of mine who lives in Peterborough, Ontario, messaged me to tell me about THE 24 HOUR THEATRE PROJECT taking place at the GORDON BEST THEATRE on July 6th. “You guys should go,” she said. (THANK YOU, TRACEY! You made my July!)

My first thought was, ‘How did I NOT hear about this event? Oh no, it’s too late to be a part of this event!’ Then I got proactive. Mid-messenger-conversation with Tracey, I took a pause to immediately email the organizer of the theatre project to ask how I could apply to be a part of the event NEXT year.

I happen to love this 24hr play creation format. I have participated as playwright in 7 of these events now…6 times for Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar24 event, and once for the Uxbridge25 event a few years back. Admittedly, I got an extra hour at the Uxbridge event…they went with 25 hrs to be aligned with the 25th anniversary theme. But what’s an hour amidst the chaos of creativity? It basically means I got to dot my I-s and cross my T-s a couple more times.

To continue, I received a reply from the event’s organizer shortly after sending my email:

Thanks so much for reaching out – and…. this is wonderful actually because one of our writers JUST messaged me that she has to cancel. So – if you are available, I would love you to be one of our writers for this upcoming 24 Hour Project.

Major thanks to Em Glasspool, the organizer for this event, for the invitation!

So here I am, thrown into another wonderful 24hr festival! And I could not be more excited and terrified! I know, I know…terrified is such a serious word. But it’s also a lovely thing in these circumstances. Think of it as ravenous butterflies accumulating in my stomach at an unfathomable rate over the course of the next month, just waiting for their moment to burst out into the universe. What? That doesn’t sound lovely? But of course it is. It’s this magical threat of CREATIVITY AT GUNPOINT that I thrive on! I love it, I love it, I love it!

(Did I mention that the very weekend AFTER this theatre event I’ll be locked in a room for 72hrs with 39 other writers while I attempt to write a full novel from start to finish at the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON?)

So…the deets. You might be asking, “HOW DO I ATTEND THIS EVENT? WHEN IS IT? WHERE? TELL ME!?”

Be patient. First, a little about formatting. If you’ve attended any of the yearly TRAFALGAR 24 events, the format is very close to being the same. The major difference is this—THE PLAYWRIGHTS DO NOT GET LOCKED INTO A HAUNTED CASTLE OVERNIGHT. Otherwise, it’s extremely similar. From the promotional materials:

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS…
Friday 8 p.m. – 5 Writers begin scripts
Saturday 6 a.m. – 5 Directors read scripts and each choose one
Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 30 actors arrive and audition
Saturday 9 a.m. – rehearsals begin
Saturday 7:30 p.m. – Doors open at the Gordon Best Theatre
Saturday 8 p.m. – 5 new plays!

OOH! I’m so excited! The playwrights will be able to write wherever they wish. I’ll most likely just go home. We are required to email the scripts by 5a.m. Saturday morning. Then, I suppose, I’ll have a nap and prepare for the REAL MAGIC to occur. This isn’t my first rodeo. As a playwright at these events, one feels almost like one of the elves working throughout the night to leave behind shoes for the shoemaker to discover in the light of a new day.

BUT—there’s a big but here, folks—the truth to this story is the shoes are nowhere near polished and ready for market in the morning. The shoemakers have to work together to refine the shoes and make them better, make them worthy of the storefront window. The shoes don’t go on display until the next evening…until after the directors and actors perform the real magic. It’s what they do with the scripts they’re given in the morning that makes the script worthy of that evening’s audience. They’re sorcerers…I promise you. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s my own play I’m watching, my own words being bounced back to me from the stage, but in the hands of these magicians they are made better, real, wondrous. I don’t even know what it is they do. They take these ugly ducklings with promise, run them through their paces and come up with something more fetching, more fluid, more MORE.

It takes a theatre family to raise a play. You really should consider being a part of the audience that gets to see these raw vignettes born only 24 hours before. There’s something magical and lively about this type of event. The newly-born creativity has this pulse running through it and the audience is just as much a part of it as the theatre group itself. The audience’s faith in what they’re about to witness is just as important and dynamic as the starter’s pistol 24 hours before…when not a single word has yet to hit the page.

For those of you in the back row…let me repeat…THE REAL ALCHEMISTS IN THIS 24HR FORMAT ARE THE DIRECTORS AND THE ACTORS!

Trust me, you’ll want to be a part of this.

AND…like Trafalgar24, this event is also a fundraiser for a very good cause. MYSTERIOUS ENTITY THEATRE. It’s a fundraiser for theatre itself, for creativity. Consider coming out to Peterborough for this event. You wanna see what happens, don’t you?

TAKES PLACE: Saturday, July 6th, 2019 at 8 p.m. at the Gordon Best Theatre in Peterborough! – 216 Hunter St. West

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Google Map 216 Hunter Street West for Directions.

Sponsored by Steamwhistle!
Sponsored by Black Honey!

PRICE: $10 for 5 original works of theatre!

To sign up for this event: email – emglasspool@gmail.com

This is a PAY AT THE DOOR event.

You can go to the Facebook Event Page for this event by searching THE 24 HOUR THEATRE PROJECT or BY CLICKING THE PIC BELOW:

24hr.jpgOTHERS TAKING PART IN THIS EVENT:

Writers: Linda Kash, David Bateman, Christopher Wilton, Nicky Gibeault

Directors: Kait Dueck, Lisa Dixon, Wyatt Lamoureux, Dane Shumak, Conner Clarkin

Actors: Randy Read, Charlie Earle, Meg O’Sullivan, Lindsay Barr, Johnathan Sharp, Benjamin van Veen, Tom Keat, Aedan Shaughnessy, Sarah-Jayne Riley, Hilary Wear, and many more!

Find out more about MYSTERIOUS ENTITY THEATRE HERE.

Hope to see you there!

PRIDE Giveaway Alert – Head Over to Twitter!

For Pride Month, I’m giving away a print copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE! To enter the giveaway, find me at Twitter and RETWEET the following TWEET before Midnight June 21st:

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ON TWITTER, I’M @KevinTCraig

Here’s the synopsis of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE from AMAZON:

Ezra Caine is gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears the wrath of his father’s bigotry. When Ezra’s flamboyantly out friend Alex Mills takes one too many beatings from homophobic bully Will Severe, Ezra finally snaps. Fed up with the situation at school, he decides to do something about it.
With the help of his BFF, Nettie, and some unlikely allies, Ezra rallies to create their small-town school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes don’t come without hiccups, one of which being a messy scandal involving Alex and a gay hook-up app.
As Ezra and his friends attempt to sway their school into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that friendships out of convenience aren’t always a good idea, just as some enemies might not be as bad as he originally imagined them to be.

For reader reviews of PRIDE head on over to GOODREADS. You can also place it on your shelf while you’re there. (-;

You can purchase a copy on AMAZON

Enter by June 21st!

Good luck! Happy Pride!

Remembering My First Rodeo – Or How I Stole the Soul of Leonard Cohen…

As I prepare for the 2019 Muskoka Novel Marathon, I can’t help but look back with fondness on my first. The year was 2007. I went in with a real feeling of dread and terror, as I knew almost no one and my introverted-extrovert self was electric with a fear of failure that was accompanied by a healthy dose of my fear of strangers and meeting new people. I was a mess, but also filled with excitement at the idea of spending 48hrs in front of a laptop attempting to write an entire novel.

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The above images are things I’ve pulled into my story from the 70s. THE GOOF (The Garden Gate Restaurant in The Beaches has had the nickname of THE GOOF for decades…since the neon G-O-O-F letters fizzled out!) is still alive and well.

Enter my calm safe place…the incomparable (now late and great) Leonard Cohen (cue the choir of angels singing aves!).

Before the novel writing marathon begins, there is a meet-and-greet where all the writers get together and introduce themselves. We do this every year. There’s usually a couple new faces, and quite often we see friends from past marathons for the first time since the previous July. It’s a lovely time of reunions and introductions. THEN we take to our seats and a bell goes off to usher in the beginning. We’re at the starting gate and take off not running, but fingers flying on our keyboards.

For my first marathon, I had a title and two characters in my head. They waited impatiently for that commencement bell to toll. One of the characters was a neglected little boy who lived in The Beaches district of Toronto…and the other was Leonard Cohen. Or, at least, a folksinger who was a god-like hero character in the same way I imagined Leonard to be.

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Gordon Lightfoot is an important character used in the very last chapter of Sebastian’s Poet. The chapter is actually Gordon Lightfoot approved!

As the bell rang, I dove in and I did not look back until my story was told. It spanned most of the 70s and ended with the Cohen character taking the stage at the CNE Grandstand at a charity concert hosted by none other than the great Gordon Lightfoot.

As I wrote that last chapter with tears in my eyes and excitement in my heart, I felt this great crescendo escalating with every word that raised to meet the ending. It was the denouement to a story that was often hectic and scary. It was the moment when my child character, from the wings of the CNE Grandstand stage, was finally able to exhale after a treacherous ride through a difficult childhood. It was the culmination of a full 48 hours of writing the same story start to finish and it was simultaneously electrifying and exhausting.

I did it! I wrote THE END before the marathon was over. The marathon is actually a 72 hour journey, but there’s an option to end at the 48hr mark. That year I didn’t really believe in myself enough to take a day off work in order to write. I just couldn’t justify it. I didn’t consider myself worthy of the holiday day for the purpose of something as frivolous as writing. So, I clocked out after the weekend was over. I went home while others stayed behind to write through their Monday.

When I got home I dared to look at the story for the first time. When you’re in the heart of that whirling dervish of a ride, you don’t really have the opportunity to look back. When I did finally glance back and read the story, I was floored. I had taken up handfuls of mud and clay and I had formed a Golem that walked and talked and lived like my mind’s eye’s version of Leonard Cohen. Perhaps it was because I had only listened to ONE SONG during the entire 48hr novel writing marathon. Perhaps Leonard Cohen had traveled through the music and into my veins and caused himself to pour out of my fingers and on to the screen. Character osmosis.

I loved that first marathon as much as I look forward to this upcoming one in 35 days. Perhaps I look forward to them because of that first one…because I had the music in me. Music was the propulsion that saw me through those 48 hours. It was an elixir that calmed me down enough to be in a new environment with new people and a new story. And I had Leonard to thank for all of it. So, I did the only thing I could do…I stole his soul.

Leonard Cohen became the hero of my story. If you ever read my novel SEBASTIAN’S POET, know that when you’re reading about the folksinger that wakes up on a ratty old couch in the Beaches district of Toronto in 1973, you’re reading about Leonard Cohen…or, at the very least, my angel-ized version of the man I’ve had a lifelong music crush on. It was easy to get that story thrown down in 48 hours…I’d been carrying it within my heart for my entire life.

THE SONG I LISTENED TO FOR 48HRS STRAIGHT DURING THE 2007 MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON – Leonard Cohen’s ANTHEM

I’m heading back to Huntsville, Ontario on JULY 12th, for my 11th Muskoka Novel Marathon. 40 Writers in 1 Room for 72 Hours = 40 Novels. And we do it all for the love of words. Each writer collects sponsorship pledges and 100% of the monies raised goes to the YMCA literacy programs in Simcoe/Muskoka Counties. We typically raise about $30,000.00 per year and help fund the following year’s literacy efforts. If you would like to be a part of this endeavor, we’d love to have you on board. My ONLINE DONATION PAGE CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE- Just click on the SUPPORT THIS WRITER link.

You can purchase that first Muskoka Novel Marathon novel that I wrote in 2007 at AMAZON FOR A LITTLE OVER A DOLLAR. My only advice is that you listen to Leonard Cohen while you read. It helps to take you there!

WorldTowning Vlog – A Must See Traveling Family…

In our preparation for the Camino de Santiago, Michael and I have been devouring every Youtube video on the Camino we can find. I honestly don’t know how WorldTowning didn’t come up sooner in the searches, but I’m so glad they finally did! WorldTowning is a family who travel the world together, exploring its various landscapes and cultures with a joie de vivre the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed. WorldTowning are Will, Jessica, Avalon, and Largo Sueiro…and they appear to be on the road to everywhere. They homeschool their children along the way…but the education they’re receiving by being fully immersed in all the various cultures of the world is far more valuable than any textbook could ever be.

We dropped in on WorldTowning for their Camino vlogs (They start at around Episode 67 of their vlog series) and then we stuck around to catch up on their past travels. And since they kept on going after the Camino de Santiago, we’re watching as they make their way through the rest of the world in their own unique and remarkable way.

That’s the thing that really blows me away. Not only did the Sueiros do the full Camino Frances pilgrimage route of the Camino, but it was only a stop along the way. AND they kept on going once they got to the ‘End of the World’ at Finisterre. They’re doing a mind-blowing world tour. And they’re not afraid of going off the beaten path and taking their viewers to unique locations that tourists don’t often see.

Watching the vlogs of their fascinating adventures, it’s easy to see that their two children (Avalon and Largo) thrive within the extraordinary atmosphere that world travel offers. They may not know just yet how lucky they are to be experiencing the different peoples of the world, but I’m sure it won’t take them to long to realize the ultimate gift their parents are bestowing upon them.

Will Sueiro does a remarkable job filming their adventures. I think I want to be a drone operator when I grow up! ALSO, nothing says dedication like carrying all that extra film gear on the 800km pilgrimage route in Spain. A regular viewer of their vlog nicknamed Will’s Camino de Santiago backpack ‘the kitchen sink’ because it appeared to be large enough to carry everything but. And I thought I carried a heavy load in 2014…until I saw the one Will lugged across Spain.

A long time ago, in another lifetime maybe, I used to attempt to hide my tears whenever something hit me hard in the feels. But I’ve come to accept that it’s okay to cry at commercials and movies and songs and books and…okay, yeah…just being in the presence of sheer beauty, even. I WANT to cry when my feelings explode so much that I can’t handle how big the joy or sorrow is. Jessica breaks down every now and then…and I think that’s wonderful. It makes her more real and authentic. It’s a gift to feel that deeply. She does tend to apologize for it occasionally. But I always say cry if you want to. To be honest, they’re seeing beautiful and remarkable things in their travels. Nothing makes me cry more than, say…the way the water laps at the side of the boat when you’re floating down the Ganges watching funeral pyres on the shore, or, say, the way the fields of poppies in Spain dance in the wind while you’re walking by making your way to Santiago. Tears are just an expression of gratitude or sorrow. We should never apologize for them. And we should never tease others for shedding them. I’m not ashamed to say I cried a few times while watching the WorldTowning vlog.

Oops. A blog post from me wouldn’t be the same without a digression. Enough about tears.

If you’re looking for a delightful travel vlog to watch, look no further than WorldTowning. Here’s a link to the WORLDTOWNING WEBSITE. Check it out to see what they have to offer YOU.

The Sueiros are also on PATREON and TWITTER and INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.

Write What You Don’t Write & MNM Brain

I woke up this morning with Writer Instructor dialogue running through my thoughts. I notice this phenomenon ratcheting up as the yearly Muskoka Novel Marathon slowly approaches. This is the time when I truly begin to think about the writing process in general and the upcoming MNM novel in particular. I become this super coach who prepares a team of ONE for a marathon that does not involve any form of running, jogging or walking.

This morning I woke up thinking about all the stuff the writer has to do to learn about their characters, their plots, their settings, their universes. We have to write the stuff down that we don’t use in our story. I’m not talking about the stuff we’ll sneak in as the dreaded INFO DUMP. I’m not really talking about backstory, even, even though I am. I know that doesn’t make sense on the surface, but trust me…it makes sense.

Backstory, in general, is stuff you sprinkle into your story for the reader—stuff they discover about the characters’ pasts. Their motivations, their goals, etc, etc, etc. BUT—there’s another kind of backstory the WRITER should think about. Yes, there are motivational epiphanies we should share with our readers. That’s obvious. But there’s a whole life behind every character we create. Have you ever thought about writing out memories and experiences the characters have that have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY YOU’RE WRITING? I mean, HAVE YOU? Because you should.

This is not a new concept, even for me. But it is one I keep going back to. I wrote an article for a writing newsletter once upon a time about diary entries. It’s now on my blog and for some reason it’s one of my most popular posts. People come to it by these bizarre Google searches about writing and diaries and characters and the like. I linked the blog post above…and I might be repeating myself today.

The backstory you give your characters stays inside you and you remember it as you’re navigating your way through your story. You become an expert on what your characters would or wouldn’t do, how they would or wouldn’t react based on this backstory. And again—I’m not talking about the backstory you feed your readers. I’m talking about the backstory ONLY YOU KNOW. So, the more you explore the people you create, the more you know them…the more you intuitively know their path through the story you create. This is why I spend a lot of time this time of year in developing my people for my  Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. We 40 writers get together for a long weekend in July and we all attempt to write a novel in 72 hours. I like to know who my characters are before I leap into that kind of an abyss.

Now, you can write their unseen-by-any-readers-ever backstory on paper or on your word processor, OR you can just chew away at it in your own little head. Either way works. The more stories you create about their past, the more it helps you to predict their future. And the future is the arc in which they travel through your novel. By setting up these pre-story lives as much as possible, you are doing a kind of homework that would otherwise be impossible. Even if you ‘practice’ with these characters for a hundred pages and then toss it away…those hundred pages are not wasted words. They are a foundation on which you can build the first sentence of your novel, and the second and the third.

For me, this works. Especially since I hit the ground running on a Friday evening and attempt to walk away on a Monday evening with a fully written first draft novel. I need every edge I can get.

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Random photo because I wanted to add something to look at. There’s a magical place along the Camino de Santiago where you get to walk through vineyards and it’s gorgeous. Here’s a peek.

Do yourself a favour and try this. Write situations, scenes, memories with your potential characters. Form a backstory for them that you will NEVER use in your finished work. Get to know them. They’ll pay you back in spades when you’re deep in the heart of your novel and trying to decide what your character will do next. If you know your character, you know how they’ll choose to move forward in your story…

Happy writing!

HERE’S MY AUTHOR PAGE ON THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON WEBSITE. YOU CAN CLICK ON THE SUPPORT THIS WRITER BUTTON TO BE TAKEN TO MY DONATION PAGE…BECAUSE THE MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON IS NOT ONLY A 72 HOUR NOVEL WRITING MARATHON, BUT IT’S ALSO A FUNDRAISER FOR LITERACY PROGRAMS. WE’RE WRITERS HELPING READERS.

Sling Some Ink in Paris this Fall with Inkslingers!

Right off the top, I want to let you know I am NOT affiliated with Inkslingers in any way (nor am I being incentivized to mention them). I JUST BELIEVE IN THEM AND IN WHAT THEY DO! I wanted to give them a quick shout-out today because Sue Reynolds and James Dewar are incredible writing instructors and you would do well to spend some time with them if you’re looking to ignite your writing life.

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Picture is mine, but I checked the itinerary – Montmartre is on the itinerary…and it’s where this lovely and iconic pink restaurant is located.

Click the ink bottle below to go directly to the INKSLINGER website:

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Sue Reynolds was one of my first contacts with the WCDR. In my early days in the organization, I attended a writing group led by Sue at the Uxbridge Library. It really served to kick-start the writing life I was bursting to slip into. She and James Dewar (another writing mentor who did a lot to boost my love of poetry) are leading a writing retreat in beautiful PARIS this fall. Although, sadly, I will be missing it…it REALLY is something you should consider doing for your writing life. Both Sue and James are wonderful nurturing writing coaches…and did I mention PARIS?!

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Across the way from Notre Dame, Shakespeare & Company is a MUST SEE bookstore in the very heart of Paris. Inkslingers will take you there!

FROM INKSLINGERS:

Visit Paris as more than just a tourist. Engage with this important city as a literary traveler experiencing it through the words of the great writers who have called it home; and then reflect on your own reactions and experience daily in our inspiring workshops.

Travel in the safety and community of other writers and artists on our exclusive tour bus. Stay at a four-star hotel with easy access to The Metro for setting out on personal or small group excursions.

Sue and James will be joined in Paris by Kate Marshall Flaherty. You can learn about KATE HERE.

INKSLINGERS IN PARIS takes place Oct. 26th to Nov. 3rd

The itinerary looks exquisite. You will visit Père Lachaise Cemetery, House of Victor Hugo, Place de Vosages, Bibliotheque Mazarine, The Musee d’Orsay, The Rodin Museum, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur Basilica, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, the Catacombs… and SO MUCH MORE.

HERE’S THE FULL ITINERARY.

Check out the details at the INKSLINGERS website now! Don’t wait, because they are offering an EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT until June 15th. ALSO, for my American readers…pricing is in CDN dollars so you will be further discounted by the exchange.

Honestly, you couldn’t be in more capable hands. Inkslingers are passionate about what they do and they do it tremendously well.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT INKSLINGERS AND LEARN ALL ABOUT THEIR PARIS RETREAT

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