Staged Readings of Two of My One-Act Plays…

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THE HISTORY OF US and KING OF THE CREASE, two one-act plays I wrote, will be stage read NEXT TUESDAY (AUGUST 1st, 2017) from 7pm-9pm at Port Perry Church of the Ascension (266 North St. Port Perry).

Thanks to THEATRE 3×60 for putting this on. I was thrilled to find out that they were doing this with both of the first two one-act plays I have ever written.

If you recognize the title of the first one, THE HISTORY OF US, it’s because it began life as a 10-minute play…which I wrote for DRIFTWOOD THEATRE‘s TRAFALGAR 24 Play Creation Festival. I was fortunate enough to land two incredible actors for the original production of this play. Both Christopher Kelk and Adriano Sobretodo Jr. were phenomenal in their roles as Alzheimer’s suffering Charlie Wilkins and his son-in-law Ben. Making a ten minute play into a one-act was a difficult task, but creating more for and about these two characters was a labour of love. Charlie suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is mourning the recent loss of his wife, while adjusting to the changes taking place in his life. These changes include moving in with his son and his partner…and dealing with the complications this entails with other family members.

In King of the Crease, we have retired NHL goalie Frank Eno, who is struggling with aging and chronic back pain. His live-in adult daughter has a suitor who Frank admires while others in his family do not. It’s the story of a father and son, in the end…disguised as more of a family drama.

I hope you will join THEATRE 3×60 next Tuesday to see how these two plays pan out on the stage.

3xCanadians Staged Readings – Kevin Craig, August 1, 2017

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Port Perry Church of the Ascension (266 North St. Port Perry)

Theatre 3×60’s summer company performs staged readings of Kevin Craig’s King of the Crease and The History of Us.

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE THEATRE 3×60 WEBSITE AND A DIRECT LINK TO WHERE YOU CAN BUY TICKETS TO THE EVENT FOR $10 EACH:

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BUY TICKETS HERE: https://squareup.com/store/theatre-3×60

 

A MESSAGE FOR WRITERS AND PLAYWRIGHTS: Staged Readings are interactive and the audience has an opportunity to provide feedback on the plays being read. These readings are GREAT WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITIES for playwrights and wanna-be playwrights. It will be a learning experience for anyone thinking of taking on playwriting. And, yes…it will be a terrifying experience for me, the playwright. I’ve never done anything like this, but I have an open mind and a desire to better my playwright skills. This is just the kind of opportunity that could make me grow as a playwright. For my local writer friends, this is an invaluable experience…come, learn, contribute feedback. I hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Postcards from the End – MNM2016

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Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the last day of the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon. It was a great marathon for me…after the first 24 hours of non-productivity fog melted off the lake of the weekend and the sun came out to burn off the dense terrifying nothingness that clung to my creativity like a golem made to keep me down. I’m not being over-dramatic. Really, I’m not.

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I went from having nothing to write that weekend to scrambling to keep up with the story that eventually took over my every thought. I eventually chased it down and wrote it out and got a lion’s share of it on paper. By the end of the weekend, I had perhaps 3/4 of a novel completed. I handed it in for consideration in the Best Novel Award contest and it actually went on to win BEST ADULT NOVEL OF 2016. What happened after the marathon is another story…best to be saved for a fireside horror-show retelling.

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Moving along…

If you would like to sponsor a writer for the 2017 Muskoka Novel Marathon, it’s not too late to do so. Each writer has two goals for this novel writing marathon. GOAL #1 is to raise money and awareness for the Simcoe Muskoka YMCA literacy programs. Writing a novel in 72 hours is just the secondary more selfish goal…money for literacy, that’s the true aim. You can make a difference with your donation. AND no amount is too small. Here’s a link to the Muskoka Novel Marathon 2017 Writers Page—with links to sponsor the writer of your choice.

As the marathon winds down, participants often write letters of encouragement to one another via blog posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, paper airplanes, toilet paper missives, etc.

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One of the many beautiful places writers can choose to write in at the Muskoka Novel Marathon in Huntsville, Ontario.

Here’s a Facebook status update I wrote as the 2016 marathon drew to a close. I won’t be taking part in the 2017 marathon that begins this Friday evening at 8pm and lasts for 72 hours…but I wish all those writers taking part a wonderful writing journey. May they write words, eat well, and be merry. And maybe when the marathon is coming to an end, they can find this postcard from the past and take comfort in it this year…as the message is fitting for any marathoner approaching the ending of the marathon on any given year.

 

Take a deep breath. This is it. The last day of the marathon. We have walked thousands upon thousands of words, taken strangers to places near and far with the sheer power of our own gossamer imaginations. Be well pleased in yourself and in your courage. It’s time to write the eulogy, celebrate the fact that you made it to the end. The power of words, so thick and meaty…they can change the world with a stroke. You’ve put them together one upon another, forced logic and il-logic to intertwine in whatever world you created in your mind for this long journey. Take a bow, for you all know the power now of longing to reach into your imaginations and pull out that which cannot be touched but allows itself to be embraced nonetheless. You were either absent or present during the creation of your words…there, not there. You were, however, at the helm…even in those periods when you completely disappeared, became not a writer but writing itself. We draw now to a close, on this, our last day…draw our imaginations back to a simmer—to something we can more tolerate back in the real world where words are not as powerful and all-encompassing as they are here, in this sacred place. Breathe. You did it. You have entrusted yourself to take the journey. You stepped forward one word at a time and you didn’t die. No one got left behind. The words piled up and gave you strength, even as they took it clean away. Write. Write. Write. But in doing so, don’t forget to breathe. You’re almost home.

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Yours truly taking a time out at the 2016 Muskoka Novel Marathon. THIS is the beauty that surrounds us at the marathon. It’s everywhere. Our job is to keep writing without falling victim to the distractions. But we also need breaks…creativity walks. To the 2017 Marathoners…DON’T FORGET TO STEAL SOME ‘ME’ TIME FOR YOURSELF. Go to the Volcano!

I’ll leave you with Medicine for the People…

 

Happy 6th Birthday to My Debut Novel!

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Six years! SUMMER ON FIRE hit the bookstores six years ago today. The book that changed my status from writer to author. It was such a journey. It began in 2003 as my very first NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) manuscript. And it took until 2011 to see it through to the finished product.

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Summer On Fire – 6 Years Old Today!

Buy it today on AMAZON:

Amazon Canada Kindle Edition $5.51

Amazon Canada Print Edition $4.63

Amazon USA Kindle Edition $4.21

Amazon USA Print Edition $7.95

Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighbouring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect-none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell-the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from imminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

Some of the greatest compliments I have ever received for my writing can be found in reviews of my debut novel. I can’t even count the amount of people who brought up the movie STAND BY ME in their review of the book. This is one of my all-time favourite movies, based on Stephen King’s short story THE BODY. Every time Summer on Fire was compared to this movie, my heart grew another size.

I will let some of the reviews speak for the book on this, its 6th birthday:

READ WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT SUMMER ON FIRE:

“A coming of age story that makes ‘Stand By Me’ just seem like a nice song…”

 

SUMMER ON FIRE touches on friendship, loyalty, lying and honesty, owning up to personal responsibility, facing your problems/fears instead of running from them, and not giving up on the seemingly hopeless cause.”

 

“I kept flashing to Stephen King’s novella, The Body (the basis for the Stand By Me movie) even though this is set firmly in the 80s and in Canada. And yet, while writing in his own style and with a storyline that’s completely different, he channels that vibe”

 

“In his debut novel Summer on Fire, Kevin Craig successfully captures the passing of life within an Ontario town in the early 1980s and what might happen were that town to suddenly be struck by tragedy.”

 

“The book’s setting and descriptions were excellent and not overdone. Set in a rural town, it reminded me much of the town where I grew up. Kids were free to roam around the neighborhood after dark, and it was a simpler time.
Really, I just loved everything about this novel. Summer on Fire is a great summer read, and I couldn’t put it down”

 

“Reminded me of Stephen King’s The Body!”

 

“Kevin Craig writes so beautifully, painting the whole picture, in Summer on Fire as well as his other published novel Sebastian’s Poet. I am definitely a fan and look forward to his next book.”

 

“The book reminded me of Stand By Me and The Goonies. It is an enjoyable read, taking us into the inner workings of a young man’s mind.”

 

“I LOVED the tone and feel of Summer On Fire. Very Stand By Me.”

 

“Summer on fire pulls in all the good keynotes that made movies like Goonies, Stand By Me and My Girl so resonant. The characters are real, the dialogue and actions are natural and the story just flows. It is a book that has you grinning like a fool by the end.”

 

“I highly recommend this book and place it along side “Stand by Me” for a MUST READ!”

 

“Kevin Craig has done a fantastic job writing a compelling story of friendship, loyalty and owning up to the mistakes people make. I would recommend this to middle schools for their reading programs. 5 stars for a great story.”

The Genesis of Story

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Whenever I think of that place where story comes from, I always hearken back to that seminal moment in the story of Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers. I recall Roberta (Bobbi) Anderson walking in the woods with her dog, Peter.

She might have passed the spot where she stumbled once or twice or half a dozen times before, perhaps by yards, or feet, or bare inches.

This time she followed Peter as the dog moved slightly to the left, and with the path in sight, one of her elderly hiking boots fetched up against something… fetched up hard.

“Hey!” she yelled, but it was too late, in spite of her pinwheeling arms. She fell to the ground.

This is essentially the Genesis of Story, is it not? The storyteller trips over something, gets up, brushes themselves off, and investigates the thing that made them trip. That thing is the kernel of an idea. It sticks up out of the ground, just a glimmer. A storyteller bends down and tries to unearth it. At first, they have no idea whether it is a pebble or a mountain… because it is only a glimmer that sticks out above the path they have walked a thousand times. How much of it is buried beneath the surface, they do not know. That’s why they get down there and begin to dig it up. They need to know.

 

 

“Nice going,” she said, and looked to see what she had tripped over–a fallen piece of tree, most likely, or a rock poking out of the ground. Lots of rocks in Maine.

What she saw was a gleam of metal.

She touched it, running her finger along it and then blowing off the black forest dirt.

“What’s this?” she asked Peter.

WHAT’S THIS? Is that not what the storyteller asks when they hit upon a new idea?

I ate The Tommyknockers up with a sort of rabid madness. Just as Bobbi wanted to discover what this thing was that stuck out of the ground in the woods of Maine, I too wanted to know. Only three inches of metal… only a kernel. That’s all it takes to chase a story, is it not?

Whenever I think of story, and the impetus that brings me as a writer into a new one, I think of that little tiny piece of metal sticking out of the ground. And the burning desire to get down in the dirt and dig until it is unearthed. Perhaps that’s what King was thinking about as he wrote The Tommyknockers… how well the analogy fit with his chosen path of writer. Surely, he thought that.

SPOILER ALERT!!

To put this into perspective as to how it relates to the kernel of an idea leading, hopefully to a novel… the tiny piece of metal that stuck out of the ground was an entire ship from outer-space, a crash-landed UFO. Peter walked Bobbi in a different direction one time and of all the places on the forest floor for her foot to land, it struck a minuscule piece of metal sticking up out of the ground. This was virtually an impossibility. Until it wasn’t. Her foot found that thing to trip over… JUST. This is how a story comes to a writer. Ideas fly past us all day long until we snag onto one of them and ask ourselves WHAT IF? WHY? It’s such a magical and mysterious wondrous thing. We reach into the idea we trip over and we begin the arduous task of digging it up.

The truth is, the idea is sometimes, sadly, small… a rock poking out of the ground. That’s why we don’t stop examining them as they arrive. Because we can only see the kernel. We have to dig in order to discover how far it will take us. For every hundred ideas, only one of them is a buried spaceship. Only one of them will reveal itself as an iceberg with hidden depth.

This, to me, is the beauty of being a writer… the journey of discovery, of perseverance, of determination. If I trip over something, I’m going to be like a dog with a bone. I will not stop digging until I can see what it is I’ve tripped over. These ideas are just as random as Bobbi’s foot striking down on the one precise spot in all the world where an impossible thing lay just beneath the surface of the earth. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? Being a writer and getting to explore the ideas that come your way? I suppose it could be construed, also, as a form of madness. Many might simply be annoyed to have tripped over a thing. They might pick themselves up from the ground, brush the dirt away from their pants and say, “Stupid dog!”

But us writers? We need to know. WHY? WHAT IF?

Dig…