Hooray for today!

Hi everyone,

Good day at hand. This morning I think I can finish going through the first complete draft of the Teacher Resource book I’m doing with Mary Jo Fresch and get it off to our editor at Scholastic.



I’m having lunch with a dear friend and gifted actor, director, and writer, Herman Johansen, who is in town from Los Angeles. He used to live here and has family nearby. The “skirt” is invited, as we refer to Sandy.herman-johansen3 It’s always great to see Herman and catch up on his news. http://hermanjohansen.com . There’s a chance he’ll spend the weekend with us. Years ago Herman created a wonderful video for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) when I was on that board. sandy-asherSandy Asher wrote a moving dramatic reading about kids who are neglected and abused and Herman used it as a springboard to make the video. That’s how we first met.

This afternoon I’ll get back to a new poetry manuscript I started several months ago. The proposal is with an editor but I feel an itch to add more poems. All in all, a day to look forward to.

Another friend headed to NYC

Hi everyone,

Fantastic news from Herman Johansen. Herman Johansen3 I’ll let the letter speak for itself.

Headed to FringeNYC – The New York International Fringe Festival this August.
Dear FringeNYC Participant,

That’s right, Participant! CONGRATULATIONS! Your production of Fading Light has been ACCEPTED, and on behalf of The Present Company and the entire FringeNYC team, we want to welcome you to FringeNYC. We have chosen you to participate because we believe you will make an invaluable contribution to this year’s festival. It is our goal to make FringeNYC the most dynamic festival possible, and we invite you to help make this happen!

Herman, who lives in Los Angeles, is a gifted actor and director who is adding film credits to this repertoire these days. Here’s his website. http://www.hermanjohansen.com . I’ve read the script for FADING LIGHT, the play that won him the right to be produced in NCY this summer at FringeNYC. All I can say is that audiences will soon be adding Herman playwright to Herman’s list of accomplishments. Congratulations, Herman!

Sandy Asher in the news

Sandy Asher

Hi everyone,

As you may remember, Sandy Asher and I are planning a new episode of WRITERS AT WORK, probably for April or May. We’re waiting for a time when our schedules allow us to complete this new one, which we’re calling “In Search of Authenticity.”

Herman Johansen just brought to my attention an article in “Footlights” about Black History Month, Sojourner Truth, and Sandy’s play about her. This marvelous play has been around for a while now and is one of Sandy’s best known works. Add this to her latest coup — her play, “Walking Toward America,” about Ilga Katais-Paeglis Vise has been accepted into the UNITED SOLO FESTIVAL on Times Square, with Annie Meek Montgomery doing a full performance, on September 27 — and Sandy can already call 2015 a great year. Way to go, Sandy!

Herman Johansen

Hi everyone,

A good pal of mine, Herman Johansen, just landed a role in a short film called STANDING YOUR GROUND. Here’s what he sent me. He didn’t say I could share it but what’s he going to do? He lives way out west in California. It would take him a couple of months to walk it.

He says this is scheduled to shoot late September. I can’t wait to see it. One thing I know is that anything Herman does he does beautifully. He’s a wonderful actor. Way to go, Herman!!


Herman Johansen
BiCoastal Talent: Liz Hanley 818-559-6422
Direct: 816-308-7974

Worst sentences

Hi everyone,

My friend and genius actor Herman Johansen sent me a humorous article yesterday about the worst sentences ever perpetrated against the reading public. Here was the author’s choice for the “all-time worst” of the worst: “Like the wolf he was named for was he, he realized, for his life was solitary above all else.”

What a gagger. But let’s face it, this sentence does not stand alone. It has many close relatives out there. There are even contests for such cleverly terrible sentences, particularly if they begin a story. Here are a few samples from my files on worst writing contests.

“Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped ‘Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.’ ”

“He wasn’t an hombre you’d want to stick your tongue out at or flip off, and any man who tried to tickle him would be asking for a long stay in a pine box.”

“Lightning flashed from the blue-black sky of this alien world and shattered the engines of the spaceship, destroying Reninger’s last chance of escaping and reminding him of the time his sister returned from New York with the tips of her hair dyed blue, except for the part about the lightning and the spaceship.”

“Carmen’s romance with Broderick had thus far been like a train ride, not the kind that slowly leaves the station, builds momentum, and then races across the countryside at breathtaking speed, but rather the one that spends all day moving freight cars around at the local steel mill.”

I realize that I’ve been leaning on the poets lately and they might appreciate a respite while I turn to fiction and nonfiction people. So here you go. Where are you, awful first sentence people? Let ’em rip. We need some humor around here and we’re counting on you to liven things up and make us smile.

Once you have created your gem, do share it with the rest of us!


Okay for you. If no one is going to step forward, I’ll inspire you with this effort.

Peter was a rabbit, had always known, though at times it wasn’t easy when his siblings taunted him and called him “Poor Reception” because as a twitchy-nosed, witless bunny he scampered into the mower’s path and forfeited both ears, for in those days you couldn’t get decent reception on your TV for the Mary Tyler Moore Show or Cid Caesar either if you didn’t have a wire antenna called rabbit ears perched on top and, of course, Peter had neither, but even so he knew he was a rabbit as sure as carrots are orange, only not that icky sort of orange you get in off-brand sodas or two-day-old road-kill on July 24th, which always queasied Peter’s stomach and made his lettuce taste like spinach left out so long it forms that slick kind of green goop, and certainly not the edgy orange of an ambitious sun auditioning for the role of sunset in an Angelina Jolie movie, which, really, when he thought about it, was more of a reddish-purple than orange, but a rabbit was he and proud of it.

Beat that!