A picture and a question

Hi everyone,

Ozarks Literacy Council is partnering with noted photographer Randy Bacon to revise an event he did for the Council almost 20 years ago, “Words and Pictures.” In the original collection, I appeared with Sandy Asher, with whom I had partnered on various projects to promote literacy such as America Writes for Kids, and opera star Jim Billings. That was before Sandy and Harvey moved from Springfield to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I’m honored to be a subject in this anniversary event, which will feature 20 people and is scheduled to be shown in March 2022. To accompany my portrait, I’ve been asked to provide a sidebar of 750 words or so about why I became involved in promoting literacy originally (2022 will mark my 40th year) and why I remain involved today. Specifically, I was asked to respond to this: “You could just as easily have focused on being an author. We want to get the HEART of why literacy is important to you.” No one has asked me to address that issue before. This is going to take some thought. I’ll sit for the picture this morning at 9:30. I’ll wrestle with my response to the question soon.

Worldwide reading of Jesse and Grace tonight

Hi everyone,

Tonight at 5:00 CST, 6:00 EST, Sandy Asher and I are reading our story in verse about two best friends 4th graders: Jesse and Grace, a Best Friends Story. Some of you have heard us before but this time we’re on radio and the broadcast goes out worldwide. Apple users may have problems, which are adaptable if you have the right app I’m told, but everyone else should be okay. To listen all you should need to do is go to www.wioxradio.org. and the show will be streamed there.

For those of you in other parts of the world, I made a short list and attempted to look up the differences between our time here in Central Standard Time and your time. I don’t promise that these are all correct so you’d better double-check me if you are interested in hearing the reading.

+8 hours later for you: Kenneth Tumusiime, Kampala, Uganda

+5 hours later for you: Silindle Ntuli-Nxasane Lives, Hammarsdale, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

+10 hours later for you:   Zafar Rashid Lives, Lahore, Pakistan

+12 hours later for you:      Pote Chinavarakul, Chiang Mai, Thailand

+13 hours later for you:      Joan Liu, Singapore

+8 hours later for you:       Christina Botta, Turin, Italy

+8 hours later for you:       Renee LaTulippe, Piombino, Italy

+10’45” hours later for you: Shan Shanti, Kathmandu, Nepal

+6   hours later for you:     Bryn Strudwick, Basingstoke, England

+7 hours later for you:       Richard Lungu, Lusaka, Zambia

+8 hours later for you:      Vida Sreta Zuljevic, Bosnia and Herzegovina

+3 hours later for you:     Daniela Alejandra Fuentes, Bahía Blanca, Buenos Aires

+8hours later for you:      Rian Draijer, Amsterdam

+10’30” hours later for you: Rama Dixit, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Here’s part of the press release.

OPEN EYE THEATER AIRS PLAY FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES ON WIOX

“Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story” a radio play for young audiences by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  will air on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime” on WIOX Radio in the Catskills 91.3 FM, Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET.  Children in grades 2-5 and their families will especially appreciate this play about two children who have been friends since birth, almost 10 years.  It has never mattered that Jesse is a boy and Grace is a girl.  They have always understood each other, protected each other, comforted each other, and shared their jokes, toys, dreams, and love of poetry and basketball.  But now they’re in the fourth grade and about to celebrate their 10th birthdays.  When Grace writes a birthday poem and gives it to Jesse, their classmates begin teasing: “Jesse’s got a girlfriend!  Grace’s got a boyfriend!”  Confused and hurt, humiliated and angry, they stop speaking to each other, and do everything they can to avoid each other.  Secretly, they long to forgive and forget, and in time learn that a best friend is the best kind of friend of all.

Winner of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award, “Jessse and Grace, a Best Friends Story” was developed from a cycle of poems co-written by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  Sandy and David will perform a two-character radio version of the play live on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime,” Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET, and will share their creative process with Playtime co-hosts Carol and Arnie Schwartz and Amie Brockway. 

Jesse and Grace go worldwide

Hi everyone,

Sandy Asher and I are thrilled that next Tuesday, May 11, at 5:00 CST time, we’ll give a reading of our story in verse of two fourth graders, Jesse and Grace. We’ve been asked to read this story before, but this time we’ll be on radio and will be heard worldwide. The press release went out today from Amie Brockway, Producing Artistic Director for Open Eye Theater. For most of you, wherever you live in the world, it will be as simple as click on the radio link the evening of the 11th and there we’ll be. More details when we get closer.

OPEN EYE THEATER AIRS PLAY FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES ON WIOX

“Jesse and Grace: A Best Friends Story” a radio play for young audiences by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  will air on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime” on WIOX Radio in the Catskills 91.3 FM, Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET.  Children in grades 2-5 and their families will especially appreciate this play about two children who have been friends since birth, almost 10 years.  It has never mattered that Jesse is a boy and Grace is a girl.  They have always understood each other, protected each other, comforted each other, and shared their jokes, toys, dreams, and love of poetry and basketball.  But now they’re in the fourth grade and about to celebrate their 10th birthdays.  When Grace writes a birthday poem and gives it to Jesse, their classmates begin teasing: “Jesse’s got a girlfriend!  Grace’s got a boyfriend!”  Confused and hurt, humiliated and angry, they stop speaking to each other, and do everything they can to avoid each other.  Secretly, they long to forgive and forget, and in time learn that a best friend is the best kind of friend of all.

Winner of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Play Award, “Jessse and Grace, a Best Friends Story” was developed from a cycle of poems co-written by Sandy Asher and David L. Harrison.  Sandy and David will perform a two-character radio version of the play live on “The Open Eye Theater Playtime,” Tuesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET, and will share their creative process with Playtime co-hosts Carol and Arnie Schwartz and Amie Brockway. 

The Open Eye Theater Playtime is your front-row, on-the-air seat to plays for kids, plays for grown-ups, and all things theater, hosted by Open Eye Artists Amie Brockway, Erwin Karl, Carol Schwartz, and Elizabeth Sherr. 

“Jesse and Grace: a Best Friends Story” may be heard Tuesday, May 11, 6:00 p.m. ET, on WIOX Radio in the Catskills 91.3 FM, http://www.wioxradio.org, and on MTC’s Channel 20 Television.

Amie Brockway, Producing Artistic Director

960 Main Street, P. O., Box 959, Margaretville, NY  12455

845-586-1660  openeye@catskill.net

  www.theopeneyetheater.org

 

New reading of JESSE AND GRACE

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted to announce that this evening at 5:00 CST, John Newman and Liz Gordon from Utah Valley University will give a reading of JESSE AND GRACE: A BEST FRIENDS STORY, by Sandy Asher and me. She and I look forward to hearing our work presented by other voices, especially when they are as professional and talented as those of John and Ella. I hope you can join us. To register, just follow the steps in the link. RSVP by emailing john.newman@uvu.edu so he can send you the link and add your name to the guestlist. His student will admit those on the guestlist from the waiting room. Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/david.l.harrison.14/

The end of a good week

Hi everyone,

My thanks to all who contributed to my article on how to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. The piece is done, submitted, and accepted. It includes ideas from seventeen people in thirteen states — classroom teachers, school librarians, public librarians, university professors, authors, and poets. I worked on it all week and think it will become a useful reference for classroom teachers looking for ways to energize their efforts to make poetry more exciting and appealing to their students.

Sandy Asher and I have now received a recording of our reading of JESSE AND GRACE. I know that some of you who registered for the event were unable to get in due to last minute technical issues that weren’t your fault. This way is easy. Just click and you’re there. https://youtu.be/wiD4avfXCAI You may need to back it up to the beginning.