Across America

After strike following the Arts for Kids, ETC production of “Elves in the Toyshop?!” (again, coming to Heartland Plays summer, 2009), Mark and I headed across America on our way back to our home in Montana. Kentucky is great, especially during the spring and fall. The magnificent colors and phenomenal weather make the winters in Montana seem shorter. I don’t mind the winter in Montana as long as I don’t have to go outside. Give me a warm fire, hot tea, a comfy couch for reading your play submissions and my computer for writing with views of the Elkhorn Mountains to top it off and I’m set. Anyway, we left Kentucky and headed north first to Ohio to visit family then northwest to Chicago for lunch with Mark’s son, Nathan and on to St. Paul Minnesota where Mark surprised me with tickets to a live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor is by all means one of my favorite literary personalities, the Mark Twain of his generation. We sat on stage behind sound-effects wizard Tom Keith who can create just about anything out of his bag of props. We should see if he’d be interested in producing a sound effects CD for Heartland Plays. Just a thought. From there we headed to Fargo, ND prompting us on our return to pick up a copy of the movie Fargo which we watched the day after Thanksgiving. Quirky. The movie, I mean, not the act of watching it. From Chicago to Fargo to Billings to Helena we stopped at a number of city centers, one of my favorite past times. If you want to know something about the town you’re in, you have to go to the center of the city. Everything else is about the same. I wrote about the homogenizing of America years ago, when few seemed to notice. But find the city center and you find what makes that community tick and you can usually find a non-branded latte, one of my other favorite past times. We traveled cross country in my 1996 Toyota Corolla with 245,000 miles, the same auto we took two years ago on our adventure through Central America. It gets phenomenal gas mileage, about 40 miles per gallon. (Didn’t I use the word “phenomenal” already?). As we passed from one state to the next, through one city center to another, over open roads and through endless landscapes, I thought about the generations of great American writers we have come to love, or have never known, pouring their personal insights and unique experiences and perspectives into their work. And wondering why we aren’t getting more submissions. We know you’re out there. We know talented writers hover between mountains, behind city lights and around river bends. And we know it isn’t easy to get your work read by editors and literary agents without your own agent. Heartland Plays is actively soliciting new works by new and emerging playwrights from across America. Take the time to submit your play. The least you’ll get out of it is a professional critique. And if you’re good, really good, you’ll see your work added to our list of quality plays. Our list is small, and it will grow slowly, because we are discerning, but our goal is to represent at least one playwright from every state across this great country of America. That playwright could be you.