I spent yesterday wandering around the little bit of Brooklyn that exists in my head. The Brooklyn from 1984, the Brooklyn from when I was a kid, from a time before first kisses, relationships, money, and worries squeezed themselves into my life. The Brooklyn that I wrote about consisted of Maxie's, the candy store that used to be on Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean Parkway and the few blocks surrounding that most wonderful, candy-filled haven. Going to Maxie's was like being a kid in a candy store. Oh, wait. Yes. That's exactly what it was. It was being a kid in a candy store. This was one of the first places that I learned the value of money and how to budget the few coins I was given. I learned there how to get the most for my dollar, or my quarters, or whatever it was that I was spending. When I walked into Maxie's, I was an adult for a few minutes in my otherwise childish world.
The short story I'm currently working on begins on a child's journey to Hebrew school with a stop at the candy store beforehand. The importance of the candy store as the story unfolds doesn't become clear until the end, but if one were to think of how kids think, of those moments of childhood clarity when the whole world seems to stop for an instant, and in this case, how the very act of getting the candy can have a powerful impact on the plot, then it becomes evident why I spend a lot of time in the beginning describing it.
The other day I looked through my completed work. I realized that at this point, the "short story collection" I talk about writing is nearly written. I had no idea. So far I have eight completed thematically-linked stories. I've sent some of them out to journals, but what I'd like to do is write a few more and organize them, get a good query letter out to agents and publishers and see what happens.
In other realms, I was selected to give a professional development workshop this fall. I'll be working with educators and childcare providers. I'll be doing theater games and improv and teaching them to utilize these techniques to foster creativity, interest, better communication and listening skills. I"m pretty excited but I really need a full-time teaching position....