A: He told me that he didn’t read any women writers.
B: You should have punched him in the face.*
A: But then I saw him reading Colette, and I was like, “What, so you read women writers in translation?”

* I need a new putdown.

dialogue, film

he must have been a happy man

Last night, we watched Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. The midsummer Maryland humidity watched the movie with us, and we sat in silence, too hot to laugh, sweating into the couches while the men on the screen sweated into their cowboy hats.

CHEYENNE: You know, Jill, you remind me of my mother.
(Pause. Stare.)
She was the biggest whore in Alameda, and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

dialogue, quotes

it’s not even the pleasures of the flesh I’m talking about

I am reading more Philip Roth today: here is an excerpt from a fight about contraceptive devices.

She walked over to me, leaving white footprints on the grass. “I didn’t think you were such a creature of the flesh,” she said.

“Didn’t you?” I said. “I’ll tell you something that you ought to know. It’s not even the pleasures of the flesh I’m talking about.”

“Then, frankly, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why you’re even bothering. Isn’t what we use sufficient?”

“I”m bothering just because I want you to go to a doctor and get a diaphragm. That’s all. No explanation. Just do it. Do it because I asked you to.”

“You’re not being reasonable – ”

“Goddamit, Brenda!”

“Goddamit yourself!” she said and went up into the house.


chicago, dialogue

the wheels on the bus

The 70 Division eastbound from Ashland to North Branch.

GIRL: Dude, you just, like, jabbed your elbow into my gut.
MAN: Sorry.
MAN: You want to go out with me? I have a phone.
MAN: I can call you.
MAN: I’m only 61.
GIRL: I’m 16!
MAN: That’s, like, 61 reversed.
A seat opens up and GIRL moves to sit down.
MAN: Don’t leave me!
MAN’S SEATMATE, A WOMAN OF FEW BUT APT WORDS: She thought you were a dirty old man.
MAN: Yeah.
MSAWOFBAW: Ha, ha, ha.
MAN: Yeah, all right.

chicago, dialogue, metablog

no action

Friday night at La Pasadita, one of three of the La Pasadita taquerias in the block south of Ashland and Division. B and her friend C are eating carne asada Super Tacos.

A: Where did you ladies get that beer?
C: Around the corner.
A: Around that corner there?
C: Yep.
B: There’s a giant arrow sign pointing to it. You can’t miss it.
A: We appreciate it.

In rereading a portion of this blog yesterday, I decided that the parts I like reading the best are:
1) the observations about writing, which I’m getting better about doing regularly
2) the dialogue excerpts, which there aren’t enough of. I’m going to create a new category.

I will try to have dialogue even when, as is typical in my plays, there is no action. Maybe by writing a little bit of dialogue regularly in the blog I will find more action in the sound of people’s words.

chicago, dialogue

that’s what I’m talking about

The 52 Kedzie/California bus south at 7 AM on a Friday morning after a Bulls OT victory against the Celtics, in which Ray Allen scored enough 3-pointers to become part of the times table.

Ray Allen. I’m telling you, that Ray Allen – watch out! Ray Allen, Ray Allen, Ray Allen.
Ray Allen, Ray Allen.
Ray Allen!

That’s what I’m talking about!

Ray Allen. I mean – come on!

Ray Allen!

dialogue, writing


Experimenting with writing quotes on this blog in different formats, play or fiction. Something so intimate about putting the dialogue in quotation marks.

I think what really gets me about the “,”s is the idea of setting the spoken parts apart from the rest of the text, as if everything weren’t just another kind of dialogue. Dressing it up.

“Something so intimate,” she said, “about putting the dialogue in quotation marks.”

dialogue, ovhd, travel

you don’t like it

SCENE: This morning, DARA is reading, for the nth year running, a large group of one-act plays for a high school festival. She is sitting with her travelworn laptop at Janik’s at the corner of Division & Damen. Overhead, an exposed heating pipe is wrapped in plastic-tubed Christmas lights. Underneath, the floor is tiled like a chessboard. To her right is a wall of comic-book art plated in glass stacked like a European museum, where there’s so much art you can’t afford to let each piece have its own place on the x axis. To her left, a flatscreen is streaming images from NASA, interspersed with images of the menu. Galaxy – catering available. Supernova – Stella Artois. Behind DARA, people are glossing over emotions, in that way when someone has given you too much information, and you have to say something – but nothing you can say will be enough. She listens. It’s never too early.

A: (trying) Hey, that’s how life is, right – you don’t like it, hit the road.
B: Yeah. And I did.