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Darci Picoult headshotPlease explain what just happened.

I heard children playing outside and a classical piano playing next door. Now there is a horn beeping. A man laughing. Life.

 

What is your earliest memory?

Seeing a lion on the wall of my bedroom and screaming for my brother to kill it. He made it vanish (with his fist? mind? a combo of both? don’t remember) and I thought he was a hero. Still do. A few years later I yelled to my sister that a cow was outside my window. She didn’t believe me until she looked and alas, saw it too. It wandered up the road from a nearby farm. We both had a hard time getting it to leave. Called the police who thought we were drunk and at a bar. “A cow outside your window?” I was maybe 12 years old. Finally the owner came and wooed the cow back to pasture

The plays of Mac Wellman. Pretentious nonsense? Or clever fun? Damned if I know. Over the years, I’d read nearly every play by the sexteguagenarian, Obie-award winning, Guggenheim fellowship recipient, thus developing an unhealthy obsession with bad pennies, cheese, crows, and engaging in analytical discussions about every Wellman-loving director from Jim Simpson to some undergrad. I thought, “Pshaw. I’ve got this.”  

I was determined to not be the ditzy, inarticulate actor who gushes “I love Mac Wellman” and then, when asked to support her view, dishes out a puzzled look. I had smart things to say about the kooky, yet philosophical writer. Still, I wasn’t going to drone on with doctoral gobbledygook about Brechtian storytelling, Beckettian landscapes, puppets, social metaphors, and references to Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, and meter.

Please explain what just happened.

I Googled all the past Nervous Breakdown questionnaires to see how other, wittier people answered this question.

What is your earliest memory?

It probably would be the time myself and a fellow three-year-old helped ourselves to the whiskey in her mother’s drinks cabinet. I mean, it would be if I could actually remember that. I got a head-start on wiping out neurons.

 

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?

Whatever I’d choose, they wouldn’t let me do it. Probably wisely.

 

Is your creative nonfiction worthy of the big lights? Ever think your life could be transformed into a dramatic scene performed by real actors dazzling a live audience?

Now’s the time to dust off your playwright skills. At least two ten-minute one-act plays written by TNB contributors will hit the stage this December at the longest actively running community theater in America.

Nick Belardes’ Random Writers Workshop in Bakersfield, California has teamed up with indie bookstore Russo’s Books and Bakersfield Community Theatre (BCT) to provide a great new opportunity for TNB contributors.