Write on

by Cynthia on November 2, 2015

2011-10-29 22-53-32.144The show I told you about in my last blog was a wonderful success. I got to know my character so well it took me about three weeks to completely shake her shadow. If you watch the show in the link provided, you will see that Darla Thompson’s depression didn’t creep in “on little cat feet.” The little cat feet carried it away, or at least they eased it.

I wouldn’t call myself a cat person. I have a greater connection with dogs, but I wanted to explore what might emotionally push someone to collect stray cats. I was led by my curiosity, stirred by the memory of an old news story, then I added some cayenne pepper, a spoonful of sugar, and voila. Darla Thompson emerged.
Often, that’s how I write: a little truth, a little fiction, a little spice, a little sweetness. Then I let my fellow writers taste-test the batter. I listen to their feedback and adjust the recipe slightly. When I’m satisfied that it tastes like something I’ve completed, I serve that product to beta readers.
It’s an amazing process.
It’s a process that takes a long time when you have a day job.
Sometimes I think it’s too hard, that I should just give it up.
Have a life.
Then I realize I do have a life.
The life of a writer.
There’s a list of authors who have supported themselves with day jobs. Virginia Wolff ran Hogarth Press. T. S. Eliot worked at Lloyd’s Bank. Frank McCourt taught high school and college. Franz Kafka was an insurance guy. Lewis Carroll was a mathematician, a photographer, and a teacher. William Faulkner was the supervisor of a power plant. Dostoyevsky was an engineer. Kerouac picked cotton, washed dishes, worked as a night guard, a gas station attendant, a fire lookout, a deckhand, and a railroad brakeman. That list of authors is huge and it’s still growing. I’m not saying that I belong with the group I just mentioned, but I am on the list.
Cynthia Rogan is also an accountant.
So there!
Write on.
Thanks for reading.

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Shaped by Experience

by Cynthia on December 29, 2012


Cynthia Rogan will perform her new play, Cat-a-tonic.

Okay,  so the director made me take the photo up there as promo for Cat-a-tonic. I was a bit resistant. But . . . here it is, just the same.  And here’s some more about the entire show. We’re in for some fun nights and if you can make it to the show, you’re in for some fun too.


 Amy Katrina, Cynthia Rogan, Lyda Woods, Leanne Zinkand

 Theater:  Solo Performances   Shaped by Experience

Ashland, Oregon:  Five local actor/writers present multi-character monologues along the lines of Lily Tomlin’s “Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe.” These funny, personal, original pieces take you into new theatrical territory. According to Lyda Woods, the producer, you will: “Meet Ratsmacker and his 30 feline siblings, watch a schizophrenic babysitter play his mind at full volume, visit a young woman on death row, and achieve neutral buoyancy.”

The show plays Friday, Saturday, and Sunday January 4 and 5 at 8 pm, and Sunday, Jan. 6 at 2:30 pm. at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way in Ashland. Tickets are $12, available at the door for cash or check, and online at Brown Paper Tickets (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/308800).    This production is sponsored, in part, by the Ashland Contemporary Theatre.

The eight theater artists involved are Lyda Woods, Cynthia Rogan, Susan Knapp, Amy Katrina Bryan, and Leanne Zinkand.  Cassandra Wass serves as acting coach; Jeffrey Hayes is stage manager, and Andrew Trent, who has also lit ACT shows, is lighting designer.

Lyda Woods performs “Ozma’s Storm,” a piece about a psychiatrist mother who gets her favorite mental patients to babysit her daughters. Lyda has run the entertainment production company, Gumshoe Gourmet, for 8 years, producing shows for the Ashland Springs Hotel, Eden Valley Orchards, Harry & David, the Children’s’ Miracle Network, the American Cancer Society, and others. She teaches Writing at Rogue Community College and founded Levity Improv: Lighten Your Heart, an improv group that performs throughout the Rogue Valley.

Find out about free improv classes at http://www.facebook.com/levityimprov or book a murder mystery at http://www.facebook.com/gumshoegourmet

Cynthia Rogan performs “Catatonic,” which explores the life of a cat hoarder whose memories intrude on her present. Rogan, a playwright and novelist, discovered through adolescent eavesdropping that characters are everywhere. “We all have our stories and our problems and our own way of looking at the world. And we all have the ability to touch someone else. So, we are never really alone.” Rogan’s novel, Symphony of Dreams, was published in 2012.

In Susan Knapp’s, “The Real Story” a woman on death row tries to convince a reporter to help her get clemency for a murder she blames on her circumstances. Knapp is an east coast transplant who arrived in Ashland 4 years ago. She’s been writing for a long time, but this is her first performance piece.

Amy Katrina Bryan who performs Knapp’s piece, is an equity membership candidate recently seen in “Cabaret” at the Napa Opera House, and as Helene in The Willow Theater production “A Doll’s House”. Amy works in Southern Oregon as a  music and acting coach as well as the drummer for the band “The Stamps” which are preparing for a tour in L.A and New York in the summer.

Zinkand performs “Neutral Buoyancy, about a woman on her checkout dive, moved by a vibrant undersea world, playing in a kelp forest until she runs into trouble. Leanne is a fiction writer, graphic designer and scuba diver. She recently published her first novel, The Spaghetti Afterlife.

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Smiling in the face of fear

August 21, 2012

Raising my girls is the scariest, most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. Publishing Symphony of Dreams is probably second on the list. I must admit it’s neck and neck  with being part of a live improv show which I did last Saturday. However, in an improv show, you work with others in the crew and […]

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Too busy to breathe

July 31, 2012

Lately, I’ve been stuck. Somehow, I over-committed. It was out of love, as usual. Love of words, love of writing, love of friends. Between work, trying to market Symphony of Dreams, helping a friend with his manuscript, working on a solo-performance, and trying to get The Courier ready for publication, I lost “something.” First, my […]

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Marketing, Schmarketing

July 16, 2012

So I say to myself, “Now, Cynthia. How hard can it be to get a little attention for your book? I mean Symphony of Dreams is a great story. The people who’ve read it, love it. You love it. And we’ve all been in Symphony’s position at one time or another. So . . . […]

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June 23, 2012

One glance at my garden used to leave me gnashing my teeth. Weeds were everywhere. If one of my plants wasn’t doing well, it was usually sharing its little plot of the world with a healthy green squatter. From experience, I can assure you that no amount of cursing will kill a weed. I have […]

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Lies, Lies, Lies

April 11, 2012

Mr. Rogers died. Then came the story about how he was a Navy Seal and a sniper in Vietnam with 25 confirmed kills to his credit. And . . . the reason he always wore a sweater was to cover up his tattoos. I was shocked. I always saw him as a sort of bland […]

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We must believe

April 7, 2012

Marie Curie said: “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” So . . . that’s why I spend my spare time writing, editing and, […]

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Going places

October 31, 2011

Mama used to tell this story about how I came home from first grade in hysterics. The teacher said we were going to read the next day and I was horrified. How was I supposed to read? I didn’t know how. I insisted Mama teach me that very night so I’d be ready. She tried […]

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No pain, no gain?

October 27, 2011

Generally, I’m not the girly type. I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. In fact, I’m sure I’ve gone years without mascara. I don’t own a pair of heels. I wear my hair goopless, shiny, and straight. I’m not opposed to showing a little cleavage now and then, but my breasts occurred naturally. They […]

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On this day, I write

October 26, 2011

Robert Dugoni opened the Surrey conference I just attended. “On this day, I write,” was the ending phrase of his speech. If you’d like to hear it, please click here. It is inspirational. Thanks to Robert Dugoni, I began the conference reminded of why I write. Thanks to Robert McCammon, and Robynn Sheahan, and Russell […]

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I have my reasons and you have yours.

September 16, 2011

We all do what we feel we have to at any given moment and those actions we cannot justify, we rationalize. Notice I didn’t say we always do what we feel is right. There’s a big difference. BESIDES . . . what’s right for you could easily wrong someone else (see my post  What’s your […]

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Mares do eat oats, right?

September 12, 2011

Mare-zee dotes and doe-zee dotes and little lam-zee diveys.  A diddly divey doo, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you what??? I never understood this song. I sang it anyway – as it is written above. It has such a catchy tune . . .but the words? Oh well, I figured. Nothing is perfect. But I could never […]

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Checking on the sisters

September 9, 2011

The Himalayas The twins, the ladies, the girls, the sisters, the Himalayas: Whatever you call them, you want to keep them as safe as possible. I went for a mammogram on Wednesday morning. First thing I did was sit down with the intake person. I had to fill out some forms, answer a few questions. […]

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For the good of us all

September 7, 2011

I was in the mall the other day looking for back to school clothes for an eight-year-old. I’m surprised they haven’t added a make-up counter in the girl’s section. Do they make spike heels for children? The dresses I’ve posted can be found right now in back to school sections in malls across the country. […]

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The last night of summer

September 5, 2011

The door squeaked opened. Footsteps approached. “Someone else is in here,” I thought, scrambling up from the cool tile, clunking my head against the bottom of the stall wall. Mama would have been mortified had she seen my pale face resting against that bathroom floor. But where else could I calm my stomach? I wasn’t […]

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Where does the dream stop and the story begin?

August 30, 2011

I awoke this morning in the middle of a dream. I had been re-hired by a firm I worked for fifteen years ago. It was my first day back. Scrambled eggs, sausage links, and hash browns were being served on the over-polished, walnut conference table. Hmmm. Family breakfasts weren’t company policy when I worked there […]

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What’s your point . . . of view?

August 27, 2011

Nothing is black and white… really. All things are shaded by point of view. Most of us have experienced this by the time we’re out of diapers.  You think you should have a toy, another baby is sure they need it, and whoever ends up with the prize ultimately believes they deserved it. By the […]

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August 16, 2011

Remember the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Well, you know how the clones screamed when they spotted a human? That’s exactly how I sound when I catch my new puppy, Sadie,squatting to relieve herself in an inappropriate place. And where-for the love of God-does all that poop come from, anyway? She really doesn’t […]

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Itching away

August 14, 2011

Ralph, a homeless man who lives in my novel, The Courier, has head lice. At one point, he explains how lice can sometimes be advantageous. That doesn’t stop him from using an unconventional method to rid himself of them. I won’t tell you what Ralph feels the upside is, you’ll have to read the book […]

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