Story ideas, quotes, openings, titles:
– In some dystopian future, it’s legal to trade options on people’s lives.
– “I’d hardly describe myself as a creep. Rather….”
– “Answer Man”: Play takes place in a radio station late at night. DJ hosts weekly show, “The Answer Man” taking callers’ questions, complaints and stories. DJ and engineer laugh at callers off the air, but the stories hit too close to home.
– Doctor who has lost his license (drink? drugs? malpractice?) starts investigating Medicare fraud by nefarious insurance companies and gets way too close to the truth.
– Liberia 1982: Peace Corps volunteer befriends brilliant and ambitious Army sergeant, who foments a violent uprising against the government. Volunteer is implicated.
– “Winter Is Hard”
– Song lyric: “World’s going to hell again, Troubles seem to swell again, Heading down and round again, All because of you.”
– “Prospect Park”: urban halfway house, each chapter is a life story.
– “Diapason” (Greek for octave): Researcher finds 3,000 year-old Greek music text, with many intriguing song fragments illustrating why the ancients thought music was the most profound art. Book hints at author’s life and leads researcher to Greece for further discoveries on the power of music.
– Women rule (and what it means): modern society is reverting to a matriarchy, with women assuming dominance in many aspects of life. Could this mean a more just and peaceful future?
– “Happy Town”: Evanston, Illinois, is picked the “Happiest City in America” and researcher profiles a handful of residents to find out why.
– Drain moth lives an entire lifetime of 72 hours in a filthy beach house men’s room. Does it have a perspective, a soul, a kind of joy?
– “How do I know? Because when you’ve gotten to my age, buddy, you’ve made every mistake in the book three or four times. So it’s not smarts, just a good memory for humiliation.”
– “The argument began like most of their arguments. In bed.”
– The Psychology of Joy
– “It’s a Good Enough Life”: Man fed up with quiet wife decides to kill her with a nightly ginger ale poison cocktail so he can take up with attractive neighbor who turns out to be so emasculating that he goes crazy with anger and recrimination only to wake up from nightmare and find his wife turning into emasculating widow. (Apologies to Mikhail Zoshchenko.)
– Study on centroverts, those lucky people who derive equal joy from being by themselves and being with others.
– Everyday Beauty: finding happiness appreciating the mundane, like the beautiful blue chicory wild flowers that bloom every summer on the side of the highway, always in the same place and the same time.
– Update of the most intriguing part of “The Maltese Falcon”: explosion rocks office building, and a man who works there walks away unharmed and decides to start his life over.
– Cooking show for slobs
– Saying goodbye to old friends
– “Dying Embers”: Play about Babe Ruth and Bix Beiderbecke, good friends late in their careers, who are dying embers of the Jazz Age.
– “Letter to My Son”: Dad writes a booklet of his life’s lessons for college-bound son that gets personal.
– “A Bad Start in the Hereafter”
– Middle-age man trying to come to terms with his successful late father’s hostility and indifference stumbles on a cache of the man’s personal effects that tell a different story.
– Why are we here? To learn, to teach to grow, to…?