Leena Luther's Blog
May 12, 2015
April 23, 2015
I don’t always know when my work is performed or read. The performance rights for LUMP, in particular, are more or less spelled out in the book. If you want to use them for educational/cancer fundraising purposes, go right ahead. Sharing such personal stories has never been about an ego boost or even building a writing career, but about getting the stories out there. I am always stunned and honored when I get word that my work is being used to facilitate cancer support group discussions, or that a sorority is using the monologues to raise money to fight breast cancer.
That is what LUMP is all about.
But every year or so, I remember to Google myself. And I always seem to find a performance or event featuring LUMP that I never knew about. This time, it was an event at LaGuardia Community College in New York City. I wish I would have known. I would have totally crashed that.
Dealing with cancer is a bizarro circumstance. I’m thrilled that these students took an interest. And I love that the City College of New York Department of Theatre and Speech and the Women’s Center at LaGuardia worked together on this event. Well done!
March 29, 2015
I don’t live in the Berkshires, strictly speaking. I don’t even live in Massachusetts. But us upstate New Yorkers feel you, and often find it worth it to take the short drive across the border.
I’m glad I did.
I am grateful for their mission, which encourages women to express themselves through writing. As someone who reads a lot, it can be tempting to say, “Oh, I just read a book about that topic. I should read something else now.” You can miss a lot that way.
When I took the time to way around the room, or to chat with the people that came up to my table, I truly felt the importance of reading stories to connect with people. There were a lot of people to connect with today, and I’m happy that I took the time!
I’m still abiding my vow to only read books I already own this year, but that didn’t stop me from making a few purchases.
The first was Rightful Place by Amy Hale Auker. This slim volume was being sold across the aisle from me by a documentary filmmaker (who is including Auker in her new documentary about the American Cowgirl). I adore creative non-fiction and essays, and when I opened it up… Let’s just say I’m usually not swayed by things like typography, but I thought it was beautifully laid out.
The second was a collection called Times They Were a Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s. There are over 40 contributions from women around the world.
These two books struck me as examples of narratives I think I know. Cowboys, well, who hasn’t heard a cowboy tale or 20? And the 60s and 70s? Social upheaval, music, and hippies. Right on. Right?
I suspect my previous knowledge is greatly limited. I look forward to the opportunity to stretch it.
The festival organizers will be uploading videos from the readings that occurred today, so I encourage you to check out the link above to experience some of these stories for yourself.
On my way back from the Berkshires today, I drove past this summer stock theater. I thought I had been to all the venues within an hour of my house, but I guess not. On the bucket list it goes!
March 27, 2015
So a spam attack brought down my site — two days before a book fair. Figures, huh? I’m using the opportunity to reinvent this space. I apologize for any inconvenience. Things should be spiffy in a jiffy.
March 22, 2015
December 24, 2014
April 22, 2014
Winter hibernation is over, and I’m deep into spring celebration mode (birthdays, weddings, anniversaries!). But I wanted to take a few minutes to update you all on some upcoming activities.
Planned Parenthood has again asked me to be an official patient spokesperson. I’m so honored! This time, I’m headed down to the city for three days of media training, photo and video shoots, and hanging out with my fellow spokespeople. I cannot wait to meet them! I’m also intensely curious to see what it’s like on the other side of media training.
I had a session with a voice trainer once. I had been regularly presenting and doing voice-overs for work so I went into it with a sort of “this will be cute and mildly interesting” mentality. But the coach blew my mind. After listening to me speak for a minute, she was able to tell me that I played a woodwind instrument. My breathing gives me away! Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to talk with communications experts of all kinds, so I can geek out.
So that should be fun. I’ll be blogging about the experience here, so stay tuned for that.
On the hobby side, the hubby and I have a trip planned to the garment district to go fabric shopping. So I’ve been spamming my Pinterest board with lots of sewing tutorials and inspirational pieces. I’ll be sure to share lots of lovely pictures of fabric too.
I’ve also been dabbling with designing fabric patterns of my own. I’m very much a novice, so be gentle! I have these “Zing of Spring” fabrics that are still a work in progress (and thus not for sale yet). One or more of them will probably end up as a maxi dress at some point though.
But I also have these “Planet Polka” designs that I made for the kiddo. Pluto did not make the cut. Sorry Pluto.
The designs can also be purchased as wrapping paper, wallpaper, or decals. What a fun website! If you haven’t checked out Spoonflower.com, do that right now.
That’s it for now. I have some writing projects underway, but nothing to share about those yet. But I think it’s going to be a great spring and summer!
November 9, 2013
That’s the section two of my monologues, taken from LUMP, appear in in the new collection, “Audition Monologues for Young Women #2,” by Gerald Lee Ratliff. The chapter starts out with this quote:
“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.” — Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre.
I knew that I had two monologues in this collection, but until this past week, that’s all I knew. I was so excited to get my copy in the mail on Friday, to discover Gerald Lee Ratliff’s editorial stance, who else was in it, and where my work fit in. Independence. I like that. He goes on…
There is a cold-eyed sharpness here that is unfashionably persuasive in the characters’ incessant search for answers to life’s big questions.
I love that phrase, “unfashionably persuasive.” That’s actually what I was going for. It’s hard to take a trope like cancer survivor and push the story beyond the Hollywood-type stories that people want to hear. My story wasn’t particularly tragic, which made it not particularly uplifting. But my emotions were true and powerful in other ways, I like to think.
When I signed permission for these monologues to be included, I was given the option to write my own introduction, which I declined.
…the author paints an absorbing human portrait that reaffirms the power of courage over fear. Unspoken doubts and inevitable challenges are voiced with a seamless blend of humor, pathos, and emotion that offers a touching glimpse into the life of a courageous breast cancer survivor.”
See, I never would have written that about myself. Thanks! I promise to not let it go to my head.
Anyhoo, I’m making my way through the collection right now, and I’m enjoying it immensely. I truly am honored to be included, and I’m using those emotions to propel myself into doing more writing (just bear with me—the baby makes things slow-going). If you want to pick up a copy, you can do so at your local bookstore. Or, for online purchasers, you can get one from the publisher, Meriwether Publishing, LTD, or the usual suspects like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.