A Post Production Apathy Fix

I’m having a little post-preformance apathy. It’s nothing new and usually hits me once I’ve  just finished with my work being published/produced, the  looming questioning of “what next”colors life to shades of grey. To  motivate myself and avoid falling into a funk, I’ve put together a list of sites that offer some fun insight on famous writers and the writing life!


Hopefully, this brightened your day.

On a personal note, I’m going to an ice-climbing festival in Michigan over the weekend. I will try to post, but if reception is shoddy, you probably won’t hear from me until after the weekend ( I’ll post some pics even if it isn’t art related.)

Have a great and productive weekend of writing!

Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

–Mr. Darcy,  Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice,  Jane Austen’s masterpiece and a book beloved by millions turned two hundred yesterday. In celebration of the 200th birthday, I’ve posted a few of my favorite links on Austen and her work:

Of course, the celebration wouldn’t be complete without a good-spirited debated over who portrayed Darcy best.

Personally, I swoon over Macfadyen and Rintoul. To me, their portrayal of Mr. Darcy is the most nuanced, the most relatable, the most human,  though perhaps their portrayal isn’t as close to the book as Firth’s (which ironically is the one person I couldn’t stand….)

The links below detail arguments for two of the most recent actors, Matthwe MacFayden or Colin Firth

Who do you prefer?

Matthew MacFayden or Colin Firth

Of course they aren’t the only actors to portray Darcy.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most recent\well-known actors who played Darcy.

Who do you like best?

Sorry, by the way, that I didn’t post on this yesterday. I had all intentions of doing so, but I went to the rock climbing gym and things got a little chaotic, including my harness breaking on one climb. Needless to say I ended up spending more time at the gym than I had allotted for.

When are you a “real” writer?

Sitting nervously tapping my pencil, I waited for my creative writing teacher, a brazen self-proclaimed failure of a poet embittered by the knowledge he was courted by the university only so that his wife would join their staff, to enter into my classroom and verbally assault the class and myself on our meager failures, I mean attempts, at poetry.

I tried to distract myself by ease dropping on my fellow classmates conversations, but their thoughts were deadly similar to mine. Everyone was horrified by what they turned in, even though they had spent weeks or months agonizing over their work.

Blood on page….

You think yours is bad. I wrote my portfolio in a night.

A night was a stretch. Bereft from my last relationship ending, I had struggled to keep afloat academically that semester, atrophied by the stereotypical first love gone wrong.  I pushed everything else aside, to sit in my sorrow and wait for my love to return.

He didn’t.

With a few hours until class, I started writing my portfolio, knowing that my all-to-honest professor would rip it apart. Bereft of anything to say, I poured my heart out into an emotional jumble and slapped out ten pages of poetry less than an hour. It was muddle, confused and downright crazy, but better than a blank page.

As the minutes piddled away, I reassured my classmate’s that no ones portfolio could be as horrid as mine and that surely I would be the target of his reproach.

“These portfolios were shit,” my teacher said as he entered, casting our work aside on the desk as if it were the plague, “except one….”

“Rachael, please read your first poem.”

A racing of my heart mingled with my brain’s realization that I must have come off as an ass, whining about my pathetic work when he is now sitting there and talks of how for the first time in years, he felt read pure poetry, as I started reading my work.

A month later he helped me publish them.

And I knew this is what I was meant to be.

deying gravity

The problem with writing is that everyone can do it and it’s a job where you can be successful and still not make a living or even much money off of it. It’s easy to get discouraged or feel like, because you aren’t on a best seller list,  you aren’t a “real” writer.

But there are these moments, the twisting of  words into the perfect thought or a life impacted, that makes us as writers realize our talents and the importance of art, that makes it all worth while.

Cherish those moments. Hold tight to them. And never let them go.


In theatre, expect the unexpected.

My "fans" (ok my friend and bf) and I before the plays

My “fans” (ok bf and friend) and I before the show

I started the day on edge. Today (Sunday) was the big day. Two of my plays were showing at Cornstock Theatre, as well as one other I directed.

There’s a special fear I feel on performance day. The dread and trepidation that an audience will despise a piece and  cringe along with you at the awkward moments, that in your head made sense, but that dissipate on stage, leaving a cloud of awkward stilted words hanging, fog.

Adding to the stress, a day before, I learned that one of my actors had come down with the flu, leaving the art director and I scrabbling to find another one.  Luckily, an actor in one of the other performances stepped up at the last-minute.

I came to the theatre, anxious and worried, but my worries were completely unfounded.

My first play, “Game On,” opened the performance.  It was wonderfully acted. And if I do say so myself, and I hate to toot my own horn, it was wonderfully received. The audience laughed and applauded, though there are a few parts that I am going to revise.

My second play,  “A Sunday Proposal,” opened the second act. This was the play I was most fearful of. I have spent two years revising it and still can’t get the play where I want it. However, seeing in on stage has softened my opinion of it. It is delightful for what it is, a light-hearted, comedy about the affairs of the family.

The day ended with “Red, Blue, Whatever” by Gary Hale, and directed by myself. I was fearful that my inexperience would drag down the show. But my actors were amazing. The performance was lively and more importantly the writer was pleased with performance.

Game On by Rachael Stanford

Game On by Rachael Stanford

A Sunday Proposal  by Rachael Stanford

A Sunday Proposal by Rachael Stanford

Red, Blue, Whatever by Gary Hale, directed by Rachael Stanford

Red, Blue, Whatever by Gary Hale, directed by Rachael Stanford

In the next few days, I will upload the videos of my performances as well as a few more pictures that will be place in my gallery.

For Illinois Shakespeare lovers

Bloomington Il has an amazing Shakespeare festival at Ewing Manor. ( I might be biased, I went to undergraduate and graduate school at Illinois State University, of which Ewing Manor is a part of.) But it is a premier performance, which I suggest, if you are in central Illinois for the summer, you check out. The actors are amazing. The production space is beautiful and the grounds of the manor are pristine. It’s perfect for an early afternoon picnic followed by an amazing play.

But for those who can’t wait this long, five are high schools have come together to throw a production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

This is a great chance to support young actors and their drama program!

Go here for more details

Also for an added dose of Shakespeare, check out PBS. They have a pretty awesome, Shakespeare uncovered series.

Yearly writing goals

Well I’m trying to be more professional about writing.  I’m like a lot of artist I know, awesome with the creativity, but not so good with the down and out details that go with editing/publishing/etc. I write, get bored, move on to a next project, go back to the first, decide to edit for a while, and end up going round and round in a little evil circle.  So I’m setting out a few goals for the year.

1) Write a half hour ever week day and an hour on the weekends.

2) Finish my major projects (a novella and a children’s story)

3) Network more/ go to at least one writer’s conference

4) Work on my plays and poetry (at least one poem a week, one-two plays a month).

So far half way into the month of January, I have failed miserably.

But I’m not giving up hope yet!

Writing quotes

I love quotes on writing; they are such a great motivating factor. So I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with you today!

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
― Anaïs Nin
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King, On Writing
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”
― Neil Gaiman
I am a drinker with writing problems
― Brendan Behan
I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.
― Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
― E.L. Doctoro
We must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
― Madeleine L’Engle
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
― Ernest Hemingway

Hook on writing quotes? Check out the writing quotes tumblr!


Play practice today

Today, we had our rehearsal for next week’s, Life, The Universe and Playwriting: A Sexlet of Orginal Plays, for which two of my plays are being shown, and I am directing one. I use the term directing loosely, as most of my directing experience is relegated to five year-olds or cheesy plays we did in college.

I was at first reluctant to even again to direct. But I decided what the hell, you only live once!

I haven’t regretted it.

The experience has been wonderful. My actors have been helpful with their advice and thoughts on blocking.  And I feel like this will help my craft.

As a writer, my first thought is to do what I think best to complete my story. However as a director, I am seeing how this, on stage can created a bevy of problems, especially with blocking and character motivation.  I think this is something I need to keep in mind when writing my plays.

Anyway, I still have some work to do for next week’s production, so this will have to be a short post.

Peace n luv.

P.S. If you are in the Peoria, Il area on Sunday check out the show. You won’t be disappointed.


Book (shelf) lovers rejoice

From the first moment I watched Beauty and The Beast,  I knew…..

I didn’t want the princess dress

or to be fall in love a beast

or to be in an enchanted castle.

I wanted the library, and all it’s glory, preferably without the semi-abuse man-child  but heck if I can get it in the divorce, I might be able to endure a year or two of talking candlesticks and a grumpy beast.

What word nerd wouldn’t want a wall to wall library that *gasp* you needed ladders to reach the the top.

But alas reaching adulthood had meant that some of my dreams have had to fallen to the wayside, as I find myself a poor twenty-something, living in a teeny tiny libary-less apartment. And when I am able to scrounge up the dough to buy a house, the whole of it will probably fit into the library room.

Bereft but not beaten, I have decided if I can not have an amazingly dream library, I can have the most amazing bookshelves humanely possible, which is why I was amazed to find this site,  25 awesome DIY bookshelves.  It isn’t my epic library but at least I’ll have some awesome and creative ways to house my precious books!

And while I’m on an internet searching binge:

If you are a book lover, crafty and looking for a project, your day will be made!